What Happens During a Hot Stone Massage?

A hot stone massage is a kind of massage therapy that eases damaged soft tissues and tense muscles in your body and helps you relax.

The masseuse will place smooth, heated stones on specific body parts in a hot stone massage. The stones are basalt stones. Basalt is a kind of volcanic rock with excellent heat-retaining properties. According to the University of New Hampshire Health Services, these stones must be heated to a minimum of 130 degrees and a maximum temperature of 145 degrees.

By Anna Mikkelgaard | Pixabay

The hot massage stones may be placed on different parts of the body, including:

  • On your chest
  • Along your spine
  • On your toes and feet
  • On your palms
  • On the face
  • On your stomach

The massage therapist will hold the heated stones while massaging your body with Swedish massage techniques, like:

  • Vibration
  • Circular movements
  • Long strokes
  • Tapping
  • Kneading

Cold stones may sometimes be used during a hot massage. The cold stones are used after the hot stones to soothe the skin and calm blood vessels that may have been engorged.

Are there any benefits to doing a hot stone massage?

A massage is a form of alternative medicine. Massages are widely used for many conditions. Getting a hot stone massage is not without its benefits, which include:

1. Relieve tension and pain in the muscle

Heat has always been used to ease muscle pain and tension. It improves the flow of blood to the affected area. Hot stone massage may also reduce muscle spasms and enhance the range of motion and flexibility. On the other hand, cold therapy relieves inflammation. Depending on the symptoms you experience, alternating cold and hot stones during your massage may be beneficial.

2. Reduces anxiety and stress

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage is vital for stress relief. This is supported by research. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that a massage for just ten minutes improved stroke volume and other cardiovascular responses. In addition, a study by Gwen Jones of Fairleigh Dickinson University found that a 15-minute onsite chair massage session significantly reduced work stress compared to a 15-minute break without a massage.

randomized controlled trial published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found that patients who had a colorectal surgery experienced less tension, anxiety and pain after a post-operative massage.

3. Promotes sleep

literature review found that massage may be a better alternative to sleeping pills. According to the study, back massage helped promote sleep and relaxation. A study published in the journal Early Child Development and Care showed that infants with insomnia slept faster after a 15-minute massage. They were also more active, alert, and positive after waking.

Massage is believed to promote restorative sleep. However, the reason isn’t fully understood.

4. Hot stone massage may ease symptoms of autoimmune diseases

Hot stone massage relieves fibromyalgia and other painful conditions. Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain. A 2002 study found that a 30-minute massage improved sleep reduced the number of trigger points, and decreased the levels of substance P in people with fibromyalgia compared to people with the same condition who did relaxation therapy. However, the result is not conclusive, so there is a need for more studies before recommending massage as a standard treatment for fibromyalgia.

Another study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found that a moderate-pressure massage may benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis. Subjects involved in the study experienced greater grip strength, less pain, and an enhanced range of motion after a month of massage therapy.

5. Hot stone massage may decrease cancer symptoms

study documented in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management x-rayed the effect of massage on fatigue, pain, anxiety, stress, depression, and nausea in 1,290 cancer patients. According to the results, Swedish massage improved cancer symptoms even in people with substantial symptoms.

Who is eligible for a hot stone massage?

Anyone experiencing insomnia, muscle pain, muscle tension, or stress may benefit immensely from a hot stone massage. In addition, if you have any health condition that causes pain, consult your healthcare provider to see if a hot stone massage can help.

Foundation Chiropractic utilizes Upper Cervical Chiropractic care to fix the primary cause of various secondary conditions (symptoms). You can call our office at 813–578–5889 to schedule a complimentary consultation.


Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Corrections to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

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