Lava Shell Massage Revealed

When it comes to choosing the right massage for you, sometimes you can be overwhelmed by the choices on offer.  You might have seen a Lava Shell Massage on the list at your local spa or salon and because you weren’t quite sure what it entails, you may dismiss it and choose something more familiar.

I’m hoping to encourage you to give it a go the next time you are choosing a treatment because it really is an amazing therapy and one that I love to have whenever possible.  I think the problem is in the name, it doesn’t clearly explain what type of massage it is and it’s difficult to visualise what a Lava Shell looks like and how it will be used in the massage.  However, once you’ve given it a go I guarantee you will be back for more!

When I was training to become a Complementary therapist, I would discuss with my fellow students other treatments that we weren’t studying but that we might like to add into our repertoire at a later date.  One of those discussed was Hot Stone Massage.  This is an extremely popular treatment and needs little explanation because of its name – it is a massage with hot stones.  The stones are kept warm in a kettle of water and the therapist swaps them around as the stones cool, transferring them with the hot stones in the kettle.  Quite often, the client can hear the sound of the stones clunking as they are placed into and removed from the kettle.  It is a wonderful treatment with many benefits including pain relief, stress relief, increased joint flexibility, decreased muscle spasms and tension as well as better sleep.  Hot stone massage therapy helps melt away tension, ease muscle stiffness, and increases circulation and metabolism. Hot stones, when coupled with massage, can help to expand blood vessels, which encourages blood flow throughout the body.  However, after discussing the pros and cons with my colleagues, I decided not to train in Hot Stone Massage at that time but I hopefully will at some point in the future.  

I became aware of Lava Shell Massage when I attended a Health and Beauty show.  I watched a demonstration and was intrigued by the pretty Lava Shells and how they could be used in a massage.  I enrolled on a course and in August 2015 was qualified to give Lava Shell Relax Massage. Lava Shells are only available in the UK through a company called Shared Beauty Secrets and you have to complete one of their training courses if you want to provide the treatment and purchase the necessary equipment. Established in 2009 by Clare Anderson, Shared Beauty Secrets is a family-run independent beauty business based in Oxfordshire. Clare and her team of spa-industry experts are passionate about developing and delivering world-class spa experiences; incorporating advanced therapeutic treatments, alongside fully accredited and industry recognised, professional training courses.

I learned that the use of the Lava shells had come about when a pile of discarded Tiger clam shells were discovered on a beach in the Philippines.  The clams are collected by local free-divers, and the shells removed so the clam can be prepared for food.  The discarded shells became the world’s first self heating massage tool.

Local islanders are employed to sort through the shells, looking for the right size, shape and symmetry.  They are then sand polished so they are nice and smooth and bonded together.  Because they are natural, they come in different shapes, sizes and thicknesses.  However, following a tsunami, the shells became unavailable so porcelain shells were handcrafted using high quality porcelain and crushed shells.  Each shell is hand painted, replicating the beautiful lustre and appearance of natural shells.  They have been cast from the ideal ergonomic natural shell and are more uniform in size and thickness.

Shells are smooth and non-porous so they will not absorb bacteria, massage oils or dead skin cells like stones.  This makes them more hygienic and easier to clean.  The shells can withstand a great deal of pressure in massage, but can break if dropped on a hard floor which I found out whilst giving a demonstration.

These eco-friendly massage tools require no electricity to heat up.  The Lava Shell sachets contain natural ingredients that are non-toxic and biodegradable and are not harmful if touched.  After treatment, used sachets can be placed in a food waste bin or on a compost heap.

The sachet containing a blend of food-grade minerals is placed inside the shell and a simple salt water activator is added causing a natural chemical reaction which produces heat.  This exothermic reaction will continue to generate heat for over an hour.  Less shells are required for a massage in comparison to stones, therefore the therapist will have more contact time with the client and a more effective massage treatment is provided.

The crown of the shell is a smooth, carefully polished, gently rounded surface.  It is the most versatile part of the shell and the one that transmits the greatest amount of heat.  The crown is ideal for long broad strokes across major muscle groups, especially either side of the spine, over the calves and thighs, and around the neck and shoulders.  Tilting the crown slightly offers a deeper pressure.

The hinge forms a small, rounded knobble on the side of every shell, great for working deeply into small, tight knots or problem areas.

The edge of every shell is carefully sanded to a smooth surface and is excellent for drainage strokes.

The application of a hot Lava Shell will act to dilate blood vessels therefore increasing blood flow.  Increased blood supply will bring fresh oxygen and nutrients to the area and assist in the removal of waste products.  The application of heat to the body’s muscles enables muscle relaxation and will aid pain relief.

The benefits of a Lava Shell massage include:

  • Promotion of relaxation
  • Stress reduction
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved skin appearance
  • Reduuction in tight, tense muscles
  • Seamless massage of heat and touch

The Lava Shell Relax body massage is indulgent and pampering.  A treatment that combines the warmth of the shells with deeply relaxing massage techniques, creating a sense of balance to the entire body and mind.  During the massage, the shells are worked over the palms, arms, feet and legs in slow deep moves to warm and de-stress.  This is followed by a wonderfully tranquil massage on the back, neck and shoulder area to ease away all tension, knots and stress.

So the next time you go to a spa and see Lava Shell Massage on the list, give it a go, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

In October 2020, Clare Anderson launched a new routine called Lava Shells Therma Bliss Massage, a complete immersion of the senses incorporating Lava Shell massage, a self-heating eye mask, a hand massage and other holistic touches – I’m looking forward to bringing this exciting new treatment to my own Complementary therapy business.

Lynda xx

hands in lavendar

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