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Remedial Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

The words ‘hot stone massage’ may conjure up images of relaxation, indulgence and pleasure, but did you know that it can also be a very effective remedial treatment for sore or injured muscles?

Remedial hot stone massage is different to what you might be used to in a hot stone massage for relaxation. In remedial massage, the hot stones are used to relax the muscle, so your therapist can deliver a more effective service. It’s a technique that can be used for healing soft tissue injuries, managing chronic pain and assisting mobility in your joints and muscles.

What is hot stone massage?

Hot stone massage combines massage and heat therapy to relax and heal muscle tissue throughout your body. It involves your massage therapist applying smooth, hot stones to specific parts of your body and using them to massage you.

Your massage therapist may move the stones in long strokes over your body, use them to work into trigger points or areas of tension, or place them on various parts of your body during the massage. Just like any other massage, the pressure may be gentle or firm and may focus on different areas of your body, depending on your needs.

You might be wondering, just how hot is ‘hot’? The stones are heated to between 60-75 degrees Celsius – hot enough to benefit tired and sore muscles, but not hot enough to burn you (Firm n Fold, 2019).

The healing power of heat

You’ve likely heard of or been prescribed heat treatment for injury, muscle soreness or muscle strain. Usually, this is achieved with tools like a heat pack.

So how does heat help in healing your ailments? Studies suggest many benefits, including decreased perception of pain and increased blood circulation to promote muscle healing. It can also contribute to relief of low back pain (French et al., 2008), frozen shoulder (Leung et al., 2008) and arthritic joint pain (Hayes, 1993).

Heat may also offer benefits (Firm n Fold, 2019) such as:

  • Reducing tightness and trigger point activity in muscles, by reducing the firing of muscle spindles

  • Boosting healing by increasing the metabolic rate

  • Increasing the pliability of fascia, allowing for better muscle movement

Benefits of remedial hot stone massage

You probably already know that remedial massage can relieve muscle pain and tension. It also has other positive effects such as:

  • Lowering cortisol – the stress hormone. Studies have shown that cortisol levels in the body are lowered after a massage, which is measurable proof of an anti-stress effect. One study found that a 15-minute massage break was more effective in relieving work stress than the same length of break without a massage.

  • Improving sleep. Research shows that massage, particularly back massage, which is often the main focus of hot stone massage, helps promote relaxation and sleep.

  • Boosting immunity. Another study showed that massage decreased arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and water retention, suggesting an immunity boosting power.

Remedial hot stone massage combines the benefits of heat with the benefits of massage, to offer you a deeply relaxing and healing treatment. By adding the element of heated stones, your muscle will be looser, so your massage therapist can penetrate deeper and provide more effective treatment.

Research has shown that hot massage has positive effects on musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia pain and degenerative rheumatism (Ramova, 2021). Patients with these conditions experienced lower levels of pain, better sleep and better range of motion after massage treatment.

Ready to experience the healing benefits of hot stone massage? Book an appointment with our friendly team today to get started.


E P Ramova., Volcanic Stone Massage and its Benefits, South Asian Research Journal of Applied Medical Sciences, 2021

S French, M Cameron, et al., A Cochrane Review of Superficial Heat or Cold for Low Back Pain, Spine, 2008

KW Hayes., Heat and Cold in the Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Arth & Rheum, 1993

M Leung, G Cheung., Effects of Deep and Superficial Heating in the Management of Frozen Shoulder, J Rehab Med, 2008

Firm n Fold, The Remedial Power of Hot Stones, 2019


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