What does a hot stone massage do? Is it better than deep tissue massage?

Have you ever wondered what a hot stone massage actually does? Is there a genuine purpose to the hot stones being placed on your body or is it just a gimmick that feels nice? And is a hot stone massage better than a deep tissue massage? Which of the two massage techniques would be the most appropriate therapy for your current condition? In this article, we will answer those questions and more as we take a deeper look at hot stone massage and deep tissue therapies. 

What does a hot stone massage do?

What does a hot stone massage do? A hot stone massage is a style of massage therapy that is used to help you unwind, relax, and ease the tense and damaged muscles and soft tissues throughout your body.

During your hot stone massage therapy, you will have heated stones that are both smooth and flat, placed on certain parts of your body (depending on the target areas discussed with your therapist—along the spine, stomach, chest, face, palms, and feet). 

The stones are made from basalt, which is a volcanic rock that retains heat exceptionally well. You will typically find that the stones used in hot stone massage therapy are heated to between 130 and 145 degrees (don’t worry, you will not have scalding stones placed on your body. Your hot stone massage therapist will take excellent care to ensure that they are safe to the touch and will not cause you any discomfort). 

In addition to having the hot stones placed on the target areas of your body, your massage therapist may hold them and apply pressure to your body using the following Swedish massage techniques: 

  • Strokes
  • Circular moment 
  • Kneading
  • Tapping/vibration 

In some cases, your hot stone massage therapist may also use cold stones after removing the hot stones in order to soothe any engorged blood vessels and ultimately bring your body temperature down as you unwind. 

Hot stone massage therapy is a great option for those who experience some discomfort and are looking for a truly relaxing and authentic experience. This therapy will not only alleviate any discomfort that you have but provide you with a much deeper sense of calm. So, give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle and treat yourself to a much-deserved pampering. 

What does deep tissue massage do? 

What does deep tissue massage do? Deep tissue massage is designed to realign the deeper layers of connective tissue and muscle fibres in order to release chronic tension. This is done using various flowing strokes and deep finger pressure on the problem areas, either following the muscle fibre’s or cutting across them. 

This type of massage therapy is particularly handy for those who experience continually tight and tense pain in contracted areas, such as a stiff neck, lower back pain, or sore shoulders. 

Deep tissue massage is often (un-affectionately) referred to as a “hard massage”. This can be off-putting for some people, so it’s important to understand that there is much more to it. Certainly, there can be discomfort experienced during a deep-tissue massage, but that is because there will be pressure applied to areas of your body that have grown tight, knotted, and painful. In order to alleviate these issues and ultimately resolve the constant discomfort that you are in, then a little pain will go a long way toward doing so. 

You see, deep tissue massage not only relaxes the muscles but can be used to lengthen fascia and tendons, provide increased joint movement, lead to faster injury recovery and better posture, as well as provide deeper feelings of well-being and contentment. 

Deep tissue massage is most often used to treat the following conditions: 

  • Mobility issues
  • Chronic pain
  • Injuries (sports-related or otherwise)
  • RSI (repetitive strain injury) 
  • Postural issues
  • Muscle tension and spasms
  • Osteoarthritis

The overall goal of deep tissue massage is to improve the way that your muscles function, and give you a greater range of motion. It’s also designed to decrease symptoms of pain associated with a wide variety of health problems. 

Many believe that tense muscles block oxygen and nutrients which can lead the inflammation and toxin build-ups. By having a deep tissue massage, you can loosen these tense muscles and get the blood and oxygen circulating throughout your body once more. 

Is a hot stone massage better than a deep tissue massage?

Does hot stone massage work? Is it better than a deep tissue massage? The honest answer is that it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Both treatments are rather different from one another and are designed to treat different issues. 

So, the real question is: is a hot stone massage better for you, than a deep tissue massage? And that all depends on your current situation, health, and lifestyle. 

If for example, you are suffering or struggling with any of the ailments mentioned below deep tissue massage, (i.e., mobility issues), then a hot stone massage might not be the most appropriate treatment for you. 

However, if you have been feeling a little stressed lately, feel some tension in your neck, shoulders, and/or back, then perhaps a hot stone massage would be a nice, welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle. 

Ultimately, hot stone massage therapy can be very therapeutic and help to alleviate much stress and tension. However, for deeper issues that require your muscles to be realigned and worked on with greater pressure, a deep tissue massage is the way forward. 


If you would like to know more about both deep tissue and hot stone massage therapy and you are still uncertain as to which therapy is best for you, find yourself a reputable massage parlour that you feel comfortable with and tell them more about your personal situation, and they will make the most appropriate recommendation. 

Good luck and thanks for reading. We hope you have found this article educational.

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