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Massage is perhaps the oldest form of hands-on-healing known to humans, easily pre-dating written records. For millennia, people from virtually every culture have used a combination of touch, heat (thermotherapy) and stones as therapeutic tools. The three main cultures which have heavily influced how modern-day Hot Stone Massage/Stone Therapy has evolved are the Chinese, the Native Americans and the Hawaiians (although Egyptian, Ayurvedic and many other traditional healing arts are also said to have used stones and/or heat).
One of the first recorded uses of stones for healing was by Ancient Chinese medical practitioners who regularly used various shaped/sharpened stones (Bian Stones) to treat disease. The use of Moxabustion (buring of the herb mugwort) helped to add heat to these treatments.
Native Americans are well known for their Sweat Lodges, which are similar to modern-day Saunas. The use of heated stones on the lower abdomen to relieve cramps was another common Native American practice.
Most therapists who incorporate hot stones into their massage routine agree that the Hawaiians had a major part to play in how this form of massage is applied today. This is particularly true for Hahana Stone Massage. Customary uses included wrapping hot stones in leaves with certain therapeutic properties (ti leaves) and placing on sore muscles to reduce pain – like using a heat pack or poultice. Hot stones were also placed in shallow pits and covered with these same leaves, with the patient then laying on top of the leaves to allow the healing properties to infuse into the body. Volcanic stones are also said to have been rubbed over the body after a traditional Hawaiian Kahuna/Lomi-Lomi massage – perhaps less of a massage technique and more of an exfoliation, due to the coarseness of the volcanic stones used. The Hawaiians are still one of the most closely linked cultures to modern-day Hot Stone Massage and Stone Therapy.
Modern-day Hot Stone Massage/Stone Therapy, a truly unique style of massage, has been gaining popularity through-out the world after being ‘re-discovered’ in the United States in 1993. The story is that a massage therapist, named Mary Nelson, who was suffering from repetitive use injuries in the shoulders/wrists, was having a sauna with her niece and was ‘called’ to the stones. Mary picked up some of the hot stones and started massaging her niece with them – it felt great (for the client as well as the therapist) and thus Stone Therapy’s reawakening occurred. The first style of modern-day Hot Stone Massage/Stone Therapy was/is called ‘LaStone Therapy’.
Practically every Spa in Europe and America offers Hot Stone Massage or Stone Therapy on their menu, with Australia quickly following suit. The number of different styles however, is almost as varied as the stones themselves.
A modern-day Hot Stone Massage (also sometimes called Hot Rocks Massage) will usually consist of the therapist placing heated stones (usually basalt) of various shapes/sizes onto the client’s body (for safety, most of the time these ‘placement’ stones won’t be in direct contact with the skin, instead they will be placed onto a towel to buffer the heat). These stones are placed onto different points (chakras, energy points, sore muscles, etc), depending on the style of Hot Stone Massage or Stone Therapy.
Whilst these placement stones are warming and activating specific areas, the therapist will take several other heated stones and begin massaging a different area of the body. The heat from the stones is released deep into the muscles, greatly enhancing the massage. It is said that one stroke with a heated stone is equivalent to ten normal massage strokes! Some therapists will also incorporate cold stones (usually marble) into their treatment which, although not quite as relaxing as the heated stones, do have a part to play for many conditions. A typical Hot Stone Massage will take 60 to 90 minutes.
Most people who have a Hot Stone Massage will be ‘blown away’ by the level of relaxation that is achieved. Some clients will have vivid dreams or even ‘out-of-body’ experiences. It is usually a very grounding, relaxing and healing experience. Apart form the deep level of relaxation, Hot Stone Massage is also great to incorporate into Remedial or Deep Tissue massage. Not only does the client receive the benefits, but when practiced correctly, the therapist will reduce the strain placed on their hands and wrists.
As with all forms of massage, it is important that therapists undertake professional Hot Stone Massage training. Check with the Spa, Salon or therapist before your treatment to ensure you are getting the best massage from the most qualified therapist.
The Hahana Difference
Hahana Stone Massage is Australia’s leading supplier of Stone Therapy (Hot Stone Massage) products and training. We specialize in supplying high quality, competitively priced products to the Spa, Beauty and Massage industries.
Taking its name from the Hawaiian word for ‘heat/hot’, Hahana Stone Massage is based on procedures used in the world’s top Spas, utilising various Lomi-Lomi techniques which mimic a firm yet gentle stream of flowing water. It is a holistic treatment which uses both physical and metaphysical energies to deeply relax and revitalise your clients.
We stock only the highest quality stones, heaters and accessories. Internationally sourced, grey/black basalt (naturally formed/smoothed or carved) has been chosen for our Hot Stones. Our Cold Stones are a white/green marble, also internationally sourced and available as naturally formed/smoothed or carved stones.
Known for it's superior heat retaining qualities, basalt has been the stone of choice for the majority of therapists since this unique style of massage was "rediscovered" in 1993. They are usually a chalky grey colour when found in nature and turn a dark black when oiled. Marble is the ideal stone to use for cold stones as it holds the cold as well as absorbing heat from the body.
All of our stones are symmetrically paired/balanced and hand-picked by massage therapists trained in Hot Stone Massage. This ensures that the stones you receive are only those that are suitable shapes, sizes and textures for use in Stone Therapy treatments. Inferior quality coloured river pebbles are often passed-off in cheaper kits but those who have used these will testify that they lack the adequate energy and heat conduction necessary for professional treatments.
Individual stones and accessories, stone sets, stone heaters and complete kits are now offered at affordable prices through our Online Store.
There are a multitude of various methods and styles of Stone Therapy. The Hahana Method has been proven time and time again to be one of the most relaxing and flowing forms of Hot Stone Massage currently performed in the local and International Spa scene.