If you’re a massage therapist you know cellulite is a fact of life. While it’s not unhealthy to have cellulite on your body—and it affects most women regardless of their level of fitness—many clients consider it unsightly and would prefer to have less of it.

Leveraging self-heating technology and the ability to retain heat for a long period of time, you can use Lava Shells as a tool to help clients reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Naturally Hot

Lava Shells are created from beautiful, hand-selected, recycled tiger-striped clam shells from the South Pacific Ocean. They are also handcrafted from porcelain and crushed shells. A Lava Shell massage treatment utilizes an all-natural heat that is achieved by combining organic minerals with salt water. This is done by exposing a lava gel sachet to an activator or charge.

At Spa Revolutions, we can create various levels of heat based on the mineral-to-salt ratio between the sachet and charge. the lava gel sachets are available in mild, moderate or high heat. This gives us the unique advantage of an anti-cellulite massage protocol with a level of heat that is comfortable enough to use on a targeted area of the body while also being effective in ultimately reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Address Difficult Areas

The anti-cellulite Lava Shell protocol focuses on the client’s body areas that are affected by cellulite. It can be beneficial for targeting those difficult areas that aren’t always addressed through exercise such as the upper thigh.

Women tend to gravitate to this treatment as women have a higher percentage of fat than men. This fat content exists in the deep layers of the dermis and is held in place by connective tissues.

When these tissue fibers pull down tightly on the skin, cellulite forms, causing the skin to dimple or pucker. The heat of the shells helps increase blood flow and break down fatty deposits, dispersing those deposits naturally thus reducing the appearance of cellulite. For more information on this process, see “Is Cellulite Forever?” published in Scientific American, May 4, 2009.

In addition to the heat, the anatomy of the shells creates an effective implement for deep tissue massage, which will assist in improving the breakdown of fatty cells and help the body’s own metabolism eliminate waste deposits.

During what could otherwise be a very laborious massage treatment for the therapist, the heat and shell anatomy allow the therapist to penetrate deeper into the cellulite tissues with less strain and effort.

A Typical Lava Shell Treatment

The anti-cellulite Lava Shell protocol was specifically designed to focus on cellulite tissues, using skillful and vigorous movements with the Lava Shell. A briskly paced deep tissue massage, incorporating strokes such as kneading, knuckling (scraping), wringing and petrissage, assists in eliminating waste byproducts and breaking up fatty deposits.

Lymphatic drainage and massage stimulate blocked circulation of lymph by expelling water and unnecessary products of metabolism from the organism.

The beneficial effect of massage, more precisely the fact that exerted pressure on adipocytes blocks their diversification, makes the accumulation of fatty tissue impossible.

It is important to remember that the pressure of the strokes should always be in a movement that is upward from the extremities. This encourages a flow that eliminates freed deposits and toxins through the lymphatic system.

The heat of the shell has a penetrating effect into the deeper layers of tissue, which can reduce the appearance of existing cellulite.

Massage techniques, as well as laser and radio-frequency, have been used for several years to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. While their results may not be permanent, they are effective in the short-term, says Cheryl Karcher, M.D., in “15 Myths and Facts about Cellulite,” published online by Health.

Lava Shell Treatments in Action

Prior to the first Lava Shell treatment, the therapist should ensure that the client understands that only areas affected with cellulite will be the focus of the massage. Take a few moments to discuss the protocol so the client is not expecting to receive a regular full-body massage.

During the treatment, check with the client to ensure her comfort level, as fatty tissue is typically more sensitive to pressure than muscle tissue.

To give this treatment an added boost, consider complementing it with an essential oil that is known for diuretic, purifying or lymphatic properties. Or be creative and design your own anti-cellulite blend.

For example, grapefruit oil is recognized for its detoxifying properties while black pepper warms and stimulates. Geranium is also known to assist the body with detoxification and lymph drainage.

As with any anti-cellulite treatment, a level of commitment from the client is required for optimum results. It is important to speak candidly about the client’s cosmetic goals and set realistic expectations.

A course of four to six anti-cellulite Lava Shell massage treatments, spaced one week apart, is recommended. Encourage the client to rebook immediately following the massage, or consider offering a promotional package of six anti-cellulite Lava Shell massage treatments at a reduced rate.

About the Authors

Kristin Sartore is vice president of sales, marketing and business development for Spa Revolutions, a company that specializes in self-heating spa products. In addition to Lava Shells, Spa Revolutions also offers cooling Glacial Shells, paraffin, self-heating stones and more.

Vicky Karr, L.M.T., is the owner of Spa Success LLC, a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved provider of continuing education.