Hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy that involves the use of smooth, heated stones. The massage therapist places the hot stones on specific points on your body and may also hold the stones while giving the massage. The localized heat and weight of the stones warm and relax muscles, allowing the massage therapist to apply deeper pressure to those areas without causing discomfort.
The hallmark of hot stone massage is the use of the heated stones. Basalt river rocks are typically used because they are smooth (from the river’s current) and retain heat well.
In preparation for the treatment, the massage therapist heats the stones in a professional stone heater until they are within a precise temperature range, typically between 110 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. (Stones that are too hot can cause burns.)
While massage therapists often use anatomy to guide the placement of the stones, some therapists will also place stones on points thought to energetically balance the mind and body.
Swedish massage therapy techniques are typically used during the massage, which may include long strokes and kneading and rolling.