When you’re experiencing muscle soreness, your instinct might point you towards applying heat to it. It’s simply one of the most potent elements you can incorporate into a massage. That said, a hot stone massage benefits the body in more ways than you might expect. 

It helps recover from muscle pains and certain diseases, while optimizing your mind and body’s functions. Learn more about how it works below.


How to do hot stone massage at home

It’s not as complicated as it seems. Follow along and treat a loved one, or even yourself, to a soothing hot stone treatment.

What you will need

You might already have some of these items at home or readily available for purchase. Even professional-grade massage stone sets are relatively easy to find nowadays.

  • 20 to 30 smooth basalt massage stones
  • A crockpot, or a large 6L pot
  • Small towel
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tongs or slotted spoon
  • Water bowl
  • Large towel or blanket
  • Massage oil (check out this article to learn which one suits you best!)
  • Massage gun

Getting ready

Proper preparation is key to a safe and fulfilling hot stone massage. Check out this short video on how to heat up the stones in water:


You can also use a large pot with a towel at the bottom. Place over the lowest setting on your stove for about 30 minutes. Monitor the water temperature with a meat thermometer until it reaches 43 to 54 °C (110 to 130 °F).

To check if the stones are at a safe temperature, hold a few stones and see if you can handle them comfortably. They should be hot, but not scalding. 

You can also chill stones in the freezer for 1 hour if the participant complains of inflammation.

Apply the stones and administer the massage

A person using a hot stone to massage the left arm of a woman laying on her stomach with hot stones placed on her back

Photo by engin akyurt from Unsplash

The stones can stay in place for 3 to 4 minutes at a time. Always ask for feedback on whether the stones are too hot or too tepid. As a safety measure, you can also cover the bare skin with a towel or blanket before placing a stone on top of it. 

Hot massage stones on top of a person's calves, soles, and in between the toes

Photo by Michelle Aleksa from Shutterstock

  1. Start with the participant laying on their stomach, heels and palms facing the ceiling. 
  2. Carefully place the larger stones along the spine. You can also place stones along the shoulder blades, buttocks, and behind the knees.
  3. Gently glide larger stones along the hamstrings and calves with some massage oil. Then, place one stone on each sole, and smaller ones between the toes.
  4. Have the participant lay on their back
  5. Gently massage the forehead, temples, and cheeks with a little massage oil then apply smaller, cooler stones. Place one on the forehead, one on each cheek, and one just below the bottom lip.
  6. Gently glide the larger stones along the chest and arms with some massage oil and place one on each palm. You may also place some stones on the chest and belly.
  7. Similarly glide the stones along the quads and outside your shins. Place one stone on each thigh.
  8. With all stones removed, finish by massaging the shoulders, neck, and scalp.

A woman relaxing with hot massage stones on her chest, chin, cheeks, and forehead

Photo by Sergey Torbik from Pexels

Pro tip: hot stone massages are a great opportunity to incorporate a few massage strokes. That’s because the presence of heat enhances the health benefits of such massage techniques. And you can make this easier with a deep tissue massage gun

person applying a massage gun on another person's back


Keeping the treatment area covered, glide the massage gun across for 15-30 seconds per muscle group. Remember to ask for feedback on the pressure and speed setting.

Overview: hot stone massage benefits and precautions

The hot stone massage is generally safe, and you can hardly go wrong with it under the right conditions. It feels great, it relieves pain, but it’s generally not for those who suffer from illness. Here are some pros and cons of hot stone massage:









  1. A Step-By-Step Guide To The Hot Stone Massage
  2. What Are the Health Benefits of a Hot Stone Massage?
  3. Five benefits of hot stone massage therapy
  4. How to Prepare Hot Stones for a Hot Stone Massage : Hot Stone Massage
  5. Can You Heat Massage Stones in the Microwave?
  6. Hot Stone Massage at Home With Your Own Stones
  7. Hot Stone Massage Side Effects: Good & Bad!

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