We can all agree that 2020 has been one rollercoaster of a year, yeah? The spa industry has been no exception to the ups and downs that have rocked the global economy in the last ten months. As of 2017, the spa industry alone employed 2.5 million workers worldwide, and Americans typically receive over 200 million massages annually.
With quarantine restrictions still keeping most spas and massage parlors closed to the public, people seeking relief from their daily aches and pains have had to get creative and bring the spa home – with hot stone therapy leading the charge, according to Google which reports searches for hot stone therapy are up 90% since March 2020.
What is hot stone therapy?
Hot stone massage is the 5,000 year-old practice of using heated volcanic stones to help ease tension and relax muscles which allows the therapist to work deeper while using lighter pressure. If you’ve ever walked away from a standard massage feeling like you were just pummeled for an hour, then you know the feeling that hot stone therapy is trying to avoid. People often describe hot stone massage as comforting and deeply relaxing, the warmth is particularly soothing for people who tend to run cold.
“It’s designed to recreate that feeling you get just before you fall asleep, where your mind is perfectly clear and relaxed,” said Ben, community manager for the at-home hot stone therapy system, Elo, “a good hot stone experience is designed to reduce the sympathetic activity in your body and create those unparalleled relaxation experiences that leave you feeling incredible.”
According to Burke Williams, the practice originally began in India approximately 5,000 years ago, and was called Ayurveda. This involved the placement of stones on the body to relax tense muscles and relieve pain. Around 3,000 years later, the Chinese used shaped stones called Bian while to treat disease. Since then, the practice has changed very little: the weighted volcanic stones are heated to between 110-130 degrees F and then placed on specific locations of the body where the heat radiates out to provide maximum benefit. Historically, this process has always required a second person to place the stones, however new products on the market allow for the first time solo use.
Benefits of hot stone massage
Hot stone massage therapy helps melt away tension, ease muscle stiffness, and increase circulation and metabolism. Hot stones, when coupled with massage, also help to expand blood vessels, which encourages blood flow throughout the body. This can potentially help boost immunity, reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, promotes a deeper and more restful sleep, and, of course, reduces stress and anxiety. And if you’re an active person, the benefits of sports massages that include hot stones include decreasing the recovery time of tension and muscular pain by more than 50% compared to the standard sports massage.
How is hot stone massage performed?
Traditionally, the stones would have to be heated in water before being dried off and placed on the subjects body for 10-20 minutes. Practitioners might then either use the warm stones themselves to administer a traditional massage, or would set the stones aside to be sanitized before continuing with a traditional massage.
2020 has been a dramatic departure from the traditional process as consumers were left to find at-home substitutes for standard massage treatments. “The spa needs to become mobile in this new world. You need to create a high end spa wherever you are,” said the Elo team when asked how consumers might be able to get the benefits of hot stones when most spas remain closed.
Elo is the world’s first at-home hot stone massage solution that makes it easy to enjoy the benefits on your own, without the need for a partner or a visit to the spa. Founded in 2016, Elo has undergone more than 30 design iterations and consultations to develop the world’s most beautiful and state of the art in-home hot stone massage experience.
To learn more, visit Elostones.com