Massage is one of the oldest forms of therapy known to man. It has been used in ancient cultures from the Romans, the Greeks, in China, Asia, India, Africa and natives of North America. It is now practiced all over the world, in many styles; but, one modality remains relatively unchanged. Hot stones.
It is unfortunate that, today, the use of hot stones with massage is more the exception than the rule. This was not always the case.
In India 4000-5000 years ago, Ayurvedic medicine (the Art of Life) was an ancient healing tradition based on chakras or energy centers in the body – a balancing of water, fire, air and earth. An imbalance of chakras is rectified, in part, through massage with hot stones placed on the body.
The ancient Chinese used massage as a treatment for various illnesses, including paralysis. The stones were used in conjunction with meridian channels to promote a better flow of energy around the body. This increases the health of the internal organs and strengnts vital chi and the immune system-and it is still used today.
Warrior Indians and Mongols used hot stones to rub themselves before battle to tie all muscle tension, which might trap fear! Native Americans used hot stones during rituals and in sweat lodges hundreds of years ago and still use them today. The hot stones would help to restore balance to an individual and detoxify the body. During ceremonies, hot stones would be heated using the four elements — water, fire, air, and earth — and then passed around to rub against areas of the body with ailments.
In Hawaii, the Kahunas or shamans pass down six spiritual traditions; one of which is Lomi. Heated lava stones are placed directly on the body to increase blood circulation and decrease tension.
Today, the miracles of modern medicine enable us to survive terrible trauma, disability and illness to live longer, quality lives. We can take pills or injections or even have 'outpatient' surgery to treat a myriad of problems. Yet, despite the abundance of drugs and other medical interventions the preponderance of patient complaints remains the same as the ancients: Pain! Back, neck and shoulder pain, anxiety, stress, and fatigue: an imbalance of water, fire, air and earth!
So, we have 'found' alternative (or ancient) forms of treatment to reduce tension: herbal medicine, detoxing, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, therapeutic massage and great Grandmother's remedies like Epsom Salt baths!
Tension is frequently the root cause of illness. When tension is alleviated, the body quickly returns to its natural state of wellbeing. Heat is healing and comforting; and, when stones are placed on the skin, heat penetrates deep to the muscle, tension is released and relaxation is achieved. It feels like a warm velvet blanket draped over you.
Therapeutic Massage, with Hot Stones, is still a readily available and successful therapy for alleviating muscle tension and pain, stress and anxiety, almost immediately with little or no effort or unpleasant side effects! There are some contraindications for Hot stones (ie pregnancy, open wounds, recent surgery) otherwise; as a rule, I use them with every massage.