Hot on the Rocks

Writer Heta Shah | October 28, 2013


Although the exact origins are unclear, various cultures and regions, dating back several centuries, have used hot stones for healing and pain relief.

“Stone therapy has been used for over 2,000 years,” says Ayu Handayani, Spa Manager at The Bulgari Resort, Bali. She adds, “Native American women used to place a warmed stone on their belly during menses. Roman baths involved hot water and tables of hot and cold stones to lie on. Pilgrims would put a hot stone at the end of their bed to warm their feet. Fasting Japanese priests would wear a sash in which three warm stones were placed to help to slow down their digestive process. Ancient Chinese, Egyptians and American Indians used stones for healing.”

Codner agrees, saying, “Ancient Chinese therapies included warmed stones to help balance chi and increase the function of internal organs. Native Americans used stones for their healing properties and to help alleviate discomfort and pain.”


A spa enthusiast will attest the relaxation and relief that one encounters after a hot stone massage. In addition, there are numerous well-being issues that the treatment helps to combat, such as cold fingers and toes, arthritis, joint problems, insomnia and stress. Stones collected from the earth or sea carry vibrational healing qualities and positive energy.

“It increases lymphatic and blood circulation, eliminates toxins and acid nodules from the muscles, reduces tension and tones the skin,” Dowell says. “It also has a beneficial effect on a person’s emotional state, as it is believed that stones absorb negative energy from the body. Common cold symptoms can be reduced with this type of massage.”

Warmed basalt stones are strategically placed on the body in an anticlockwise position with the therapist following the movement of the client’s breath
~ Sharon Codner