Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage certain areas of the body. The hot stones are usually made of basalt, a type of rock that is rich in iron, so they retain heat. River rocks are normally used because they have been smoothed over time by the river’s current. The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric heater until they are within a certain temperature range. The placement of the stones is usually at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes, but may vary depending on the client’s condition. The heat of the stones warm and relax the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system. Hot stone massage is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It’s also suited to people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure. People also get hot stone massage for a variety of health conditions, including back pain and aches, poor circulation, arthritis, stress, depression and insomnia.