Should You Use Hot or Cold Stone Massage Therapy?

If you've decided to try stone massage therapy to fix a niggling problem in your back, then you might not be sure whether you need to use hot or cold stone treatments. While both options give you relief from pain by tapping into acupressure points that relate to your problem, different temperatures produce different results.

What's the difference between the two types of stone therapies? Which one should you choose?

 How Does Hot Stone Massage Work?

When you have a hot stone massage, your therapist places heated stones on key points on your body. The heat from the stones transfers into your muscles to relax them; it also makes your blood vessels dilate in the heated areas. When this happens, your blood flow to the area increases. This physical relaxation effect helps soothe and heal sore muscles and areas of tension. It also relaxes spasmed muscles.

If you've got stiffness or pain in a specific area, these symptoms should ease as the blood flow increases around the stones. You'll feel more relaxed, mobile and, hopefully, in less pain at the end of a session.

How Does Cold Stone Massage Work?

Cold stone massage therapy works in much the same way in terms of technique. However, the stones that go on your body are cold or chilled. The cold these stones pass into your muscles has a different effect. Rather than dilating blood vessels, it makes them contract. This reduces blood flow to the area.

This works well if you have inflammation problems. The cold temporarily reduces the volume of blood in the area, which helps reduce swelling. It also draws excess heat out of the body, giving injured or sore muscles some useful breathing space.

Which Kind of Stone Massage Should You Choose?

It's important to use the right type of stone massage for your problem. If you need to relax tension, stiffness or pain, then heat is usually the best choice; cold is best for injuries that come with inflammation issues.

Rather than making your own decision at this point, it's better to consult a massage therapy professional. They can tell you which option best fits your problem. In some cases, they may also recommend using a mix of heat and cold to stimulate different areas at different points during a session or over the course of your treatment. For more advice, contact local massage therapy clinics that use stone treatments.