Country Lore: Heavenly Hot Rocks

Warm up in the winter by warming rocks in a woodstove.
By Krista Hanson
October/November 2006

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I was lying in bed, my toes like ice, reading a historical novel that mentioned servants warming bed sheets with hot irons. Earlier in the evening, I had read an article about hot stone massage. It did not take a genius to envision combining these two bits of information.

Since a woodstove is roaring in the corner of my bedroom on most cold nights, it is simple to heat the rocks on top of the stove before bedtime.

The rocks warm quickly, so I slip a cotton sock over my hand and use it to pick up the hot rock, then pull the sock inside out over my hand, leaving the rock inside the sock. It is ready to be placed in my bed. Ahhhh — the heavenly feel of a warm rock on a cold night.

My husband loves a good back rub. I wrap the rocks in a cotton towel and warm his back. After the rock is cool enough to hold in my bare hand, I unwrap it and coat the rock with massage oil. Gliding the rock over large muscle areas makes deep tissue massage a breeze. Our favorite rock is relatively flat and oval. I can hold one end at an angle and push the rock along a muscle with the other hand to work out really tense knots. You can collect different shaped rocks for different large muscle groups.

Most river rocks have been smoothed from centuries of tumbling in the water, but you must be sure to find dry rocks, or allow your rocks to dry thoroughly. Water can be trapped inside the rocks and when the water is heated and expands, the rocks can explode. To make sure the rocks are safe, heat them a few times on a fire outside before heating them on your woodstove. Granite rocks work well, because they absorb less water than sandstone or limestone.

Krista Hanson
Coffeeville, Alabama

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