FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Listed below are some of the most popular questions we receive. If you have a question that is not listed, then feel free to contact us directly using the links on the left-hand side of this page.

What are Lava Shells®?
How did you discover Lava Shells?
What was it about Lava Shells which excited you?
Where do Lava Shells come from?
Are the Natural Lava Shells real seashells?
What are the Porcelain Lava Shells made from?
What are the differences between Natural Lava Shells and Porcelain Lava Shells?
How strong are the shells? Can I break them?
How do Lava Shells work?
How long do Lava Shells stay hot and how hot does it get?
Is there a cold option?
What treatments do you offer?
What differentiates a Lava Shell treatment from a hot stone treatment?
How many shells are used to do a massage?
What kind of training is required to use Lava Shells?
Tell me about the Lava Relax training?
Why do I have to complete case studies?
What happens after training, do you offer any additional support?
How many salons and spas offer Lava Shell treatments?
What magazines have you been featured in?
What other press coverage have you had?
What celebrity fans do you have?
Do you collaborate with any other brands?


What are Lava Shells®?
Lava Shells are the world’s first self-heating massage tool. Lava Shells are 100% recycled, natural Tiger Clam shells. A patented, natural, biodegradable heat technology is incorporated into the Lava Shell which then omits heat for over an hour, allowing therapists to provide a continuous and seamless body massage.

Portable, eco-friendly and non-porous, Lava Shells can be used to treat a multitude of concerns from easing aching muscles and joints to alleviating the suffering from IBS and bloating. Due to the shells unique shape and angles they become an extension of the therapist’s hands, deploying deeply therapeutic relief to where it is needed. Perfect for all industry professionals and used by mobile therapists, salon and spas.


How did you discover Lava Shells?
I discovered the shells whilst on the islands of Turks and Caicos in 2008. As soon as I had felt the heat of the shells I just knew I had discovered something exciting. Having worked in the beauty and spa sector for many years, I was very aware of how successful hot stone treatments were and instantly recognised that Lava Shells could rival stones. Within 2 weeks of returning home I had gained exclusive distribution rights for the UK and Ireland and put plans in place to develop the treatments and training.


What was it about Lava Shells which excited you?
Lava Shells offered all the benefits of stones but with the addition of being eco-friendly, portable and non-porous, 5 minutes heating time, minimal cleaning, turnaround time and the ability for therapists to deliver a seamless massage. As no heater is required, Health & Safety risks are minimised.


Where do Lava Shells come from?
Lava Shells offered all the benefits of stones but with the addition of being eco-friendly, portable and non-porous, 5 minutes heating time, minimal cleaning, turnaround time and the ability for therapists to deliver a seamless massage. As no heater is required, Health & Safety risks are minimised.


Are the Natural Lava Shells real seashells?
Yes, the Natural Lava Shells are real hand-selected Tiger Clam shells from the Philippines, which are recycled to be used within our treatments.


What are the Porcelain Lava Shells made from?
Each porcelain shell is created from a blend of real crushed seashells and porcelain.


What are the differences between Natural Lava Shells and Porcelain Lava Shells?
Being a product of nature, Natural Lava Shells will have variations in colour, size, thickness, and texture, which add to their individual character and organic beauty. Porcelain Lava Shells are handcrafted using high quality porcelain and crushed shells. Each porcelain shell is hand painted, replicating the beautiful lustre and appearance of natural shells. They have been crafted from the ideal ergonomic natural shell and are more uniform in size and thickness. Neither is better than the other, it is simply a matter of personal choice for each therapist.


How strong are the shells? Can I break them?
Both the Natural Lava Shells and Porcelain Shells are very durable and can be used for deep pressure work without any worry of breakage. It is, however, possible for them to chip or break if dropped, but if handled with appropriate care they will last indefinitely.


How do Lava Shells work?
A sachet containing a blend of food grade minerals is placed inside the shell to which the activator, a saline solution, is added, causing an exothermic reaction. Once activated the shells take between 5 and 10 minutes to heat up and then continue to generate heat for over an hour. As the shell is used, it will naturally transfer heat to the body and cool; when set aside and rested it will begin increasing in temperature, giving the therapist full control and ability to create a totally bespoke treatment for every client.


How long do Lava Shells stay hot and how hot does it get?
Once activated a shell will stay warm for over an hour. We offer 3 different temperatures of sachet:

Mild Blend is the mildest heat, this is designed specifically to be used safely by anyone. This blend is contained within our Home Care Kit for clients to purchase. We also use this heat blend in our Warming Back Massage and in Lava Shell Therma Facial treatments. Only suitable for use in Small Porcelain Lava Shells. Temperature range when in use 31 - 46°C (88 - 115°F)

Comfort Blend Medium Heat is the milder of the two comfort blends; the Medium Heat is ideal for 30 minute Back & Neck Massage treatments using Natural or Large Porcelain Lava Shells. It can also be used for Full Body Massage where clients prefer a lower temperature (especially the elderly and/or people with sensitive skin). Temperature range when in use 36 - 48°C (97-118°F)

Comfort Blend High Heat is the stronger of the two comfort blends, the High Heat Blend heats quicker with a faster increase in temperature when rested, especially during the first 30 minutes using Natural or Large Porcelain Lava Shells. Ideal for continuous use across large areas of the body and deep therapeutic work, the High Heat Blend is perfect for a Full Body Massage. Temperature range when in use 38 - 49°C (100 -120°F)


Is there a cold option?
Yes, we also have Glacial Shells which can be used in conjunction with Lava Shells to deliver a different treatment experience. The same principle is used as with Lava Shells but a cooling sachet is used within a porcelain Glacial Shell.


What treatments do you offer?
During the past 5 years the treatment portfolio has been developed to offer 7 wonderful and unique treatments thanks to the launch of both Glacial and Facial Shells to join the original Lava Shells.

See the treeatments page for more information.


What differentiates a Lava Shell treatment from a hot stone treatment?
Lava shells have many unique qualities over hot stones, predominantly the continuous heat the shells omit for over an hour, thereby enabling the therapist to deliver a deeper, more relaxing treatment as they have continuous touch time with the client. Unlike stones the temperature of the shells stabilises as they are worked with and re-heat when rested, this means that the therapist is able to manage the temperature and offer a totally bespoke treatment to suit each and every client.

The shells take just 5 to 10 minutes to activate (heat up) allowing shorter lead time for bookings with minimal set up time. This enables therapists to up-sell a body massage to a Lava Shell massage as well as being able to offer Lava Shell Massage to walk-in clients. This is difficult to do with stones as they require up to 45 minutes to heat prior to treatment, unless the stone heater is on all day they cannot compete with Lava Shells.

Therapist’s need only use two shells for a back massage and up to four shells for a full body treatment, this increases the time spent massaging and there is less disruption for the client whist the appropriate stone is sourced. The shells have 3 different angels crown, edge and hinge, which copy the therapist’s hands; palm, knuckles and thumb, delivering variable change in pressure so it less effort for the therapist to perform the massage and they can change the angle as required, which also helps to protect and prevent injury to the therapist.

Shells offer health & safety advantages too, as shells are non-porous they do not absorb any bacteria, skin cells or oils so are very hygienic and this makes them very easy to clean taking only seconds. Back to back clients can be treated with Lava Shells with no compromise to hygiene. Being light and portable they require little space, along with no electrical requirements, heaters or hot water, this makes them a great choice for mobile therapists and establishments where space is a premium.


How many shells are used to do a massage?
A 1 hour full body massage will use 3-4 shells (depending on the heat level used), and a 30 minute back and neck massage will use 2 shells.


What kind of training is required to use Lava Shells?
Lava Shell treatments are only available from therapists who have completed and passed the Shared Beauty Secrets training. All therapists must hold an NVQ Level 3 or equivalent Body Massage qualification before attending body training and Level 2 for facial training.


Tell me about the Lava Relax training?
All our Lava Shell training courses are available in venues across the UK and Ireland including at our training school in Bicester. Our 1 day training courses cover both the theory and practice of using the shells for the particular treatment you are training in. You will work with the shells and receive massage during the day. At the end of training you will take home with you a manual and case study documents, as well as any stock ordered, allowing you to complete your case study treatments.


Why do I have to complete case studies?
Therapists are required to carry out 2 case study treatments to complete their training. It gives you a chance to practice the skills learnt during your training day. We offer a video link for additional support and once you have filled out and returned your case studies our Executive Trainer will check your questionnaire. Should you need to discuss anything our Executive Trainer will call you and ensure she can answer all questions and leave you confident and competent delivering your new treatment. At this point you will become an accredited therapist (or salon) and can re-order stock, gain full insurance cover and will be promoted on our ‘find a therapist’ section on our website.


What happens after training, do you offer any additional support?
Yes, once an accredited therapist or salon you are a part of the Shared Beauty Secrets family and a wealth of support is available to you. We initially send you information containing ideas and tips on how to promote Lava Shell treatments in your business and links and a password to the complete range of bespoke marketing material. In addition we offer our accredited accounts:

  • A discount on further training if booked within 2 weeks
  • Regular emails with new documents, promotions and PR ideas
  • Salon incentives
  • Product and training offers

Specific support requests can be made to both our Head Office and training team. The office team are available 5 days a week for immediate response and most queries are quickly and easily dealt with. However, if you have more detailed training questions, our Executive Trainers will happily contact you directly to offer their skilled support.


WHow many salons and spas offer Lava Shell treatments?
As of July 2014 over 2,000 salons, spas and mobile therapists offer Lava Shell treatments in the UK and Ireland and over 4,000 therapists nationwide have been trained to deliver the exceptional and unique Lava Shell treatments.

A selection of salons and spas where the Lava Shell treatments are available are Mandarin Oriental, Urban Retreat at Harrods, Celtic Manor, Carbis Bay in Cornwall, The Marker Hotel in Dublin, Spa by Car, the London Hilton Syon Hotel & Spa, Hotel Groups Macdonald, Marriott, Handpicked and Q Hotels, the Bannatyne Health Club estate & Aqua Sana in Centerparcs, Ragdale Hall, Lifehouse, Eastwell Manor, Moddershall Oaks, Rudding Park, Les Roches Spa, The Cornwall Hotel, Galgorm Spa, The Spa at Summer Lodge, Eden Hall, OMG Hair and Beauty Salon, The Ficarra’s Spa, Rookey Manor, Roslin Spa, Nutmeg Spa, Tessa Stevens Salon and of course the The Bali Leha Spa, on Sir Richard Branson’s idyllic ‘Necker Island’.


What magazines have you been featured in?
We feature in both consumer and trade press every month and were dubbed “The New Hot Stones” by Vogue. Lava Shells has been recognised as a favourite treatment of many leading beauty and health journalists with some fantastic press coverage in prestigious titles such as The Times, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Woman & Home, Health & Fitness, OK! Magazine, Metro, Sunday Times Style, Evening Standard and Natural Health, European Spa, FHT and Professional Beauty to name but a few.


What other press coverage have you had?
Our top 4 must be when Lava Shells were selected to appear on BBC1’s The Apprentice. Our recent feature of the Therma Facial on ITV’s This Morning. When we massage a host of celebrities backstage at T4 on the Beach and our recent #LavaParty celebrating our 5th anniversary. This was attended by a host of celebrity fans at the fabulous Whisky Mist in London and featured in OK! Magazine, as well many other consumer and trade publications. You can watch a video from the party here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O80w819soQ


What celebrity fans do you have?
Ellie Goulding, Pixie Lott, Tamer Hassan, The Saturdays, Mille Mackintosh, Amy Willerton, Duncan James, The Wanted, Jessica Wright, Ricky Rayment, Josie Gibson, Brooke Kinsella, Alexandra Burke, JLS, Katie Price, Gail Porter, Kate Walsh, Liz McClarnon, Jonas Altberg, Angela Griffin, Susie Amy, Jermaine Jackson, Les Ferdinand, Ricky Whittle, Kerry Katona, Ryan Thomas, Travis McCoy, Jason Derulo, Les Ferdinand, Sian Welby, Farah Sattaur, Hatty Keane, Lizzy Cundy, Lacey Banghard, Dextor Koh, Zara Dawson, Aisleyne Horgan–Wallace, Harry Maxwell, Donna Fallon and Calum Best.


Do you collaborate with any other brands?
Two of our treatments have been developed in conjunction with leading product houses. This includes the Lava Shell Intensive Muscle Recovery with Aromatherapy Associates which is an exclusive treatment for the Bali Leha Spa on Necker Island. Designed for the long haul traveller and busy professional, this deeply restorative treatment relieves tight, stressed and aching muscles.

We also developed the Lava Shell Therma Facial in association with leading mineral skincare brand Spa Find. A deeply relaxing, hydrating and anti-ageing facial using warm shells in conjunction with Spa Find natural mineral products.

Some new and exciting collaborations are planned for later in 2014.