How Does Hot Stone Massage Work

Written by Julieta Hernandez , Posted in Articles, Massage Therapy

Everyone loves a good massage, whether it be a basic massage or a deep tissue massage. There are other options as well that are available to help alleviate any and all types of aches and pains. It’s suggested that we as humans get a massage at least once a month to keep the serenity of the body in flow, not necessarily feasible at all times, but very relaxing.

Hot Stone massage is an ancient Native American treatment for aching muscles that used to be warmed by fire. The modern conveniences of today have made it possible for easier and safer methods of warming stones however. Generally the original Hot Stone Massage was trademarked by a native of Arizona that incorporated the Native American history of stone massage, with the options given in current times. Currently, stones are placed in a purpose-built Stone Heater that is filled with water. The stones are then heated to anywhere from 122 to 127 degrees Fahrenheit (which is of course 50 to 53 degrees Celsius). These stones are usually basalt, or black volcanic rock that have been naturally smoothed by the forces of the sea from which they came.

While there are many different names for a hot stone massage, typically each massage salon or spa may have their own take.  A completely trained, skilled and professional therapist will know what type of stone massage should be done based on their evaluation.

At this point, the massage at this point begins with the client on the massage table and ready to massage. The therapist will typically start with a massage to warm up the body. Stones of every different shape and size are placed in strategic places on the client’s body such as the back, hands, neck, toes etc…this helps warm the muscles up providing an easier massage in the hard to relax areas. At the same time having stones in specific areas, many believe that this is a form of correct energy flow to specific areas of the body. There are stones that can and are held by the massage therapist during the actual massage to heal work the muscles deeper and easier since the stones are so warm. It’s like getting a massage with a heating pad all over.

There has been a recently introduced simulated hot rock called the Spa Rock, which is a therapeutic device, however, it is best suited to have a professional discuss your options with you.

Most Hot Stone Massages vary in price, but cost an upwards of $150 depending on where you go. If at a resort or high end spa, it can be even pricier. However, many places offer different variations of a hot stone massage that could come at a smaller price, but works just as well in most cases.

If you are unsure if you should get a hot stone massage, call around and ask some questions of exactly what your worries or concerns are, and a therapist will help you with that decision. But don’t be afraid to speak up if it doesn’t feel wonderful to you. If the stones are too hot, let your therapist know, it is something they can help fix to make your appointment more enjoyable!

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Julieta Hernandez

Julieta is the owner of Matrix Spa & Massage in Salt Lake City, UT. She and her staff pride themselves on providing the best massages in a truly comfortable and relaxed environment.

Massage Therapy FAQ’s

The law always requires that you be appropriately covered with sheets or towels to keep you comfortable and warm. If you start feeling uncomfortable or exposed, speak up. Your therapist will respect your wishes and work with you to make the massage session a comfortable one.
No, only undress as much as you are comfortable with. Some people prefer undressing completely, while others prefer to keep undergarments on. You'll have privacy in your massage room to undress before the session and redress afterwards.
It depends on your massage therapy goals. Some people get a monthly massage to manage stress or to prevent health problems. Others opt for weekly sessions if they need relief from injuries and chronic tension.
Licensing and certification mean that the massage therapist can legally practice massage in your city or state. To get this license, they must have performed several hours of training at an accredited school, past the extensive licensure exam, and have paid any relevant licensing fees.
Every insurance plan works a little differently, so your best bet is to contact your insurer directly. Some plans do cover alternative therapies including chiropractic and massage. You will likely need a doctor's prescription first. If you don't have health insurance, or if it doesn't cover massage therapy, you can find massage therapy coupons and discounts on our site.
How much depends on how pleased you are with the service and how much the massage costs (the full price, not any discounted fees). One easy trick is to think about how you would tip a waiter after a similarly priced restaurant meal. This is often 15-20% or more if you received exceptional service.
Let your massage therapist know before the session if there are areas on your body that you don't want to be touched. They will have the training and experience to give you a therapeutic massage while working around ticklish or sensitive places like your feet or abdomen.
Yes, absolutely. You should always speak up if something is uncomfortable. Secondly, keep the lines of communication open during deep tissue massage or sports injury massages. Your therapist needs the feedback to work on you properly and without aggravating an injury. On the other hand, if you are looking for relaxation, it's often best not to talk unless necessary. This lets your mind as well as your body release tension. With the right mindful breathing technique, you may even achieve a stress relieving meditative state during the massage.
Most likely, unless your doctor says otherwise. Prenatal massage can reduce and relieve common pregnancy issues like lower and upper back pain, sciatic nerve irritation, swelling, tension headaches, heartburn and constipation, and more. Let your massage therapist know that you're pregnant so they can use the right techniques during the session.

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