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I would suggest that we only use stone heaters to heat stones. They have heaver wiring and should have a grounded plug. Water is the best and safest way the transfer heat and I do agree keep a bowl of cool water at your station is the best way to regulate heat for you and you and your client.

When we are not using proper heaters and a fire or some other accident happens your liability will increase and collecting insurance could be a challenge.

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I'm 100% agreed!
Right on Bruce!
I taught at a five star hotel (in 2004 Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington DC) where the clients are dignitaries from around the world...like ambassadors, congressman, foreign ministers and heads of state...the staff was using a towel cabbie!!....no water...temp setting at 130...lumpy, little, sticky, dirty basalt stones suitable only for hand stones at best, using hot pads to remove the dry & very hot stones which were heating for hours on end....placing them in what they called a 'spinal layout' and ... YIKES AND HOLY BAT WINGS!!...once i caught my breath I tried to teach them, but the staff was new, hotel barely open and I think it was lost in the shuffle...they were not ordering equipment when I left and I had nothing to teach with....!
I taught in Mexico a few years back where they were using flat electric skillets..(this was at a Hilton Hotel Spa in Cabo San Lucas!!)...more YIKES...no wonder we are seeing the insurance industry panic over our modality. In 2009 many companies dropped all forms of Geothermal Therapy from liability coverage and other companies started charging a higher premium fee...we have to get busy and educate each other about the dangers of not using professional equipment and insisting on proper education.
keep up the good work here you guys!!
Jenny Ray
I use hot stones as part of my regular massage. I started out using a 6 quart crock pot ($34.99 on sale at K-Mart), which holds 8-10 medium stones. I use just enough water to cover the stones. I thought I was saving saving money until I dropped the ceramic inner liner of the crock pot and discovered a replacement cost more than buying a whole new unit. After I dropped a stone and cracked a second liner I bought a professional stone heater. It's essentially a crock pot with a steel liner.

I've tried two types of stones heaters and clearly know what I'll always be using.

The Good: http://www.specialitystones.co.uk/images/stone_heater_001.jpg  - same model as I have

The Bad: http://www.wakinglifemassage.com/images/HotStone%20Heater%206quart.jpg - same model I had to use for a period

 

- A good heater must have precise digital temperature control and display, so you always know the exact temperature of the water and can adjust it quickly and easily. This way you're always certain that the stones have the right SAFE temperature to work with.

- A good heater also heats the water and stones evenly. This means the water should be flow freely around the stones and no stones rest on the heating element or bottom.

- A good heater has plenty of space so you quickly can find the stones you need, and can heat many stones at once saving you time.

Following these quick guidelines, you no longer have to guess about heating time for your stones, if the temperature is right, work with stones which aren't hot enough, bother with a heater which changes temperature during a treatment as you replace stones for heating and what not.

 

I am grateful I started working with a good heater and only after more than a year working with stones had to work with a "bad" heater. The bad heater was one of the "professional spa massage stone heaters" - so sold as a proper stone heater.

 

What I found was that it was impossible for me to adjust the temperature and know if the stones were hot enough prior to a treatment. I used a thermometer to check water temperature, but still it was a pain.

Normally I just set the temperature on my own heater and wait 20 min and I KNOW my stones have the right temperature.

 

I couldn't make the heater keep a consistent temperature during a treatment. As soon as I started to reheat stones it wasn't hot enough any longer and I had to turn it up, resulting in stones which were too hot.

Never had that problem with my own heater, I just have to put the stones in and the automatic temperature control makes sure that the water, and thereby my stones, are always at the same temperature.

 

As this heater was essentially a transformed roaster, the temperature of the stones weren't even. The sides and bottom was hot, while the water was cooler. So taking up a stone, one side would be warmer (often too warm) than the other which would sometimes be too cool. The stones were certainly not evenly heated.

 

I lacked space. Granted, it was the small model. But so clearly aimed at working with small stones like toe stones and other tiny stones that there were no space for more than 8 of my own massage stones.

 

Talk about inconvinience and frustration when I had to get used to that heater. I very quickly spent my own money to buy myself a new good heater!!!

 

So please, do go out and invest in a good heater. It can really make the difference between loving to work with stones and hating it!!!

I wrote a blog post about it a while back if you want more details: http://blog.starkeys.com/2010/11/what-stone-heater-and-why.html

 

Cheers,

Pia

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