Hot Stone Massage
by Dave

Woman Receiving Hot Stone Massage on her Date
Hot stone massage therapy dates back thousands of years to a time when Indian Yogis used the practice to balance the body's energy. Whether or not you believe in the power of hot stones to heal the body and balance energy, warm stones definitely help push relaxation deeper into the muscles and feel great.

The Rocks
The nice thing about this date idea is that it's basically free. Sure, you'll see ads for basalt massage stone kits online for $50+, but all they're really selling is the same stones you can find at your local beach, lake, or riverbed. That's right everyone, free rocks at the beach!

Professional therapists use sets of 50 stones, but that really just adds more complexity than the normal person needs. A set of 15-20 stones will be plenty. Choose:

  • 8 flat stones for the back (about the size of your palm).
  • 1 large flat stone for the sacrum (a little larger than your hand).
  • 2 round stones for the hands (a little smaller than a tennis ball).
  • 2 flat stones for the feet (size of your palm).
  • 4 round stones you will use to massage.
  • Optional stones for the heart, stomach, etc.
If possible, pick gray stones (black when wet) because they retain heat better than others, and choose ones that are very smooth; porous rocks may be too rough and uncomfortable against the skin. Along with heat, the pressure feels good so make sure to select ones with a little weight and flat enough on one side to stay in place. Make sure to rinse and scrub the selected stones with soapy water after returning home.

Spread one sheet out on the ground or bed and have another nearby for cover. Set aside a few pillowcases or light towels nearby. Candles provide good lighting and classical or new age music is relaxing. Make sure the room is nice and warm.

A large crock pot or turkey roaster is ideal for warming the stones because it will maintain a constant temperature during the massage. If you don't have either then try a large pot with a heating plate or just a large covered pot. Place your stones in the pot, keeping the rocks you will use first (back, sacrum) on top. Fill with water until the stones are covered and adjust the heat to between 120-150 degrees. Maintain the temperature for 20 minutes to fully warm the rocks. Lay out a dry towel or cloth to dry the stones after you pull them out of the water, and a bowl of cold water in case the stones too hot.

Here are some videos that show how professional therapists prepare:

Start the person on their stomach with a sheet covering them from foot to neck. Remove one of the 8 stones you've chosen for their back and place it on the upper back to test the heat. If it’s too hot, put a light towel or pillowcase underneath, if too cool, try placing the rocks directly on the skin. Arrangeg all 8 rocks along the spine, 4 on each side, and then place the sacrum stone (top of the rear, right below the waistline). Uncover one leg, apply plenty of oil to both it and the rocks you will use to massage, then rub them up and down the leg once or twice, getting a feel for the right amount of pressure. Remember to rub the stones in long, smooth strokes along the skin, without adding much additional pressure. The stones should glide easily with the proper amount of oil. Once you figure out the pressure, make 4-6 passes up and down the leg then set the stones aside. Use your hands to knead the leg muscles and then massage the foot. Cover this leg and repeat with the other one. When you've finished with the 2nd foot, replace the stones in the crock pot and uncover both legs, massaging each with one hand, using long strokes. Re-cover the legs and place the foot rocks on their soles.

Remove the back stones, pull the sheet down to the waist, and apply oil to the entire back. The warmth should have already relaxed their back muscles. With warm stones in-hand, gently cover the major areas of the back using long, smooth strokes. When finished, use your hands to massage the neck, shoulders, lats, lower back, and arms.

Have the person turn over with the sheet covering them from foot to chest and their arms out. Place two warm rocks in their hands with the palms facing up, and any stones you selected for their heart and stomach areas. Massage the legs first, as you did on their other side, taking care around the knee.

Massage the arms with rocks in-hand, replacing with warmer ones if they've cooled. As with the knees, show extra caution around their elbows. When done, set the rocks aside and knead the shoulders and arms, finishing with the hand and fingers.

Remove all rocks from the torso, apply oil to the top of their chest, and massage briefly with warm stones. Set the stones aside and massage the chest with your hands. Wipe your hands on a towel and finish the massage with a light scalp massage.

The entire experience should take about an hour, with the back lasting a bit longer than the front. Most people keep a lot of tension in their neck, shoulders, and back, so spend plenty of time in that region. When massaging, remember to always push outward and apply pressure toward the extremities.

Here are some videos showing basic technique used by professional therapists:

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You'll Need

Around 20 basalt stones or river rocks
Massage oil
Turkey roaster or crockpot
A few light towels or pillowcases

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