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Hot Stone Massage – Is It Right For You?

Massage Therapy Grande PrairieWhat is Hot Stone Massage?

Hot Stone Massage is the use of warmed stones to increase the temperature of the treated area and internal temperature of the body to allow the Massage Therapist to reach deeper tissues.1 Hot stones can be either placed on the body for a period of time (varies for each person’s tolerance and needs) or used in a massage method.

The heated stones promote the blood vessels in the area to dilate, increase in size, allowing for more blood to flow to the area.1 The increased blood flow to the area helps the muscles to relax, allowing the massage therapist to release tight muscles or trigger points within the deeper muscle tissue.

I’ve heard people can get burnt by the stones. Can that happen?

Unfortunately, yes you can get burnt by the stones. However, almost all burn situations by the hot stones are avoidable. Here are some things you should be aware of to avoid a burn:

  1. Communication1

Your Massage Therapist cannot feel what you feel. This means that you need to share with them when the stones are too hot or you are uncomfortable. It is also important to inform your Massage Therapist of all health conditions and medications as the Hot Stone Massage can cause adverse effects for some conditions.1

  1. Hydration1

The skin tissue and internal hydration levels need to be well maintained to maximize the benefits of the hot stone massage. If the skin is dry your Massage Therapist should add moisturizer prior to starting the Hot Stone Massage. It is also important for you to ensure that you have adequate hydration; so, make sure you drink lots of water before your treatment, during, and afterwards.1 It is important because, as the body temperature increases and more blood flows to the area, more water is required to ensure proper body functions.1

  1. Material between Stones and skin

If the Massage Therapist is placing the Hot Stones on your skin to remain in a stationary position it is important that there is fabric between you and the stones. It can take up to 3-4 minutes for the heat to reach you through the material. Be sure to communicate with your Massage Therapist if you are concerned regarding the stone temperature.1

  1. Improper heating1

The Hot Stones are designed to be heated by a specialized heating unit. If the hot stones are heated using other tools such as crock-pots, microwave ovens, ovens, heating pads, or hot places they are more likely to burn you. Hot stones should be heated through a specialized designed unit that utilizes water to heat the stones. The Massage Therapist will also use a thermometer to ensure that the unit is properly calibrated so that the stones are not too hot.1

Hot Stone Massage helps with many conditions, including, but not limited to1:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Acute bursitis
  • Sports injuries
  • Headaches
  • Bruises

This does not mean that Hot Stone Massage is for everyone. There are some conditions for which Hot Stone Massage is not beneficial. If you have any of the following conditions Hot Stone Massage is NOT for you1:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune dysfunctions
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuropathy
  • Heart disease
  • Skin Conditions
  • Recent surgeries
  • Pregnancy

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and other conditions may not benefit from Hot Stone Massage.1

Hot stone massage has a positive impact on many soft-tissue injuries. Book an appointment with Joy Cepeda at PrimeCARE Health Grande Prairie for your Hot Stone Massage!

Author: Lorelle Warr, B.Sc., M.Sc. Kinesiologist



  1. Nelson M. Don’t feel the burn: hot stone massage can be a real benefit to your clients. Massage Therapy Journal. 2010; 49(3):32-39.

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