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How Do I Administer a Hot Stone Massage?

When you look up images for a spa or a relaxing massage, you will usually see the picture of a person lying down on his or her stomach, with four or more dark stones lined up at the back. This is called a hot stone massage, and has become the ultimate representation of spa relaxation and the healing powers of a massage. If you’re a massage therapist and it is your first time to administer a hot stone massage, how should you go about it? That’s what we will find more about here.

Hot Stone Massage: The Basics

Basically, a hot stone massage is a special massage technique where the masseur or masseuse uses smooth, heated stones which are placed on the body. The heated stones actually serve as an extension of the therapist’s hands. Once placed against the skin, the stones warm up tight muscles, resulting to a therapist being able to work on the knotted muscles more deeply.

The origin of hot stone massage was a treatment used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles. In modern times, Arizona-born Mary Nelson is credited for the popularity of the hot stone massage. She called it LaStone Therapy, a specialized massage technique which requires training and certification. Today, most spas have their own versions of a hot stone massage which can also be called a warm stone massage, lava stone massage or a river rock massage.

For clients, there are many benefits to getting a hot stone massage. It helps treat a variety of health conditions including the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pains and aches
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Stress, tension and anxiety

What are the Most Useful Techniques for a Hot Stone Massage?

For massage therapists, it is a must to familiarize yourself with how a hot stone massage is administered. The stones used are flat and smooth, and they are heated electrically to provide a bearable temperature. Here are a few important pointers to remember when administering a hot stone massage:

  • Make sure that the stones are of the right temperature.

Anywhere from 48 to 46 stones can be used during a hot stone massage. These stones are typically volcanic basalt in nature, and are heated up to 130 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Just remember that clients have different tolerance to heat and pain, so make sure to ask if he or she is comfortable with the temperature. Adjust as necessary.



  • After the stones are warmed up, place the stones on strategic areas of the client’s body.

Next, the stones are arranged in strategic places on the client’s body. A usual way to start is by placing eight stones in a linear manner on the spine of the client. A cloth made of linen can be used between the skin and the hot stones so that there is no chance of the skin getting burned.


  • After the heated stones have done its work, you can deliver the actual massage in a skilful manner without dislodging the stones.

The final step is to deliver the actual massage. Your goal is to work out the kinks from the knotted muscles of your client without moving the stone.


By doing your research and accompanying it with a lot of practice, you should be able to administer the best hot stone massage for your clients.




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