Can Massage Help Kidney Stones? Can Massage Therapy Help?

Kidney stones – those pesky crystalline deposits that form inside our kidneys.

They can range from the size of a grain of sand to a golf ball, and when they decide to make their exit, they can cause some serious discomfort.

But what if there was a way to help ease this process? A method that doesn’t involve medication or surgery?

This is where massage comes into play. In this article, we explore the intriguing question: Can massage help kidney stones?

Key Facts

  • Massage and Kidney Stones: There is no scientific evidence to suggest that massage can directly help in the treatment or passage of kidney stones. Massage therapy should not replace standard medical treatments for kidney stones.
  • Indirect Support: Massage may indirectly support kidney health by stimulating the kidneys, promoting better blood circulation, and assisting in the removal of waste products from the body.
  • Potential Benefits: While massage may not directly aid in the treatment of kidney stones, it can offer other potential benefits such as stress reduction, improved circulation, and overall well-being, which can indirectly support overall health.
  • Safety: It is generally safe to have a massage if you have kidney stones, but it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new therapy or treatment.
  • Alternative Treatments: Drinking plenty of water, maintaining a healthy diet, and regular exercise are proven strategies for preventing kidney stones. Certain medications may also be prescribed by your doctor.

Now, let’s dive deeper. Kidney stones are a common health issue, affecting millions of people worldwide. While traditional treatments are effective, they can sometimes come with side effects.

This has led many to seek alternative or complementary treatments, such as massage therapy.

But can a massage really help with kidney stones? Let’s explore this further.

Understanding Kidney Stones

Before we delve into the potential benefits of massage for kidney stones, let’s first understand what kidney stones are and how they form.

Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys . They often originate in your kidneys, but they can develop anywhere along your urinary tract, which includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

 bar chart  representing the prevalence of kidney stones among different demographic groups

The bar chart above represents the prevalence of kidney stones among different demographic groups. Each category has an associated percentage value and a range, represented by the 95% confidence intervals.

  1. “Men”: The prevalence of kidney stones in men is 10.6%, with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 9.4% to 11.9%.
  2. “Women”: Women show a lower prevalence of kidney stones at 7.1%, with a 95% confidence interval from 6.4% to 7.8%.
  3. “Obese Individuals”: Obese individuals have a significantly higher prevalence of kidney stones at 11.2%, with a 95% confidence interval from 10.0% to 12.3%.
  4. “Normal-Weight Individuals”: Among normal-weight individuals, the prevalence of kidney stones is considerably lower at 6.1%, with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 4.8% to 7.4%.

These percentages and intervals help to convey the likelihood of kidney stone prevalence in each demographic group, and illustrate the higher prevalence of kidney stones among men and obese individuals.

How Do Kidney Stones Form?

Kidney stones form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute.

At the same time, your urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form.

Photo of real kidney stones, showing their size against a ruler

Types of Kidney Stones

Knowing the type of kidney stone helps determine the cause and may give clues on how to reduce your risk of getting more kidney stones.

The types of kidney stones include:

  • Calcium stones: Most kidney stones are calcium stones, usually in the form of calcium oxalate.
  • Struvite stones: These form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection.
  • Uric acid stones: These can form in people who don’t drink enough fluids or who lose too much fluid, and in those who eat a high-protein diet.
  • Cystine stones: These form in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids.

Symptoms and Complications

Kidney stones may not cause symptoms until they start to move through your urinary tract.

When symptoms of kidney stones become apparent, they commonly include severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs, pain that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin, and pain during urination. 

Complications can include urinary tract infections and kidney damage if stones are left untreated.

In the next section, we’ll explore how massage might play a role in managing kidney stones.

The Role of Massage in Kidney Health

Now that we’ve got a solid understanding of kidney stones, let’s shift our focus to massage. Massage therapy involves manipulating the body’s soft tissues to promote relaxation, relieve muscle tension, and improve overall well-being – but how does this relate to kidney health?

Compression massage

Understanding the Mechanism

Massage works by improving circulation and promoting relaxation. When applied to the abdominal area, it can potentially help stimulate the kidneys, enhance blood flow, and aid in the elimination of waste products. This could theoretically help in the prevention of kidney stone formation or even aid in their passage.

Precautions and Considerations

While massage therapy can offer numerous benefits, it’s important to approach it with caution, especially when dealing with kidney stones:

  • Professional Guidance: Always seek the services of a professional massage therapist who understands the complexities of kidney stones.
  • Medical Consultation: Before starting any new treatment, including massage therapy, consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance based on your specific health condition and needs.
  • Pain Awareness: If you experience any discomfort or pain during the massage, it’s crucial to communicate this to your therapist. They can adjust their technique accordingly to ensure your comfort and safety.

In the next section, we’ll delve deeper into the question at hand: Can massage help kidney stones? We’ll explore existing research, expert opinions, and potential benefits and risks.

So Can Massage Actually Help With Kidney Stones?

We’ve explored what kidney stones are, how they form, and the potential role of massage in kidney health. Now, let’s tackle the big question: Can massage actually help with kidney stones?

Exploring the Research

The truth is, research on the direct impact of massage on kidney stones is limited.

However, some studies suggest that massage therapy can have a positive effect on the body’s overall health and well-being, which indirectly could be beneficial for individuals with kidney stones.

Here’s what we know:

  • Stress Reduction: Massage is well-known for its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Since stress can exacerbate symptoms and complications related to kidney stones, reducing stress through massage might be beneficial.
  • Improved Circulation: Massage can improve blood circulation, which in turn can help the kidneys function more effectively. This could potentially aid in the prevention of kidney stone formation.
  • Pain Management: Massage can help manage pain, which is a common symptom of passing kidney stones. However, it’s important to note that massage should not be used as a primary treatment for kidney stone pain.

The Verdict

While massage may offer some benefits, it’s important to remember that it should not replace standard medical treatments for kidney stones.

Instead, it can be used as a complementary therapy alongside your doctor’s recommended treatment plan.

Summing up on this

  • Massage therapy may offer indirect benefits for individuals with kidney stones, such as stress reduction and improved circulation.
  • It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment, including massage therapy.
  • Massage should not be used as a primary treatment for kidney stone pain, but rather as a complementary therapy.

In the next section, we’ll explore other natural remedies and lifestyle changes that can help prevent kidney stones.

Exploring Types of Massage in the Context of Kidney Stones

When it comes to managing kidney stones, it’s important to understand that while massage cannot directly treat or eliminate these stones, certain types of massage may offer indirect benefits that can contribute to overall wellness and kidney health.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage, one of the most commonly known types of massage, involves long, soft, kneading strokes combined with rhythmic, light, tapping strokes on the topmost layers of muscles.

While it doesn’t specifically target the kidneys, it can help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve circulation, all of which are beneficial for overall health.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a more intense form of massage that targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s often used to treat muscle damage from injuries.

While it’s not specifically designed to treat kidney stones, some people find that it helps alleviate chronic pain, which can be a symptom of kidney stones.

Percussion Massage

Percussion massage is a type of massage that involves rapid, percussive tapping on the surface of the body. This type of massage can help stimulate blood flow and relax tense muscles.

While it’s not a treatment for kidney stones, it can potentially help stimulate the kidneys and enhance blood flow in the area, which can indirectly support kidney health.


Reflexology is a type of massage that involves applying different amounts of pressure to the feet, hands, and ears. It’s based on a theory that these body parts are connected to certain organs and body systems – including the kidneys.

Some people find reflexology relaxing and feel it improves their overall wellbeing.

Other Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Kidney Stones

While massage may offer some potential benefits, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. There are several other natural remedies and lifestyle changes that can help prevent kidney stones.

Let’s explore some of these:

Hydration is Key

One of the most effective ways to prevent kidney stones is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps dilute the substances that can form stones. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day, or enough to pass 2 litres of urine.

Dietary Changes

What you eat can significantly impact kidney stone formation.

Here are some dietary considerations:

  • Limit Sodium: A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones by increasing the amount of calcium your kidneys must filter.
  • Reduce Animal Protein: Eating too much animal protein, such as red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood, can boost the level of uric acid and could lead to kidney stones.
  • Increase Citrate-Rich Foods: Citrate in the urine can help prevent stones from forming. Consuming citrate-rich foods like lemon and orange can be beneficial.
Photo of potential kidney stone forming foods, seafood, read meet, poultry

Regular Exercise

We know that this seems to be the answer to everything…but regular exercise can help reduce the risk of kidney stones.

It can help manage high blood pressure and reduce obesity, both of which are risk factors for kidney stones.

Avoiding Stone-Forming Foods

Certain foods are known to promote the formation of certain types of kidney stones. For instance, if you’ve had an oxalate stone, you might want to avoid foods high in oxalate, such as spinach, rhubarb, nuts, and wheat bran.

Remember, these are general guidelines. It’s crucial to discuss any dietary changes or new exercise routines with your healthcare provider to ensure they’re safe and suitable for your specific needs.

Understanding Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL)

When it comes to treating kidney stones, especially larger ones that can’t be passed naturally, medical intervention is often necessary.

One such treatment is Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL), a non-invasive procedure that has been a game-changer in the field of urology.

What is ESWL?

ESWL is a medical procedure that uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney, bladder, or ureter (the tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder).

The term ‘extracorporeal’ means ‘outside the body’, reflecting the non-invasive nature of this treatment.

How Does ESWL Work?

During ESWL, high-energy shock waves pass through the body without causing significant harm to the tissues. However, when these shock waves hit the kidney stones, they break them into small pieces.

These smaller stone fragments can then be passed naturally through the urinary system.

What to Expect During and After ESWL?

The procedure typically takes about 45 to 60 minutes and can be done under sedation or light anesthesia to ensure patient comfort.

After the procedure, patients may experience some discomfort as the small stone fragments are passed.

However, pain medication and drinking plenty of water can help manage these symptoms.

Is ESWL Right for Everyone?

While ESWL is a common and effective treatment for kidney stones, it’s not suitable for everyone.

Factors such as the size, location, and composition of the stones, as well as the patient’s overall health, are considered when deciding the most appropriate treatment. 

Final Thoughts on ESWL

ESWL has revolutionized the treatment of kidney stones, offering a non-invasive option that can effectively break up stones and allow them to be passed naturally.

However, like all medical procedures, it’s important to discuss the benefits and potential risks with a healthcare provider to make an informed decision about your treatment.

In the next section, we’ll wrap up our discussion and provide some final thoughts.


Navigating the world of kidney stones can be a daunting task. From understanding what they are and how they form, to exploring various treatment options, it’s a lot to take in. But remember, you’re not alone in this journey.

Recap of Key Points

  • Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys due to an excess of certain substances in the urine.
  • While massage therapy may offer some potential benefits, such as stress reduction and improved circulation, it should not replace standard medical treatments.
  • Staying hydrated, making dietary changes, and maintaining regular exercise are all effective strategies for preventing kidney stones.

Final Thoughts

While the idea of using massage as a complementary treatment for kidney stones is interesting, it’s crucial to approach it with caution and always under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Thank you for joining us on this exploration of kidney stones and the potential role of massage therapy. We hope you found this information helpful and enlightening.

Stay healthy, stay informed, and remember, your health is in your hands.


  1. Mayo Clinic – Kidney stones – Symptoms and causes: Comprehensive information on kidney stones, their symptoms, and causes from Mayo Clinic, a leading authority in healthcare.
  2. WebMD – Kidney Stones Resource Center: A resource center dedicated to understanding kidney stones, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.
  3. National Kidney Foundation – Kidney stones: An overview of kidney stones from the National Kidney Foundation, a major voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing kidney diseases.

Q: Can massage help kidney stones?

A: Massage therapy can help with the symptoms associated with kidney stones, such as lower back pain and discomfort. However, massage is not a treatment for kidney stones themselves, and it cannot break up the stones or remove them. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional for proper medical treatment.

Q: Can massage therapy prevent kidney stones?

A: While massage therapy cannot directly prevent kidney stones, it can help promote overall kidney health. Massage promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and improves circulation, which can indirectly contribute to a healthy urinary system and potentially lower the risk of developing kidney stones.

Q: Can massage therapy help you pass a kidney stone?

A: Massage therapy alone cannot help you pass a kidney stone. The passing of a kidney stone is a natural process that primarily depends on the size and location of the stone. However, massage therapy may help alleviate some of the accompanying discomfort during the stone’s passage.

Q: Can percussion massage help with kidney stones?

A: Percussion massage techniques are typically used for muscle relaxation and pain relief. While percussion massage can help alleviate some symptoms associated with kidney stones, it cannot directly break up or dislodge the stones. Medical treatments like lithotripsy or extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy are more effective for that purpose.

Q: Are there any home remedies for kidney stones?

A: While massage therapy is not a home remedy for kidney stones, there are some natural remedies that can be tried, such as staying hydrated, consuming lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and following a balanced diet. It is important to note that these remedies may be helpful for certain types of kidney stones, but consulting with a healthcare professional is always recommended.

Q: Is kidney massage helpful for getting rid of a kidney stone?

A: Kidney massage alone cannot get rid of a kidney stone. Kidney stones are solid build-ups inside the kidney that usually require medical intervention or natural passing. Massage therapy may help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with kidney stones, but it cannot remove the stone itself.

Q: Can getting a kidney stone massage cause kidney problems?

A: Kidney stone massage is generally safe when performed by a qualified massage therapist. However, if you have a pre-existing kidney condition, such as a kidney infection or chronic kidney disease, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before receiving a massage. They can provide guidance on whether massage therapy is suitable for your specific situation.

Q: Can massage therapy contribute to the formation of kidney stones?

A: Massage therapy itself does not directly contribute to the formation of kidney stones. However, certain factors like dehydration, which can be exacerbated by massage, can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. It is important to stay properly hydrated and discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional.

Q: Can massage therapy cause blood in the urine?

A: Massage therapy generally does not cause blood in the urine. If you notice blood in your urine after a massage, it is important to contact a healthcare professional as it may be a sign of an underlying condition or unrelated issue.

Q: Is massage contraindicated for kidney stones?

A: In general, massage therapy is not contraindicated for kidney stones. However, if you have certain medical conditions such as an active kidney infection or if you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before receiving a massage.