Joseph E. Samuels, Doctor of Oriental Medicine

If you enjoy a therapeutic massage with the extra benefit of heat for your sore muscles , a hot stone massage might just be a great choice for you.

A licensed massage therapist uses stones, usually made of basalt, a type of stone that retains heat due to its iron content and river rocks that are flat and smooth.

The therapist uses an electric heated container (sometimes looking similar to a crockpot), filled with water and places the stones inside until they reach a desired temperature noted on a thermometer. Prior to placing the stones on your skin, the therapist handles them to make sure the temperature is not too hot. However, since everyone feels temperatures differently, if the stones are too hot for you, make sure you communicate that with your therapist.

The therapists will place the warm stones at specific points of the body such as the back or hands. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles allowing the therapist to apply deeper pressure if needed. The therapist will also use cream or oil as in a traditional massage to the body and place the warm stones in their hands and massage with them. The stones glide over your muscles providing extra warmth and pain relief.

Hot stone massage has reportedly been known to be beneficial to those suffering back pain, arthritis pain and stress relief just to name a few.

Most therapist who perform hot stone massage have had additional certification in this technique which not only teaches them how to perform the massage, but also they learn about safety in order to insure the person is not burned by using temperatures that are too high for safe usage. Make sure you schedule with a qualified therapist so you can have a pleasant and safe experience.