Throughout history, heated and chilled stones have been used by a wide variety of cultures for healing purposes. The practice of using stones can be traced back to China, Egypt, and Hawaii. They have been used by spas from North America to Japan with most cultures employing the therapeutic heating of stones as part of their cultural regimes.
The modern day incarnation of hot stone massage is based on the teachings derived from the ancient American natives in Arizona and has been introduced to popular culture by Mary Hannigan in the early 1990’s. Hot stone treatment basalt stones (river stones) are used as they hold the heat the best. These stones are smooth to the touch and are found in Arizona, with Sedona and the Grand Canyon being two of the more popular “stone” sites. For cold treatments, marble stones are used for inflammation headaches and spot treatments.
During a hot stone massage the therapist uses the heated basalt stones and applies them either with or without pressure, combining Swedish Techniques and oil to promote relaxation and therapeutic changes to your muscle tissue. A few benefits of Hot Stone Massage Therapy:
- Relaxes, relieves chronically tight muscles, spasms, aches and pains.
- Increases circulation.
- Soothes nerves, parasympathetic responses.
- Increases flexibility of joints, helps to loosen fibrous, scar and connective tissue.
- Is very effective for spot treatments on tight muscles, promotes relaxation by encouraging muscles to release more quickly.