Placing hot stones on your face will only melt away tension and fatigue, not your skin. Warm, smooth stones are used to gently massage the face and neck, as circulation is stimulated and toxins are eliminated, but other benefits include firming, toning and excess fluid removal.
According to Hazel Millar and Roseann Pikelin in “Hot Stone Esthetics: An Esthetician's Guide to Integrating Hot Stone Therapy with Manicures, Pedicure and Facial Treatments,” when properly used, the heated stones feel like hot fingers massaging your face. They outline the steps of the treatment as follows:
Small hematite stones are heated in water to 93.2 degrees F. Hematite is a very dense stone high in iron. Because of this composition, these stones retain their heat, even when small, and fit well on the face. The 30-minute treatment begins with an application of essential oil on your face, and then four small stones are placed so that one is under your lips, one is on each of your cheeks and another is on your forehead. As the stones begin to cool, they'll be placed around the collarbone, and more hot stones will be placed in key points along your face. After the stones are removed, a finishing cream is applied, leaving your skin feeling hydrated and glowing.
Hot stone treatments are ideal for people who feel cold daily and have problems with blood circulation. Millar and Pikelin write that massaging the point between your eyes helps shift stagnant energy and clear headaches. Working beneath the eyes will diminish puffiness of the eyes and tension lines, and light pressure on the cheeks and nasal cavities will help clear sinus congestion.
Healers from every corner of the globe have incorporated stones in one form or another in treatments for thousands of years. Using warm stones that were formed by sedimentary and volcanic action, stone therapy has two primary benefits: the stones' thermal conduction causes systematic changes in the body and influences the energy centers of both the mind and body. For instance, the use of heated stones on the lower abdomen to relieve cramps was a common Native American practice.
Mary Nelson-Hannigan, an Arizona massage therapist, developed the hot stone technique in 1993, calling it “LaStone Therapy.”
According to "Luxury Spa Finder Magazine," hot stone facial therapy is a newer treatment and is not offered at all spas. Since it is considered a specialized treatment and the steps involved and what is included vary, the fees range from $85 to as high as $200. Rates are highest at spas that incorporate more classic facial steps into the treatment.
Not all types of facials are optimal for all clients. A number of people have allergies to lavender, which is sometimes used in hot stone facials.
Avoid treatment if you have sunburn or a rash. The heat will only add irritation.
If you are diabetic or susceptible to blood clots, or have a heart condition, seek the advice of your general practitioner before receiving hot stone therapy.
If undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, consult your doctor prior to receiving treatment.