Five Benefits of Hot Stone Massage Therapy

Five benefits of hot stone massage therapy

Some people may turn to a hot stone massage to relax after a stressful or tense time.

A massage therapist uses different techniques to relax the long, skeletal muscles of the body. There are many movements that the therapist can use, such as long strokes, circular motions, tapping, and kneading.

In this article, we look at a type of massage called a hot stone massage. We see how hot stone massage therapy is carried out and the possible benefits and risks.

The stones used for a hot stone massage are placed in hot water to warm up before being applied. They are then placed onto specific areas of the body, such as:

  • the back
  • the stomach
  • the face
  • the hands
  • feetOccasionally, cold stones can be used on the face or after the hot stones have been applied. The cold temperature helps to calm swollen blood vessels and soothe hot skin. In addition to deep relaxation, there are many benefits to having a hot stone massage. They include:

    1. Pain relief

    Several studies, including on fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis, have linked moderate massage techniques with lessening pain, and improving range of motion.

    2. Stress relief

    Massage is an effective method for stress relief. Several studies have shown that massage reduces stress and anxiety and improves cardiovascular health.

    3. Increased joint flexibility

    People with certain joint disorders may benefit particularly from hot stone massage.

    4. Decreased muscle spasms and tension

    Muscles that are tense and in spasm can cause a lot of pain and interfere with daily life. Reducing the inflammation and tension in the skeletal muscles eases both muscle spasms and pain.

    5. Better sleep

    Many people do not sleep well. Factors such as stress, insomnia, and busy schedules mean they get much less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

    To get the best out of a hot stone massage, people need to be open with their massage therapist.


Despite the many benefits associated with hot stone massage, it is not an appropriate therapy for everyone.

There are some people who should not have a massage, and more specifically, a hot stone massage.

For hot stone massage, some of the contraindications, or factors that mean a person should not have a particular treatment, are listed below.

Breaks in the skin

Anyone with injuries or breaks in the skin should avoid a hot stone massage until those injuries have healed.

Recent or severe bruising, cuts or scrapes, sunburn or varicose veins increase the risk for further tissue damage or injury. They also raise the chance of infection being introduced via bacteria from the massage oils or stones.

Infection or illness

This may sound like commonsense, but anyone with a fever, cold, or flu should avoid a massage until they feel better.

Someone with a fever may spread their germs, and they will have difficulty regulating their body temperature, as well. This will leave them feeling more uncomfortable when hot stones are put on their skin.

Heart disease

Heart disease can cause swelling or other problems in the veins or arteries of the legs, both of which can be negatively affected by a massage.

A person should always tell the massage therapist about any health issues they have, so that they can be aware of potential risks.


Diabetes influences how well the nerves and blood vessels function in the fingers and feet. People with diabetes can lose feeling in their hands and feet, making them unable to feel if an injury, such as a burn, occurs.

When it comes to massage, they may not be able to tell if the massage therapist is using too much pressure, or if the hot stones are burning their skin.

Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Drugs and alcohol do not mix well with massage. Both impair the ability to give feedback if necessary, and also affect judgment, and a person’s self-control over their impulses.

Furthermore, having a massage can leave someone feeling light-headed or wobbly. Drinking alcohol will compound and worsen these feeling.


Prenatal massage can be very relaxing and beneficial for many women, during their pregnancy. However, some practitioners feel uncomfortable with using hot stones on a pregnant woman.

Getting the most from a massage

Even though hot stone massage is safe and effective for relaxation, some strategies will make it a better experience.

  • People should be sure to go to a respected spa where the practitioners are trained and licensed, according to local and state policies. The spa should practice good hygiene and clean the stones, appropriately.
  • It is important for people to talk to the massage therapist. Clients need to let them know if the pressure is too hard, or too soft, or if the stones are too hot.
  • The massage therapist wants to give a great massage, and they depend on their clients letting them know if there is something they can do to make that better. Therapists will not be insulted if they are told something is uncomfortable.
  • If in doubt, a person should ask their doctor about any medical conditions that may interfere with having a massage, particularly a hot stone massage.

To get the best out of a hot stone massage, people need to be open with their massage therapist.

The massage therapist should be aware of any health conditions a client has that could affect how they perform the massage.