When you consider the complexity of the human foot, which contains more than 100 tendons and has 33 joints and 26 bones, it’s no wonder that feet suffer from daily wear and tear. Problems with your feet may contribute to other health problems, too. Using hot stones for your feet is one way to help maintain foot health, and it can help you relax, too. You can follow several techniques for hot rock massage, depending on personal preference.
The Ancient Art of Ayurveda
The written history of Ayurveda, meaning the “science of long life,” dates back to 3,000 B.C. However, institutions like the Florida Vedic College suggest the practice predated writing as part of the Sanatana Dharma spiritual traditions. The Indian practice joins spirituality with health, with detail to massage. Although stone massage has its origins in Ayurveda, you do not need to follow the practice, or even be spiritual, to enjoy and benefit from using hot rocks on your feet.
Marma Point Therapy
In Ayurveda, it’s common to use massage with marma point therapy. Marma points are similar to acupuncture points, but they encompass more than points along the body’s meridian. A marma point can be any vulnerable or sensitive point on the body. An article by Dr. David Frawley in “LA Yoga” reports that the body has 107 prime marma points, including points on the soles of the feet and the ankles. In addition, an individual may have marma points specific to his body. Using hot stones, you can massage marma points on the feet to improve health and increase relaxation.
Reflexology is a practice that associates areas on your feet with specific areas in your body. You can target specific areas, such as your shoulders, your lungs, or your eyes, by placing a hot rock on the corresponding area on your foot. Reflexology foot charts map out the different areas on your feet and provide the corresponding parts of your body.
Types of Stones
Stone healing pulls in the earth element of Ayurveda. Smooth stones, such as river rocks, will work, but some people prefer to use special stones. Amethyst may heighten the senses, citrine may boost energy and basalt may free energy from stagnation, according to an article by Karyn Chabot in the “Massage Therapy Journal.” Most special stones work better when placed on specific areas of the body. Also, consider the size and texture of the stones. Small, flat rocks tend to be easier to handle when you’re using hot stones to massage your feet. They conduct heat evenly across the surface of the stones and will easily fit between the toes.
While the heat of the hot rocks will be enough to relax some individuals, others like to combine a hot rock massage with oil. Depending on the type of hot stone massage you prefer, you may want to combine the massage with aromatherapy, a practice that uses essential oils to accomplish different tasks.
When you use hot rocks for your feet, it’s important to find the correct temperature. If the stones are too hot, they will burn your skin. If they are too cool, they will not provide as much relaxation as stones at the proper temperature will. The American Massage Therapy Association recommends building up to a higher heat level over several weeks. This allows your body to adjust to the heat without causing stress to your body.