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Hot Stone Therapy

Hot Stone Therapy

Hot stone therapy is a technique that uses smooth, flat, heated basalt stones that are positioned along your spine, in the palms of your hands, along your legs and between the toes. Typically from river beds, basalt stones are used as they have a rich iron content that retains heat. Cold marble stones are often used in the treatment to help aid with detoxing and healing the body. The hot stone massage is the practice of heating smooth stones and placing them on various areas of the body during a massage.

The earliest use of hot stones to improve health and relaxation took place in India. The practice began among the Hindus in India approximately 5,000 years ago and was called Ayurveda. Around 3,000 years later, the Chinese used shaped stones called Bian while burning mugwort to treat disease. They also placed stones on the abdomen to improve digestion. Natives of the Sandwich Islands – what we now know as Hawaii – discovered that wrapping heated lava rocks in leaves and applying them to the body brought pain relief.

To perform hot stone massage the best stones to use are basalt stones. Pure basalt stones get hotter and stay hotter longer than most other stones, making them perfect for the massage therapist to use for hot stone massage. Marble stones are best to use for cold stone therapy. Marble is a very soft stone that is metamorphosed limestone. Marble always feels 11° cooler than it’s environment and has a tendency to draw the heat and inflammation from the muscle. The use of basalt and marble is a perfect combination.

The primary benefit associated with the practice is that of stimulating blood flow in the circulatory system through the heat and movement of the stones. Stone massages also ease muscle pain and often, the presence of muscle tension and spasms through reducing inflammation and relaxing muscles through a combination of both the heat and movement experienced during the practice to access deeper tissues.

Benefits of Hot Stone Therapy

1. Pain relief
2. Reduces muscle tension
3. Stress relief
4. Increase range of motion
5. Better sleep
6. Improves blood/Lymph circulations
7. Rejuvenation


1. Hypertension
2. Diabetes Mellitus
3. Varicose veins
4. Rheumatoid arthritis
5. Neuropathies
6. Skin conditions
7. Cancers/tumors
8. Metal implants
9. Recent Surgery/ Radiation therapy/ chemotherapy

The procedure of hot stone therapy

1. Preparation

  • 20-30 oval-shaped stones ranging from 8” to 9” inches long and 6” inches wide to the size of a coin.
  • Prepare the massage table
  • Prepare the stones 30-60 mins before the therapy. The water should be no more than 130 °F (54 °C). The stones will cool down as you use them. Anything below 110 °F (43 °C) is considered a warm stone massage, although it is important to know that a 104 °F (40 °C) stone can still burn someone if it is left laying on bare skin for a few minutes.
  • To heat the stones, use a Crock-Pot that can hold at least 6 quarts of water or a large tabletop skillet that has sides close to 3 inches (7.6 cm). Note that Crock-Pots and similar kitchen equipment heat on a cycled basis, which means that the temperature can vary and must be monitored closely. It is better if you can find something with an actual temperature setting, instead of low-medium-high.
  • Use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature in your Crock-pot. (Never use a glass thermometer as breakage can occur.) You should also keep the Crock- pot setting to warm or low, as you don’t want the water to boil.
  • You should also rub some massage oil on each stone before it’s used.
  • Never place a hot stone directly on the participant’s skin without moving it. To prevent burns, you must place a flannel sheet or towel down and then put the stones on top of that. Keep in mind it can take 3-4 minutes for the heat of the stones to penetrate to the skin.

2. Techniques

  • Use the stones to massage rather than your hands. Do this by moving the stones gently over tense, sore areas.
  • Combine the warm stones with other massage techniques.
  • Alternate the hot stones with cold marble stones.

3. Precautions

  • The therapist must be trained before administrating the therapy.
  • Never leave a hot stone long directly in contact with the patient’s body. Always place a thick cloth or a towel under the stone to prevent burn injuries.

Article By :
Dr.Koustubha Sharma