I Got (Hot) Stoned

  • Posted on March 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm

I got up off the table after my 90-minute hot stone massage, and I was so woozy it’s a miracle I was able to stand up. Now I know why they have mirrors in the treatment rooms. They’re to make sure you don’t leave with your underwear on the outside.

Hot stone massages feel nothing like traditional massages. No fingers or elbows knead your back, the lotion is used sparingly, and of course there’s the scorching heat. But a really cool thing happens as soon as those stones hit you. The heat instantly drops just enough to feel hot but not Towering Inferno hot.

woman having stone massage in spa salon

My therapist, Heidi, placed one tiny warm basalt river stone on my forehead and palm-sized ones in each hand, as I lay face up on the massage table. The facial stone packed more healing power than I expected it to. It nearly melted blissfully into my third eye. The hand stones were hot and also equally calming.

Heidi started by saying, “I’m going to have you lie down on a row of stones that will sit along your spine.” I thought, “Okay, bulging discs be damned, I’m going to let her do it, even though it sounded only slightly more comfortable than a lumbar puncture. Surprisingly, I hardly even felt them, as they were wrapped in a soft gauzy covering. 

A rectangular black heater was plugged into the wall three feet from the massage table and held an array of black stones of different sizes. I occasionally heard it buzz as my limbs softened into the table. Heidi placed a large hot stone in each of her hands and, like an artist, began drawing large broad strokes across my legs and arms. After a half hour, she flipped me over and did the same on my back and neck. The heat infiltrated my body so deeply and aroused the kind of repose you often feel after emerging from a Jacuzzi.

It looked like Heidi had to work really hard at this, so I asked her if hot stone massages were more difficult for her, and she said, “It’s harder to concentrate on the rhythm of the strokes, but it’s actually easier on the hands.”

When the massage ended, I was so (hot) stoned that all I could manage was a crooked smile. I might have mumbled a “thanks.” After dressing, Heidi handed me a small cup of water and said, “Sometimes you can feel lightheaded after a stone massage because the heat penetrates deeply into the muscles.” I was so glad she said that. She even suggested sitting for a while before leaving. I had had previous experiences with dizziness during and after massages, but this, thankfully, was just an uber relaxation of my muscles. I stopped for a sandwich afterwards at a café, for takeout, and I messed up the entire order. Twenty minutes later, I was back to normal.

It’s so cool to get hot stoned.

Today’s Tip

If you’ve never had a hot stone massage, I strongly suggest trying one. This massage is contraindicated, though, for certain conditions such as pregnancy or high blood pressure. A good massage therapist will ask you if you want stones to rest on certain areas, such as your legs, face, and hands, while she’s massaging the rest of you. If the stones are too hot, you should ask the therapist to place a light covering over them. I suggest getting a hot stone massage when you have nothing planned afterward, as you might feel dazed for a while.

8 Comments on I Got (Hot) Stoned

  1. Jeni Recrimea says:

    I almost died laughing at the third line of this blog!!!! I have to say, I never considered one of these massages, but now I think I will try it. It sounds fantastic. I’m in a dazed state most of the time anyway ; )

  2. Roberta Lane says:

    I live on the East Coast, but a bunch of my good friends (10 in all, men and women) are planning a spa trip to California within the next year – not sure yet if we will go north or south – We have all been looking at websites, but someone stumbled upon your blog and we all love it. It’s great to hear someone’s honest opinion and not just a sales pitch. THat being said, how do you feel when the people at spas “encourage” you to buy products? That part always makes me skeptical, but then I think I might be missing out on something good.

  3. Valerie says:

    Hi Roberta! Thanks for the nice words about my blog. The idea of spa folks “encouraging” you to buy products is a bit of a turn-off, unless it’s something they truly believe would benefit you tremendously. I very rarely come across that situation at spas, but I see it a lot in stores that carry spa-like products. In my ideal world, salespeople would simply say, “Please let me know if you have any questions,” and then let you browse. Spas need to make money just like any other business, but I suppose it feels particularly bothersome when upselling goes on because you’re there to chill!

  4. Dean Kautzmann says:

    That sounds very cool. Having never really been into this type of relaxation in the past, I find myself looking for new ways to relax and find my center. This looks like a great place to start…and a great blog to start with. Thank you.

  5. Wendy Rabikoff says:

    I was thinking of getting one of these stone massages. Maybe I didn’t read it right, but they drag the rocks across you? DOes it hurt? I know you feel good later, but does it hurt when there doing it?

    • Valerie says:

      Hi Wendy,

      Yes, they do drag the hot stones across you, but it does not hurt at all. The stones take the place of the therapist’s hands, and the heat infused in them combined with the light amount of oil or lotion used to glide them along is actually blissful. I have found hot stone massages to be infinitely more relaxing than regular Swedish massages.

      -Val The Spa Gal

      • Wendy Rabikoff says:

        Sounds like one of those “don’t try this at home, I am a trained professional” deals. But maybe I’ll see if the Spa that I have gone to a few times does it. THanks, Valthespagal!

Leave a Reply