Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

What is Hot Stone Massage?

Hot Stone massage is a variety of the classic massage therapy with the adding of smooth, flat stones to the method. The stones are heated and then placed on specific points of the body. Some massage therapists use the stones to massage areas of the body.

Massage therapist, Mary Nelson brought this technique to modern day use with her technique called, LaStone Therapy. The method actually dates back to the ancient times until Nelson re-introduced it in her Arizona clinic. Native Americans used this technique to treat aching muscles and with Nelson’s trademarked style, therapists now can be trained and certified to perform her version of this massage therapy. It is a form of massage that takes a lot of skill on the part of the therapist and is now offered in many spas across the country. Some have adapted other names; Lava Stone massage, River Rock massage, Warm Stone massage and various others.

The stones

The stones used with a hot stone massage are usually made of basalt which is rich in iron making them more able to retain heat. The stones are taken from rivers as they are the smoothest with the water having run over them for so long.

hot stone massage apparatus

Before using them to apply a massage, the therapist will submerge them in water and heat them in an electric heater until they reach a specific temperature range between 120 and 150 degrees. Placement of the stones varies between specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand or in-between toes depending on the type of discomfort or massage requested by the client. Some therapists put the stones on areas that are considered to be energy points of the body to increase balance between body and mind.

When the heated stones are placed on the client they will relax the muscles and make a deeper pressure possible by the therapist. They will also improve circulation and calm the nervous system.

Massage techniques using the hot stones

The massage therapist needs training to apply the proper hot stone massage and there are some who will not perform it as they do not like working with the heated stones. When expecting to receive this type of massage, check with the spa to make sure they have a trained massage specialist on staff to handle request.

The massage will normally start face down with the therapist starting on the back. They will warm up the body with a traditional massage, then move on to massaging with the heated stones. As the stones cool down they are changed out for warm ones and the larger stones are used on big muscles, while smaller ones are used on the smaller muscles.
Once the stones have relaxed the muscles, the therapist sometimes puts them down and uses their hands to directly massage the skin and also to perform deeper massages for more severe sore muscle pain. Once the back area is addressed, the client turns over onto their back and the process is repeated.

The hot stone massage is suited to people who often feel chilled or who suffer from cold feet. The warmth of the stone is comforting and works great to relax clients. It is also great therapy for muscle tension as they boast wonderful relaxation qualities. A typical hot stone massage will last between 60 and 90 minutes.