How An Ancient Native American Healing Practice is Being Carried Forward in Modern Times
When I graduated from massage school, I could have never imagined where my journey would take me. Here I was, standing outside of a traditional Native American Sweat Lodge with a group of other women who were also massage therapists, ready to enter and purify our minds and bodies as a part of our training in Stone Medicine. I was slightly nervous standing there, unsure of what to expect but feeling incredibly grateful to be a part of the experience.
Stone Medicine is a traditional Native American healing modality passed down through the Santee Dakota Sioux tribe and taught by Chas Thompson to his daughter, Jenny Ray. Jenny, a 2009 inductee into the World Massage Hall of Fame, is passing this ancient, sacred knowledge to massage therapists, who will be like modern day medicine people to carry this knowledge forward.
Stone Medicine combines traditional Native American healing practices with massage using heated and chilled stones (also called Geothermal Therapy). The combination is profoundly healing and relaxing. It has been described to me by my clients as giving them a deeper level of relaxation and healing than they typically get in a standard massage session.
Today, after taking many more classes in Stone Medicine and being certified to teach these methods to others, gratitude still fills my heart that I am able to share these teachings with my clients and carry them on to students who are ready to carry them.
These methods, though ancient in nature, are very applicable to the challenges that we are facing today and thus very much needed in our modern time. Stress is an unfortunate part of daily life, and any modality that can help to relieve stress for clients is always needed.
I also feel that Stone Medicine can help the client connect to the experience of the massage in a different way, through the Stone Tribe and Rooted Ones that come to help in the session, giving the client a new perspective in the ways that they interact with this planet that we live on on a daily basis.
I feel very blessed to be a part of a worldwide community that is rediscovering these ancient traditions and passing these teachings onto others. Stone Medicine classes are currently being taught in the United States, Japan, Australia, Germany, Ireland and England.
Like many ancient ways, science is catching up with what healers have known to be true for a long time, and it is validating the work that modern day healers do in a way that has never been possible before. The science of Geothermal Therapy is now understood more fully than it was for our ancestors, but the benefits are still the same. Reduction of inflammation, increased range of motion, decreased muscle soreness and a general feeling of well being are all commonly felt by clients after a Stone Medicine treatment.
Keep your eyes open. Many years back, hot stone massage was the “next big thing” in the spa and massage industry. Unlike many fads in spas that some and just as soon go, hot stone massage seems like it is here to stay. Stone Medicine is going to be the next “next big thing.” Look for it soon in a spa or massage therapy office near you!