What is Hot Stone Massage?

Hot stone massage therapy is a type of massage that promotes a feeling of deep relaxation and wellbeing using both hot and cold stones along with various massage techniques. The hot stones used are usually volcanic rocks like basalt, while the cold stones are sedimentary stones like marble. The stones are heated or chilled in various temperatures and may come in all shapes and sizes. Once the client's preferred stones have been placed around and on their body, a soothing massage ensues.

What is stone therapy massage?

How Does Hot Stone Massage Work?

Stone massage therapy uses hot and chilled stones as the combination of alternating temperatures is deemed to be very beneficial. The heated stones are placed on acupressure points along the spine, on the palms, on the feet and between the toes, or on the stomach, to allow the heat to relax the muscles and prepare the body for a much deeper massage experience. Also, they can be placed on the body's energy points called chakras to help create both physical and mental balance on the body's energy level.

Cold stones, however, are used to restore the body to a state of harmony by reducing and/ or treating inflammation, by removing blood from swollen areas, and by rebalancing the male and female energies in the body. In addition, they are used for detoxification. Using heated and cold stones altogether can help improve the functioning of the circulatory system and aid the body with its self-healing processes.

What are the Benefits of Hot Stone Massage?

As it supports the body's natural ability to heal itself, stone therapy massage improves lymph and blood circulation, increases cellular activity and balances the energies in the body. All of these contribute to the enhancement of bodily functions. A session can help with a range of conditions affecting the mind, body and emotions such as the following:

  • Inflammation
  • Muscle injuries
  • Back and neck pain
  • Joint pain
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and other sleep issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Pain and other side effects of surgery 

What Can You Expect From Hot Stone Massage?

A stone therapy massage session usually lasts from 60 minutes to an hour and a half. Before it commences, the therapist will ask the client how they are feeling and what issues they want to address. The specific points at which the therapist places the hot and cold stones will vary according to the client's health problem. These may be positioned on the client's forehead, along their spine, on their palms, on their abdomen, or on their legs and feet. 

It should be noted that it's not unusual for the body temperature, heart rate and breathing rate to rise and fall throughout the therapy session. This is not harmful and is simply the result of the rapid exchange of oxygen and blood in the body. Once the temperature of the stones has penetrated deeply into the muscles of the body, the therapist starts applying massage oil on the client's skin and then gently rubs the stones against their muscles while performing different massage strokes.     

Additionally, aromatherapy and other relaxing tools can be used to further the goal in bringing out deep relaxation, removing negativity and making the client feel an overall sense of wellbeing.

Before going to a stone therapy massage, clients are advised to drink plenty of water and avoid eating a heavy meal. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. As it's a full body massage, the client usually disrobes or dresses down to their undergarments so that the therapist can access their problem areas. Once the client has undressed, the therapist makes sure that they are properly covered with a blanket throughout the session, with only the parts that need to be treated exposed.

People with muscle injuries will benefit from a weekly stone therapy massage, while healthy people who want to relax and reduce their stress levels can receive this soothing therapy once a month.