A hot stone massage uses heated Basalt stones of various sizes and shapes to massage the whole body. The hardness of the stones allows the therapist to address specific problem areas with more detailed work or deeper pressure.
The stones are used in two ways during the massage. One is to impart heat onto the body by laying stones under the client with a layer of fabric between the client and stone (a sheet or towel) and/or on top of the client, again upon a towel. Stone layout typically will be along both sides of the spine, or along the chakra centers on top and baseball sized stones would be placed in the hands. While these layout stones are delivering concentrated centers of heat, the therapist is simultaneously massaging the client with heated stones which are held in their hands using firm strokes along the muscles of the legs, arms, and torso areas.
An authentic hot stone massage is not simply the “gliding” of heated stones lightly upon the surface of the skin, but rather the stones are used as tools to deliver effective tissue and muscle massage at a pressure level comfortable to the client. The client can request light, medium or deep pressure, which is the beauty of the hot stone massage technique. It can be customized in an instant to the request of the client. The hardness of the stones makes for a deep tissue massage and is easy on the joints of the therapist’s hands. The heat from the stones relaxes muscles and increases the blood flow to the area being worked on which is said to further accelerate the healing process. This increase in circulation and the relaxation of the muscles is also claimed to aid in mental relaxation.