Hot Stone Massage

What is a Hot Stone Massage?

Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy and dates back to ancient times. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist  also holds the stones and uses them to massage certain areas of the body.

How Does Hot Stone Massage Work?

The hot stones are usually made of basalt, a type of rock that is rich in iron, so they retain heat. River rocks are normally used because they are so smooth – they have been smoothed over time by the river’s current.

The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric heating device until they are within a certain temperature range. The stones may be placed at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes.

The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired.

The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system.

Some massage therapists place stones on points that are thought to be energy centres of the body to rebalance the body and mind.

Why Do People Get Hot Stone Massage?

Many people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and get it for relaxation.

Hot stone massage is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It’s also suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure.

People also get hot stone massage for a variety of health conditions:

  • Back pain and aches
  • Poor circulation
  • Osteoarthritis and arthritis pain
  • Stress, anxiety and tension
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

How Do the Hot Stones Feel?

The hot stones are never rough. They are always flat and smooth. The hot stones used on the back are about the size of a large egg, only flat.

The stones are heated in an electrical heating unit that  has an adjustable thermostat control.

The massage therapist always holds the stones first before touching them to your body, which ensures that the temperature will not be too hot. Everyone, however, has their own comfort range. Be sure to speak up if the stones are too hot for you.

Cool marble stones are occasionally used during a treatment, particularly if there is inflammation.

What Can I Expect During my Hot Stone Massage?

You start off by lying on your back, with the stones strategically placed underneath to warm the muscle; your weight on the stones provides the correct pressure and this should not be uncomfortable, The massage therapist then massages the shoulders and neck (and facial muscles if necessary), before then asking you to turn over.  Oil is applied to the body, which allows the hot stones to glide smoothly along the muscles. You are lying face down, and the hot stones are then used to massage the back.

After the hot stones have relaxed the muscles, the massage therapist puts down the stones and uses their hands to directly massage the skin.

The hot stones are then placed back on to the body and left for a short period of time.

The massage therapist may place small hot stones between your toes or in the palm of your hand and repeats the sequence.

A typical hot stone massage is 60 minutes long

Precautions

Massage is not recommended for certain people:

  • People with infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds
  • Immediately after surgery
  • Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
  • People prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage
  • Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage.

Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.

Additional Hot Stone Massage Tips

  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before the massage
  • Arrive 5 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to rest and relax before starting the massage.