How does Hot Stone Massage Work?

Are you thinking about getting a hot stone massage, or does the thought leave you cold…

It has been practiced for many years and has gained a lot of popularity over the last few decades.

It’s fast becoming one of the most popular types of massage therapy.

Key Facts:

  • Hot Stone Massage: In a hot stone massage, heated stones, typically basalt, are placed on specific points on the body or used as massage tools, transmitting soothing heat to the muscles.
  • Heat Penetration: The heat from the stones helps to relax muscles, allowing the therapist to apply deeper pressure if needed. This heat penetration can enhance the effectiveness of the massage treatment.
  • Placement and Application: Stones are often placed along the spine, in the palms of the hands, on the legs, or between the toes. Alternatively, the therapist may use the stones as tools for deeper massage.
  • Benefits: This type of massage is known to relieve muscle tension and pain, reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, and may help relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
  • Duration and Preparation: A typical hot stone massage lasts about 90 minutes. It’s essential to communicate with the therapist about the heat level for comfort and safety.

In this post we’ll take a look at what is and how it works, so you can decide for yourself 🙂

Hot Stone Massage
How does hot stone massage work?

What Is a Hot Stone Massage?

It’s a type of massage therapy where hot stones are placed on the body.

Sounds a bit scary doesn’t it?

The heat from the stones helps to relieve muscle tension, stress and anxiety.

It also helps to improve circulation and increase blood flow to the muscles. The massage therapist will use different massage techniques with the heated stones to provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

It’s actually an ancient form of massage, that was originally used to treat illnesses.

It originated in China more than 2000 years ago. During this time period, practitioners of Chinese medicine believed that the body is an energy field, and that by manipulating this energy field, people could be healed.

Since then, it has evolved into a system that uses heating stones in order to release deep-seated tensions.

Today, it is a popular treatment for improving muscle soreness and relaxing stiff muscles. It’s a form of “relaxation” therapy. Many people use it for pain relief and relaxation, unlike deep tissue massage, which is more focused on sore muscles.

A lot of people don’t realize there are two main types of hot stone massage:

One type is done by the therapist,

and the other type is done by the client themself.

Many people think it’s a great way to relax the body and mind, saying it’s a wonderful way to rejuvenate the body as people report that it’s relaxing and soothing to the nerves, muscles, and skin.

What is the difference between Hot and Cold Stone Massage?

There are two main types of stone massage: hot and cold.

Hot massage uses heat to relax the muscles and improve circulation.

Cold massage uses cold to reduce inflammation and swelling.

The first thing that you will notice about the hot stone version, is the warmth of the stones, it may take a little while to get used to! The stones are heated to between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which helps to loosen tight muscles and reduce tension in the body.

They are placed on various parts of the body, depending on which area you want to relax.

The cold stone massage uses cold water, or ice, instead of heated stones.

This type of massage is usually used to treat various health conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, neck pain, lower back pain, headaches, sciatica, and rheumatism.

It also relieves muscle spasms, and reduces stress and anxiety.

What happens during a hot stone massage?

The therapist will place the stones on specific parts of your body, such as your back, stomach, or legs. The heat from the stones will help to relax your muscles and relieve any tension or pain you may be feeling.

The heat from the stones will help to relax your muscles and relieve any tension or pain you may be feeling. 

You may also be asked to lie face-up so the stones can target your stomach or legs.

Your body will be covered in a thin layer of oil, and the therapist will rub the oils into your skin. The heat from the stones will help to soften the oils so they’re easier to rub into your skin.

As your therapist moves the stones over your body, they’ll also work to warm up your muscles.

Afterward, your therapist will help you remove the stones, and you’ll get to sit up, stretch, and move around as needed.

Types of Stones Used in Hot Stone Massages

The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that is known for its heat retention properties.

However several different types of stones can be used. Although the most common type of stone used is basalt, which is a black volcanic rock, other stones that can be used include granite, marble, and quartz.

And you can even buy stone packs to use yourself at home!

The Benefits of a Hot Stone Massage

The main benefit of heat is that it can relax muscles and increase blood flow. 

This can help to reduce muscle tension and relaxation. The stone massage can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

It’s believed that heat can increase the body’s natural endorphins.

The heat from the stones can also be soothing to the skin as the stones can stimulate circulation.

Aside from being relaxing, which is reason enough to have one, many people find it beneficial for relieving pain and soreness.

It can also be useful for increasing circulation and can improve range of motion in sore joints or tight sore muscles.

Because of this, some people find it useful for treating conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and back pain.

Some people even use it to ease childbirth!

How can you prepare for your Hot Stone Massage treatment?

First off, you should drink plenty of water and avoid eating a large meal beforehand. This is because heat can cause food to break down, making digestion more difficult.

You’ll want to wear comfortable clothing and avoid wearing any jewelry or clothing that might get caught in the stones or in your skin. If you’re sensitive to heat, you may want to consider wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants, although this will mean that you can use massage oil.

If you’re having the treatment in the comfort of your own home, you may want to leave the lights off to minimize the light coming through the windows and blinds. This will help you relax and focus on the sensation of the massage.

Can you do stone massage yourself?

Yes, you can do stone massage yourself. All you need is a flat surface, some massage oil, and a set of smooth stones. You can find these stones at most health food stores.

Get a set of stones – they should be smooth on the bottom, flat on the top, and about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.

You don’t want a rough surface because it will hurt you when you rub against it, and you don’t want too smooth of a surface because it won’t move easily across your skin.

You will also need an inflatable pillow or bean bag.

This is a nice way to support your head while you’re lying face up. You can also find inflatable pillows at any yoga studio or sporting goods store.

The best way to position yourself on the table is to put your head and shoulders down on the pillow or bean bag and lay your knees and feet flat on the surface. You’ll be lying on your stomach on the table.

Now it’s time to heat up your stones.

A trick I learned from a masseuse is to put them directly on the top of a gas burner on a stove, under the faucet, or in the oven. You can place them directly over the flame if you have a gas stove. But if you’re doing it like this – be REALLY careful not to burn yourself!

 You can also warm up the stones by placing them in a bowl of warm water. The stones are typically used with massage oil or lotion.

Once they’re hot, it’s time to rub the stones over the back of your neck and upper shoulders. You want to avoid rubbing them directly on the face because you may get burned.

Start by lightly rubbing the stones together.

Next, place a stone on your stomach, then move your body over the stone to stimulate your muscles.

And there you go – you should very quickly get a feel for what you like, and what’s helping you.

Summing up

We hope you found this post useful, and helped you decide if you’d like to try out hot stone massage for yourself 🙂