Hot Stone Massage for Relieving Muscle Tension & Pain

How the Hot Stone Massage Relieve Muscle Tension and Pain

The Hot Stone Massage Miami started way back 2,000 years ago when Chinese used heated stones to improve their internal organs’ functioning. Stones were also used for healing work in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Egypt and India. These kind of healing traditions included laying stones in patterns on the body, carrying or wearing stones for health and protection, using stones for the diagnosis, and treatment of disease, and for ceremonial uses, such as sweat lodges and medicine wheels.

The healing practices of curanderas which is called “healers” in Spanish and other female caregivers often included dealing with disease as well as pregnancy and childbirth. The healers used heated stones to reduce the pain and discomfort emerged out of menstruation. They would also use the cold stones to slow bleeding after labor.

According to some sources, women believed that simply holding stones during labor added to their strength and endurance. Ancient Greek and Roman cultures have a long recorded history of many forms of massage and bodywork. The Roman Empire, which dates from 27 B.C. to 476 A.D., is noted for its creation of the Roman baths. This ancient tradition is still alive today in the form of modern hydrotherapy practices. The Romans also used stones in saunas and combined the effects of hot immersion baths with the cooling effects of marble stone and cold pools.

LaStone therapy helped the use of heated stones in massage in taking a rebirth. This therapy was created by Mary Nelson, in 1993. Stone massage has blossomed since then into a multimillion-dollar industry.

Stone massage is one of the most relaxing forms of massage a person can receive and has traveled quickly around the globe due to its popularity.

The full-body, hot-stone massage has evolved to include deep tissue-specific work, hot-stone facials, hot-stone pedicures and manicures, and hot-stone meridian therapy. Stones are also used in reiki, polarity therapy and cranial sacral work.

There are many therapists who use their own variation of stone massage.Two important safety factors, however, apply to all uses of hot stones in massage therapy:

  • Never place a hot stone on bare skin without moving it.

  • Always use a barrier, such as a specific textile product designed for stone placement, or at least a sheet or towel to protect the skin.

This massage modality growing in popularity also led to the birth of stone-supply companies, such as Desert Stone People, TH. Stone, RubRocks and Nature’s Stones Inc.

Hot Stone Massage is a alternative medicine technique that involves the use of hot and/or cold stones applied to specific points on the body. It is believed that this technique is good for releasing muscle knots, relaxing the body, improving circulation, and leaving you de-stressed and refreshed.

In a authentic full-session Stone Massage or Stone Therapy, some stones are placed along the spine, along the chakra centers, on the extremities, as well as on the face, the feet, and the hands. The stones are used as tools to deliver effective tissue and muscle massage at a specific pressure level. Hot stone therapy is a kind of Swedish massage in which a smooth, and flat basalt stones are heated and positioned on the spine, in the palms, legs, and between the toes. Basalt stones are rich in iron that has the capability to retain the heat. That is why this kind of stones are used for the massage. Cold marble stones are used to detox and heal the body from an external injury. Hot stone therapy is helpful for the people who suffer from stress, back pain, muscular pain, fibromyalgia, insomnia, depression or anxiety, and poor circulation. Some of the different types of Stone Massage or Stone Therapy sessions include LaStone, EarthStone, SpaStone, and others. Hot stone massage also goes with neck and shoulder massage, deep tissue massage, and sports massage.

Process to use Hot Stone Therapy

The basalt stone is heated in water until they are within the precise temperature. The temperature has to range between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. A Swedish massage technique is used to begin the hot stone massage. In this, your muscles are prepared for such kind of therapy.

After the stone is heated within the required temperatures, the stones are placed on the accu pressures points on your body. The warmth of the stones will help you in relaxing your muscles and allow deeper pressures to be applied during the massage. Your therapist will then use oil and massage your neck, back, arms and legs using a combination of techniques.

If you are planning to go for a hot stone massage therapy then you should be very careful, especially if it is your first time. Your therapist will ask you to fill in a health questionnaire before the treatment. Arrive early and relax a bit before the treatment. Avoid eating heavy food or consuming alcohol before the treatment.

This kind of treatment is not recommended for the people who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, fresh wounds, inflamed skin, tumors, metal implants, recent chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Pregnant women should let their therapist know about their pregnancy. In case, you have a serious medical condition you need to provide the spa with a letter from your doctor or practitioner.

Hot Stone Massage Technique
The hot stone massage technique involves the following:

Step 1: During a hot stone massage, your massage therapist will typically submerge and heat the stones in water, ranging from 110-150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: To begin the massage, you will be on your stomach and a traditional Swedish massage will be given for a brief period, perhaps 5-10 minutes.

Step 3: AFter this, the therapist will remove the heated stones from the water and begin massaging them into your skin, using bigger stones for larger muscle groups, and smaller stones for more difficult areas of the back and body.

Step 4: As the stones cool, the therapist may either set the stones aside or place them in precise places on your spine, back, belly, hands, or toes to encourage circulation and greater relaxation within the body.

Step 5: This may be the end for some hot stone massages, while others will involve the slow removal of the stones, accompanied by a more traditional massage on the loosened and relaxed muscles.


Hot Stone therapy for the face

You can also do a hot stone therapy for your face. Placing hot stones on your face will only melt away tension and fatigue, not your skin. Warm, smooth stones are used to gently massage the face and neck, as circulation is stimulated and toxins are eliminated. It also helps in firming, toning and excess fluid removal from your skin.

The Treatment

According to Hazel Millar and Roseann Pikelin in “Hot Stone Esthetics: An Esthetician’s Guide to Integrating Hot Stone Therapy with Manicures, Pedicure and Facial Treatments,” when properly used, the heated stones feel like hot fingers massaging your face. They outline the steps of the treatment as follows:

Small hematite stones are heated in water to 93.2 degrees F. Hematite is a very dense stone high in iron. These stones are able to retain their heat, even when small, and fit well on the face because of their composition and structure. The 30-minute treatment begins with an application of essential oil on your face, and then four small stones are placed so that one is under your lips, one is on each of your cheeks and another is on your forehead. As the stones begin to cool, they’ll be placed around the collarbone, and more hot stones will be placed in key points along your face. After the stones are removed, a finishing cream is applied, leaving your skin feeling hydrated and glowing.


Hot stone treatments are ideal for people who feel cold daily and have problems with blood circulation. According to Millar and Pikelin, massaging the point between your eyes helps shift stagnant energy and clear headaches. The massage therapy beneath the eyes will diminish puffiness of the eyes and tension lines, and light pressure on the cheeks and nasal cavities will help clear sinus congestion.


These massages are not optimal for all clients. A number of people have allergies to lavender, which is sometimes used in hot stone facials. Try to avoid treatment if you have sunburn or a rash. The heat will only add irritation.

If you are diabetic or susceptible to blood clots, or have a heart condition, seek the advice of your general practitioner before receiving hot stone therapy.

If undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, consult your doctor prior to receiving treatment.

Benefits of Hot Stone Therapy

Relaxation: The heated stones help in relaxing muscles, especially your deep tissues. Rigid and stiff muscles often cause hindrances in the massage process. So, if your muscles are extremely tight, the heated stones will have to put on the extra effort to relax your tissues. It is very much helpful in releasing tension and easing sore muscles.

Relief from pain: Hot Stone Massage therapy is something that helps massage therapist to penetrate deeper and make you feel physically better than any other massage therapy. Though all the massage therapies help in the relaxation process but this is the reason why hot stone massage is a way better. The only thing you need to do is to let your therapist know about the heat you feel from the stones that if it is too much or the pressure the therapist is using is harsh or not.

Improves blood circulation: This massage therapy targets your trigger points of the body and rest the heated stones on the key parts of your muscles. As the heat from the stones penetrates into your body tissues, your blood vessels open which eventually improves the blood circulation. The proper and increased blood circulation can deliver more oxygen to the muscles as compared to the poor one.

Mental benefits: Massage therapy can also provide mental benefits to the people. The relaxation that a heated stone delivers provides a lot of mental relief to the people which release stress and tensions. It also helps to fight depression to a large extent.

Lower the risk of cancer: Cancer is a kind of ailment which is haunting everyone’s today. Most of the people in the world are dying because of cancer. But, the hot stone massage has a cure to this. Hot stone massage helps to cure the cancer from the body and makes a person healthy.

Stress and Anxiety

If you suffer from chronically high levels of stress hormones, the soothing benefits of hot stone massages can balance the metabolism and calm the mind, helping to shed your stress and worry.


Many people struggle to find restful sleep because of tension and discomfort. A massage can leave your muscles relaxed and your mind clear, leading to undisturbed and rejuvenating your sleep at night.

Autoimmune Diseases

There are some chronic diseases that can be remedied with regular hot stone massages, especially those linked to the nervous and muscular system, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.


The hot stone massage also helps in improving the immune system health by decreasing the arginine-vasopressin levels, which is a blood pressure and water retention regulating hormone in the body.

Hot Stone Massage in the present era

Today is a mechanical era where people work on machines. The physical exercises had reduced and this has given birth to a lot of problems. Hot stone massage has a role to play here. This reduces the tensions of the muscles and helps to ease the tensions.

Routine massage therapy is essential for keeping the muscles relaxed and healthy when you’re just an average person. But, when you’re a professional UFC fighter, weekly massages are essential for you to consistently train hard and successfully compete at an elite level. According to Bradley Rivero, “Massage keeps the muscles loose and limber, which is what you need to compete professionally.” He further explains that during intense training, lactic acid builds up in your muscles, causing them to tighten. Massage helps squeeze out all of the lactic acid so your muscles don’t get locked up, tight and sore.

Hence, be it be UFC fighter or any other physical activity where you make your body work with an intense pressure, hot stone massage is the thing for you.


Hot Stone massage is useful for the body in both the situations whether you are sitting still or you are moving your body with an intense pressure because both of these situations disbalances the natural working structure of the muscles. Sitting for longer hours brings a lot of problems in your spine which needs massage and too much physical activity drains the potency of your muscles and the muscles needs to be eased in such situation. But, before you use hot stone massage, you should also keep in mind the side effects of it. Like it causes a loss of water in the body. Since it instills a lot of heat in the body. This heat and pressure induce sweating, which may result in dizziness. Therefore, it is highly recommended for drinks fluids before and after the massage. When your massage is over, be sure to avoid sudden or quick movements. Moreover, some medications attached to this therapy such as thyroid hormones and amphetamines may cause unfavorable reactions. These medications also make you intolerant to heat. It is not necessary that this type of massage therapy is suitable for your skin type. The massage stone may be heated too long which can be unsuitable for some types of skin. Inform your therapist if you feel any kind of irritation on your skin.

It may also cause nausea or a headache, fatigue or tiredness due to the elimination of toxins, frequent toilet visits to remove waste and impurities, flared medical conditions, skin spots as a result of dispensed toxins, and perspiration. You can always stay away from such side effects if you take such massages from a renowned and reputed massage spas.