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The History Behind The Hot Stone Massage

In the United States, hot stone massages are not as popular as traditional ones, mainly because a lot of people simply don’t know about it. And even if they did, it might be difficult trying to find a massage therapist that knows how to do the technique properly.

However, this does not mean that the hot stone massage is worthless. In fact, there is actually a lot of history behind the technique, especially in ancient Native American culture. With them, hot stone massages were used during sweat lodge ceremonies. Basically, as the people were sweating out their physical and spiritual impurities, hot stones were used for added relaxation. They worked so effectively, they became known as “grandfather stones.”

In Hawaii, hot stone massages were used for similar purposes. But the manner of stone was different, since Hawaiians had access to pohaku, (or lava stones). Hence, in their culture, the hot stone massage became known as ‘pohaku’ a term that applies even today.

The hot stone massage was also prevalent in Asia, though it was used more for therapeutic reasons. Still, it offered an excellent way to put the physical body at ease… something that is especially important when a person is ailing. It’s unfortunate that once acupuncture and other therapies became discovered, hot stone massages lost some of their prevalence.

As far as the United States, the hot stone massage came into being around 1993, when it became popular by Mary Hannigan, a renowned massage therapist. She had even developed a new technique called the “LaStone Therapy.” It utilizes a variety of Native American and Zen philosophies and techniques.

Believe it or not, your hands are not the only tools you can use for a clientÂ’s massage. Why? Well, nature has already provided the perfect massaging instrument: the basalt stone. Found along the shores of various beaches in Central and South America, basalt stones are quite plentiful. However, before a basalt stone can be used for massaging, it must be thoroughly evaluated. If it meets the necessary specifications, it will be power-washed, packaged and then distributed as an official massage stone.

When a basalt stone gets to this stage, it can be used in two types of massages: hot stone or cold stone. In a hot stone massage, the basalt stone is heated up in a special broiler. After that, it is allowed to cool. From there the basalt stone is gently massaged into various areas of the skin. The heat that radiates through the stone helps relax the muscles while increasing the bodyÂ’s blood flow.

On the opposite end, thereÂ’s the cold stone massage. With this massage the basalt stones are chilled to a comfortable temperature. They are then massaged into the skin. As a result, the cold from the stones helps constrict blood vessels. When this happens, the body experiences a slowdown in tissue metabolism, which can be helpful for reducing inflammation in the affected area.

As we learned so far, the more powerful you want your massage to be, the more you’ll need basalt stones. To acquire them, you can go to any store online or offline that sells massage stones. Just make sure that when you make your purchase, you buy the right set of stones. If you donÂ’t, you wonÂ’t be able to massage effectively, since different sizes of basalt stones are used for various types of massages. Of course, if you are completely unsure, feel free to get a kit of massage stones. Not only are kits cheaper, but they usually give you everything you need in just one set, making them the perfect all-in-one solution.



Mary Singleton regularly writes for TIR Massage Stone, the leading hot stone massage supplies provider. They carry products for hot stone massage, as well as many other oYtl many other accessories for hot and cold stone therapy.