How to Use Hot Towels in Massage Therapy

A massage is a relaxing and healing process, but it can get even better. With the addition of a hot towel, a massage becomes comforting and has even more physical benefits. Whether you have a spa, sauna, onsen or another business that offers massages or you’d like to experience the comfort of a hot towel at home, here is your guide to how to use hot towels in massage therapy and the benefits of doing so.

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Benefits of Hot Towels

Whether you already use hot towels in massage therapy or you’re interested in adding the option, it’s helpful to know the benefits. Many people appreciate using a hot towel on its own or in combination with massage therapy for heat’s ability to:

  1. Ease sinus pressure: A hot towel on your face or chest can help reduce congestion associated with illness or allergies. You’ll feel comfortable and soothed as the pressure fades.
  2. Reduce soreness: Back pain and stiff muscles can result from any number of activities, from work to exercise. Heat helps reduce that pain no matter its cause, making it ideal to use after workouts, a physically demanding job or simply waking up with a sore back.
  3. Soothe joint pain: Similar to providing relief from muscle soreness, heat can help reduce joint pain. If you or a client have arthritis or other issues that affect your joints, a hot towel treatment may ease pain associated with those problems.
  4. Speed healing processes: After an injury, many use heat to aid recovery. Be sure to determine the type and severity of the injury first, though. Some injuries, such as cuts, benefit from a cold compress first, and others are more severe and require medical attention first. After that, depending on the injury, you may be able to use heat to soothe the area and speed the recovery process.
  5. Promote circulation: Heat applications often promote blood flow, which leads to the above benefits. Your body can repair damaged tissues that cause soreness or are a result of injury if a heat source increases your circulation.
  6. Encourage relaxation: Even without physical benefits, a hot towel would still be soothing. A hot towel often enhances any spa or salon experience, so incorporate it into your massage treatments for the ultimate luxury.

To get the best of these benefits, it’s essential to use a moist towel in massage therapy applications. Compared to dry linens, a moist towel:

  • Stays warmer longer
  • Delivers heat more effectively to the body
  • Increases blood flow more quickly

While you could heat a dry towel to use in massage therapy, a dampened towel comes with more benefits and feels more comfortable and luxurious. Just be cautious when you heat a towel to prevent any possible injury while still getting the above advantages.

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How to Heat a Towel

If you want to enjoy a hot towel treatment at home or you don’t have access to a commercial towel warmer in your business, there are some ways to heat a towel for massage therapy. One method that works best for home applications follows these steps:

  1. Wet a towel completely under cold water.
  2. Wring out as much water as possible so that the towel is only slightly damp.
  3. Put the towel in a clean microwave for 30 seconds, adjusting based on your microwave’s power.
  4. Check the towel’s temperature. Heat it longer if needed or let it cool if it’s too warm to the touch.
  5. Carefully remove and apply it.

Before you place your towel in the microwave, ensure it has no metal tags, accents or weights. You have other options if you prefer not to use a microwave or don’t have access to one. Consider instead:

  1. Using hot tap water: If your tap gets hot enough, you can run the towel under it. Be careful when doing this, especially if you have your tap set to its hottest setting. Wring the towel out, check the temperature and carefully apply the towel where you want it.
  2. Heating water on the stove: If your tap doesn’t get hot enough or you have the time to heat the water, do so on the stove. You do not need to heat the water too much, but if you accidentally let it boil, turn off the burner and allow the water to cool for a few minutes. Carefully transfer the water into a bowl and dunk the towel in, making sure the water isn’t too hot to touch before proceeding. Again, wring out the towel and carefully apply it.

Of course, if you have a towel heater, you don’t have to worry about DIY solutions. Just ensure you can use a moist towel with the linen warmer to avoid malfunctions, accident or injury.

How Do You Keep a Hot Towel Warm?

No matter how you heat a towel, it will lose its heat after a while. As it transfers its warmth to your client’s skin, the towel will eventually become cold. To keep a hot towel warm, be sure to:

  1. Use a plush towel: A thicker towel will hold heat longer than a lightweight option. It will also feel even more plush and luxurious than a lightweight towel for a comfort bonus.
  2. Cover the heated towel: You can try to minimize heat loss by placing a dry towel over the heated one. Choose a size that’s slightly larger than the heated towel to cover it and maintain the heat.
  3. Keep hot water nearby: Have a bowl of reasonably hot water nearby to re-soak the towel, then wring it out and reapply. You’ll save on how many towels you use in one massage session by rewarming one option.
  4. Have extras: Keep extra heated towels on standby so you don’t have to stop the treatment to soak a single towel. Whether you have them in a nearby towel warmer or have warm water at the ready to heat more towels, you’ll be able to swap out the cooled linen for a fresh option.

Any of the options above or a combination of them will ensure your client stays comfortable throughout a hot towel session. Along with keeping the towels warm, you also need to know how to use one in massage therapy.

How to Use Hot Towels in Massage Therapy

While many enjoy using a hot towel on its own after working out or for soothing sore joints, it’s also relaxing to use along with a massage. One of the most helpful tips to know as you learn how to use hot towels in massage therapy is where to use them. A hot towel can work wonders on various areas of the body, including:

  • The back
  • The face
  • The neck
  • Shoulders
  • Other joints

You can use a hot towel on multiple areas at once as long as you pay attention to the comfort level of the client. When you or a client has areas that need extra attention or you simply want to provide a more relaxing massage experience, consider incorporating a hot towel:

  1. Before the massage: Use hot towels before a massage to soothe your client. This option is especially beneficial right after a workout. You want to give the muscles a chance to relax before a massage, and the hot towels allow that to happen.
  2. During the massage: Offer your client a warm towel to keep on their face or neck as they enjoy their treatment, depending of course on the position they must sit or lay in during their massage.
  3. After the massage: As your client relaxes after a massage, offer a hot towel. They can relax with it on their face or use it on any areas that are still sore or require extra attention.

You can also try a combination of the three options above. Just be sure to allow enough time between applications on the same area. Keep a hot towel on an area of the body for about 20 minutes or until it begins to cool. Remove the cool towel, allow a bit of time and then apply a fresh hot towel for the same duration or less.

A few other tips to keep in mind as you use hot towels during a massage session include:

  1. Placing the heated towel on exposed skin for the best effect.
  2. Checking in with your client on the initial temperature, and telling them to let you know if the towel feels too hot at any point.
  3. Asking the client every five minutes or so if they are still comfortable.
  4. Replacing or removing the towel if necessary.
  5. Removing the towel completely after 20 minutes.
  6. Providing the client with a soft, clean towel to dry the area.
  7. Applying massage oil or another moisturizer after the treatment.

With the right care, your clients will feel relaxed and comfortable after a hot towel massage treatment. You’ll deliver the benefits above and keep your clients in constant comfort with proper hot towel applications.

Other Tips for Using Hot Towels in Massage Therapy

As you get ready to provide warm towels in massage therapy for your clients, you can make the experience even better and safer. Here are some things to consider when using hot towels:

  1. Towel temperature: Ensure the towel isn’t too hot to the touch. At the same time, you do want the towel to be warm for both comfort and achieving the above benefits. Speak with your client throughout the process to gauge their comfort level and the towel’s temperature.
  2. When to remove it: Once you apply the towel, it’s still essential to check the temperature. Be sure to remove the towel before it cools down too much as that could also cause discomfort.
  3. Pre-existing conditions: If a client is sensitive to temperature or has a health condition that impacts circulation, use caution with hot towel massage therapy. Clients with conditions such as diabetes or heart concerns like high blood pressure or heart disease should speak to a doctor before engaging in hot towel massage therapy.

  1. Scented oils: If you or a client wants a bit of aromatherapy in addition to the hot towel massage, you can add essential oils to the towel as a comforting bonus. Be sure to follow directions carefully when using essential oils, especially if you’re applying them to the skin or want to heat them with the towel.

As always, check with clients before and throughout a hot towel treatment. If you’re using a hot towel for your own relaxation, do so carefully to prevent burns or discomfort. You want a hot towel treatment to be relaxing, and keeping these tips in mind can help you achieve that.

Types of Towels to Use for Massage Therapy

If you’re stocking up on new towels or aren’t sure what varieties work best in hot towel massage therapy, consider these options for various benefits and purposes:

  1. Washcloths: Small linens are easy to manage, which is especially helpful when you plan to heat them. Use heated washcloths on the face or to target specific areas or joints with direct and comforting heat.
  2. Hand towels: As a larger option, you can use heated hand towels on the face, neck, lower back or other areas that require a bit more than a small washcloth. Fold hand towels to help them maintain their heat and add extra layers of plush comfort to your client’s hot towel experience.
  3. Spa towels: These options come in a range of sizes, but they are all fluffy and absorbent. The qualities of spa towels make them great for drying off, but they also hold water and heat well — making them perfect for hot towel applications. If you own a spa and need towels anyway but also want to incorporate hot towel treatments, opting for bulk spa towels in various sizes may be your best choice.

While you can use towels you currently have for your spa, sauna, onsen or other business, new towels will feel luxurious and may even have better absorbency than your current linens. Treat yourself and your clients to new, plush towels at your business.

Get Luxurious Towels From Towel Super Center

Purchasing towels in bulk is a smart option for any spa, sauna, onsen or other business that wants to offer hot towel massage therapy. You can keep extra towels on hand and have them warm and ready to swap out as you treat a client to a luxurious hot towel massage.

At Towel Super Center, we offer luxurious towels in bulk that are perfect for any business or home in need of linens. With our products, you’ll find:

  • A selection of colors to suit any style
  • Durable towels that will stand up to plenty of uses and washes
  • Absorbent towels that are ideal for using in hot towel treatments
  • Plush, luxurious linens that will pamper your guests and wrap them in comfort
  • Affordable bulk buying options perfect for businesses and even homes

We also offer an array of towel sizes and styles from salon and spa towels to washcloths and hand towels. Browse our selection of wholesale towels to find the style that’s right for you and your business, and get ready to offer luxurious comfort to your guests and clients with help from Towel Super Center.

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