Hot stone therapy is a variation on classic therapy. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The therapist may also hold the stones and use them for certain areas of the body.
The use of hot stones for healing dates back to ancient times, but it wasn’t until Arizona therapist Mary Nelson introduced her hot stone therapy, called LaStone Therapy, that the use of hot stones for therapy.
Nelson conducts workshops to train other therapists in LaStone. While LaStone continues to be popular, therapists and spas have also developed their own versions of the hot stone therapy using heated, smooth rocks.
How Does Hot Stone Therapy Work?
The hot stones are usually made of basalt, a type of rock that is rich in iron, so they retain heat. River rocks are normally used because they are so smooth – they have been smoothed over time by the river’s current.
The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric heating device until they are within a certain temperature range. The stones may be placed at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes.
The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired.
The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system.
Some therapists place stones on points that are thought to be energy centers of the body to rebalance the body and mind.
Why Do People Get Hot Stone Therapy?
Many people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and get it for relaxation.
Hot stone therapy is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It’s also suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter therapy. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure.
People also get hot stone therapy for a variety of health conditions:
- Back pain and aches
- Poor circulation
- Osteoarthritis and arthritis pain
- Stress, anxiety and tension