Hot Rock Massage Explained

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Hot Rock (Stone) massage is a deeply relaxing massage using hot stones as a tool to warm and soften muscles, releasing tension and allowing for faster relaxation. Hot Rocks can be used for a firm or lighter massage.

For a firm massage Therapists can warm the muscle area faster with hot rocks allowing deeper work with minimal pain or for a lighter style massage the smooth stones are glided over the body in the hands of a trained Therapist. Hot rock pressure and technique is adjusted by the Therapist to soothe and calm the body with the warmth of the stones.

Advertising images for Hot Rock Massage is completely misleading in that it usually shows a person laying face down with a trail of rocks placed on a bare skin back. This should not happen as it could burn a client’s skin if not protected from direct stationary heat from the rocks.


ikatan Spa we incorporate the hot rock massage with aromatherapy oils where the aroma effect is heightened with the heat from the stones during the massage.

There are a lot of different styles and techniques for hot rock massage however from my years of experience working with hot rocks, I prefer to train ikatan Therapists to always protect the client and never leave stationary hot rocks touching client’s bare skin.

I have had some strange massages with rocks placed between my toes, in the palm of my hands and between my fingers, placed on my forehead, under my shoulders, on my lower back, under my hips and even put down my pants(I got the giggles with that one)!

I believe that the Spa Therapists, as the professional, should be controlling the hot rocks throughout the treatment and that a client should not have stationary hot rocks applied to areas where they could be uncomfortable, have to be held or where the heat will become excessive if left unattended ( I have experienced this too). Always tell your Therapists (as we can’t read minds, wish we could) if you are uncomfortable during any treatment as it is not offensive to them and easily adjusted for you to enjoy your experience.

Where do hot rocks, stones come from?

Although the exact origin of hot rocks is unclear, various cultures dating back several centuries have used hot stones for healing and pain relief. Hot rocks are made from Basalt (black volcanic rock) that have been washed smooth from being in a river and while it is thought that hot rocks harbour or transfers energy Basalt has been scientifically tested to be inert (does not hold or emit energy).

Ikatan Spa rocks are from Bali’s sacred Ayung river in Ubud, which flows down from volcanic Mt Agung and were collected by our Balinese Friends for us to bring back to ikatan Spa making them very special to us.

How a Hot Rock Massage should be given?

At ikatan Spa we place a sarong on your back with hot rocks on top then wrap to retain the heat and prevent movement as well as warming the areas on back and shoulders that hold tension. While we massage your feet and legs with hot stones the back is relaxing under the warmth of the wrapped hot stones.

The general principal of hot rock massage is to use the warmth from the hot rocks held in our hands to massage your muscles (with adjustable pressure) and using a combination of warm oil, hot rocks and hands to achieve the desired benefit. I do not like ironing clothes, but I often feel like I am ironing client’s muscles with the hot rocks as I can feel the muscles giving way with the warmth under my hands as the clients drift into deep relaxation.

Hot Rocks are a wonderful tool provided by nature and used in the correct way can achieve great results to ease muscle tension, increase relaxation and they feel so smooth combined with warm oil and hands that clients often ask ‘is that the rock or your hands’ and that is just the way it should feel.

Day Spa Oracle blog came about from clients inspiring me to share my knowledge, experience and advice. I hope it inspires you too Katrina Thorpe Day Spa Oracle

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