Stone Massage is a form of bodywork that involves the application of heated or cooled stones (thermotherapy) to the body during deep tissue massage.
Although stones have been used for many years as an adjunct to bodywork, their use was formalized in 1993 by Mary Nelson-Hannigan of Tucson, Arizona. Nelson-Hannigan developed a form of massage using a system of 54 hot stones, 18 frozen stones, and one room-temperature stone, which she calls LaStone Therapy. In addition to the use of stones as an extension of the therapist’s hands in deep tissue massage, LaStone Therapy involves a spiritual element that opens energy channels (chakras) in the body, unblocks memories, and brings about spiritual healing.
Stone therapy has benefits for both the client and the massage therapist. For the client the application of heat and cold on the body: Stimulates the circulatory system and promotes self-healing, Softens and relaxes the muscles, Helps to release toxins from the muscles, Induces a state of deep relaxation that washes away stress, Helps relieve pain and muscle spasms, Creates a feeling of peacefulness and spiritual wellbeing.
Stone therapy also benefits the massage therapist. It reduces stress and strain on the therapist’s hands, wrists, and arms so that the therapist can work longer and more efficiently.
In many ways a stone massage session is similar to any other type of massage. The stones are heated (usually to about 130Â°F or 34Â°C) or frozen prior to the client’s arrival. Massage oil is spread on the client’s back and legs. The stones are then worked over the body. The client turns over and the process is repeated on the arms, hands, and fingers. The final parts to be massaged are the neck, head, and face.