Hot stone massage is modern in application, but ancient in origins. Native Americans, Chinese, Chileans, Hawaiians, and the Japanese all used stones for therapeutic benefits dating as far back as 1500-3000 BC. Stone therapy was reintroduced in our modern day by Mary Nelson of LaStone therapy. It has become a mainstream therapy that patrons of day spas have been raving about and coming back for time and time again. To truly understand the origins and benefits of hot stone massage therapy, one must realize the remarkable origins of the stones.
Basalt stones are among the most adept rocks for heat retention and have been the most popular tool of choice for both ancient and modern therapists. There is an ancient history and origin behind every single stone that literally dates back millions of years to below the earths crust. The formation of these stones begins in active volcanoes where they are cooled and cracked from molten lava that spills out of the earth's surface. Some of the cracked pieces of basalt fall into the ocean where they are washed for a very long time becoming very smooth in texture. The stones end up on beaches where great care and expertise goes into harvesting them. Top massage stone professionals only use stones that are of a high density for better heat retention, especially smooth for comfort and uniquely shaped to fit the contours of the body.
Why Do So Many People Prefer Hot Stone Massage?
For some it is the idea of receiving a natural, therapeutic massage for benefits that have been proven throughout the ages. For others it has a semi-spiritual aspect as the tools created from "Mother-Earth" are used to produce a divine result. For most it is for the warmth of the stones that relaxes muscles and allows for a gentle and soothing massage that feels 'oh-so-good'.
The benefits of this form of therapy come in two parts during the massage session. First, heat from the stones is placed on key parts of the body and along the spine. Almost instantly, the feeling of warmth, tranquility, and relaxation flows gently through the body.
Second, the stones are used with massage strokes to multiply the effects. The flow of warmth is transferred deeper into the layers of tissue with the effectiveness of a deep tissue massage without the intensity.
A stone massage is tailored to each individualÕs needs and requests. Though most people prefer a soothing warm massage, many therapists will argue that the greatest benefit comes from a deep tissue massage with the incorporation of the hot stones; a massage that will "hurt so good". The warmth that relaxes the muscles also allows the therapist to work deeper if desired. In addition, there are even greater benefits when hot stones are combined with cold stone applications.
Heat travels both ways to both the client and the therapist. This will prolong a therapist's career as his or her muscles are relaxed and as the stones do the work relieving unnecessary pressure to the wrist and fingers.
Ailments That Can Be Helped Through a Hot Stone Massage
- High Stress
- Foot pain
- Poor Circulation
- Sciatica Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Pain
- Neck & Shoulder Pain
- Back Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
Massage is not a replacement for proper medical treatment
WARNING: Stone massage is not for everyone. Consult a doctor if any of the following apply to you:
- infected with a any skin disease or have a rash
- have open flesh wounds
- after receiving any serious medical treatment or surgery (unless directed by doctor)
- have recently undergone any sort of radiation treatment
- prone to blood clots
- suffer from hernia
- have any broken or fractured bones
- have skin sensitivities
If in doubt, consult a doctor. A stone massage should only be performed by a licensed professional.