Geothermal therapy, or massage with hot stones and cold stones, has become a very popular treatment over the last couple of years. Although often regarded as a luxury spa treatment a stone massage has many health benefits, from easing tight, weak muscles to improving the circulation and aiding aching joints. Many people will have experienced a hot stone massage but flinch when I mention the cold stones. The application of cold stones is short and can help with overheating during the massage, it can alleviate the sluggish feeling often experienced after a hot stone massage. When cold stones are used you feel refreshed and energised, while still retaining the benefits of the massage.
Smooth, flat stones of varying size, are immersed in water and heated in a special heating device. The hot stones are usually made from volcanic basalt, a rock rich in iron, giving the stones a high heat retention. Once heated to around body temperature the stones are used to glide over the back, shoulders, neck and face as well as other areas of tension. The heat from the stones, combined with essential oils, enables the muscles to release very quickly, allowing the body to reach a state of total relaxation. This comforting therapy helps tight muscles to relax 4-5 times quicker than in a standard massage, making it particularly helpful for areas of very tight, painful muscle. The cold stones are made from white marble favoured for its smooth surface and ability to retain coolness. The combination of hot and cold stones in one treatment creates a powerful reaction, being deeply relaxing and usually the switch between the two types of stone is not felt.
Hot stones - cause blood vessels to expand, increasing blood supply, this increase in circulation brings fresh blood to the muscles. Lymph function is increased helping the body rids itself of waste products. The metabolism is increased and the muscles and tissues relax as they expand.
Cold stones - cause the blood vessels to contract, sending blood and fluid away from the area and the body’s pain relievers are released, helping to numb pain. The constricted blood flow helps stop muscle spasms and relaxes the muscles. Cold stones are especially useful for helping to reduce inflammation and pain.
This therapy is especially useful the areas of tension and muscle tightness over the upper and lower back and on the face. When used on the face hot and cold stones can help soothe headaches and the pain associated with congestion and sinus problems as well as relaxing the facial muscles to give a clearer, smoother look to the complexion. The use of cool stones around the eyes helps to decongest the region, reducing dark circ