Why Use Hot Stone Massage

Updated on January 9th, 2020
benefits of hot stone massage

Hot stone massage therapy is unique and unlike any other therapy. It involves smooth, heated stones to perform the massage by a trained therapist. Hot stone massage helps to relax and ease out the tensed muscles and damaged soft tissues that are in the body.

For a hot stone massage, flat and smooth heated stones are placed throughout the body. They are made of basalt, which is a volcanic rock.

The University of New Hampshire Health Services states that the hot massage stones are heated at 130 to 145 degrees. Before heating, it is first dipped in water and is heated using a particular machine.


  • For hot stone massages, only flat stones are used.
  • The heated massage has been used for thousands of years for therapeutic purposes. Native Americans heated rocks and placed them on the body.

What Are The Benefits Of Hot Stone Massage?

1. Relieves Muscle Pain

Muscle Pain

Heat plays an essential role in releasing muscle tension and pain. Hot stone massage help increase the blood flow to the affected area. It can also reduce muscle spasms and boost flexibility and range of motion.

You can also choose to alternate between hot and cold stones during the massage.

2. May Decrease Symptoms of Cancer

It benefits us in reducing symptoms of cancer. In the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, a 3-year-old study was conducted that examined the benefits of hot massage on fatigue, pain, stress, anxiety(1), and depression in 1290 patients who were suffering from cancer. Researchers believe that the comfort of touching played a significant role in providing relief.

As compared to Swedish massage, Hot Stone Massage was observed that it improved symptoms of cancer even for the ones with substantial signs.

3. Reduces Stress

Stress Reduction

It benefits our body by reducing stress and depression. The American Massage Therapy Association says, “massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.” A 2001 study stated that a ten-minute massage showed an improved cardiovascular response and prevented a stroke.

A study conducted in 1995 showed that an on chair massage for 15 minutes reduced stress significantly compared to a break of 15 minutes without a massage.

 4. Promotes Better Sleep

Hot stone massage benefits those people who are suffering from insomnia.

A literature review of 2016 found that an alternative to sleeping pills in adults who have insomnia(2) is through a hot stone massage. It stated that the back massage helped to promote better relaxation and sleep.

Another study in 2001 showed that infants who suffered from a disturbed sleep cycle slept faster after 15 minutes of a massage. A hot stone foot massage helps you to enjoy a more undisturbed sleep, although this is hard to understand why.

[ Read: Benefits of Lymphatic Massage ]

5. May Boost Immunity

boosts immunity
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A study in 2010 observed that one session of Swedish massage therapy has a positive and robust impact on boosting immunity. The blood samples were taken before and after showed a reduction in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that functions in regulating the blood pressure and prevents water retention. It benefits in boosting immunity.

6. Reduces Symptoms Of Autoimmune Diseases

Hot stone massage benefits health in treating and reducing symptoms of painful conditions like fibromyalgia. This condition causes widespread chronic pain.

According to a study conducted in 2002, people who had fibromyalgia slept longer with fewer trigger points when they received a 30-minute massage. They also showed decreased levels of a substance called P (an element that transmits the pain signals) compared to people who received relaxation therapy.

A study conducted in 2013 found that those who have rheumatoid arthritis benefited from moderate pressure massage like a hot stone massage.

Ways to Take the Massage

Hot stone massage techniques require the stones to be placed

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

The massage therapist holds the heated stones while massaging the body using Swedish massage techniques like

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

The hot massage procedure requires the usage of cold stones. They are used after hot stones to reduce the swelling of any engorged vessels which eventually calms the skin.

[ Read: Prostate Massage Benefits ]

Precautions to Follow

It is usually considered safe when a trained therapist performs the massage.

However, in certain conditions, a massage is not recommended-

  • If you are on a blood thinner or a bleeding disorder.
  • If you have burns on your skin.
  • If you have an open wound.
  • If you have a history of blood clots.
  • If you have undergone surgery in the last six weeks.
  • If you have a fracture or osteoporosis.
  • If you suffer from thrombocytopenia or low platelet count.
  • Diabetes.
  • For pregnant women, massage is advised, but massage therapists prefer not to use hot stone massage on them without prior doctor’s approval as it may harm the baby.

Precautions must always be taken to use a sheet or towel to prevent burns on the skin because of the massage stones. The professional stone massage heater must be used to heat the stones and not

  • Slow cooker
  • Microwave
  • Hot plate
  • Oven

Bottom Line

Studies confirm the hot stone massage helps reduce anxiety, stress, and restlessness. It may aid in a variety of health conditions. Although more research is needed to find out how the hot massage has a powerful impact on the body, researchers have concluded that the human touch provides connection and comfort.

To make sure that you have a good experience, visit a trained massage therapist only.


1. How often can you take a hot stone for massage?

This fact depends on your body’s need and the purpose for which you have to take a hot stone massage. If you have opted for a hot stone massage for a particular ailment, a session every week or two weeks is enough to keep your problems at bay.

2.  Is hot stone massage better than tissue massage?

It is considered better as the hot basalt stones in the hot stone massage access the muscle tissues faster and deeply as compared to the deep tissue massage.

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