The points on which the therapist chooses to place the hot stones may vary from client to client, depending on areas of muscle tension, and the client’s specific health problems. Some common regions of the body targeted during a hot stone massage session include the palms of the hands, the legs, abdomen, feet, and the erector spinae, which are the strips of muscle running down either side of the spine. Sometimes, small stones are also placed on the forehead or on the toes.
Massage oil is then used to reduce friction during the massage session. The therapist uses both hands and performs long, stroking, rubbing, and kneading movements over the client’s muscles with techniques similar to Swedish massage. This is often done while the stones are still in place. Hot stone massages are normally conducted in hour to hour-and-a-half sessions.
Hot stone masseuses recommend that clients who have pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, insensitivity to pain, epilepsy, tumours, autoimmune disease, or migraines check in with their doctors before getting a hot stone massage, as hot stone massages can negatively interact with these conditions. Clients who have skin wounds or inflamed skin are also discouraged from having hot stone massages.
Some of the benefits of hot stone massages include the immediate payoff of relaxation and stress-relief. The heat and pressure of the stones also relax muscles and help to relieve back pain.