A common menu item for most spas today, hot stone therapy has its roots in many cultures throughout the ages. Used for over 2500 years for therapeutic purposes, many types of organic stone have been used to treat areas of the human body for various conditions including sore muscles, poor circulation, and curing acute edematous conditions.
The most common type and source for hot stone massage stones is a La Paz mix of basalt stones from the beaches of Mexico to provide the heated and grounding nature of a Hot Stone Massage treatment. The therapy incorporates the use of the heat and weight of the stones with the classic Swedish technique to provide a lulling, relaxing stimulation of the two main circulatory systems in the body: the capillary blood vessel and lymphatic systems.
Using long, flowing strokes and pressure that creates a wave-like movement toward the center of the body, the bodyworker will encourage dilation of the blood vessels, including capillaries, and movement of the contents in individual groups of muscle cells, increasing metabolism of the cells’ waste products and diffusion into the catch-all lymphatic and blood vessel systems.
This process is one that occurs over a suggested 80-minute protocol, addressing every area of the body, including some energetic aspects, like the heart chakra and Hara. The placement of the Hara stone directly over the abdomen encourages stimulation of the energy stored there, thereby drawing energy in or dissipating excess energy, eventually balancing the Hara, a main source of life-energy.
Each stone has a purpose – a place – that is directly related to its size. The larger areas of the body use larger stones. The toe stones are very small and used between the toes and address those reflex areas. The shape of the stone has a lot to do with its utility: longer, thinner stones are used for specific work, while rounder, thicker stones are used for long-term placement on larger areas of the body.
In the end, the symphony of heat, pressure, and motion, induces a clarifying and subduing environment for the body that results in a physically cleansing and spiritually grounding massage.