Hot Stone Massage Side Effects: Good & Bad!

We Talked About Cold Stone Massage Already!

Welcome back to yet another post! Today we’ll be talking about hot stone massage. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I recently covered everything to know about cold stone massage including its benefits and dangers. You can check that post out by clicking here!

Because of how popular hot stone massage is these days, I felt it’s important to take some time and discuss the associated side effects!

When talking side effects, most people immediately jump the gun and assume it’s only bad stuff or negative consequences. This is not so. Side effects, the way I’ve always understood can be a good thing or a bad thing. Today we’ll look at both the good and bad with hot stone massage!

The Thing About Side Effects

Since everyone always like to start with the good, let’s do a complete 180 and talk about the bad!


Hot Stone Massage Side Effects: 2 Dangers You Need To Be Aware Of!

#1 The Likelihood, Albeit Low, of Burns!

Although the likelihood of getting burnt during or as a result of a hot stone massage is low, it still is a possibility. If it’s a possibility, it needs to be talked about as far as I’m concerned.

How can you get burnt during a hot stone massage?

It’s pretty simple. If you put hot stones that are extremely hot directly on your skin, you will most likely end up getting burnt! This is something that really comes down to the therapist administering the massage. If he/she is not sufficiently trained in properly preparing the hot stones, then burns are a very realistic and serious risk to the patient.

Hot Stones Can Burn You

How bad can a hot stone burn be? Can it be pretty serious?

It really depends on a couple of factors. For one, it depends on how hot of a temperature the stones are heated to. The more hotter, obviously the worse the burn. Two, it depends on the patient receiving the treatment.

Not all of us have the same skin thickness. Younger children under 18 and older adults up to 80 may have thinner skin, and because of this they may suffer a more extreme burn than any other adult.

If you want to read more about fragile skin and how you can protect it, here’s an interesting short read on MayoClinic!

The point is everyone is different. When it comes to burns and other conditions, not everyone will react the same. Because of this alone, it becomes more important to ensure safety is given utmost attention.

Lastly, this article written by Leslie DeMatteo on Integrative Healthcare goes into the nitty gritty details on how to safely perform a successful stone massage (and a whole bunch of other things also!). Not all of the 9 tips will be relevant if you’re performing at home, but some of them definitely will be!

#2 It May Not Be The Best Choice If You Suffer From A Skin Condition!

Burns are the biggest concern when it comes to hot stone massage, and even then the probability of getting burnt is pretty low if you go to an establishment that has well trained therapists who know what to do.

If you suffer from a skin condition such as psoriasis for example, hot stone massage may actually do more harm than good!

Basically any condition which leaves the skin sensitive and more prone to damage is to me a contraindication of hot stone massage. You would think this would be common sense and most people would figure it out and avoid getting this type of massage as it could make things worse.

Alas, common sense isn’t all that common!

Something To Think About

If you do suffer from a skin condition and would like to schedule a hot stone massage, it’s best you consult with both the therapist as well as your physician (or dermatologist if you have one). It may not be an issue if the stones are not directly in contact with the affected area, but this is something you should anyways discuss with your Doctor.

I’ve said it time and again, better to be safe than sorry. Accidents are preventable if we take the necessary care and caution!


Hot Stone Massage Side Effects: A Few Positives!

#1 It Feels Great!

One of the reasons hot stone massage is so popular (and has been that way over the years) is because it feels amazing! If you’ve never tried it before, you’re seriously missing out. It’s a totally different experience from your regular massage.

The heat from the stones is one aspect that makes for a very comforting and relaxing experience. The actual massage with the stones takes this all to another level!

Self Explanatory

Sometimes it’s perplexing to me that people (including myself!) always look for benefits for whatever they may be interested in doing, whether that’s massage, meditation, yoga or something else. Does it really matter what the benefits are? If it feels good, who really cares anyways!

#2 Improves The Effectiveness of Massage!

Heat has always been a massive aid in massage. One reason why heat and massage is used together so often is because heat prepares the body, the muscles in the best possible way to receive massage. Think of it like this:

What’s easier to massage? Playdough that’s soft and pliable, or clay that’s been left for several hours to harden?

Definitely the former, right!? The same kinda concept applies to the muscles in our body. The more rigid and stiff the muscles, the harder to manipulate and massage. The more pliable, the easier to massage and most importantly the massage will be more effective!

This makes sense intuitively and is true otherwise as well. So where does heat come into play? Heat is responsible in making the muscles softer and easier to manipulate.

Coming back full circle to the main point….hot stone therapy as a precursor to massage is far more effective than just massage!

By the way you shouldn’t just take my word for it, validate all of this and experiment for yourself. See if this actually holds true for you!

#3 It Relieves Pain!

Another consequence of heat therapy is pain relief. It’s been long known that application of heat in a certain way can be used as a method to relieve pain in certain parts of the body.

Hot stones placed on various parts of the body is a great way to relieve pain because the hot stones reduce muscle tension and also increases blood flow/circulation in the area (Source: Healthline).

You can by now probably see the trend/pattern, but if you haven’t……it’s all about the heat in hot stone therapy!


And That’s About All You Need To Know!

The best parting advice I can give you is to always take the time to consult with your physician and therapist before commencing a particular therapy. This goes for hot stone, cold stone therapy, and even regular good ol massage therapy.

There’s pros and cons to pretty much everything. Being informed about them is definitely good, but it’s not enough. All of us are different and what might be conducive and beneficial for some, might not be for others!

Figuring out if something works specifically for you is always the best way to go about it. Informing yourself of the risks and speaking to the experts has always been the right way to do things, at least in my honest opinion.

With that I bid you farewell and hopefully hot stone massage is something we can all safely continue to enjoy for many years to come!

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

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