Historically, stone therapy is seen in many cultures around the world. They have been used to bring healing in North and South America, Europe, Egypt, India, and China. There is debate as to where modern hot stone massage originates from. Some claim it is derived from the ancient Chinese practise of using the stones as a means to improve the function of internal organs. Others link it to the Native American practice of placing heated rocks in various patterns on the body to cure illness and disease. Stone massage was also present in ancient Greece and Rome. They combined the stone massage with immersion in hot baths. Whatever the origin, the use of heated stones was reintroduced to modern massage by Mary Nelson in 1993 with what she termed "LaStone Therapy". Since then, hot stone massage has bloomed into a multimillion-dollar industry.
Hot stone massage has become very popular and is a highly effective form of massage therapy. The stones are usually smooth basalt (black volcanic rock) because of their excellent absorption and retention of heat. Your massage therapist will sanitise and heat the stones before you arrive for your spa treatment. The stones are heated in a special heat-regulating electronic machine to ensure they are heated to a specific temperature. Otherwise, they could either burn your skin or have no real effect. The stones are heated in order to transfer the heat to your body. It is this heat that does most of the work in your massage. It penetrates to the deep parts of your body and loosens your muscles, allowing you to relax.
The most common area for hot stone massage is your back, but you can also apply it to your stomach, face, hands, and feet. It is a speciality massage where your massage therapist uses the stones as an extension of her hands in order to perform the massage. She will usually warm up your body with a traditional Swedish massage before using the stones to continue the massage. As the stone cools, it is replaced with another one. Different size and shape stones are used for different muscles according to their size. Your therapist may also place heated stones along specific points of your spine to improve energy flow in your body. A barrier is usually placed between the stone and your skin to prevent burns.
If the stones are too warm or the pressure of your massage is too intense, let your massage therapist know. Likewise, inform your therapist immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort during the massage. If you are uncomfortable with the way the stones feel you can also ask her to stop using them. A hot stone massage requires a lot of skill and sensitivity on the part of the therapist. The Natural Living Spa and Wellness Centre is dedicated to ensuring our massage therapists are well trained and skillful in the art of hot stone massage.
Many people who go for a spa treatment opt for a hot stone massage because it is so effective for stress relief and relaxation. In addition to this, there are many other health benefits associated with a hot stone massage. Here are a few of the main ones.
Although hot stone massage is generally safe for everyone, please consult your doctor before booking an appointment if you have any of the following.
The Natural Living Spa and Wellness Centre is a day spa in Polokwane that offers hot stone massage therapy. All our staff are trained and highly skilled at hot stone massage therapy and would love for you to experience the many benefits of this ancient practise. Book an appointment with one of our professionals today, or browse some of our other massage offerings here. We have spa day packages to suit every need, so don't hesitate to book an old favourite or try something new to warm up this winter.