The practice of using hot stones as part of a massage is found in many early civilizations and cultures, including a 5000-year-old Ayurvedic practice . It’s also found in Chinese texts dating back some 2000 years.
It’s good for more than the physical, too. “In a spiritual sense, hot stones are believed to have a quality within them that represents the core of the earth that omits a sense of grounding,”
The hot stones have a soothing effect that can relieve chronic pain, reduce stress, [and] promote deep relaxation, it can also help improve flexibility in joints, relax muscle tension and pain, and even show an improvement in overall muscle tone.
A 2019 study found that patients on maintenance hemodialysis (aka patients being treated for kidney failure) experienced improved sleep quality after regular hot stone massage sessions. Another small study from 2013 found that pressure therapy like hot stone massage could help relieve pain for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Massage therapy in general is also associated with lots of benefits for body and mind, including reduced stress and anxiety, reduced back pain, and increased relaxation.