Cincy. The Queen City. Porkopolis. Cincinnati has had plenty of nicknames over the years, but it might have to add another to the list: Ohio's Capital of Stress. Although CNN Money's rankings of America's most stressed cities puts Cincinnati at only 37th nationwide, that's well ahead of in-state rivals such as Cleveland (41st) and Columbus (45th). So, what's the best way for Cincinnati residents to chill out? According to the menus of many Cincinnati massage therapists, the answer lies not in ice, but fire. Where does the heat come from? In many Cincinnati spas and massage studios, specialized tools and equipment add warmth to traditional kneading. The most popular form of heated massage derives its warmth from hot basalt stones, but these chunks of old volcanoes aren't the only game in town; at Mantra Massage and Bodyworx, therapists wield small bamboo rollers that, once heated, target troubled muscles with heat and deep-tissue pressure at the same time. Some studios even invest in special tables designed to envelope bodies in all-over warmth. How does heated massage work? Heat makes each muscle fiber more flexible, so that it can be stretched farther without risk of injury. This lets the massage therapist work out knots buried deep within muscles. Heat also increases blood circulation, washing out some of the byproducts of inflammation and sending in a fresh dose of oxygen to work on injured tissue. Finally, the effect of heat on the skin can actually alter a person's perception of pain, decreasing the discomfort of the treated area. Add all three together, and you have a recipe for lowering pain and stress (not to mention showing up all of those Zen-like Clevelanders). If you're interested in trying out a heated massage for yourself, there are plenty of massage studios and days spas in Cincinnati that specialize in these treatments. Some of our favorites include:  Enlighten Day Spa (814 Plum St.): Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, Enlighten Day Spa also maintains a suburban outpost in Fairfield; both offer hot-stone and bamboo massages lasting up to 90 minutes.  Satori Holistic Massage (3235 Madison Rd.): Licensed massage therapist Deborah Hunter blends aromatherapy oils with hot stones and towels during her Satori Signature Massage.  Intuitive Touch Massage (5400 Kennedy Ave.): CityVoter users chose Intuitive Touch as Cincinnati's best massage studio in 2014; celebrate the win with a hot-stone or hot-towel aromatherapy massage.
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