What is hot stone massage therapy?

This therapy has a long history and has been practiced by ancient civilizations all across the world. According to a Massage Magazine article, “Both verbal and written history confirm the Chinese used heated stones more than 2,000 years ago as a means of improving the function of internal organs.” Hot stone massage was even used as a means of healing in North and South America, Africa, Europe, Egypt, and India.

Hot stone massage is a massage therapy technique that involves positioning warm stones along key areas of the patient’s body. Flat and oblong river rocks are often used in hot stone massage therapy. Due to their high iron content, the river rocks maintain adequate temperatures throughout the duration of the session. The hot stones can either be used as stationary pockets of heat to target trouble areas or as deep-tissue massage aides. Stones are used in a variety of other therapies as well including facials, pedicures, manicures, meridian therapy, and more.

There’s no need to worry about the “hotness” of the stones during hot stone massage therapy, however. There is always a barrier between a client’s skin, and the stones unless the therapist is moving the stone. There is no need to worry about safety or discomfort during hot stone therapy if it is performed by a trained professional.

What benefits does hot stone massage provide?

Stress / Anxiety Reduction

A survey that was conducted on May 18th in 2017 found that 77% of adults regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Hot stone therapy can help reduce stress by lowering your heart rate and increasing your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals called endorphins.

Aides Sleep

According to an Examined Existence article, “Stress is one of the main factors causing insomnia and other sleep disorders. When stressors are present, the body naturally heightens its response system, thus, leading to wakefulness.” Hot stone massage helps the body sleep by decreasing the body’s cortisol (stress hormone). High levels of cortisol impede the production of melatonin (sleep hormone).

Boosts Immunity

Hot stone massage can have a marked impact on the body’s immune system.  Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that, “people who received a 45-minute massage had an increased number of lymphocytes.” Lymphocytes are white blood cells. These white blood cells play a large role in defending the body from disease.

Relieves Muscle Tension / Pain

Generally, muscle tension or pain is the main complaint of massage therapy clients. Hot stone massage is especially suited to relieving these ailments. The heat of the stones stimulates that body’s circulatory system which allows stiff muscles to receive rejuvenating and oxygenated blood. The heat from the stones can also treat painful muscle spasms and particularly troublesome knots.

What else should I know about hot stone massage therapy?

While hot stone massage therapy is wonderfully beneficial for most people, be sure to check with you massage therapist before scheduling an appointment if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Nerve Damage
  • Sun Burn

These conditions do not preclude anyone from receiving a hot stone massage. However, we recommend that you disclose this information before your session.

If your trained massage therapist does not think you are a good candidate for hot stone massage, there are many other treatments and therapies at The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas that can alleviate almost any ailment. You can view our full list of services here.

May you have peace, happiness, and wellness!

What is Lymphatic Massage?

To answer the question, “What is a lymphatic massage?”, you must first understand your body’s lymphatic system. According to a Live Science article, “The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.” In other words, the lymphatic system is essential to a healthy immune system and proper nutrient absorption.

The lymphatic system is made up of fluid or lymph, fluid transportation vessels, and organs that contain lymphoid tissue (i.e. lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus). Each of these serves a specific purpose within the lymphatic system. The fluid or lymph contains nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and fatty acids, as well as toxins. Fluid transportation vessels transport the lymph to the cardiovascular system. Lymphoid tissues monitor what is in the lymph / fluid, and produce nutrients to be transported by the cardiovascular system to other parts of the body.

Lymphatic massage, also known as Manual Lymphatic Drainage, is a gentle non-invasive technique designed to increase the movement of lymph and interstitial fluid. As you can imagine, an under functioning lymphatic system can wreak havoc on your ability to fight infection. A compromised lymphatic system can even impact your body’s healing process and energy levels.

How do I know if I can benefit from a Lymphatic Massage?

This therapy can be beneficial for many ailments or illnesses. It relieves chronic inflammation associated with conditions like acne, eczema, and allergies. Lymphatic massage is also great for individuals who are recovering from surgeries, because it is known to reduce swelling. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia suffers are also great candidates for lymphatic massage.

Rejuvenating the lymphatic system can have some more surprising benefits as well. Often times, breastfeeding mothers find relief in lymphatic massage, because it helps reduce fluid retention and plugged ducts. Lymphatic massage can also help with cellulite, migraines, and sinus congestion.

Almost everyone has one or more of these ailments that can be managed with lymphatic massage, and would be a great candidate for this revolutionary therapy!

I’m convinced. Now, where can I get a Lymphatic Massage?

The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas now has a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Certified massage therapist on staff that would be delighted to assist you. If you choose to schedule a lymphatic massage with The Spa’ah, there are a few things that you can do to get the most out of your session.

Before your Lymphatic Massage at The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas, you should:

  • Think about increasing your intake of antioxidants to aid in the detoxification process.
  • Drink lots of water in the days leading up to your appointment.
  • Avoid alcohol or recreational drugs so that your lymphatic system is not compromised during           your session.
  • Plan for a short period of gentle movement after your session to support lymph transportation.

May you have peace, happiness, and wellness!

What are Perpetuating Factors?

According to the Institute for Integrative Healthcare, perpetuating factors are “things that perpetuate myofascial pain due to muscle trigger points.” In other words, these factors are essential components of chronic conditions that often cause pain. Many individuals who have perpetuating factors of chronic pain often find temporary comfort in massage therapy. Because the reprieve from pain is only temporary for these sufferers of perpetuating factors, they often consider massage therapy to be a luxury service rather than a viable source of chronic pain relief. The reality is that a massage therapist as well as your medical doctor or chiropractor can help you identify any perpetuating factors that may be contributing to your chronic pain. Unless the true source of pain can be identified, you will have a hard time finding long term relief.

There are four different types of perpetuating factors:

  1. Mechanical Stress: Caused by body structural inadequacies like one shorter leg, postural stress like a ill fitting office desk / chair, dental malocclusion or misfitting teeth, and / or outside factors of muscle constriction like heavy purses or backpacks.
  2. Nutritional Inadequacies and Excess: Cause by a deficit or surplus of specific nutrients including Vitamins B1, B6, B12, and Folic Acid.
  3. Hormone Inadequacies and Diet: Caused by hormone fluctuations during menstrual cycles and inadequate levels of thyroid hormone. Allergies and hypoglycemia can also play a role in this kind of perpetuating factor.
  4. Acute or Chronic Infection: Caused by a viral or bacterial illness like the Flu as myofascial trigger points increase during systemic illnesses or active infections.

Most Americans can identify one or more of these types of chronic pain perpetrators as present in their lifestyle. Many of those Americans are also turning to massage therapy as a source of long term relief!

How can massage therapy help address Perpetuating Factors?

Massage therapy can provide temporary and long term relief to chronic pain. Temporary relief is provided by a therapist’s skill with various modalities of treatment. Long term relief can be found by an experienced therapist’s knowledge and practice.

An experienced massage therapist can help you identify lifestyle changes that can greatly impact your chronic pain. For this reason, it is a good idea to continue using the same spa for your massage therapy needs. This will allow the therapists there to all become familiar with you, your lifestyle, and your perpetuating factors. An experienced massage therapist can help chronic pain sufferers break their cycle of rehabilitation and relapse.

When you visit the same experienced therapist regularly, they will notice a specific pattern of problem areas. For example, your therapist might notice that you consistently have very tense shoulders. If he / she knows that your job involves sitting for long periods of time, your therapist might suggest a more ergonomic desk. Your massage therapists can suggest when a visit to your regular medical doctor might be warranted for a nutrition evaluation or treatment of an infection.

How can I identify Perpetuating Factors in my chronic pain?

Click here for a very helpful chart of potential perpetuating factors. Give this link a look before your next massage therapy appointment, and prepare yourself to discuss any potential chronic pain perpetrators with your therapist. Perpetuating factors are often the difference between temporary relief and long term recovery.