03. November 2013 · Comments Off on What is Hot Stone Massage Therapy? · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Hot stone massage is not really a type of massage that is known by a lot of people.  It is actually classic massage that adds heated and treated basalt stones (mostly black volcanic rocks) placed at various parts of the body, which therapists refer to as energy centers (meridians lines in Chinese medicine or chakras in Indian medicine) to make the client’s body more responsive to deep tissue manipulation.

Basalt stones are selected for this type of massage because they have the ability to take in and retain heat that can serve as therapeutic remedies to improve blood flow and to relieve tension and stress in the body.

Therapists providing for hot stone massage use strokes that are thorough and deep but gentle and slow.  They generate in people some form or calm, comfort and grounding in their mind and body.

The therapist heats the stones to between 110 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  The heat varies depending on how well the client handles the heat.  It is adjusted to a degree that is comfortable to the client.  If the stones are too hot, you need to tell the therapist to prevent your skin from getting burned.  A towel or flannel sheet is placed between the stones and your body to prevent burning.

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

The physical benefits of hot stone massage are truly numerous.  Besides relieving tension and stress and improving circulation as mentioned before, this massage helps excrete the harmful toxins stored in the body.  The body is greatly soothed and relaxed and body aches and pain are relieved as well.

Mental benefits, on the other hand, can include the treatment of mental stress, depression and anxiety and overall peace of mind.

Hot stone massage can even be a good therapy for medical conditions such as insomnia, fibromyalgia, poor blood circulation or arthritis.

Origins of Hot Stone Massage

It was an American woman named Mary Hannigan who in 1993 developed hot stone massage.  She initially called her therapy the LaStone Therapy.  This massage took off quickly and many massage parlors and spas now have their own version of this therapy.

Hot Stone Massage Session

A typical session of hot stone massage lasts an hour to an hour and a half long.


Hot stone massage cannot be given to people who suffer from infectious skin disease.  Also people with open wounds and rashes as well as those who easily get blood clots are not good candidates to have this massage.

People who just had surgery, or radiation or chemotherapy are not advised to avail of this massage.  Pregnant women or those with a heart condition need to get the approval of their doctor prior to undergoing this therapy.

Massage parlors or spas are not the only health establishments that provide for hot stone massage therapy.  Some clinics and even hospitals do provide for this kind of therapy as well.


Dr. Marco Dibonaventura – Board Certified Acupuncturist and Herbalist in King of Prussia, PA