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Stone Heaters vs. Crock Pots: How Do You Heat Your Massage Stones?

Curated from the Massage Magazine's article How To Properly Heat Massage Stones written by Pat Mayrhofer and published on November 10, 2010. Read the full article here.

Can't I just use a crock pot to heat my massage stones? Why do I need to spend the extra money on an actual stone heater? At first glance, professional stone warmers look nearly identical to your average crock pot and cost substantially less, but is this the right thing to do?

Many therapists choose the less expensive option by purchasing a slow cooker, such as a Crock-Pot, or turkey roaster. Others try a variety of methods, such as electric fry pans, warming trays, heating pads, woks and towel warmers. However, these units lack professional standards and do not follow the manufacturer’s requirements for use. The only safe, professional way to heat massage stones is in a massage-stone heater.

FullSizeRenderPhoto courtesy of Creme De La Creme Wellness

Slow Cookers

Some choose a slow cooker because it is small, inexpensive and fits well within a crowded workspace. However, a slow cooker is limited to only high and low temperature settings, which make it impossible to regulate the temperature of massage stones. Massage stones need to be heated to a consistent temperature to avoid burning clients. In addition, the small size and shape of a slow cooker allows the massage stones fall to the bottom making it difficult to retrieve a matched pair of stones or a particular shaped stone for a specific technique.

Turkey Roasters

While the turkey roaster can safely heat stones and it provides enough space to lay out the massage stones in a workable form, it is in fact a kitchen appliance. If you read the manufacturer’s product information, it states the product is for kitchen use only. If you are ever sued for burning a client, you could face legal repercussions for using a kitchen appliance for something other than its intended use. Finally, the turkey roaster looks like a kitchen appliance, featuring such words on the temperature selector such as “bake” and “roast.” To be recognized as a professional massage therapist, technicians need to present themselves as professionals and work with professional products.


Electric Fry Pans & Other Options

Electric fry pans, warming trays, woks and heating pads are not safe professional units for heating stones. Therapists cannot properly monitor the temperature of massage stones when using these appliances. Electric fry pans and woks are not deep enough to completely cover the massage stones with water, which allows the massage stones to heat evenly. Instead, the water evaporates quickly and when not covered by water, the massage stones become too hot. Warming trays and heating pads do not provide a way to adequately monitor the temperature of massage stones.

Many spas utilize towel warmers to heat massage stones. While it is a professional unit for warming towels, it does not provide a way for a massage therapist or esthetician to effectively monitor the temperature of the massage stones. An additional factor to consider in using a towel warmer or other dry heating method is the massage stones may dry out and eventually crack or break.

Massage Stone Heaters

Custom Craftworks offers a 6-quart Digital Stone Heater. The Stone Heater pairs with a Hot Stone Set (45-piece) ranging in price at around $100 for the professional stone heater and $113 for the Hot Stone Set. The Hot Stone Set includes a 45-piece set of stones in different sizes suitable for a 60-minute full-body massage, foot massage, pressure point massage, facial and head massage and even cool therapy. Carved from natural basalt, they are neatly packaged inside a handmade bamboo storage box. The 6-quart unit warms stones to a consistent 160 degrees and is functional for full-body massage as well as hot-stone facials, hot-stone pedicures/manicures and hot-stone reflexology. An adjustable digital temperature control permits the therapist to regulate the temperature for safe stone massage.

As a professional, how do you heat your massage stones?