Hot stone massage helps with circulation. Picture: Instagram
Feel rejuvenated this winter after a hot stone massage an age-old technique derived by the Greeks, but nowadays largely used in the modern world as a popular stress reliever.

What are the treatment methods and benefits of hot stone therapy and how has it evolved since the beginning of time? Victoria Sutcliffe, Spa Manager of The Heavenly Spa at The Westin Cape Town says there are many advantages. And as the personal and professional demands of people around the globe increase daily, a hot stone massage is “the perfect way to unwind and de-stress”.

The benefits
Muscle relaxation
Pain relief
Blood circulation

“The heat of the stones relaxes the muscles and allows the therapist to manipulate the deep tissue effectively. The temperature of the stones, during upward massage movement will also increase blood flow and help to oxygenate the blood and nutrients levels in the body,” she says.

The stones
Sutcliffe says not just any stone will do, instead, it takes a special type of volcanic rock to retain heat throughout the massage therapy and deliver the desired outcome during treatment. She suggests:
Basalts lava stones - comprises high silica and iron content ideal for hot stone therapy

Helps with stress relief
Calms the physique
Detoxes the body from lactic acid

''Hot stone therapy promotes relaxation by opening-up the energy pathways, it helps to release tension from those affected muscles, which is an excellent stress reliever,” she says.

Top spots to target
But targeting the right spots is necessary during a massage and Sutcliffe says it’s the key to a “fulfilling treatment”. She recommends these spots:

On the hands and between the toes
On the back, specifically around the spine
On the abdomen

The techniques
According to Sutcliffe, how therapists engage in a massage is as important, and various methods are used, they include:

Effleurage
Rotary
Kneading
Hot stone therapy has evolved from full body massages. Today, hot stone facials, as well as hot stone manicures and pedicures form part of the treatment regimens at most wellness spas.

Then and now
This effective body therapy has been used since ancient Greek times and was believed to be adopted by the Chinese more than 2 000 years ago as well.

“But it was not till the early 1900s that hot stone therapy became very popular and since then, anyone who’s ever had a hot stone massage has not looked back. It’s the number one massage option,” she says.