Local News

Hot Rocks Helping To Smooth Away Chronic Pain

Posted January 10, 2002 10:23 a.m. EST

— For people with chronic pain, a new twist on the ancient practice of stone therapy is catching on.

The art of stone therapy goes back centuries. Many Indian tribes heated lava stones and other rocks to relieve pressure points.

Stone therapy is becoming more common after gaining in popularity at resort spas a few years ago.

Massage therapists at

Cape Fear Valley's HealthPlex

use heated basalt stones to help smooth away pain.

The stones, which are heated to 90 to 110 degrees, retain the heat for about 20 minutes.

"I won't place them on the body if they're too hot for me to hold in my hand," massage therapist Lucia Butler said.

Butler uses hot stones to massage away pain.

"With massage you're increasing circulation. When you introduce the heat, it increases circulation even more," she said.

Butler said that anyone can benefit from stone therapy, however it is even more beneficial for people who suffer from chronic pain or fibromyalgia.

Patti Farmer has fibromyalgia. She says that the stone therapy helps relieve her pain and stiffness.

"It feels good, but there's some pain involved," she said.

Butler said that communicating with patients to make sure that they are comfortable is an important element of the therapy.

Farmer says that she has finally found some comfort and relief and that, for her, the basalt stone therapy works better than any pill.

Massage therapists are required to undergo special training to learn how to use the stones. An hour-long session typically costs around the same as a traditional massage.