Hot stone massage uses a combination of warmed stones and massage techniques to relax tense muscles, relieve pain and stiffness, and improve circulation. The treatment can be used for ailments like muscular aches, arthritic conditions, and autoimmune disorders. The heat of the stones penetrates the skin to promote better blood flow, release toxins and create a deeper muscle relaxation than in a standard massage. By placing the warmed stones over acupressure points you can help release the flow of energy and promote the body’s own healing process. Those who do hot stone massage can also customize the treatment to a client’s specific needs and preferences. It is vitally important that you use caution and pay close attention to your participant. Burns from hot stones are the #1 reason for lawsuits against licensed massage therapists!
Part 1. Gathering Your Materials
1.Find or purchase stones.
Stones used in this treatment are typically made of basalt, due to their ability to retain heat. The stones should also be very smooth, so they do not irritate the skin in any way. If you can’t find basalt stones, however, smooth river rocks are fine.You can order a hot stone massage kit online from Amazon or eBay. Do not want buy your stones from a rock quarry unless you are able to choose each stone individually.
- You should have anywhere between 20-30 stones, though some professional massages may have upwards of 45-60. There should be at least two large ovals around 8” long to 6” wide, seven stones you can fit in the palm of your hand, and 8 small stones between the size of an egg or a quarter.
2.Set up your area.
If you do not have a massage table, a bed or the floor will be fine. Once you’ve chosen where the massage should take place, you should lay out a clean sheet or a thick towel for the person you are massaging to lay down on. This will not only help them be more comfortable but also help absorb any excess oil from the massage.
- To really create a relaxing environment, try lighting some aromatherapy candles. Soothing scents like lavender, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and vanilla will help immerse your participant in the massage experience.
- You can also try playing some quiet classical music, or rain sounds to add to the mood.
3.Heat up your stones.
Ideally, you should prepare your stones 30-60 minutes before you begin your massage. The water should be no more than 130°. The stones will cool down as you use them. Anything below 110° is considered a warm stone massage, although it is important to know that a 104° stone can still burn someone if it is left laying on bare skin for a few minutes.
- To heat the stones, use a Crock-Pot that can hold at least 6 quarts of water or a large tabletop skillet that has sides close to 3 inches (7.6 cm). Note that Crock-Pots and similar kitchen equipment heat on a cycled basis, which means that the temperature can vary and must be monitored closely. It is better i f you can find something with an actual temperature setting, instead of low-medium-high
- Use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature in your Crock-pot. (Never use a glass thermometer as breakage can occur.) You should also keep the Crock-pot setting to warm or low, as you don’t want the water to boil.
- You should also rub some massage oil on each stone before it’s used.
4.Never place a hot stone directly on the participant’s skin without moving it.
The pictures you see in spa advertisements are not accurate, they are just meant to look appealing. To prevent burns, you must place a flannel sheet or towel down and then put the stones on top of that.
- Keep in mind it can take 3-4 minutes for the heat of the stones to penetrate to the skin.
Part 2. Performing the Massage
1.Please note that you should never have a participant lay down on top of hot stones as serious burns can occur.
2. Place four small sized stones on the participant’s face.
Once the participant has settled, take four of the smaller stones, without oil, and place them on the acupressure areas on their face. There should be one stone on their forehead, one under their lips, and one on each of their cheeks. You should avoid putting oil on these stones as it may clog their pores or irritate their skin. A great alternative is to chill the stones for the face instead of heating them as this will help reduce any puffiness.
3.Put medium to large stones along the breastbone, the collarbones, and in the participant’s hands.
Depending on the height and width of the participant, the size of the stones you use may vary. However, you should try to place one stone or more on either side of their collarbone, two large ones along the breastbone, and two palm-sized stones in their hands. They do not need to clasp these, but should instead remain fully relaxed and gently cupping the stones.
4.Use two palm-sized stones to massage the rest of the body.
Uncover the part of the body you are going to massage, remembering to remove any placed stones first. Rub some oil onto the skin and the stones. Follow the cords of muscles to work out any knots, changing stones as needed as they cool. When finished, re-cover the area you massaged, replace any stones and move on to the next area. Remove all stones once you have completed the entire massage.
5.Turn the participant over.
After you’ve finished massaging the front, have the participant turn over to lie on their stomach.To make the participant more comfortable, try placing a rolled up towel under their ankles.
- You should also make sure that you are changing your stones so they stay warm.
6.Cover the participant and place stones on the shoulder blades, the backs of the kneecaps, and between the toes.
Pick larger stones for the shoulder blades and the backs of the kneecaps. For the toes, place a small stone between each. You should then wrap each foot in a towel to help hold in the warmth and keep the stones in place.
- After you’ve placed these, uncover the area you intend to massage and rub some oil into the the skin. take two palm-sized, oiled stones and use them to massage the participant. As before, re-cover the area massaged, replace any stones and move on to the next area.
Part 3. Trying Different Techniques
1.Use the stones to massage rather than your hands.
Do this by moving the stones gently over tense, sore areas. The pressure applied by the stones may be quite strong, but since the participant’s muscles have been sufficiently relaxed by the heating process, the procedure should virtually be painless.
2.Combine the warm stones with other massage techniques.
You can try a Swedish massage or deep tissue massage. This will help you reap the greatest benefit from the experience. While the stones heat and soothe stiff muscles, other massage techniques can be applied with little or no discomfort – either with the stones still on the skin or after the stones are removed.
3.Alternate the hot stones with cold marble stones.
Most clients find that after a period of time, their bodies become so relaxed from the hot stone massage techniques, they don’t even notice the temperature change to the cooler stones. This process is often recommended for soothing injuries that result in painful swelling or inflammation.