Think of the last time you were tense and stressed out - how your muscles felt, what was going through your mind and how you eventually got relaxed again. Now imagine the same scenario, but instead of letting time take its course and heal your stressed-out body, you go to a spa and get a hot stone massage. Which sounds better? Time may heal all wounds, but when it comes to relieving stress hot stones can get the job done faster and more effectively.
Hot stone massage is the practice of heating smooth stones and placing them on various areas of the body during a massage. They can either be left on tense spots or used by hand to aid in heating and relaxing sore muscles, and it feels nothing short of amazing.
The earliest use of hot stones to improve health and relaxation took place in India. The practice began among the Hindus in India approximately 5,000 years ago, and was called Ayurveda. This involved the placement of stones on the body to relax tense muscles and relieve related pain.
Around 3,000 years later, the Chinese used shaped stones called Bian while burning mugwort to treat disease. They also placed stones on the abdomen to improve digestion.
Later, natives of the Sandwich Islands - what we now know as Hawaii - discovered that wrapping heated lava rocks in leaves and applying them to the body brought pain relief. The leaves were administered by medicine shamans calls Kahunas.
Heated stones then found their way to the Native American sweat lodges. Though the stones weren’t applied to the body, the natives recognized that the heat produced by the stones eased tense muscles and brought whole-body relaxation.
Modern-day use of hot stone massage is varied to suit many different needs. Usually the stones are usually heated in hot water and replaced as they cool, but they may also be chilled and alternated with the heated ones, which increases circulation to the targeted muscle. If the therapist uses the stone itself to massage, it may be coated in oil or used over a sheet to facilitate a smooth glide across the skin.
Take a tip from the ancients and let the power of heat take your next massage to a higher level of healing. Hot stones can be added as special enhancements to massages at any Burke Williams Spa.
Have you tried hot stone massage? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.