What is Hot Stone Massage


A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Hot Stone Massage is always a popular massage for all! Over ten years ago, I decided to change my life, leave the comfort of my job and the high paying salary, to move into the spa industry.  I knew that I had been successful in the restaurant industry because I had started at the bottom and worked my way up.  Therefore, I was determined to learn the spa industry the same way.  I began working as a receptionist for a new spa that had just opened, while I went back to school to get my license as a massage therapist and my degree as a Holistic Practitioner.

Hot Stone MassageMy first massage class and the first massage I learned was the Hot Stone Massage.  The instructor indicated that this was the Cadillac of massages.  I was honored and afraid to be in a class of expert massage therapists all from The Spa at Camelback Inn, Scottsdale, Arizona.  The instructor, Jean Marie Weidmann, began the class by randomly giving us a box of stones; I fell in love with that set of stones and purchased them.  To this day I still use them along with new stones that I have personally harvested and integrated into the set.

During that first class, one of the first things we did was to lay hot stones out on the table in a spinal layout.  This is where you place small stones on both sides of your vertebrae.  You carefully select the stones to fit the curvature and contour of your back.  At first, I was sure that this would be uncomfortable.  After all, when I would go camping, I was the first to take the boat cushions to lay on because I didn’t want to feel the stones under me.   To my surprise, the warm stones were very comfortable and the weight of my body on them melted my muscles until the stones and I were one.

If you have never experienced this unique indulgence, you owe yourself this exquisite moment.  Hot Stone Massage, one of the oldest therapies in the world, has stood the test of time, never really disappearing from the ‘therapy radar’.

It is once again is one of the most sought after healing therapies, indulged in by Hollywood celebrities such as Madonna, Ashley Judd, and Angelica Houston.

Stone massage is a unique connection we experience with nature, offering a sense of profoundness and sacredness that we too often forget. It’s a deep healing and unique moment that enhances our awareness and brings us closer to our true essence. It is the perfect treatment that is as enjoyable and healing for the client as it is for the practitioner.

Hot Stone MassageSome of the most progressive healers in the world use stones in their massage work.  Of course, hot stones do not replace healing hands, but as an adjunct to traditional massage, facials and healing treatments of all kinds. Stone massage is an ancient, enduring form of therapeutic bodywork using heated and cooled stones as extensions of the hand. It is a harmonious collaboration of healing energies between the client, the therapist and the stones. Be mindful that the beauty of this therapy, and all therapies, is manifested by the transference of deep compassion and trust between the therapist and the client. This compassion becomes imprinted within the matrix of each stone.

For some, stone therapy brings unrivaled deep release and alignment. For others, the heat of the stones gently softens muscular tension and melts away emotional stress. On a spiritual plane, the stones are from the earth and have an extremely grounding quality adored by many. Grounding can be very helpful to individuals struggling with issues related to sleep, headaches, dizziness, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed or scattered.

Many therapists also combine hot stone techniques along with gemstones and chakra balancing therapies, giving a cumulative and long-lasting effect.  A hot stone massage is like snuggling up with a hot water bottle on a chilly evening or relaxing into a hot bath at the end of a hard day.

However, I do caution you that Hot stone is not for everyone!  In addition, not all Hot Stone Treatments or Service Providers are created equal.  This week’s “Now You Are in The Know”  will let you know what a Great Hot Stone Therapy looks like so you will know what questions to ask to first determine if it is right for you and next determine where you should have it done and who should do it.

From The Stone Age

Where did Stone Massage originate?

Hot stone massage’s origin can be traced back 5000 years to India, with the ancient healing tradition of Ayurveda. According to some researches, this therapy originated from those healers who have used rocks from the river beds and warm them in either hot water or hot coals before using them to treat any feeling of discomfort in the body.  The hot stones were utilized in concurrence with the Marma points.

Stone MassageIt has ancient roots; stones have been used for divination, warmth, healing and protection since the beginning of time. The Japanese use stones to warm their abdomens to aid digestion.  The Japanese also utilized hot stones in Anma, the oldest word form of Asian Massage. The Japanese hot stone therapy techniques create similar issues to moxibustion, in that heat energy penetrates and stimulates the tsubo, or acupoints. The Chinese have been using hot stones to relieve muscular pain for some 4,000 years, and from around 2000 BC used heated stones as a means of improving the function of internal organs. In Oriental Medicine hot stones are utilized in concurrence with the Elevation transmission channels to encourage a better flowing of energy around the physical structure.

In the Native American sweat lodge, stones are used to adjust the temperature of the healing environment.   Sweat lodges are a place of spiritual refuge where you can repair the damage done to the spirit, mind & body. Native Americans also used hot stones to detoxify and to find harmony and balance.  In addition, Native American Indians believe the stones have souls and when using in healing, allow the recipient to remember lost truth.

Among indigenous peoples, stones have been used on or near the body in healing ceremonies and rituals for eons. In Hawaii, for example, Kahunas (Hawaiian medicine people) heated smooth volcanic stones in the fire, wrapped them in the leaves of the castor oil plant and placed them on the body in areas of spasm or tension.

The heat from the stones caused an increase in blood circulation to the area and encouraged the release of the healing oils from the leaves. Traditional Lomi Lomi (Hawaiian massage) goes further and applies heated stones directly to the body. Originally Hawaiian La’au Lomi Lomi lava rock balls were also used to clean or scrape the skin following the traditional massage. At times two stones were tapped together against the physical structure to promote deep tissue vibrational healing. The lava stone was utilized as a symbol for healing and protection.

The healing practices of curanderas, of South America, and other women caregivers often included dealing with the disease as well as pregnancy and childbirth. These Native folk healers used heated stones to diminish the discomfort of menstruation, and the application of cold stones to slow bleeding after labor. Some sources cite instances of cultures in which women believed that holding stones during labor added to their strength and endurance.

From The Stone Age

Other traditional healers used stones from river beds and heated them in thermal pools or with hot coals. In Bali it is believed that the Batu stones are filled with “vitality and energy of the water that flows over them in an eternal stream”.

In some European cultures, hot stones or bricks were wrapped in cloth and placed over a person’s injury for relief. In China, hot stone therapy was used as early as 1500 BC as a method for relieving muscle aches and tension.

For the origins of the use of heated and cooled stones by modern-day massage therapists, one needs to look to the southwestern United States.  In August of 1993, Mary Nelson, a massage therapist in Tucson, Arizona, had an intuition to incorporate several heated stones into a massage treatment.  Although stones have been used for many years as an adjunct to bodywork, their use was formalized in 1993 by Mary Nelson of Tucson, Arizona. Nelson developed a form of massage using a system of 54 hot stones, 18 frozen stones, and one room-temperature stone, which she calls LaStone Therapy. In addition to the use of stones as an extension of the therapist’s hands in deep tissue massage, LaStone Therapy involves a spiritual element that opens energy channels (chakras) in the body, unblocks memories, and brings about spiritual healing. Mary found that basalt, a type of volcanic stone, held heat the best.

Soon she incorporated cooled marble stones as well, bringing in the full spectrum of temperature.  Through self-treatment, on-going experimentation with her clients, prayer, and dreams, she grew in her work with the stones.  Within a few years, she began to teach what she had come to call LaStone Therapy.  Miraval, a well-known spa in Tucson, made LaStone their signature treatment and it soon garnered national attention.  The rest is history.  LaStone Therapy Inc. now has instructors around the globe.  All good things get copied, and this has certainly been the case with LaStone Therapy.  Massage therapists who wish to study stone massage now have numerous choices of classes and videos.  As well as being the Original Stone Massage, LaStone Therapy continues to offer the most thorough training and is one of the only forms that emphasize the use of both heated and chilled stones.  Cool stones balance out heat imparted to the body by the basalt stones, and, as hydrotherapy has long recognized, it is far more therapeutic to skillfully use both polarities of temperature, hot and cold, than one or the other. I was trained and certified as a LaStone therapist, and much of what is taught in that class is still what I look for in a good hot stone massage.

Every culture has its own traditions and healing rituals in which stones were used including: laying the stones in patterns on the body, carrying or wearing stones for health and protection, using stones in the diagnosis and treatment of disease or during ceremonies such as sweat lodges or in medicine wheels. Today, many of us carry stones for good fortune or for healing; we even use pumice stones on our feet to soften the hard dry skin.

Today, hot stone therapy is used much in the same way as it was centuries ago and for the same benefits. One session can help you to relax, release, and rejuvenate.  No wonder Hot Stone Therapy has been one of the fastest-growing therapies in the USA, Europe and around the world.

Hot Stone Massage

Cast The First Stone

What is Hot Stone Massage?

Hot Stone Massage is far more than a massage with hot stones; it is a multidimensional treatment that reaches the very soul.

Hot stone massage combines the benefits of or thermotherapy, the use of heat applications, with the strokes of massage using stones to create a deep, relaxing and healing treatment. The heat of the stones warms the skin, which allows for the absorption of moisturizing and therapeutic oils or lotion, while simultaneously preparing the musculature of the body so the therapist can work into the deeper muscle layers.

Hot Stone MassageHot stone massage uses water-heated basalt lava stones (heated between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit) of varying sizes in combination with traditional massage techniques. The heated stones create a feeling of continuous heat throughout the body, which can make you more physically and emotionally receptive to the therapeutic benefits of the massage and bring fresh blood to the tissues. The heat of the stones is also supposed to relieve tension and nervous fatigue, while the placing of different sized stones on the body’s chakra points is meant to create a more balanced flow of energy.

The stones are smooth basalt stones with a high iron content, which enables them to retain heat.  The stones are applied at varying degrees of heat, onto an oiled body, and the effect is similar to a combination of sauna and massage, without having to breathe in the steam. The practitioner will massage with some stones and lay others on the body at particular strategic places on your body, such as your spine, neck, knees ankles, thighs, between your toes, while others are used at chakra points for energy balancing.

Hot Stone Therapy can be combined with Aromatherapy. The hot stones work perfectly as little burners, infusing the air with the healing powers of pure essential oils. The heat from the stones also aids the body’s uptake of the essential oils during the treatment.

Some Hot Stone Massages also incorporate cold marble stones which help to relieve muscular injury or inflammation.  The cold stones encourage an influx of fresh oxygenated blood and the release of toxins. This constant dance between temperatures affects the blood and lymph and triggers the body’s innate healing mechanisms.  Often hot and cold stones when used together stimulate the flow of lymph and move waste through the body at an increased rate. This process occurs because the hot stones make the blood vessels expand, pushing the blood along, while the cold stones cause the blood vessels to constrict, stimulating the nervous system and drawing blood and waste products along the body. This ensures that every cell in the body receives more oxygen and nutrients while at the same time waste material is removed more effectively through the corresponding increase in lymph flow.

Stones … What’s Hot!

Hot Stone Massage

What’s Hot?  The Benefits of Hot Stone

Many people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and get it for relaxation. Since hot stones are used to massage the body, you receive the same benefits as a Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and trigger point work.  The added benefit is heat that penetrates the muscle and tendon providing deeper work with less pressure or pain.

A hot stone massage is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It’s also suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure.

A hot stone massage is ideal for people who need the deep work of a traditional Swedish massage, but dislike the strong pressure used. Hot stone massage can have the same effect on the muscles, relaxing them and stimulating blood flow, while still having a very light touch. Skilled practitioners of hot stone massage need very little pressure to have a profound impact — be wary of unskilled practitioners who may feel the need to use traditionally hard Swedish techniques.  LaStone teaches that a hot stone massage goes five times deeper than a Swedish massage and the Japanese believe that one stroke with the stones is equivalent to 10 strokes with the bare hand.  In addition, hot stone massage has the following benefits:

  • Promotes deep muscle and tissue relaxation
  • Releases toxins from the muscles and eliminates waste more quickly
  • Relieves pain and muscle spasms
  • Improves circulation and lymph flow
  • Calms the mind
  • Deep relaxation, the warmth relaxes both physically and mentally
  • The heat from the stones is transferred to the body by conduction and it may reach up to one inch into the muscle
  • Stress is reduced, relieving mental and physical fatigue
  • Circulation is improved and muscles have an increased blood supply, improving function and promoting self-healing.
  • The warmth can relieve pain in muscles and joints
  • Tension in connective tissue is decreased
  • Increases flexibility
  • The weight and material of the stones function to ground the body
  • Reduced ticklishness for many vulnerable clients
  • Added energetic quality to massage when incorporated with vibration (clicking or tapping of stones)
  • Increases range of motion
  • Balances the central nervous system
  • Balances chakras and energy

The Benefits of Cold Stone Massage:

  • Refreshes and stimulates the mind
  • Helps to relieve tissue congestion (such as the sinuses)
  • Soothes irritation
  • Cools down the body on a warm day or during hot flushes.

What Health Conditions May be Helped with Hot Stone Massage?

Practitioners of hot stone massage claim that the technique can provide health benefits for the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia
  • Poor circulation
  • Rheumatism
  • Sore or strained muscles
  • Sprains
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Back pain

Those Wonderful Warm Stones

What is the Treatment Process?

Hot Stone MassageA great hot stone massage is more than just adding a few hot stones into a Swedish type massage.  It is an artful application of stones, treatment protocol and customization.  My personal hot stone set has 297 basalt stones and 36 cold stones.  I prefer not to use a stone more than once during a service, so that is why I have more than most therapists.

There are several ways by which stone massage therapists work on using these hot basalt lava stones depending on the type of treatment appropriate for the clients and their preference.  Not to mention there are several different Hot Stone Massage Treatments.

If you are receiving a LaStone Style Hot Stone Massage, you will be minimally draped.  All private areas will be covered.  Check with the spa beforehand if you have any worries. It’s usually fine to wear a thong or bikini bottoms during a massage and – worry not – your therapist will be highly skilled at preserving your modesty with strategically-placed towels. This massage is designed to flow and do the entire back of the body at the same time.  The flow of your massage will be up to one side of your body leg, arm, back, neck and then down the opposite arm and leg.  Therefore, a minimal draping when you are face down is done.  It is very similar to an Indian draping, where the top of the buttocks is covered but the sides of your glutes and thighs are exposed.  It is best not to wear any restrictive undergarments as it will block energy flow.  If you are uncomfortable with this, they will change the protocol to accommodate your concerns.

The following bulleted information provides you a general outline of how the therapy is performed:

  • The Hot Stones are usually heated to between 120 and 150 degrees in hot water in a roaster.  Personally, I always had my water over 150 degrees and then air-cooled the stones to the proper temperature prior to placing them on the client.  The reason I did this is my restaurant background.  Soups and food needed to be out of the bacteria zone and that was over 155 to kill the germs.  The water should contain a sanitizer and a Labradorite stone. Labradorite is the stone of transformation and utilization of the subconscious mind. It promotes intellectual, intuitive, and mystical wisdom. Stimulates brain, reduces anxiety and stress. Clears, balances, and protects aura. The stone will be removed from the water using a slotted spoon or rubber gloves.  I prefer to use circular laundry net bags.  This way I can remove the stones that I need at the same time which allows me more time with the client and less time removing stones two at a time.  A good therapist can handle the removal of the stones and the placement on your body for the massage quickly and efficiently and with a minimal amount of noise or distraction.
  • Cold Marble stones are cooled in a freezer or in an ice-water bath.
  • The stones are put on a towel and covered to maintain the desired temperature needed for a specific Hot Stone Massage Treatment.

Those Wonderful Warm Stones

The following bulleted information provides you a general outline of how the therapy is performed:

  • The massage therapist often begins by applying oil or lotion onto your body, which allows the hot stones to glide smoothly along the muscles.
  • If you are having a LaStone Therapy, you will have the following Stones Placed on or under your body:
    • Face Up
      • Neck Pillow Stone (a long cucumber shaped stone under your neck with a towel in between)
      • Hand Stones one placed comfortably under each hand
      • Toe Stones, little tiny stones placed between your toes
      • Spinal Layout (15 – 30 stones about the size of a quarter to half-dollar lined up on both sides of your vertebral column under a towel so that when you lie back on them your spinal column goes between the stones.  Larger very flat stones may be placed by your low back near your kidneys and scapula area)
      • Ten pickle shaped neck stones used to massage your neck and be placed to ease tension in your upper back and shoulders.
      • Large effleurage stones to massage your body and tuck under your thighs, ankles and knees.
      • Chakra stones placed on your seven chakras.  These are appropriate for each chakra, sometimes these are larger stones.  When they are placed they will feel heavy, as the massage continues, you will forget they are there.  When they are removed you will feel like all of your burdens are removed.
      • Ovary stones may be placed on the woman
    • Face Down
      • A stomach stone ( a large flat stone that fits the contour of your abdomen, should be placed under a towel)
      • A Sacral Stone (a large flat stone that will be placed on a towel over your low back area)
      • Large effleurage stones to massage your body and then they are placed in your hands and on your feet.
      • Scapula stones may be used to perform a stretch of your scapulas
  • The stones are used along with the therapist’s hands in order to get through the muscle areas that hands cannot normally reach.
  • As treatment is carried outpointed, textured stones are used as tools for deep sports massage. Round, flat, warm stones are laid as balancing agents upon specific energetic points along the body, otherwise known as chakras. Smooth, velvety stones are heated in water, and then glided with firm pressure along with oiled, sore muscles. Cooled white marble stones refresh the face, refine the pores and soothe inflamed skin. For some people, stone therapy can bring deep tissue release and alignment between body, mind, and spirit. For others, it means gently allowing the heat of the stones to soften tension and melt worries away. The experience of an eloquent, deep, structurally restorative and spiritually uplifting stone massage is unsurpassed in its transformational potential. The key is in finding a skilled stone therapist who incorporates highly textured and charged stones at comfortable room temperature.
  • The working stones are moved in a continuous fashion and turned in the hands of the therapist periodically during the massage to give the best heat, then “tucked in” around different locations by the client’s body.
  • At no time should stationary hot stones be placed in direct contact with your skin, other than your hands and feet, and these stones should have been allowed to cool sufficiently before they are placed.
  • Qualified therapists monitor the temperature of the stones very carefully, which should result in a very pleasurable experience that is sure to take you back for more. The massage therapist always holds the stones first before touching them to your body, which ensures that the temperature will not be too hot. They will always introduce the stones on your larger muscle group first as these muscle can handle more heat.  Even with all of these precautions, everyone has their own comfort range. Be sure to speak up immediately if the stones are too hot for you.
  • The oils used in Hot Stone spa therapies will make you feel beautiful, but they can be very hostile towards hairstyles. It’s best to book hot stone treatments on a day when you won’t have to rush out somewhere afterward.  If this is a concern for you, make sure that the facility has a shower available.  I prefer to book this at the end of the day so I can leave the oils on overnight to moisturize my dry skin.

The Story Behind The Stones

The stones for the Hot Stone Massage are not just random stones.  Each set of stones is made up of paired stones.  These pairs are worked simultaneously on the client’s body.  Therefore, each set of stones must have the same size, shape, and weight.  The black stones used in the Hot Stone Massage, contain metal ore and are very dense and heavy heat delivery agents. Energetically, it is said that they strengthen organs and cavities.  They are especially very helpful to the lungs, thyroid and the central nervous system.

The Basalt Stones

Traditionally Basalt is used in the massage process. Basalt forms when molten lava cools following a volcanic eruption. Basalt, itself, is considered a mafic silicate rock, which means they contain iron, magnesium and other heavy elements that mix with the silica and oxygen during the formation process. It is also the presence of these elements that gives basalt stones their ability to acquire, hold, and emanate a consistent and soothing heat for long periods of time.

There are some things which greatly reduce the energy in the stone. Mechanically tumbled stones have less healing power than stones that have been naturally tumbled by the river or ocean waves. Polishing a stone can be akin to sun burning human skin. It is a mechanical process that weakens the stone. When a stone is polished, the surface undergoes a sealing process, greatly reducing or even eliminating its frequency altogether. A stone’s healing potential is determined by the frequency at which it vibrates and its geometrical form.

Stones radiate heat at various intensities. According to clinical research, the term stone radiance variable can be described as the measured length and rate of time in which a stone gives off heat. Black stones hold heater longer than lighter colored stones, due to the higher content of iron.  These stones also have the highest magnetic intensity.

Stone Personalities are Determined by Shape

Basalt stones are the hardened residue of volcanic eruption, so their personality and energy is eruptive, stimulating and activating. Anyone searching for a new direction in life or in need of a change would do well with an active-stroking basalt massage. This will also help alleviate stagnation on all levels.

The shape of a stone is something to consider as well. A stone placed under the sacrum would ideally resemble the shape of the sacrum bone. A stone placed on the heart would ideally have the shape of a heart. A stone placed on the third eye should resemble an eye.  Stones placed along the erector spinae would ideally have the long shape of those muscles and so forth.

Rough or Smooth

Some stones have a slightly rougher surface with some non-abrasive edges, while others are silky smooth and perfectly round. It’s like the distinction between microfiber towels and silk sheets. The textured, microfiber surfaces are perfect for deep massage as they grip the connective tissue. They are also better for chakra work.  Their high skin-gripping factor means they don’t slip off the body. The silky stones tend to slide along with greater ease, making them ideal for gliding on sensitive areas of the face. The rougher stones slightly exfoliate the skin, gently increasing kinesthetic awareness, bringing the client back into their skin. The textured stones are more porous by nature, giving them a sponge-like action. This sponge action soaks up energetic debris, negativity, and bacteria. As a result, textured stones need more recharging and physical cleaning. Smooth stones are less porous and great for a light, refreshing massage. However, when they begin to cool down, they can be confused with the smooth surface of the palm of a hand.

Stone Care

Of course, prior to booking a Hot Stone Massage, you will want to speak with a therapist about the stone care at the spa.  The stones need to be cleaned and sanitized properly.  In addition, the Stones will need to be reenergized.  This can be accomplished by placing the stones in Epson salts each night.  Periodically, it is also good to place the stones out in the rain or an outdoor waterfall, followed by a day in the sun to refresh their energy.

Hot Stone Massage

STOP! Hold The Stones …

While Hot Stone massages may be warm and wondrous, they are not for everyone.  I find that people who tend to run hot, have a lot of heat in their skin, hair and face (reddish toned skin and hair) people who do not enjoy the heat or hot showers, should either not have this treatment, asks the therapist to use only warm not hot stones, or only have a cold stone massage.  A hot stone massage for these people may make them feel agitated, angry or annoyed.    If you decide to try a hot stone massage and you find yourself not being able to relax, you may want to ask the therapist to stop and proceed with a different type of massage.

Contraindications to Hot Stone Massage

If you have any of the following medical health conditions, hot stone massage should be avoided entirely or on isolated areas of the body where there may be certain injuries or illnesses, such as:

  • Recent burns (including sunburn)
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Myocardial infarction.
  • Pregnancy
  • People with skin conditions such as eczema, rashes, acne, and psoriasis should avoid the heat
  • People with numb skin due to skin graphing or neuropathy should be extra cautious.
  • Anyone on medication that causes skin hypersensitivity (i.e., antibiotics, Accutane) should wait until they are off the medication.
  • People with heart conditions should avoid the extreme contrast between heated and cooled stones so as not to shock their delicate systems.
  • Diabetes
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension
  • Fever
  • Open Wounds or Skin Lesions
  • Acute Inflammation
  • Sternal/Pectoralis Stones during Lactation
  • Any other condition which makes massage or heat applications inadvisable
  • Individuals suffering from thrombosis, blood clot, and other cardiovascular diseases should seek the advice of a health care practitioner in your area to ensure safety before undergoing hot stone massage therapy

Those new to hot stone massage, though are warned about the potential dangers of this technique, as it could raise a person’s blood pressure. Therefore, it is not recommended for pregnant and hypertensive women so please tell your therapist if you are, or think you might be, pregnant or have any of the above medical conditions.

Stone Massage

Leave No Stone Unturned …

Hot Stone Massage

Top 13 Hot Stone Massage

After you read this, you may be up to book a hot stone therapy.  Please keep in mind that there are different variations on the hot stone theme, but all use the same basic equipment: flat stones (usually basalt) that are hot and smooth to the touch.  Here is a little bit about each of the other stone treatments.


Known as the original Hot Stone massage, this process was developed by Mary Nelson.  It includes chakra balancing, clearing, hot stone massage with a specific protocol, spinal layout, neck stones, chakra stones, hand stones toe stones for balancing the elements and may include sage burning. This uses basalt stones, marble stones, Petoskey and or jade stones.  Hot and cold stones may be used.  Find a LaStone Spa.


With origins in Native American culture, warm and cool smooth stones, lubricated with massage oils, are used to gently massage the body enhancing the level of relaxation and providing relief to tense and aching muscles. With Aroma Stone Massage, a customized blending of therapeutic grade essential oils/aromatherapy, used in conjunction with stone massage, creates a deeper level of relaxation. Oils are selected to increase the benefits of your treatment.  Here’s a good massage oil aromatherapy recipe for sore muscles:

  • 7 drops of birch oil
  • 6 drops of ginger oil
  • 6 drops of peppermint
  • Place the essential oils into a two-ounce bottle. Add olive oil until the bottle is nearly full.  Gently rotate the capped bottle to combine the mixture. Apply the oil to your skin, and then massage yourself with the heated stones.

Thera-Stone or Therapeutic Stone: 

Follows a traditional Hot Stone Massage protocol, but utilizes more hand manipulation and other therapeutic modalities to take the massage to another level.  Thera-Stone massage may incorporate, stretching, articulation of the joints and trigger point into the service.  Usually, this service will be a minimum of 90 minutes in order to properly accommodate the therapeutic and hot stone massage.

Sacred Stone Healing:

Sacred stone therapy marries the art of stone bodywork with the amazing science of Ayurveda incorporating the healing power of marma point therapy and aromatherapy. The stones are not used to replace healing hands but as a powerful adjunct to the massage.

Sacred stone therapy is a 75-minute treatment that includes a marma point facial, it is designed to nurture, smooth, warm, nourish and calm.  Warm crystals and stones are laid upon the body in a sequence following the chakra system.

Heated stones are utilized as compresses on marma points and the chakra systems. Clearing, balancing and energizing the physical and subtle bodies.

During deep tissue and flushing, massage therapy is done using a guiding hand to reassure, nurture and stay tuned to the tissue.

A shamanic drum acts as vibrational healing that stimulates the energy of the stone and moves out unwanted ethereal debris that may have accumulated in the auric field.

Tibetan bells gently signal the end of the sacred stone experience.

This therapy can bring deep tissue release and alignment of the body, mind, and spirit.

Hot Lava Lomi:

Lomi-Lomi is a practice that uses the energy of the body to promote inner healing and well being from within.  Lomi-Lomi uses soothing strokes to identify and release specific body tension and energy imbalances through the body restoring circulation and meditative state of relaxation. A Hot Lava Lomi incorporates hot stones into the effleurage strokes.

Dessert Stone: 

This hot stone treatment uses hot stones to massage the body.  This is usually performed in spas in Arizona and California.  Each spa has its own definition of what is incorporated into the message so you should inquire as to the specifics.

Hot Stone:

This is a non-descript term used to generally describe any massage where a few hot stones may be used.  Each spa has their own definition of what is incorporated into the message so you should inquire as to the specifics.

Pohaku Hot Stone Therapy:

This Hawaiian style massage ensures relaxation at its blissful best.  Bliss out with this glorious treatment.  Pohaku Hot Stone Therapy or Hot Stone Massage is one of the most blissful and beautiful experiences that you can give yourself.

Based on Hawaiian massage practices, this technique uses carefully selected smooth basalt stones of various shapes and sizes to suit individual parts of the body. These are heated in water, to a pre-determined temperature, and then applied to the body.

Some of the stones are placed under the body; some are placed on top of the body, usually separated from the actual skin by a layer of towel. Some of the remaining stones are used with oil as massage tools.

Prepare to be surprised. It’s virtually impossible not to succumb to the relaxing effects of this combination of gentle heat and massage.

Kahuna Hot Stone Massage:

In Hawaiian Kahuna Massage, the stones are anointed with oil, allowing them to glide smoothly over the muscles and along the meridians, releasing stress, tension and emotional fatigue. This is an amazing full-body sensory experience beginning with the legs and feet, then sweeping the whole body focusing on stagnant congested areas, reconnecting moves to ground scattered emotions, draining movements on the arms and neck, and rebalancing and calming pressure point techniques on the head.

Tibetan Himalayan Hot Stone Massage

The treatment draws on traditions described in the ancient Tibetan medical text, the Gui Shi. Developed through the collaboration of Tibetan doctors and Joanna Claire, a certified acupuncturist and massage therapist who has lived in the Himalayas for over 20 years, the treatment uses 48 hot stones and fragrant herbs and oil to relieve tension from the body. Hand-carved by a monk in Katmandu, the soft river stones are marked with eight auspicious symbols.

Applied to key points on the body, the heated stones create sensations of comfort and warmth; expand blood vessels and calm the nervous system. This treatment restores well-being and harmony to the body and is usually a 90-minute treatment.

Japanese Stone Massage

Japanese Hot Stone Massage is much more than placing stones alongside the body, or sliding stones over the body. An expert will “hook” into a muscle with the stone and then gently rotate and/or knead the muscle…then apply pressure and use a rapid vibration technique to further relax the muscles and drive the heat deeper. Japanese Hot Stone massage is based upon Anma, the oldest form of East Asian massage.  Anma is rooted in ancient Nepal, Tibet, and western China, where it developed over 7000 years ago.  Anma entered Japan along with traditional medicine, such as acupuncture, and herbal medicine, over 1300 years ago.  Anma is kneading, rotation and vibration-based massage. Anma techniques will be used:

Light stroking technique: This is performed by sliding over the body surface with either up and down or circular motions.Kneading technique: This is the primary anma technique. It is usually applied by engaging the underlying tissue in a rotating or kneading movement to effectively reduce muscle tension. Vibration technique: used to disperse the intensity of pressure when treating a sensitive region.  Vigorous shaking also helps move toxins into the blood or lymphatic system.

Various other techniques are employed that truly separate this Hot Stone Massage modality from all others, as it is meant to pleasure the body, as well as the soul.

Euro Stone Facials:

Warmed stones are used to diffuse the heat into the skin and to help aromatic oils penetrate deeper. It provides an immediate release in the muscles of the face. The manual work performed during the facial is the stimulation of the lymphatic system, using stones instead of fingers. In all, there are 14 specific movements in the facial treatment. This is an exceptionally unique facial experience for all skin types.

The benefits provide a deeper elimination of toxins and blockages with a lymphatic draining massage. Skin firmness and vibrancy is improved whilst reducing redness with the hot & cold. It will provide deeper relaxation of the muscles with the heat of stones and a synergistic approach with the aromatic oil. Using the gemstones color therapy, it balances and grounds energy presenting a unique treatment that you will want to experience again and again.

Hot Stone Pedicures:

A relaxing full pedicure for your feet followed by a hot stone massage on your calves and feet.

Stones Glorious Stones

It is extraordinarily timely that in this age of high technology and urban living, ancient stone massage has become one of the most popular treatments in spas and private massage practices today.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that hot stone massage is now deemed ideal for people who are highly sensitive to deep pressure. Great for people who need to be more grounded, and provides Prana building opportunities for those who need to get a little closer to nature.  I love a Spavelous Hot Stone massage. The key to getting one is to make sure you are a good candidate for one, as you learned it isn’t for everyone.  Next, interview the spa to make sure that they have the components in a hot stone massage that you feel you need.  Finally, ask the spas recommendation for the best therapist or the therapist who trains others on the procedure.   Do this and you are guaranteed to have a positive hot stone experience every time.

Start here by locating a spa near you for hot stone treatment.