Hot stone massage is a wonderful addition to body work, especially when muscle tension is involved, and a good hot stone massage kit should include everything you need to get started.
For more information and safety tips for hot stone massage, see the end of the article. Now let’s take a look at the best kits around.
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1. Zabrina Hot Massage Stone KitPros:
- Compact Master Massage stone warmer
- 27 basalt massage stones
- Adjustable temperature
- Comes with separate digital thermometer
- Removable water vessel
- Maybe too small for some
- Less accuracy in choosing temperature
- No digital readout on warmer
At six quarts, this heater by Master Massage could be small for large operations but is plenty big enough for one treatment’s worth of massage stones at a time. The warmer has an adjustable temperature dial that heats the vessel all the way up to 172 degrees, far more than you need. Unfortunately the dial isn’t labeled so you can’t automatically set it to 110 degrees off the bat.
To account for this, Zabrina includes a digital readout thermometer so it might take a little fiddling with, but you could figure out which setting on the dial equates to your ideal temperature and mark that off so you can find it easily. It might take a bit more time at first but may be worth the money you save by forgoing a digital heater.
The heater is easy to empty since the vessel lifts out and it comes with a slotted wooden spoon for picking up your stones.
For massage stones this kit has 27 basalt rocks in five different sizes. We tend to think of massage stones as being black and shiny, but don’t worry that these are lighter–basalt, the best stone for hot massage, is grey when clean and dry but turns black and shiny when wet or oiled.
2. Portable Stone Massage Kit With Heater CasePros:
- Perfect for traveling therapists
- 12 basalt stones
- AC and car charging adapters
- Digital thermometer
- Water-less heater
- Water heaters are preferred by some
- Not many stones
- The bag could be more attractive
If you do a lot of on-site massages this portable kit might be the thing for you. It comes with a comfortable travel case that doubles as a water-less warmer for the included 12 basalt stones.
The bag has a normal AC wall adapter plug as well as a car adapter for when you’re really on the go making it perfect for people who like to work fairs and places that might not always have access to an outlet. The heater is controlled by a digital thermometer and a free instructional e-book.
3. Clam Shell Hot Stone KitPros:
- Includes 12 stones
- Great if you don’t have access to water in your treatment room
- Heats up fast
- No thermometer readout or adjustable temperature
- Higher chance of overheating stones
- Not ideal for professionals
For something smaller that has the added benefit of not looking like a crockpot, this Therapist’s Choice Clamshell offers an electric warmer that comes with 12 massage stones.
While not as ideal as a water bath, if what you’re looking for is a water-free heater, this is the one I’d go for. There’s space for all 12 included stones in this shell and it heats up in under 15 minutes.
Both sides of the clam shell have heating elements so the rocks warm up evenly. I like that it’s lightweight and easy to travel with if you’re working on location.
The main issue with this is that it needs a little more attention. It heats to 122 degrees and we don’t really want our rocks to be over 110 so you’ll definitely want to pick up a thermometer and keep an eye on your rocks to make sure they don’t get too hot.
4. NRG Signature Hot Stone Massage Spa SetPros:
- Absolutely everything you need plus extras
- Includes marble cold stone massage set
- Commercial size 18 quart heater with digital readout (degrees in F or C)
- 50 basalt river rocks
- Instructional videos
- Includes organic massage oil
- Too large for some
- More investment up front
- DVD's are a little outdated
If you’re starting from scratch or would like a wide array of stones, the NRG Signature Spa Set is a nice choice. It comes with 50 basalt river rocks of varying sizes as well as six white marble stones for cold massage.
Remember that if 50 stones seems like overkill, massage stones will need to be scrubbed clean and reheated between clients so having two sets can allow you to more easily book clients back to back.
The large, durable massage stone heater has an 18 quart vessel, giving you enough space to heat the full 50 stone set without crowding. It has a simple to use adjustable temperature interface going all the way up to 160 degrees which is far more than you need. The digital readout shows both the set temperature and the current temperature of the water.
Emptying the water from your heater is easy because the vessel lifts out of the heating base so it can be dumped into the sink.
A wooden slotted spoon is included to help retrieve stones as well as a bottle of Lotus Touch organic massage oil. You also get an instructional DVD and link for a video download of the basics on hot stone massage and hot and cold massage.
5. Digital Hot Rock Massage KitPros:
- Adjustable temperature and digital readout
- Safety shut off feature
- Vessel lifts out for easy emptying
- 27 massage stones in different sizes and shapes
- Size of heater isn’t listed
- Some may want more stones
- Some may not need narrow stones
If you liked the look of a warmer that has dual digital readout showing the temperature you’ve set as well as the current temperature of the water but were hoping to pay a little less, this kit might be for you.
This warmer has an adjustable digital temperature interface which is simple to use and heats as high as 158 degrees. It has a safety feature that will automatically turn off your heater after 6 hours to prevent overheating or running without water which could damage your stones.
You also get 27 massage stones in several different sizes and shapes as well as a scoop for retrieving them.
The only thing I don’t like is that they don’t specify the size of the heater so I can’t tell you how large it is. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it looks to be about 6 quarts, but I’m entirely eyeballing that.
Benefits of hot stone massage.
The application of hot stones has been used for over 2000 years and has many benefits including reduced anxiety and stress, increased circulation, reduced muscle tension, and easing chronic pain.
If you're a professional massage therapist, massage with hot stones has the added benefit of taking some of the strain off your own hands and joints, allowing you to perform more treatments with less impact. Plus, hot stone is a nice way to expand your offerings, alone or as an add-on to your regular massage services that can net you a little more income per massage.
How hot is too hot?
It's that tension melting heat that gives hot stones their power but you're looking for a hot stone massage kit, not a second degree burn kit, right? When folks use appliances that aren't meant to heat hot stones (like hot plates, crock pots, turkey roasters, or even microwaves) the stones can overheat and become dangerous.
You don't want your stones to be any warmer than 110 degrees Fahrenheit and they should always be placed over a sheet laid on your clients and never on their bare skin--no matter what the beautiful spa stock photos show.
If your hot stone warmer doesn't come with a thermometer, I'd recommend picking one up. An infrared thermometer doesn't need to be directly touching to get an accurate reading, making them a great option for hot stones.
When all else fails, your stones shouldn't be so hot that you can't hold them. Many hot stone massage kits come with tongs or slotted spoons to retrieve your stones, but these should only be used to prevent your hands from getting too wet from sticking them into heaters full of water. If your stones are too hot to pick up with your bare hands, they're too hot to place on a client.
And because everyone is different, make sure your client is aware that the heat of the stones should be relaxing and not uncomfortable and strongly encourage them to speak up if they feel too warm. You can always quickly dunk your stones in a cold water bath to slightly cool them down and return to your massage.
When not to use hot stones.
Avoid using hot stones on anyone with a sunburn, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neuropathy or other numbness, compromised immune systems, skin issues, or who is receiving cancer treatments, has thinner skin (the very young and elderly), or has recently had surgery. Stones should be skipped or greatly reduced in temperature for pregnant clients.
Hot stone heating tips.
- - For dark-colored or deep heating vessels, place a white towel on the bottom of the warmer to make it easier to see and choose your stones.
- - Do try cold stone massage for inflammation and pain using marble, quartz, or granite stones by soaking them in ice water.
- - Never place stones beneath clients.
- - Even warm stones can burn if left in one stop for too long.
- - Avoid the face area or use only warm stones because the skin is thinner and more sensitive to heat.
- - Line stones sizes up in the heater in order you'll want them during the massage so you don't waste time looking for the size you want next.
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