Experience of Hot Stone Massage

Published on 1 September, 2018 | Case Studies

stone massage

Professional Experience of  Hot Stone Massage

Case study

stone massage

I completed this case study on a regular client to do a complete hot stone massage treatment. My client is also undertaking physiotherapy at present, after an accident. He finds weekly massage treatments and daily jacuzzi help him greatly with pain management. He seems to be accident prone, has many broken bones, had several operations in the past. He suffers from aches, pains and stiffness, and takes pain control medication.

About three months ago my client was booked in with me and since then requested to alternate his bookings between the salon owner and myself. I have found that salon owner is using hot stones as part of her massage treatments for this client. I asked my client, if he would like to receive a full Hot Stone Massage, and he agreed to be my case study.

I work in a busy salon, where we wear uniforms. Clean and tidy presentation of ourselves and our salon is very important to us. So is welcoming and professional manner in greeting and treating our clients. To help maintain the standards, we allow a 15 minutes turn-around time after the facial and massage treatments.

Preparation & Consultation


About an hour before the treatment I had time and made sure the room was ready with clean towels, and the stones were washed and disinfected, and placed in the heater on a white facecloth to make it easier to see them in the heater. I covered them with water and turned the heater on to the recommended temperature (120-135degrees Fahrenheit).. Just before the consultation, I have checked that the water was a desired 125 degrees Fahrenheit, and that the room temperature was comfortably warm.

During the consultation I explained the treatment to my client, along with the contra-indications and contra-actions (possible after-effects). We established,  the objective of the treatment was to achieve deep relaxation, and pain and tension relieve in the muscles, particularly calf muscles, and neck and shoulder area.

Client signed the card, indicating he was happy to receive the treatment. We agreed to follow the same routine as in Full Body massage.


I left the client to get ready: to undress down to the underwear and to lie down on his front using facehole, so that the neck was straight. Relaxing music is on in the rooms throughout the day.  I went to wash my hands. Back with the client, I checked  that he was comfortable, and covered his lower body with the large towel. Considering client’s medication, I was not using an aromatherapy blend, but putting 1-2 drops of an uplifting oil into the heater. In the four treatments that I have done on this client so far, I used orange, grapefruit,  mandarin and the last time eucalyptus oil. It definitely gives a more holistic experience.

Applying Hot Stones

using stones for massage

I took out a couple of effleurage stones so they cool down slightly. And placed a large sacral stone wrapped in a towel at the base of the spine. I applied some oil to the back (we use squeeze bottles). Once I spread the oil, I asked my client to breathe in and out  deeply three times and on the out breath glided my hands slowly with a firm pressure from the base of the back to the neck and out over the shoulders. Down along the sides of the body on the intake. It helps to relax the clients, especially those who tend to talk more initially. When on previous occasion my client’s skin was more dry, and I spent more time spreading oil, he commented, that I did not ask him to take deep breaths. For me it was a positive feedback that my method is noted and  works well.

Next I held hot stones in my hands for a couple of seconds to introduce the heat to the skin. After the effleurage x3 from the base to lumber area and down the sides, from base to chest area and down the sides, and base to the shoulder area and down the sides of the body, I was ready to use the stones.

I took out the next pair of stones to cool down. And kept on doing so before using the stones that are out.

Using Hot stones on the Shoulders

Starting at the shoulders, as this area is less sensitive to heat than lower back, I did a reversed effleurage x3 over the shoulders, then in increasing circles down the spine x3. Flipping the stones regularly in hands, as they cool down, releasing heat to the skin.

Lower back & Shoulders

With the next pair of stones I came round to the side of the body, and worked on the opposite side using wringing movement. After the slow ironing movement on the lower back, petrissage in spiral motion from the lower back to the shoulders x3 on both sides at the same time. (Without the stones I would have used double palm pressure). With the side of the stone worked around the pelvic bone and up along the spine. Stretching movement on the lower back. Then glided up the spine to circle around the shoulders x3.

Having moved client’s arm to raise the scapula,  used the side of the stone to work around the scapula. With the arm back down, worked on the trapezius, on shoulders and neck up to the base of the skull on both sides at the same time.  Effleurage neck, shoulders, down the upper arms x3 using trigger point stones worked the muscles along the spine from the neck to the base of the spine. Followed by effleurage to the whole back. Repeated on the other side.

Back Massage

back massage

Finished back massage by effleurage  x3 to the whole back starting at the base. Then shaking/ vibration movement from the shoulders down the back, left, right and centre (without the stones). Placed hands one on the base of the back, one at the top (covering 7th vertebra).

Covered back with a towel. Uncovered right leg. Applied almond oil. Introducing heat from the stones with my hand, used long flowing strokes to the whole leg. From the ankles up to the buttocks and with lighter pressure down to the feet.

Used palm stones proceeding with petrissage on the hamstrings, effleurage before moving onto the lower leg. Spent more time to work on the calf muscles, using sides of the stones.Up and down the sole of the foot x3. Finished with effleurage to the whole leg x3. Stroking/shaking moment down the leg (no stones), and placed hands on the foot and ankle.


Leg Massage

Covered the right leg. Repeated on the left leg.

Holding towels, asked client to turn over. With the client sitting up for a moment, placed 8 flat  stones 4 each side of the spine and the pillow/neck stone. Covered with a pillowcase. Did not place any stones on the front, as the client is a very big rounded man.

Uncovered left leg. Applied oil. Held the stones in the hands, then put them down, and introduced the heat doing effleurage x3. Next with the stones x3. Petrissage/wringing on the upper leg,  side of the stone to work around the knee. Effleurage x3 to the upper leg, moved to the lower leg. Effleurage x3 including foot. Trigger point stone used on tibialis anterior.

Effleurage x3 on lower leg including foot. Effleurage x 3 on the whole leg. Without stones stroking/shaking movement to finish. Placed  hands on the foot.

Covered left leg. Repeated on the right leg.


Applied oil to the abdomen. Introduced heat, effleurage x3, firm pressure with the thumbs along the rib cage from centre to the sides, half way to the belly button from centre to the sides, from belly button to the sides. X2. Stroked from the sides up alternating hands, going from the rib cage down to the pelvis and up again, repeated on the other side. Effleurage with the stones x3. Palmer kneading following the colon. Circular movement over the abdomen x3. Finished by placing hands on the solar plexus. Covered abdomen.

Arm massage

Left arm massage. Introduced heat, repeated effleurage with the stones x3. Upper arm, firmer pressure while supporting the elbow with the other hand. Move to the lower arm and palm. Without stones pull on the fingers and thumb.

Effleurage to the whole arm. Repeat on the right arm.

Chest, neck & head massage

For the chest, shoulders, neck and head massage I usually sit down. I took out the stones to be used. Applied oil to the chest and spread it to the upper arms and neck. ( Took away the pillow stone.) Effleurage introducing heat from the stones x3, followed by effleurage with the stones x3. From the chest out down the top of the arms to the elbows, up the back of the arms to the shoulders, up the back of the neck to the base of the skull.

Turned client’s head to the left, and supporting head with the left hand on the forehead, glided right hand (with a stone) with firm pressure down the neck, along the shoulder, down the arm and back up, then worked on the neck and shoulder muscles. Repeated gliding movement followed by massage on the head. One more gliding movement, then turned head to the other side. Supporting head with the right hand, repeated gliding and kneading movements on the left side.

Effleurage x3. Chin to ears x3. Mouth to ears x3. Very light so as not to stretch the skin. Pressure points around the eyes from the outer corners under to the nose. Press/circle on the sides of the nose for sinus relief. Along the cheek bone pressure points, then moved  to the brows. From near the nose out pressure points just under the brows. Circled around the eyes. Stroked up from the centre of the forehead. Then pressure points at about half inch intervals from the inner corners of the brows up the forehead. Out about half inch, and repeated pressure points up the forehead. In that fashion to the outer corners of the brows. (X5)

Stroked from the centre of the forehead out, effleurage the down the sides of the neck, chest, shoulders,  up the back of the neck, chin to ears, circle on temples. Repeated x3

Without stones massaged the ears. Effleurage to the whole treated area including the upper arms. Finished and rested hands at the temples. Pulled the towel up to cover arms and chest. Rested hands briefly on the shoulders.

Aftercare advise


Suggested client would rest for a few minutes, while I brought him a glass of water. Reminded about after care advice to drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, tea and coffee and strenuous activity for the next 24 hours.


The client’s feedback was that he found treatment very beneficial, and would like to continue with hot stone massages.

As this was fourth treatment he also commented that my treatments have improved and are very good now, as I became better organised with the stones, providing better flowing treatment.

( In the first hot stone massage I have run out of larger hot stones before the end of the treatment. Also made quite a lot of noise removing stones from the heater, and clanking them together during massage. Getting feedback from the client and advice from the salon owner on handling the stones greatly helped me to improve.)

Response from Luna Holistics: I think you will agree that this is an excellent case study carried out in a professional manner.

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