Evidence of stone massage dates back to before written history, in fact to over 3000 years. Ancient civilizations believed that hot stones were beneficial for cleansing the body, relaxing the heart, grounding the soul and soothing the mind.
The treatment originates in ancient India and China and more recently, the North American Indians living in the southwest states. The traditions and healing rituals, in which the stones were used, including laying the stones in patterns on the body, carrying or wearing stones for health and protection, using stones in the diagnosis and treatment of disease or during ceremonies such as sweat lodges or in medicine wheels. Some native healers used heated stones to ease the discomforts experienced during menstruation, or applied cold stones to impede blood flow after giving birth.
The Roman Empire was noted for their creation of Roman baths. Many of these rituals still exist today in the form of hydrotherapy practices and the use of saunas, hot immersion baths and marble stone / cold pools. More recently, it is thriving today in many healing centres and spas throughout the world.
How does it work?
Hot stone massage combines the benefits of Hydrotherapy and "Thermalism" or "Thermotherapy" (the use of heat applications) with massage strokes using stones to create a deep, relaxing and healing treatment.
Using the heat of the stones to warm the skin allows the skin to absorb moisturizing and therapeutic oils, while at the same time preparing the musculature of the body so the therapist can work into deeper muscle layers.
It is generally accepted that one stroke of a heated basalt stone is equivalent to 5-10 strokes of the therapist's hand.
Benefits of Thermotherapy include:
- Increased local circulation
- Improved blood flow to surrounding tissues
- Greater ability to transport toxins and waste products from the area
- Hot stones provide a fantastic tool creating a sense of depth to the massage.