What is a Warm Shell Massage?



What is a warm shell massage? Well, a warm shell massage, also known as a seashell massage, warm lava shell massage, and hot shell massage, is a holistic (whole person) approach to relaxation and mental and physical health. This relaxation approach consists of easing the mind by physically manipulating your muscles. The shells, used in most warm shell massages, are called Tiger Clam shells, and come from the Philippines. The massage actually originated in Hawaii and the South Pacific Islands, but it is popular throughout the world.

This type of massage places heated seashells on your tired, achy muscles and joints to relax your body, and promote healing and rejuvenation. A typical warm shell massage takes between 60 and 120 minutes to complete, and ranges in price from $50 to $200, per session, depending on the spa. If you are wondering what a warm shell massage is, you have come to the right place. This article will explain what a warm shell massage is, so that you can decide if it is the best massage for you!


During a warm shell massage, a massage therapist places smooth seashells filled with organic materials (i.e. a combination of salt water, oils, algae, dried sea kelp, and minerals) on your upper back, lower back, legs, arms, and/or neck. When these elements are combined, it causes the seashells to warm up, relaxing your deep muscles and providing an overall sense of health and well-being. The size and shape of the shells varies, but larger “fanned” shells are normally used to cover your back, while smaller shells are normally placed between your toes to relieve “knots” of tension in those areas.


During a warm shell massage, your massage therapist may decide to only use the shells, or he/she may alternate between his/her hands and the seashells. Your therapist may simply place the shells on the tense areas, or he/she may move the shells across these areas with continuous sweeping motions.


There are many advantages associated with warm shell massages. One of these benefits is that it exfoliates your skin, while it warms your muscles and joints. This massage is often used, in conjunction with body scrubs and mud wraps. Moreover, your massage therapist may add a combination of aromatherapy lotions, creams, and/or oils to the massage to enrich the treatment.


Supporters of warm shell massages attest to the shells’ ability to transmit positive, uplifting vibrations throughout the body. These supporters also claim that the shells promote “whole body” healing, health and well-being. Moreover, it is not uncommon for massage therapists to boast of the strengthening and healing properties of warm shell massages.


A warm shell massage is not recommended for the following people:

  • People recovering from surgery

  • People with infectious skin diseases, neuropathic conditions, skin rashes, and/or open wounds

  • People who are currently taking chemotherapy or radiation (unless recommended by your oncologist (cancer doctor))

  • People who are vulnerable to blood clots (When you are prone to blood clots, your risk of a blood clot being dislodged is elevated, therefore if you have diabetes, heart disease or a circulatory disorder, consult your physician before scheduling a warm shell massage).

  • Women who are pregnancy should consult with their obstetrician before scheduling a warm shell massage. Why? Well, placing warm/hot stones on the abdomen can affect your growing baby. Fortunately, some spas offer prenatal massages that are specially designed for pregnant women. These massages address the normal “aches and pains” of pregnancy.

  • People with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus should avoid warm shell massages because they can flare up their conditions.


Brown, A. (2014). Lava shell massage. About Travel. Retrieved from http://spas.about.com/od/hotstonemassage/a/lavashellmassag.htm

Malik, S. (2014). The warm lava shells massage: An eco-friendly relaxation treatment. Khaleej-esque. Retrieved from http://www.khaleejesque.com/2013/05/lifestyle/the-warm-lava-shells-massage-an-eco-friendly-relaxation-treatment/







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