Hot and Cold Stones
I remember reading on some website that hot stones where used by some native American women to help with PMS and cold stones for childbirth. Not sure this has anything to do with hot stone massage though.
Heat has been an is still being used to relax muscles and create comfort for ages. Think hot water bottles, hot towel/compress, steam infusions, sauna, etc.
It's quite surprising that nobody though of using heated stones for massage until 1993 when Mary Nelson came up with LaStone therapy.
After her, a flood of companies came and started producing hot stone equipment and courses. A lot of therapists incorporated hot/cold stones in their practice and now you can find deep tissue hot stone or hot stone facial, even mani/pedis or spin-offs like Lavashells, Wavestone etc.
I use hot stones mostly at my home studio in the winter, maybe burn some wood in the fireplace as well. I sometimes keep a bowel of ice water with my marble claw and a few other stones/tools in case things get to hot, but also because of the amazing effect of cryotherapy on the body, people like Wim Hoff have shown us..
The hot and cold contrast has well-known benefits not just for the soft tissue.
Cold sea stones offer the most delight in the summer, kept in dead sea salt water and ice, they are a true bliss when having a massage in the sun. Outdoor massages are is definitely on my favourites list this summer.
The real ancestor- of hot stone massage?
Massage with steamed herbal poultices originated in Thailand estimated between 14th and 18th centuries, to promptly relieve painful muscles and inflammation from wounds of the injured soldiers returning from war. It spread to other parts of Asia and also the recipes and techniques.
In modern times you can find versions in spas as well, with prefabricated poultices and other products.
I cook my own recipes based of traditional Balinese or Thai, of course, we can customise the spices or add Himalayan or Dead sea salt and EO's.
Although I had to practice a spa version of it for a few years which involved a foot scrub and a scalp massage, I now prefer a more neo-traditional approach using stretches as well as deep pressure moves.
I love to focus on joints when my tools are heat and herbs as well as sooth the nervous system with long strokes, that's why I take my time and perform this ritual in 90 minutes or more and require silence and focus.