Hot Stone Therapy

Woman receiving hot stone therapy, mid section, close up
Joao Canziani

Hot stone therapy is most often used to complement a typical body massage session. But there is the option of having a stone therapy session that does not involve massage.

Hot Stone Massages Are Not All Created Equal

You only need to visit YouTube and view a handful of hot stone massage videos to discover that there is not a singular way a hot stone massage is conducted. Hot stone massage is a specialized technique that has many different variations.

The massage therapist who offers a hot stone massage may or may not actually place heated stones on your body to remain for a period of time like many photos indicate. 

Muscles are sometimes pretreated with the heated stone placements to allow the massage therapist to more easily perform deep tissue manipulations. Other times, the heated stones are only used as a tool, rather an extension of the massage therapist's hands. Heated stones are especially helpful tools for a therapist trained in giving a Swedish massage or reflexology

Cooled stones could possibly be used alternately with hot stones.

Ask the therapist prior to booking a session what to expect from their hot stone massage to assure you will not be disappointed. During the session, if you are feeling as if the pressure of the stone manipulation is too light or heavy be sure to speak up and ask for an adjustment. Same goes for the stones feeling too hot or too cold.

No Massage, Only Stone Placement

Hot stone therapy involves water-treated stones placed at key points on the client's body. Heated stones are sometimes placed on the body for a period of time (20-30 minutes) without a massage to accompany the treatment. In this case, the stone treatment is solely to promote relaxation and to help open up the meridians (energy pathways). Prior to stone placement, the therapist will first prepare/warm the recipient's body with a light sweeping hand application using oils such as coconut, olive, or lavender essential oil.

Types of Stones Used

Stones selected for hot stone therapy, no matter the composition, will have a smooth surface. A variety of sizes are used. Typically round or oblong in shape, massage stones will be flattened on both sides for easier placement on the body so that they are less likely to slide or roll off the body.

Basalt stones will retain heat for a longer period, but river stones and stones made of marble are also used for hot stone therapy.

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

  • Promotes deep muscle and tissue relaxation
  • Alleviates stress
  • Calms the psyche

Health Conditions It May Treat

  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Back pain
  • MS
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stress, anxiety
  • Circulatory problems
  • Insomnia
  • Depression