There is nothing better after a busy, long day than lying on a comfortable massage table, feeling your muscles melting under the warmth of a hot stone massage. It has indeed become a fashionable massage treatment nowadays, however the use of stones and gemstones for healing purposes dates back for thousands of years.
Even written history tells about the Chinese who used heated stones 2000 years ago in order to improve the function of internal organs. Stones were used as a healing tool in Africa, Europe, Egypt, India, North America and South America. These traditions had a similarity: they included laying stones in different patterns on the body; they used stones for treatment of diseases, for ceremonial uses and people coming from these cultures were often wearing or carrying stones for health and protection.
Ancient Greek and Roman traditions also have a long history of many forms of massage and bodywork. The Roman Empire – existed from 27 B.C. to 476 A.D. – is known of having created the Roman Baths. We can even say, they were the ancient forms of modern hydrotherapy treatments. Stones were also used in the Roman saunas and hot immersion baths were amazingly created of marble stones for a cooling effect.
Modern hot stone therapy is credited to Arizona massage therapist Mary Nelson who developed LaStone Therapy in 1993, a hot stone technique integrated in therapeutic massage. Since then, it quickly traveled around the globe and spas have their own forms of this massage therapy.
A hot stone massage mostly begins with classic massage techniques to prepare the muscles. The therapist will then place rows of warm stones on your back. Stones may also be placed on many different parts of the body: stomach, abdomen, palms, feet, chest, or even on the face and forehead. Then massage oil will be applied and the therapist will use gliding movements to move the stones along the muscles with added pressure and heat.
And what are its amazing health benefits?
- Most people find the warmth of the hot stones deeply relaxing and comforting.
- Hot stone massage is especially suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. Its background: the heat nicely relaxes the muscles, allowing the therapist to work with lighter pressure.
- This type of massage is also suited for people who tend to feel chilly.
- It is an effective technique for conditions like anxiety, insomnia, depression and back pain.
- Hot stone massage is often used for treating osteoarthritis.