Q: What are Lava Shells®?
A: Lava Shells® are the world’s first naturally self-heating massage tool designed to allow a massage therapist, or anyone performing some type of bodywork, the ability to add heat into their techniques.
Q: How do Lava Shells® work?
A: Lava Shells® use the same heating technology used in our PerfectSense® Paraffin system combined with an all-natural heat absorber called Lava Gel®. The Activator reacts with the natural minerals in the Lava Gel™ sachet and causes an exothermic reaction, creating a relaxing heat that is absorbed into the Lava Gel®. Once activated, a shell will continue to generate heat for up to an hour. As the shell is used, it will naturally transfer heat to the body and cool; when set aside and/or not moving on the skin, its temperature will begin increasing. This is especially true during the first half hour after activation, when the shell is generating the most energy at the highest rate.
Q: How do I manage the heat of Lava Shells®?
A: When the shell is in use, thermal energy sinks out of it and it cools; set it aside and it continues to generate heat. Because of this, a shell should never be set-aside for more than 2-3 minutes at a time after activation. Whenever a shell is set aside, you must always test the temperature of the shell before placing it against a client’s skin again. Because your hands will be more accustomed to the heat from holding the shells often, you should check the temperature against another part of your body (wrist, inner arm, or neck – somewhere where the skin is relatively thin) before use.
Q: How hot do the shells get? Can I burn a client?
A: The Lava Charges (Lava Gel® + Activator) are engineered to produce consistent heat reactions every time. As with any heated product, all instructions must be followed carefully and should only be used by trained staff. As long as instructions for proper use are followed, the shells are very safe. Over the course of the massage, the shell will fluctuate normally in temperature as it is used (it will lose heat when used and will be set aside for brief periods to recharge). If the protocols included with the shells are followed correctly, the shells should never get hot enough to burn a client.
Q: How long do Lava Shells® stay hot?
A: Lava Shells® will stay warm for up to 45-minutes, depending on the method of application. The more vigorously the shells are used, the quicker they will shed their heat.
Q: How do I cool the shells if they become too hot?
A: If a shell ever becomes too hot, always be prepared to cool your shells utilizing one of the following techniques:
1. When you need to cool the shell, simply place it in a very damp and cool towel and wrap it up for 5-10 seconds, to sink the heat and reduce its temperature to a comfortable level. Once activated, do not leave a Lava Shell® unattended until it has cooled or the sachet has been removed. Always remove the sachet from the shell immediately after finishing a treatment (cool shell before removing sachet if necessary).
2. Fill a dish with cool water and simply submerge the shell into the water for 5 to 10 seconds. This will lower the temperature to a comfortable level without taking excessive heat from the shell. If too hot to handle, use a damp towel to pick up the shell and place it in the cooling dish.
Q: Are the Lava Gel® or Lava Activators toxic?
A: Absolutely not. The Lava Gel® is composed of food-grade minerals, and neither the gel nor the activator have any toxic substances in them, nor do they produce any harmful byproducts when they are combined.
Q: How strong are the shells? Can I break them?
A: Natural Lava Shells® are composed of calcium carbonate, the same basic material that makes up our bones and teeth. The Porcelain Lava Shells® are a blend of real seashells and high quality porcelain. Both are very durable and can be used for deep pressure work without any worry about breaking. It is possible for them to chip or break if dropped, but if handled with appropriate care they will last indefinitely. However, do to the organic nature of Natural Lava Shells®, they are more fragile than Porcelain Lava Shells®. Differences in massage technique and handling of the shells makes it impossible to determine their shelf life.
Q: How long do the shells take to prepare and clean up?
A: Preparation and cleanup are very simple. To prepare your Lava Shell®, remove the cap, open the Lava Gel® packet and place it inside the Lava Shell®. Then, pour the Activator Solution into the shell and replace the cap. It should typically take less than a minute. Once the materials are combined, the shell takes approximately five minutes to heat up to a ready temperature and for the Activator Solution to absorb. To clean up, simply pull out the Lava Gel® sachet and rinse the inside of the shell, then clean the outside with a non-abrasive soap and water; it will typically take less than a minute from start to finish, then the shell is ready to use again. The sachet should be removed from the shell within a few minutes after the end of the treatment to avoid deterioration of the sachet material, so that cleanup is as easy as possible.
Q: Can I use massage oil with Lava Shells®?
A: Yes. Oil should be used to facilitate easy movement of the shell on the skin. PerfectSense® Massage carries a Botanical Massage Oil that is a great complement to a Lava Shell® treatment, or you can use your own if you’d like. Unlike Hot Stones, the shells are non-porous, meaning the massage oil comes off easily and no bacteria or oil residue becomes caught in the surface of the shell, creating a more sanitary, easier to clean tool.
Q: How many shells do I need to do a massage?
A: The number of shells you use with any given treatment depends on the treatment’s length and the amount of time during the treatment that you want to apply heat. A 50-60 minute massage can use 1-4 shells, and an 80-minute massage can use no fewer than 4 shells. A 50-minute facial with a 20-minute hot shell neck and shoulder rub would rarely use more than one. You’ll want to determine which treatments require what amount of heat, and then decide how many shells to use per treatment.
Q: How do Lava Shells® compare to traditional Hot Stone Massage?
A: It is important to remember that Lava Shells® are not a replacement for Hot Stones, but rather a unique massage tool that can be used to perform a similar treatment as Hot Stones can, as well as many other types of services that Hot Stone Massage cannot. However, Lava Shells® also offer fundamental improvements over Hot Stone in many areas, especially for the therapists performing the treatment. To begin with, the system is entirely self-contained. Once the Lava Gel® and Activator are added to the shell, it can be taken anywhere, so there’s no need for a nearby outlet. Second, there’s no supplemental equipment required. Hot Stone uses large, energy-inefficient roasters to heat the stones, which not only require additional cleaning apart from the stones and can increase the risk of cross-contamination between patients, but can also make the treatment room uncomfortably hot. Third, and most important, there is no touch time lost with a Lava Shell massage. During a Hot Stone treatment, because the stones only stay hot for a few minutes, the therapist must constantly be returning to the roaster to get new hot stones out of the water, and in doing so they must stop massaging briefly. But with no more than four Lava Shells®needed for an entire massage, and no heater, the therapist can stay with the client for the length of the treatment, providing all the benefits of both heat and continuous touch, which Hot Stone simply cannot do.