Hot stone massage is a special massage technique that involves placing heated basalt stones at certain points on the body in order to open up the energy channels. This technique was introduced by Mary Hannigan in 1993 and she called it as "LaStone Therapy".

Many therapists have developed their own versions of this therapy which they implement in their spas. The hot basalt stones used in this technique are rich in iron, this helps in the absorption and retention of heat. The stones used are smooth and flat.

The Technique

Prior to the massage, you will be asked to remove all your clothes and lay down on your back. Oil will be applied on your body so that the stones can glide smoothly along the muscles. Then, you will be asked to lie face down.

The therapist will immerse the stones in water and heat them in an electrical heating unit up to a certain temperature. Once they are warm enough, he will check them to make sure that they are not too hot. He will then hold the warm stones in his hands and apply gentle strokes to massage your back. When the stones cool down, he will replace them with other heated ones.

When the therapist feels that your muscles are relaxed, he may set the stones aside and massage your body directly with his hands. He may then place the hot stones on certain points on the back and leave them there for some time.

You will then be asked to lie down on your back and small hot stones may be placed between your toes or on your palms. A typical session of this therapy lasts for about 60 to 90 minutes.

Its Purpose

This therapy is used to relax the muscles, improve blood circulation, and to calm the nervous system.
The placement of hot stones on energy centers re-balances the body and mind, and helps in healing diseases.

Its Benefits

This massage technique is deeply relaxing and has numerous benefits. This technique:
  • Reduces stress
  • Relieves pain
  • Creates sensation of comfort and warmth
  • Stimulates the circulatory system
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Calms nervous system
  • Restores balance
  • Promotes deep muscle relaxation
  • Releases toxins
Hot stone therapy can also be used for treating muscular pains, back pains, arthritis, osteoarthritis, insomnia, stress, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and depression.

Who should avoid Hot Stone Therapies?

This therapy should not be performed on people who have recently undergone a surgery or chemotherapy, who are prone to blood clotting, or those who have infectious skin diseases or rashes.

Additional Tips
  • Before going to any spa, confirm that the massage therapist is well trained. Small spas often have less trained therapist who apply too much pressure.
  • Don't have heavy meals before going in for a massage.
  • Don't forget to discuss your health problems (if any) with your massage therapist.
  • If you feel uncomfortable at any stage point during the therapy, let your therapist know. Also speak up if the stones are too warm, too cold, or if too much pressure is applied.