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Beat the Heat This Season with Cold Stone Massage

10 Jul 2017

The use of stones in massage isn’t new, even though recent media attention may have you thinking it is. In fact, incorporating objects such as stones into therapeutic bodywork is an ancient technique in some cultures. But normally people associate stone massage with heat. Hot stone massage can be beneficial for many ailments, and is probably a very welcoming experience in the colder months but probably not what you’d want in hot summer weather.

So what about switching things up with a COLD stone massage? This is one bodywork modality that both therapist and client will find refreshing on a hot summer day!

Use of cold for therapeutic reasons is common. Most people know that it’s recommended to ice a sprain or sore muscle. But unlike using an ice pack where you need to subject yourself to the intense cold for 15-20 minutes, with cold stone massage the frigid feeling lasts only seconds, because the chilled stones are able to deliver an intensely penetrating cold and therefore don’t need to remain in place long.

The type of stones used for cold stone massage is different than for hot stone massage, which usually is done with basalt stones, since basalt holds heat well. Chilled marble stones are generally used with this technique.  Marble has the ability remain cold much better than many other stones. (That’s the reason that pastry chefs and chocolatiers like working on marble surfaces.) One other characteristic of marble that makes it idea for a cold stone massage is that it absorbs warmth from the tissues it is placed against. This would be particularly beneficial when inflammation is present.

Warmed stones are often used in this modality in order to neutralize the cold, and often warm and cold stones are alternated. The result is a cycle of blood vessel dilation and construction, which can both relax and refresh or stimulate. And at times both hot and cold stones are used in different areas simultaneously. This can be very effective when the desire is to balance the body.

What is Cold Stone Massage Good For?

Of course, the application of cold stones on the body is very refreshing on a warm summer day. But this type of technique has therapeutic applications as well. Major benefits include stress relief and relaxation. It’s also good for reducing inflammation near the skin surface, in conditions such as arthritis or for sports injuries. And those who tend to feel overheated in summer months may particularly enjoy colds stone massage. What’s more, the therapist gets some cooling relief from delivering cold stone massage, so that’s an extra benefit!

Massage that includes the use of stones is just one therapeutic bodywork technique that we offer training in at our Minneapolis massage and shiatsu therapy school. Both hot and cold stone massage instruction is included as part of our Spa & Resort Techniques class, an elective class available to students in any of our programs.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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