Have you ever experienced a hot stone massage? The common response from those who have is one of relief, relaxation and inner peace. The heated stones penetrate the muscle tissue and create the feeling of a deep tissue massage without any added pressure and weight.
The treatment operates with the idea that heat is the healing factor. Stones are placed on common areas of the body that are subject to strain and the heat targets the tension to release it.
This treatment is not new – in fact, it has a long and rich history with various applications. Here is a brief overview on the history of the hot stone massage and how it is used in various cultures.
A Healing Technique around the World
Indigenous peoples of North America used hot rocks in traditional sweat lodge ceremonies. The hot rock method was exclusively used by tribes in the eastern woodlands, the Great Basin, southwest and central plains. Many people feel an increased sense of well-being after experiencing this ritual that has been around for centuries.
In the Shang Dynasty in China, hot stones were used to relieve any kind of tension or pain in the body. These hot stones were the preliminary acupuncture needle and were applied to the meridian channels similarly to how they are today.
In Japan, hot stone massage is called anma, which is considered one of the oldest forms of East Asian massage techniques. Similar to the Chinese, the heat was used to penetrate the tsubo, a type of acupuncture point.
In Ayurvedic medicine in India, hot stones were applied to the junction between physiology and consciousness – also known as the marma points.
In traditional Hawaiian culture, lava rocks were used in lomi-lomi, a traditional Hawaiian massage. Lava rocks were wrapped in leaves and placed on the body, tapped together to create vibrations, or used for exfoliation.
Modern Uses of Hot Stone Massage
In the early 1990s, hot stone massage was becoming recognized as a useful form of massage therapy and began to gain popularity. Mary Nelson, a massage therapist is said to have coined the modern-day approach as ‘LaStone Therapy’ which is derived from a combination of all of these cultural techniques.
If you’re experiencing pain, discomfort or stress, consider trying out a hot stone massage. It works wonders for the body, the mind and the soul – and it has years of tradition backing it!