What You Need to Know About a Hot Stone Massage

Eastern Medicine

Hot stone massage might sound luxurious to some but scary to others. Hot stone massage isn’t a new technique, in fact it’s been around for thousands of years, but it is still a mysterious massage technique used by only a select group.

The History of Hot Stone Massage

            Hot stone massage was used by the Chinese in ancient times as a precursor to acupunture. The hot stones were placed strategically on the body according to the patients illness. Native Americans also used hot stone massage therapy to soothe aching and tired muscles. More recently, our culture was introduced to hot stone massage therapy by a woman named Mary Nelson. She opened her clinic in Tucson, Arizona and called it LaStone Therapy. Today there are many different hot stone massage therapy spas around the country with their own techniques.

How Hot Stone Massage Therapy is Done

            Hot stone massage therapists should be licensed and certified as this is not a massage you want done on you by someone that doesn’t know what they are doing. When done right, hot stone massage therapy can be an exquisite experience but when done the wrong way, it can be a painful experience. The best way to ensure you get a good hot stone massage therapist is to ask some questions. First, find out where they studied (or if they studied) and how long. Also, ask them if they enjoy doing hot stone massage therapy. If someone doesn’t really enjoy the process of handling the rocks, they probably won’t be very good at it.

Before you get to your spa appointment, the therapist will heat special smooth basalt volcanic rock in very hot sanitized water. When you arrive, you get warmed up with a Swedish massage first before the rocks are placed strategically on your back, along your spine, in your hands, and wherever the therapist decides is needed. The stones come in different sizes for different parts of your body.

If ever the heat or pressure is too much you can always ask the therapist to stop.

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

  • Releasing Muscle Tension- The heat from the stones can penetrate deep into the inner muscles tissue releasing much of the hard to reach tension. You can then have a traditional massage to work out the kinks.
  • Pain Relief- Again, because of the intense heat penetrating deep into your muscles, joints, and bones, often those who receive hot stone massage therapy feel a pain relief of any body area treated.
  • Stress Relief- When done right, a hot stone massage can be a great stress reliever and even alleviate anxiety and depression.
  • Blood Flow- At the beginning of the massage, the stones are placed on key parts of the body that will allow the heat to open up the blood vessels and improve circulation to all parts of the body. This increased blood flow is beneficial to the body in many different ways including muscle recovery, oxygen to the brain for mental clarity, and higher energy levels.


Written by Crystal Amelco