Just a Stone’s Throw Away: The Art of Hot Stone Massage
2,000 years ago was one of the earliest documented history of the use of heated stones for healing in China. Stones were also used for healing work in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Egypt, and India. These traditions included laying stones in patterns on the body, carrying or wearing stones for health and protection, using stones for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and for ceremonial uses such as sweat lodges and medicine wheels.
Ancient Greek and Roman cultures have a long-recorded history of many forms of massage and bodywork. The Roman Empire, which dates from 27 B.C. to 476 A.D., is noted for its creation of the Roman baths. This ancient tradition is still with us today in the form of modern hydrotherapy practices. The Romans also used stones in saunas and combined the effects of hot immersion baths with the cooling effects of marble stone and cold pools.
The use of heated stones in massage was reborn with the introduction of LaStone Therapy, created by Mary Nelson in 1993. Stone massage has blossomed since then and is deemed as one of the most popular forms of therapy in the spa industry. Stone massage, done correctly, is one of the most relaxing forms of massage a person can receive and because of its popularity, has once again traveled quickly around the globe.
The full-body, hot-stone massage has evolved to include deep tissue-specific work, hot-stone facials, hot-stone pedicures and manicures, and hot-stone meridian therapy. Because of their incredible energy, stones are used in Reiki, polarity therapy, and cranial sacral work. There are many therapists who use their own variation of stone massage, from just placing stones on the body to a deep-tissue massage.