Hot stone massage is a specialty massage that uses smooth, heated stones of varying sizes. The stones are often basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat well. It is a deeply soothing, relaxing form of massage. The direct heat relaxes muscles, allowing manipulation of a greater intensity than with regular massage.
In cases of muscular injury and inflammation, frozen, cooling marble stones are also sometimes used. This creates a type of thermotherapeutic ‘vascular gymnastics’ in the circulatory system to help the body detoxify and heal. The warmer stones expand the blood vessels, pushing blood and unwanted waste materials through the body. This has a sedative effect on the nervous system. The cold stones cause the blood vessels to constrict, stimulating the nervous system and drawing blood and waste products along the body.