Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is the local or general exposure of the body to subzero temperatures

In recent years, many types of spa treatments have gained recognition for their health benefits. Heated massage, whether with hot stones or shells, is a modality that quickly comes to the minds of therapists and clients alike.

Cold therapy is also growing in popularity as a treatment option.

Chill Out with Cold Therapy

Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is the local or general exposure of the body to subzero temperatures. Its modern use was developed in Japan in 1978 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Since then, the benefits of cryotherapy have been studied and refined in Europe.

Now being utilized in the U.S., cryotherapy is creating beneficial results.

Glacial Shells are a type of cryotherapy massage tool. Glacial Shell massage sessions target pain and inflammation, with a primary goal of accelerating tissue healing and improving circulation.

Created from a nonporous blend of real seashells and high quality porcelain, Glacial Shells will not absorb oils, dead skin cells, dirt or bacteria, making them easy to clean and sanitize. The shells utilize a completely natural technology of a Glacial Gel sachet and activator solution that allows the shells to stay cool for up to 30 minutes.

Each shell is cast from an ergonomically shaped tiger striped clamshell, the same type of shell used for the naturally self-heating Lava Shell massage tool.

Offering a truly unique anatomy, the shells feature a hinge, or small rounded knob, that is ideal for stimulating pressure points and working into small, tight knots or problem areas.

The crown of every Glacial Shell is a smooth, carefully polished, gently rounded surface. It is the most versatile of the shell’s parts and the one that will transmit the greatest amount of cold therapy. The crown can be used for the deepest, most penetrating cold therapy bodywork, ultimately reducing muscle spasm by reducing the muscle’s ability to maintain a contraction.

The crown is excellent for performing long, broad strokes across major muscle groups, especially along the spine, over the calves and thighs, and around the neck and shoulders. Use of the crown is ideal for decreasing feeling to areas of injury. The coldness from the shells decreases feeling in the targeted area by reducing the ability of the nerve endings to conduct impulses.

The edge of every Glacial Shell is a smooth, jag-free surface that excels at applying cold therapy to narrow areas. The edge can be used as a dragging tool, or for wringing and pulling strokes

Glacial Shells offer a truly unique modality for offering cryotherapy on spa and massage treatment menus. With a growing number of male clientele frequenting spas, consider offering a signature treatment geared toward male athletes of all disciplines to assist with speedy recovery for ultimate performance.

Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is the local or general exposure of the body to subzero temperatures

Health & Wellness

With beauty and anti-aging treatments always welcomed by spa guests, Glacial Shell treatments are an excellent modality for skin maintenance. Cold therapy is ideal for increasing cell rejuvenation, improving skin tone, boosting collagen production, reducing signs of fine lines and wrinkles, and promoting skin tightening.

If a massage therapist does not hold an esthetician license, this add-on is still a perfect follow up to facial or full-body massage.

The cold from the Glacial Shells happily shocks the body into action by increasing blood circulation and boosting the immune and central nervous systems.

In addition, overall health and wellness are improved when integrating cryotherapy into your clients’ lifestyle. Benefits may include improved quality of sleep, stress reduction and strengthening of the immune system.

Versatility & Portability

Glacial Shells not only deliver a positive, therapeutic outcome for the client, but also offer versatility and portability for the therapist.

Glacial Shells be used by themselves as a stand-alone treatment, or they can also be utilized in conjunction with self-heating Lava Shells, in order to deliver contrast therapy effect for the client.

Using contrast therapy increases the temperature of the body, which helps increase muscle elasticity and reduces muscle tightness and soreness.

The heat of a Lava Shell expands the blood vessels, while the coolness of the Glacial Shell contracts the blood vessels, thus exercising the heart, increasing heart rate, flushing the body of waste products and increasing metabolism. All of these benefits are important for both pre- and post-workout or sporting events, along with overall general health.

Placing a Glacial Shell at the base of the neck—the hypothalamus, or the body’s thermostat—during a body wrap can be beneficial in preventing the client from becoming overheated, while still increasing the body’s core temperature.

Offering a Glacial Shell add-on to a sports massage is an excellent opportunity for the guest to experience cryotherapy, especially if he or she seems hesitant to experience a full-body cryotherapy massage.

Because Glacial Shells are extremely portable, presenting no need for water, electricity or cumbersome containers, they can be utilized at sporting events and workout classes for pre- or post-massage, thus reducing recovery time. Athletes can now reap the benefits of cryotherapy without being forced to sit in an ice bath. Glacial Shells can also be easily transported for home out-calls or in-room massages.

Before engaging in a Glacial Shell treatment, always assess your clients’ problem areas and rule out any issues with circulation or the inability to respond or feel cold.

Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is the local or general exposure of the body to subzero temperaturesCold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is the local or general exposure of the body to subzero temperatures

Natural Pain Therapy

For years, cold therapy treatments have been used in the health, beauty and spa industries, whether by sitting in a cold tub or ice bath, or entering a body-sized chamber and having liquid nitrogen sprayed into the air. For massage therapists, cold packs and chilled tools are familiar assistants.

Glacial Shells are another modality that offers convenience and the ability to focus the cold therapy treatment on the injured or desired area. Cryotherapy offers a safe and natural pain therapy, and the use of Glacial Shells offer a truly customizable massage treatment to meet your guests’ needs, goals, and pain issues.

Glacial Shells are unique in that they combine the pain management techniques of cryotherapy and massage therapy, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of this wellness treatment.

About the Author

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. She wrote “Clients Love Lava Shell Technology” for


If you enjoyed reading this MASSAGE Magazine online article, subscribe to the monthly print magazine for more articles about massage news, techniques, self-care, research, business and more, delivered monthly. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for additional unique content, including product announcements and special offers.