Brief History of Stones in Ancient Practice

Stones - History Photo

Many people find it fascinating to learn that stones are used for healing and soothing purposes around the world. There are several ancient and modern examples of how diverse cultures incorporate the stones in their everyday lives.

  • The healing women of the Mapuche tribes in Chile used black stones in their healing and divination work.
  • In Hawaii the Kahunas use lava stones in their healing treatments as they wrap the stones in a ki (ti) leaf. The lava stone represents healing and protection.
  • In the Philippines it is common practice to use a rough basalt stone, which we know as pumice, to slough off old dry skin. Many women today still use these porous stones in the bath to maintain smooth, silky skin.
  • In Russia there is a tradition of using heated black stones in the bath. People line their tub with hot, smooth stones and then lie down on them, soaking in the soothing warmth that radiates from each stone.

  • The Japanese people use smooth black stones to keep their abdomen warm after a meal. It is a custom of theirs not to eat a lot at one time, so they place a few warm stones in a sash that is then wrapped around their waist, which gives them a sense of being fuller.
  • In China the use of heated stones to relieve tired muscles dates back to c.2000-1500 BC.
  • For centuries Native Americans have used sun heated stone (called heliotherapy) on tight, achy muscles to bring pain relief.

It’s interesting to note with all of the advances in modern medicine and technology, stones are still being used today to bring about healing and balance.


Contributed by Mary Nelson, Founder of LaStone Therapy