Hot stone massage is one of the oldest therapies in the world and one of the most sought out healing therapies. Hot stones do not replace “healing hands” but as an addition to traditional massage and an extension of the hands. Stone massage is an ancient form of therapeutic healing massage using heated stones, cooled stones or in combination with each other. In short, stones help to soften or relax muscular tension and lower stress.
Hot stone history
Hot stone therapy can be traced back 5000 years to India with the ancient healing tradition of Ayurveda, which to date continues as one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind and body health systems. Ayurveda is science of life (Ayur=life, Veda=science or knowledge). Some researchers believe this therapy originated from healers who used rocks from riverbeds who would then warm or cool them before treating discomfort in the body. In ancient Vedic times, hot stones were used in conjunction with mama points. Consider a mama point like a mystic point or door to activating or opening the inner pharmacy of the biochemical laboratory we know as our body. Touching a mama point changes the body’s biochemistry, precipitating alchemical changes in one’s makeup.
The Japanese used hot stones to warm their abdomens to aid in digestion. The Japenese used hot stones in Anma, (old word form of Asian Massage) whereby heat energy penetrates and stimulates acupoints. Chinese were known to use hot stones around 4,000 years ago to relieve muscular pain and improve the function of internal organs.
Native American Indians used hot stones to detoxify, find harmony and balance and to regulate the temperature of their sweat lodge (healing environment). Native Americans believe the stones have souls and when used in healing, allow the recipient to remember lost truth.
Hawaiian medicine people, known as Kahunas, heated smooth stones in a fire, wrapped them in leaves of the castor oil plant and placed them on the body to relieve spasm and tension. Heat from the stones cause an increase in blood circulation and encouraged healing oils from the leaves to release. Traditional Hawaiian massage incorporate heated stones applied directly to the body. Hawaiian La’au Lomi Lomi originally used heated lava rock balls to clean scrape the skin following a traditional massage. Lava stones were utilized as symbols of healing and protection.
In South America, women caregivers included hot stones in dealing with diseases, pregnancy and childbirth, to diminish the discomfort of menstrual discomfort and cool stones to slow bleeding after labor.
Hot stone origination
In some European cultures, hot stones or bricks were wrapped in cloth and placed over an injury for relief. In China, hot stones were used as early as 1500 BC to relieve tension and bodily aches. In Bali, traditional healers used stones from river beds and heated them in thermal pools or in hot coals.
So, what are the origins of hot and cool stone therapy used in modern day spas? In 1993, Mary Nelson, a therapist in Tucson, Arizona, incorporated heated stones into a massage therapy session. She developed a form of massage known as LaStone Therapy, using 54 hot stones, 18 frozen stones, and 1 stone at room temperature. Mary found that a certain type of volcanic stone held heat best and later incorporated cooled marble stones which added to the full spectrum of temperature. After a few years of self-treatment and experimentation on her clientele, she began to teach what became known as LaStone Therapy. When Miraval, a well known spa in Tucson made LaStone their signature treatment, it gained first national attention and then went global. LaStone Therapy, Inc. has instructors around the world and is known as the original stone massage and is one of the only forms of stone therapy which emphasizes the use of heated and chilled stones.
Crú Day Spa offers hot and cold stone therapy.
Coming next: Hot stone therapy explained
Information presented here was gathered from many sources including published articles, studies and web sites and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss your health conditions and treatments with your personal physician.