What is Hot Stone Massage Therapy?

Heated stones can help relax muscles during a massage

Are you someone who likes to get a massage? Have you ever tried hot stone massage therapy? In this type of massage, the therapist uses smooth heated stones and places them along specific points of the body. The heat from the stones helps to relax the muscles, improve circulation, and calm the mind. Sometimes the stones are simply placed on the skin, and other times, the therapist may use the stone to massage the muscles directly.

Before your massage, the stones are heated in a professional massage stone heater that uses hot water to heat the stones. Therapists are trained to test the temperature of the stones before placing them on the your body. (But you should tell your therapist if you feel the stones are too hot, and the therapist will remove them immediately.) The stones are usually made of basalt rock—a smooth rock that retains heat very well. The rocks are flat, and oval or circular in shape.

Why do people get hot stone massages? People choose the hot stone massage to help with conditions such as back pain, neck pain, tension, arthritis, anxiety, depression, and poor circulation. Often times people choose to combine the hot stone massage with a full body massage. Some clients find that with the hot stones relaxing the muscles, the therapist is able to massage the muscles more deeply during the full body massage.

Hot stone massages are available at many spas and clinics throughout the country. If you are interested in this type of massage, you will want to be sure that your therapist is specifically trained in hot stone massage.

As with other types of massages, it is important to check with your doctor to be sure that hot stone therapy is safe for you. The massage therapist should also take a full health history before beginning your massage. There are certain health conditions that can make this type of massage unsafe, such as pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, skin conditions, cancer, autoimmune disorders, or blood disorders. This is not an exhaustive list of health conditions that preclude this massage, so be sure to check with your doctor.

The Harris School provides career training in massage therapy, as well as programs in other allied health fields, including medical assistant training, dental assistant training, and medical billing and coding training. For more information, visit the Harris home page.