"Hot Stone Massage is a form of massage that uses heated basalt (lava) stones to perform the massage."
You see it in just about every spa advertisement - someone laying on a table with a row of black stones along their spine. So just what is a Hot Stone Massage? Basically, it is a massage that uses stones, usually basalt stones (which come from forms of hardened lava) heated in a water bath, and then placed on the body in specific spots, and also used in the massage therapist's hands to perform the massage. Basalt stones are used because they are porous, so the heated water is pulled deep into the stone, allowing the heat to penetrate the whole stone, not just the surface, so the heat can be used longer and more effectively. This in turn allows the massage to also benefit from the effects of the heat, helping to calm and remove inflammation, and creating deep relaxation and loosening of muscles. Arthritis is one condition that responds very well to heat treatments, as well as healing chronic injuries or stiffness.
Traditionally, basalt stones are used, but there are many different forms of stones used today including marble and crystal, and they are warmed in many different ways as well. Marble stones can also be used cold, especially in facials, to help with sinus problems or inflammation - a similar concept on the different end of the scale! However they are used, a Hot Stone Massage can range from an occasional luxurious treat, to a vital part of your health care routine.