Hot Stone Massage
What is Hot Stone Massage ?
A stone massage is a massage that uses smooth, flat, and heated rocks placed at key points on the body. Stones (usually basalt) are placed into an electric slow-cooker or a purpose-built heating device which is filled with water. The water is typically heated to 52-54 degrees Celsius (122-127 degrees Fahrenheit). Once the stones have heated sufficiently, some are placed onto specific points on the body (such as the back, hands, etc.) and others are held by the massage therapist and used to work the muscles. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system. Many people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and they are often used in relaxation massage.
Certain styles of stone massage also incorporate chilled stones into the routine. These stones are usually marble, and are placed into a bowl of iced water before use.
The Origins of Hot Stone Massage
Hot stones warmed by fire were used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles, but the modern revival of hot stones in massage is generally credited to Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona. She trademarked her style of hot stone massage, called LaStone Therapy, which has a Native American spiritual component and requires training and certification.
Most spas offer their own versions of hot stone massage (they might call it lava stone massage, river rock massage, warm stone massage and so on.) A hot stone massage, however, takes a lot of skill and sensitivity on the part of the therapist.