Whether you have had massages before or not, a hot stone massage is an experience you will surely enjoy.
A hot stone massage is a very different experience to a traditional massage. Yet it follows much the same principles and offers some exceptional relaxation and healing benefits.
Smooth, warm, flat stones are placed on certain key points on the body. The massage therapist may also hold the stones in their hands as they massage them into certain parts of the body too.
The practice of using hot stones actually dates back far into ancient times. But it’s been a more recent surge in activity that has popularised the technique.
There are several different variations now. All using different stones in different ways. But essentially it’s all similar to the original roots and techniques.
What Are the Stones Used in Hot Stone Massages?
They are not ordinary stones. The hot stones are typically made from basalt. Basalt is a type of rock that is very rich in iron, so they are able to retain heat longer.
River rocks make good smooth texture rocks. They are smoothed off by the current flowing over them over a long period.
Before being used, the stones are taken and put through a process involving an electric heater. This raises them to a specific temperature to be used.
They are then placed at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, and sometimes between the toes. It all depends on the kind of treatment specific to the client’s needs.
The muscles are relaxed by the heat from the stones. Allowing the therapist to dig deeper with pressure and achieve a more thorough massage by penetrating into the soft tissues.
Some techniques also involve placing the stones in places on the body that are believed to be centres of energy. Allowing the body’s natural energy balance to be restored.
Benefits of Having a Hot Stone Massage
There are often debates between the different types of massage and their benefits. Regular massages, Swedish massages, and hot stone massages are three of the most popular.
A lot of the decision comes down to a person’s personal preference. The hot stones really offer a different experience. Both in the execution of the treatment, and the healing effects.
Hot stone massages are typically best suited to people who feel the cold easily. Or those who suffer from tight muscle tension.
The heat relaxes the muscles before the therapist even put their hands on. Allowing more pressure to be applied with greater ease.
Some of the health benefits of a hot stone massage include:
- Addressing back pains.
- Helping with poor circulation.
- Soothing the effects of arthritis.
- Relieving stress and associated symptoms.
- Helping with depression.
- Helping with insomnia.
- Stimulating the release of toxins.
What Does a Hot Stone Massage Feel Like?
This is a common question from people who have never had a hot stone massage. Or those who a have a little trepidation.
The stones are always extremely flat and smooth to the touch. They range in size, with the stones used on the back being at least the size of a large egg.
The stones are warmed up in an electric heater before being used. This is a quick process and ensures they are heated to a regulated temperature.
The massage therapist will hold the stone in their hands first to check the heat. So you needn’t worry about being burned, or harmed in any way.
However, everyone has their own tolerances when it comes to heat, and indeed the pressure of a massage. So you should always speak up if you are not comfortable with something.
What Should I Expect from a Hot Stone Massage?
You will first have massage oil applied to your body. This allows the hot stones to move smoothly over the muscles.
You will be lying face down. The therapist will be using stones in their hands to work your back and legs.
After the stones have been used, the therapist will use their hands in a typical massage manner. Working the trouble areas, or all over.
The hot stones will then be placed at specific areas and left to sit for a short duration.
The whole process from start to finish will generally take around an hour. Usually a little longer.
Contraindications – Situations When a Hot Stone Massage Is Not Advised
- If you suffer from any existing skin conditions.
- People with any open sores or wounds on their bodies.
- People who suffer from blood clots or similar conditions.
- Pregnant women should always seek clearance from their doctors before receiving treatment.
- People with arthritis should not have hot stone treatments, as the heat can flare up their condition.
If you are considering a hot stone treatment for the first time you should always consult with your doctor first to be safe.
Tips: Before Receiving a Hot Stone Massage
- Don’t have a heavy meal before having a massage.
- Arrive in good time to allow the therapist to prep.
- If you are unsure about anything to do with the process ask questions beforehand.
Have you had a hot stone massage?
I’d love to hear how your experience went, feel free to share with everyone in the comments below!
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.