What happens during a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy. It’s used to help you relax and ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues throughout your body. During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat. According to the University of New Hampshire Health Services, hot massage stones are heated to between 130 and 145 degrees.
The stones may be placed:
- along your spine
- on your stomach
- on your chest
- on your face
- on your palms
- on your feet and toes
Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using Swedish massage techniques such as:
- long strokes
- circular movements
Sometimes, cold stones are also used during a hot stone massage. Cold stones may be used after hot stones to calm any engorged blood vessels and to soothe the skin.
6 benefits of hot stone massage
All massages generally fall under the alternative medicine umbrella. They’re becoming a popular complementary therapy for many conditions. See #13 for some advantages of getting a hot stone massage.
Who may benefit from a hot stone massage?
Anyone who is experiencing muscle tension and pain, insomnia, or stress may benefit from a hot stone massage. If you have a chronic condition that causes pain, talk to your doctor to see if a hot stone massage is a good option for you.
Risks and warnings
When performed by a trained therapist, a hot stone massage is generally safe. There are some circumstances where it should be avoided. Consult your doctor before getting a massage if you have: a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners burns on your skin, open wounds, a history of blood clots, had surgery in the last 6 weeks, a fracture or severe osteoporosis, a low platelet count, diabetes. A prenatal massage may help relieve stress and ease uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Still, most massage therapists won’t use hot stones on pregnant women. If you’re pregnant, you should only get a massage with your doctor’s approval, and under the hands of a trained prenatal massage therapist. This massage will be of a duration of 25 minutes.