What is a hot stone massage and what are its benefits?

Massage is a practice of kneading and rubbing the regions of the body using the hands. A trained massage therapist will apply a gentle or firm pressure to the muscles and joints of the body to soothe tension and pain. Massage has various types of it, and one is the hot stone massage. This type of massage applies the techniques of a regular massage. However, the therapist works with hot stones that are made up of a volcanic rock type called “basalt” that retains heat. These stones are smooth and flat and usually heated between 130 and 145 degrees.  

The basalt stones used for the massage are placed in hot water to warm up before being applied to the parts of the body. They are then placed in specific body areas, such as the back, stomach, face, feet, spine, chest and palms. 

Some therapists hold the stones with bare hands as they massage your body with long strokes, circular or linear motions, vibration, tapping and kneading. This allows them to get deeper into the joints and muscles without more force or pressure, helping clients to relax further. Sometimes, cold stones are applied onto the face after the hot stones massage to calm the swollen blood vessels and soothe hot skin.

In addition to relaxation, a Hot Stone massage has many advantages and benefits, such as the following:

Relieves muscle tension and pain 

Heat helps to increase the blood flow of the body and eases muscle pain and tension. It increases flexibility and range of motion. Depending on your signs and symptoms, alternating hot and cold stones during the massage may be helpful. Cold therapy relieves inflammation.

Better sleep 

Massage is seen as a possible alternative to sleeping pills for individuals with insomnia, as back massage helps promote relaxation and sleep. A hot stone massage is thought to help you have a more comfortable and restorative sleep.

hot stone massage heat heating

Helps relieve symptoms 

A hot stone massage may relieve painful conditions such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. People with fibromyalgia who received a 30-minute hot stone massage slept longer and had fewer trigger points. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from a moderate-pressure massage like the hot stone massage, and had experienced less pain, greater range of motion and better grip after a month of therapy.  

Decreased muscle tension 

Muscles that are tensed can cause a lot of pain and intervene with daily life routines. Hot stone massage reduces inflammations and tension in the skeletal muscle and joints in the body. This massage also promotes the relaxation of muscles and joints to soothe pain and muscle tension.  

Regardless of the many advantages and benefits of hot stone massage, it is not an appropriate therapy and massage for everyone. Some individuals are advised to consult doctors before getting this specific type of massage, and the contraindications or factors are listed below.

  • Burns or wounds on your skin. People with injuries or skin breaks should avoid getting a hot stone massage. This may increase the risk of additional tissue damage and infection via bacteria from the stones or massage oils.
  • Illness. Individuals with fever, common cold or flu should wait until they feel better before getting a hot stone massage. Someone with a fever would have difficulty regulating their body temperature, which may cause discomfort when hot stones are placed onto their skin. On the other hand, heart disease could cause swelling in the veins or arteries, which can be affected negatively by a hot stone massage. Therefore, people with such conditions are encouraged to consult doctors before getting this type of massage.
  • Diabetes. Some people with diabetes might be unable to feel sensations in their hands and feet. This may cause them not to recognize injury, such as burns, if it occurs.
  • Pregnancy. A prenatal massage may help pregnant women to relax and relieve the stress of uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. However, some therapists decline to use hot stones on pregnant women unless with the doctor’s approval.


The hot stone massage is helpful for various conditions under different circumstances. It promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety and stress, eases muscle pain and helps individuals sleep better. This massage caters not just for people who only want to unwind and relax, but it also supports individuals with health conditions and injuries to feel lesser pain and improve their symptoms. Hot stone massage helps people to perform their daily routines without discomfort and interventions of muscle pain and tension.