Whether you’re a spa newbie or an experienced spa-goer looking for something new to try, the hot stone massage can be a warming and relaxing treat. In this guide, we look at the basics of this novel and beneficial spa treatment.
Bliss, frankly! A variant of ‘LaStone® Therapy’, the hot stone massage is a relative newcomer to the world of spa massages compared to therapeutic treatments that have been around for thousands of years.
The basic idea is that varying sizes of smooth black basalt stones (derived from lava) are heated to between 120 and 150 degrees. Held in the spa therapist’s hands, these warm stones are placed on energy points along the torso and sometimes also the scalp. Having applied gently-heated oil, the therapist then uses their hands to glide the stones along the skin, working deeper in to the muscles than is often possible in a conventional deep-tissue or Swedish massage. Cool marble stones are sometimes also incorporated for their opposite anti-inflammatory and energy-balancing effect (like an ice pack on a swelling, which helps drain the white blood cells away from the site of inflammation). This sensation of coolness can be very effective in facials where the use of heat is not advised, for reducing puffiness around the orbital eye area for example, using warmer stones to ease muscular tension in the jaw area.
Hot stone massage usually lasts between 40 minutes for an ‘express’ back, neck and shoulders or hot stone head massage, to 90 minutes for the whole body, including the back, arms and legs. Another variation of this is the Lava Shell massage, which uses warmed lava shells to massage the back and neck.
This type of massage helps muscles to relax, so can be beneficial for anyone with muscular issues, such as pain and tension. A hot stone massage can also be good for those who suffer from blocked emotions, as the warm stones draw energy from static energy points. The warmth creates wellbeing and soothes the nervous system. Those with rheumatic and arthritic pain, poor circulation (e.g. Raynaud’s), depression and insomnia might also benefit.
Important: Always seek your doctor’s advice if unsure about the suitability of a spa treatment your condition and you must let the spa know ahead of time if you are pregnant or live with a medical condition.
Winter months or cold climates when muscles are naturally more tense
Deep muscular pain
The release of negative energy stagnation
Improved circulation, muscle tone and a boost to the lymph and blood circulation for detoxification
…if you suffer from cuperose, varicose veins or thin delicate skin. The stones should never be too hot, but could be enough to trigger the contraction and expansion of broken capillaries in those with sensitive skin types.
Did you know?
Your body will require more hydration after this hot stone massage than after other massages to help it detoxify. Be sure to drink plenty of water afterwards.
To minimise discomfort, try abdominal breathing outwards in time with the application of the warm stones. Read the handy tips section of our massage tips to find out more about this highly effective natural pain relief technique.
Looking to purchase a hot stone massage for a friend or loved one? Check out our spa vouchers page where monetary gift vouchers can be redeemed against treatments at over 500 spas across the UK.