The 8 Best Hot Stone Heaters
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Hot stone massage therapy is becoming all the rage due to its soothing and calming effects that melt away the stresses of everyday life. These heaters are available in a range of shapes and sizes, depending on your needs, and add that special touch to a variety of spa treatments. We've included both complete kits that come with stones, scoops, and other accessories as well as standalone models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 06, 2019:
Whether you enjoy giving that special someone a relaxing massage after a hard day or are a professional therapist, hot stone heaters can elevate your treatments to the next level. Hot stone massages can help relieve muscle pain, ease anxiety, promote better sleep, and more. Using a dedicated warmer like those on this list is not only safer than trying to get stones to the correct temperature in an oven, but also significantly more convenient.
Due to quality issues, we had to remove some models that made our list during the last update. For example, the Sivan Health and Fitness 18QHTR has proven that it doesn't have the longevity to meet the expectations of users, while the Amethyst Lake Professional seems to have issues getting the rocks hot enough. Conversely, rather than quality problems, the Amber Products Stone Heater Kit suffers from a lack of availability on most sites, and those sites that do still sell it, have it listed at an exorbitant price that simply isn't worth it when considering the many other models available.
Taking the place of the portable Amethyst Lake Professional, we have the even more convenient Serene Life PSLMSGST40. Not only does the carrying case on this unit double as the warmer, but it can also be plugged into your car's cigarette lighter, so you'll be ready to get right to work as soon as you arrive at your client's house. Another new addition is the Royal Massage Mini Clamshell. We already had the Royal Massage Clamshell on our list, but we added the compact version as a more affordable option for those who only utilize a couple of stones during a treatment.
If you are just taking your first foray into hot stone massages, the Amethyst Lake Warmer Kit and TIR Massage Complete Kit are good options, as these both include everything you need to perform your treatments. They also come with helpful e-books with detailed instructions on some of the best techniques.
Those who are looking to go even further and provide their clients or partner with the most relaxing massage possible should consider adding aromatherapy into the mix.
Touch America 35-Inch Warming Cart If you feel that a small, tabletop option doesn't look professional enough for your business, you may prefer this three-drawer cart from Touch America. Its large middle drawer is heated, and the bottom and top drawers can be used to hold other accessories, like towels and oil. Conveniently, it sits on casters, too, so you can easily move it about your shop as needed. touchamerica.com
A Brief History Of Hot Stone Massage
Regardless, many tribes in the Americas were so devoted to their use that they took to wearing the stones as jewelry in addition to using them as therapy.
If there's one thing you can say about humans, it's that we've always been resourceful. Our ancestors didn't have much, so they had to use animal pelts for clothes, trees for spears, and rocks for massage (presumably they also had to walk to school uphill both ways).
That's right — hot stone massage dates back as far as the third millennium B.C.E. It started as a part of Ayurvedic healing, and early practitioners used rocks that they pulled out of streams.
The Chinese were definitely using heated stones over the next 1,000 years, as they believed that they improved the function of internal organs, especially the digestive system.
Use of heated stones began to crop up all over the globe at that point. People as far away as the Americas began to use them for both medical and religious purposes, but it's unknown whether they came up with the idea themselves or if it was brought to them from the Asian subcontinent. Regardless, many tribes in the Americas were so devoted to their use that they took to wearing the stones as jewelry in addition to using them as therapy.
The Greeks and Romans used them in their baths, and in Spain, folk healers used them to ease menstrual pain and help with childbirth.
Whether they were effective for those purposes is up for debate, but what they were good for was relaxing sore, tired muscles. Many Native Americans used them in sweat lodges, and in Hawaii, they were wrapped in leaves and used for pain relief.
While they were used in non-traditional medicine for thousands of years, they didn't make their way into mainstream Western consciousness until the late 20th century C.E., when a woman named Mary Nelson founded LaStone Therapy.
Nelson became acquainted with the technique by accident, as she found a few hot stones and used them to massage her niece in a sauna. She tinkered with them until she created her own style of massage, which she marketed to great effect.
Today, hot stone massage can be found in spas and massage therapy practices all over the world, and millions of people swear by its benefits. It's amazing to think that such an ancient practice could have such a powerful impact today, so maybe our ancestors knew more than we give them credit for.
Why You Need A Hot Stone Heater
If you're hoping to start practicing hot stone therapy at home, whether on yourself or a loved one, then you'll need a heater (otherwise, it's just stone therapy).
Many people think they can skip the heater and just use the microwave, but that's inadvisable for several reasons. It's incredibly difficult to regulate temperature using the microwave, much less achieve an even heat throughout the stone. This could end with you scalding yourself with a rock that's still cold on the inside.
Many are made to be filled with water, so you have none of the issues that you'd have from nuking them.
Also, you'll likely find that your stones have a tendency to crack if you microwave them repeatedly. This is because the heat produced is dry, sucking the moisture out of the inside. Some have even been known to explode if left in there too long.
Heaters, on the other hand, are specifically designed for hot stones. Many are made to be filled with water, so you have none of the issues that you'd have from nuking them. They usually have dials with specific temperatures, so you can know exactly how hot the rocks are going to be before you place them on a sensitive area.
Not only that, but they serve as a convenient storage area for your stones when not in use. This prevents you from losing them (and having to pay to replace them), and reduces clutter in your home or business.
You can survive without one, if you so desire, but understand that you'll be taking risks with both your body and your equipment. It's up to you if you're willing to chance it, but there seems to be little point in doing so, given how convenient heaters are.
Plus, it's probably embarrassing to tell people you're going over your rock budget every month.
Does It Really Work?
If you're the skeptical type, you might be tempted to lump hot stone therapy in with other dubious practices like detox cleanses and homeopathic miracles. Hot stone massage has one big advantage right off the bat, though: it feels really good.
Beyond that, though, does it do anything for you?
While in-depth studies are rare, the answer appears to be yes — so long as you don't expect anything too miraculous.
The primary benefit you'll see is relaxed muscles. The stones allow the practitioner to dig into your muscles even deeper than normal, helping them to relax. This can calm spasms and release tension, which can then help reduce pain.
This can help minimize soreness and counteract symptoms like numbness.
Once you get those muscles to loosen up, don't be surprised if you experience improved flexibility, as well. If you have an injury that limits your range of motion, regular stone massage could help work out the kinks in the muscle, helping you get back to full mobility (but again, don't expect miracles).
A session can also improve blood flow to affected areas, at least temporarily. This can help minimize soreness and counteract symptoms like numbness.
All of this comprises what's known as the relaxation response, which causes a reduction in your blood pressure, lowers the level of stress hormones in your body, ups your serotonin levels, and, well, helps you relax. That's why you feel fantastic after a massage — and it represents the primary benefit you should seek from a session.
You should be suspicious of claims that sound too good to be true, however. If you're promised that your meridians will be unblocked or your qi will flow freely, be skeptical. Likewise, if someone tells you it can cure anything more than sore muscles and high-stress levels, consider finding a more reputable provider.
Then again, the worst-case scenario is you end up getting a massage, so maybe just keep your mouth shut.