What the Shell? Self-Heating Lava Shell Massage


Are lava shells the key to you spicing up your massage menu? At Skin Inc.’s Face & Body Midwest 2018, Vicky Karr discussed a new twist massage therapists can take on the hot stone massage: self-heating lava shells.

Karr is a licensed massage therapist who worked for The Ritz Carlton as a corporate trainer for 12 years. When she finally broke away from The Ritz Carlton, it was to start her own business: Spa Success LLC. She is approved by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Body Work, and was excited to talk to the Face & Body audience about self-heating lava shells.

Self-Heating Lava Shells

The shell itself is made out of crushed shells and porcelain. There are three sides to the shell that together give this massage tool a unique advantage. There is an opening on the very top of the lava shell where the sachet and activator are placed. The sachet is made from crushed lava and sea kelp while the activator is specially engineered salt water. 

After combining the activator and sachet within the shell, the massage therapist only needs to leave them to rest for approximately 10 minutes before use. Three or four shells are needed to complete an entire body massage, and the shells are non-porous so they cannot absorb or spread bacteria. 

Lava Shell Benefits

The three edges of the shells are what sets them apart from a  hot stone massage. One edge is perfect for scraping and allowing deeper tissue work. The “hinge” edge is ideal to work into pressure or trigger points. Finally, the flat surface works to warm up the body and dispense heat.

Lava shells differ from stones in that they should never be stagnantly placed on the body for long periods of time. The activator begins working when the shells are at rest, thus, heating the shells up. Additionally, the shells allow the therapist to stay connected to his or her client during the entire session without having to break away mid-treatment.

Like hot stone massage, lava shells will soften and warm up the muscles. However, the different edges and overall shell-like shape create a deeper penetrating effect. To get the most from this unique massage implement, Karr suggests adding a few drops of essential oils for an aromatherapeutic effect. 

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