What Happens During a Japanese Hot Stone Massage

Are you thinking of scheduling a Japanese hot stone massage, but do not know what to expect? If so, then you have come to the right place. This article will explain the “ins and outs” of getting this type of massage. What is a Japanese hot stone massage? Well, it is a heated massage that is beneficial for removing toxins from your body. It is also used to accelerate your metabolism, increase your energy, and reduce the stress, tension and anxiety in your life. This type of massage is even good for pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual aches and pains.

Smooth, hot Basalt stones provide your achy, strained, stressed, and/or tired muscles with sweet relief. A Japanese hot stone massage will not only revitalize your body, it will also help your refocus so you can accomplish your goals. This massage typically takes between 60 and 90 minutes to complete. The cost usually ranges between $80 and $125, per hour, depending on the spa. It is important to contact your physician before scheduling a Japanese hot stone massage. In addition, if you are given the “OK” to have the massage, it is imperative that you share your complete medical history (i.e. illnesses, medical conditions, medications and surgeries) with your massage therapist.


During a Japanese hot stone massage, you will lie face down on the massage table. Your massage therapist will then rub a variety of soothing, essential oils onto your body. In most cases, the massage room will be filled with soft lightening, soothing music and aromatherapy scents. He/she start at one foot and work his/her way up towards your head. Once this first side is finished, your massage therapist will start working on the other side, foot to head. During this time, he/she will knead your tense muscles (i.e. feet, arms, shoulders, back and legs) with his/her fingertips. When it is time for your massage therapist to massage your leg, he/she will place hot stones at various locations on it.

As the stones lay on one leg, your therapist will take an additional stone, and move it sweepingly across your other leg (in upward strokes). When it is time to massage your back, your massage therapist will place the hot, Basalt stones, down your spine (back) and neck (in a row). During this time, your therapist will take an additional stone and rubs it up your back to your neck and shoulders. After that your therapist will ask you to turn over into a horizontal position. He/she will then start on each foot (one at a time).  Your massage therapist will place small stones between your toes to release the pressure between them. He/she also places stones on your thigh (in a row).

Your therapist will then take an additional stone and place it on your calf (avoiding your shin). During this time, he/she will place stones on your palms and massage your arm. After a while, your therapist will remove the stones from your thighs, and place them on your chest. Your massage therapist will need to make sure that the stones are not too hot or they will burn the delicate skin on your chest. He/she will then gently massage your thighs to release the tension in them. Your massage therapist will eventually remove the stones from your chest. He/she will then gently massage your chest with another stone. Once your therapist has massaged your chest with sweeping motions, your massage session will be complete.


It is important to note that hot and cold sensitivity varies from person to person; therefore it is important to alert your massage therapist, if the stones are too hot for your preference. Excessively hot stones can lead to burning and blistering, so it is important to be honest with your therapist.

In addition, this massage is not recommended for individuals:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Those with an eating disorder (i.e. anorexia)
  • Those with one or more open wounds
  • Those with an autoimmune disorder (lupus, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)
  • Those with chronic hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Those with kidney or liver diseases
  • Those with varicose veins
  • Those with an arrhythmia, heart problems, pacemakers, and/or epilepsy
  • Those with migraines, chronic muscle fatigue (weakness)
  • Organ transplant recipients


Brown, A. (2014). What is a hot stone massage? About Travel. Retrieved from http://spas.about.com/od/hotstonemassage/a/Hotstone.htm

Ladock, J. (2014). Benefits of hot stone massage. Health Guidance. Retrieved from http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/11301/1/Benefits-of-Hot-Stone-Massage.html