The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat. According to the University of New Hampshire Health Services, hot massage stones are heated to between and degrees. Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using Swedish massage techniques such as:. Sometimes, cold stones are also used during a hot stone massage. Cold stones may be used after hot stones to calm any engorged blood vessels and to soothe the skin.
All massages generally fall under the alternative medicine umbrella. Here are some advantages of getting a hot stone massage:. Heat has long been used to ease muscle tension and pain. It helps increase blood flow to the affected area. It may also reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility and range of motion. Cold therapy helps relieve inflammation.
Depending on your symptoms, alternating hot and cold stones during your massage may be helpful. A study showed that a ten-minute massage improved cardiovascular responses such as stroke volume. A study found that minute, onsite chair massages in the workplace significantly reduced stress compared to a minute break without massage. A study found that people who underwent abdominal colorectal surgery had less pain, tension, and anxiety after receiving post-operative massage.
A literature review found massage may be an alternative to sleeping pills in adults with insomnia.
The research showed that back massage helped promote relaxation and sleep. A study showed that infants with sleep problems who were given a minute massage by their parents went to sleep faster. They were also more alert, active, and positive upon awakening. Hot stone massage may relieve painful conditions such as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread, chronic pain. According to a study , people with fibromyalgia who received a minute massage slept longer, had fewer trigger points, and had decreased levels of substance P a substance involved in transmitting pain signals than people with the condition who received relaxation therapy.
More research is needed, however, before massage becomes a standard fibromyalgia treatment. A study found that people with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from a moderate-pressure massage, such as hot stone massage. Participants in the study experienced less pain, greater grip strength, and a greater range of motion after one month of massage therapy.
A large, three-year study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management examined how massage affected pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, nausea, and depression in 1, people with cancer. The study showed massage, especially Swedish massage, improved cancer symptoms, even in those with substantial symptoms.
Researchers believe the comforting use of human touch played a role. Massage may give your immune system a boost. According to a study , a single session of Swedish massage therapy had a positive and acute impact on immunity. Blood samples taken before and after the massage showed a decrease in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and water retention. Anyone who is experiencing muscle tension and pain, insomnia, or stress may benefit from a hot stone massage. If you have a chronic condition that causes pain, talk to your doctor to see if a hot stone massage is a good option for you.
When performed by a trained therapist, a hot stone massage is generally safe. There are some circumstances where it should be avoided. Consult your doctor before getting a massage if you have:. A prenatal massage may help relieve stress and ease uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms.
You could also use a crock pot to heat your stones with water, a small amount of oil, and a hand towel at the bottom so they don't scratch the crock pot. There are some circumstances where it should be avoided. These particular stones are chosen because they retain heat. Essential Stretches for Runners Stretching before you run can help prevent injury. Muscles that are tense and in spasm can cause a lot of pain and interfere with daily life. Since then, the technique of using stones for healing has been used in many different cultures, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt, and India. Stones usually basalt  are placed into an electric slow-cooker or a purpose-built device which is filled with water.
To prevent burns, there should always be a barrier, such as a towel or sheet, between hot massage stones and your skin. Check with your therapist to see how they heat the stones. Massage helps to relax muscles, which makes it easier and more comfortable for someone to move.
Muscles that are tense and in spasm can cause a lot of pain and interfere with daily life. Reducing the inflammation and tension in the skeletal muscles eases both muscle spasms and pain. As previously said, massage and the use of hot stones can promote relaxation of the muscles and joints in the body to ease both pain and spasms. Many people do not sleep well.
Factors such as stress, insomnia , and busy schedules mean they get much less than the recommended hours of sleep each night. A review of some the literature on the effectiveness of massage shows that it is helpful in promoting relaxation and sleep in older people. Despite the many benefits associated with hot stone massage, it is not an appropriate therapy for everyone.
For hot stone massage, some of the contraindications, or factors that mean a person should not have a particular treatment, are listed below. Anyone with injuries or breaks in the skin should avoid a hot stone massage until those injuries have healed. Recent or severe bruising, cuts or scrapes, sunburn or varicose veins increase the risk for further tissue damage or injury. They also raise the chance of infection being introduced via bacteria from the massage oils or stones. This may sound like commonsense, but anyone with a fever , cold, or flu should avoid a massage until they feel better.
Someone with a fever may spread their germs, and they will have difficulty regulating their body temperature, as well.
This will leave them feeling more uncomfortable when hot stones are put on their skin. Heart disease can cause swelling or other problems in the veins or arteries of the legs, both of which can be negatively affected by a massage. A person should always tell the massage therapist about any health issues they have, so that they can be aware of potential risks. Diabetes influences how well the nerves and blood vessels function in the fingers and feet.
People with diabetes can lose feeling in their hands and feet, making them unable to feel if an injury, such as a burn, occurs. When it comes to massage, they may not be able to tell if the massage therapist is using too much pressure, or if the hot stones are burning their skin. Drugs and alcohol do not mix well with massage.
Both impair the ability to give feedback if necessary, and also affect judgment, and a person's self-control over their impulses. Furthermore, having a massage can leave someone feeling light-headed or wobbly. Drinking alcohol will compound and worsen these feeling.
Prenatal massage can be very relaxing and beneficial for many women, during their pregnancy. However, some practitioners feel uncomfortable with using hot stones on a pregnant woman. Even though hot stone massage is safe and effective for relaxation, there are strategies that will make it a better experience. To get the best out of a hot stone massage, it is important for people to be open with their massage therapist.
The massage therapist should be aware of any health conditions a client has that could affect how they perform the massage. Article last reviewed by Mon 29 May All references are available in the References tab. Effects of a minute back rub on cardiovascular responses in healthy subjects [Abstract]. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine , 29 1 , Is hot stone massage safe?
Fibromyalgia pain and substance p decrease and sleep improves after massage therapy [Abstract]. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology , 8 2 , Rheumatoid arthritis in upper limbs benefits moderate pressure massage therapy [Abstract]. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice , 19 2 , Hot stone massage therapy.
Literature review of back massage and similar techniques to promote sleep in elderly people [Abstract]. Pflege , 19 3 , MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
Privacy Terms Ad policy Careers. This page was printed from: Get the most out of Medical News Today. Subscribe to our Newsletter to recieve: Professionally-verified articles Daily or weekly updates Content custom-tailored to your needs Create an account. More Sign up for our newsletter Discover in-depth, condition specific articles written by our in-house team.
Sign in Log in with your Medical News Today account to create or edit your custom homepage, catch-up on your opinions notifications and set your newsletter preferences. Register for a free account Sign up for a free Medical News Today account to customize your medical and health news experiences. Register take the tour. Table of contents What is a hot stone massage?
Five benefits Risks Getting the most from a massage.