Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Lure of Hot Stone Massage

Hot Stone Massage is a type of massage therapy that involves the use of smooth, heated stones. The massage therapist places the hot stones on specific points on your body and may also hold them while giving you the massage. The special stones are warmed using a professional electric massage stone heater so that the temperature can be controlled. The localized heat and weight of the stones warms and relaxes your muscles. It can be a luxurious treatment when done correctly.

However, I am consistently shocked to discover there are many spas offering this often pricier treatment without the proper equipment. I've witnesses stones submersed in oily water in crock pots, placed on pancake griddles, and in hot towel cabbies. It becomes a juggling act for the therapist who is trying to keep the stones at the right temperature while giving you a massage. If the stones are too hot, they'll burn you. If the stones are too slippery with oil, they may drop them on the floor or worse, on you.

The usual rushing therapist simply doesn't have time to properly sanitize each stone between appointments. The soiled stones are often used repeatedly. One major concern is MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus) a type of staph bacteria that causes skin infections.

My advice: Skip this overrated treatment, it isn't worth the risk.