Hot Stones for Healing
Using hot stones for healing goes back to ancient times. Hot stones warmed by fire were used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles. Ancient healers in India reportedly used them more than 5,000 years ago, incorporating hot stone massage technique into Ayurvedic medicine, which is still practiced today. Asian cultures used them in Anma massage 4,000 years ago to strengthen energy flow. Hawaiian islanders developed Lomi Lomi massage with lava rocks. The Bible mentions stones used in massage with olive oil.
Hot stones weren’t used for massage in contemporary times until Arizona massage therapist Mary Nelson began using them for the technique she called “LaStone Therapy,” that their use for massage began. Her technique remains popular, but many other therapists and spas have developed their own versions.
Stones are Warmed in a Regular Slow-Cooker
The stones, usually basalt, are warmed to 122-127 degrees in an electric slow-cooker or similar device filled with water. Once they are hot enough, they are placed on certain points of the body, such as the back, palm of your hands or belly, and others are held by the therapist while she works the muscles. Some stones can even be chilled in ice water before use.
Hot stone massage is very relaxing and deeply detoxifying. When combined with regular massage, the circulatory system is both stimulated and relaxed. This activity promotes the release of toxins in the muscles, which assists the body with self-healing. Tense muscles become soft with the heat of the stones. Muscle spasms are relieved, and a feeling of peace and well-being overcomes you. This allows a state of enhanced relaxation that replaces any stress, and re-energizes and rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit.
Many Benefits to Using Hot Stone Massage
People who have received hot stone massages have reported many benefits. These include improvements in symptoms of neck and back pain, TMJ, PMS, depression insomnia, stress, arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.
Pregnant women, those with high blood pressure and diabetes and should consult their physician before receiving a hot stone massage, as it could complicate those conditions. Areas affected by skin conditions or varicose veins shouldn’t be massaged, as heat may aggravate the problem.
Photo: Hot stone massage. Creative Common License by Daniela.