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The latest trend in soothing beauty treatments for your body doesn’t involve mud, cling-film or submersing yourself in a bath filled with some hot, non-descript liquid. Surprisingly, the latest massage loved by the celebs uses recycled shells from the Philippines to soothe away tension and perhaps even more surprisingly, it works.
It’s almost as if massages seem to be getting boring for some people, as new-fangled approaches to the basic ‘oil-up and rub-down’ method are constantly appearing. First it was thermal stones, and then came the fad for massage chairs and machines. Now the latest in soothing massages involves eco-friendly Tiger Striped clam shells from the Philippines, which are recycled by being hollowed-out and varnished so they’re wonderfully smooth. However, the real magic happens when a lava gel and mineral mixture come into contact inside the shells, resulting in them staying warmer for longer than other similar treatments.
My massage took place at the Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, which is only a 40-minute train ride out of London and set in a secluded and leafy part of Kent, right next door to the racetrack. My masseuse for the treatment runs through what it will involve and shows me how the shells heat up and are used, which initially does seem somewhat unusual, however, feeling how smooth and warm these shells can get in my hands, I’m prepared to give it a shot.
Beginning with my arms while I lie on my back, much of what my masseuse does with her hands feels a lot like a traditional Swedish massage, using a relaxing oil which I chose before we began. However, after a few minutes when I have started to unwind, she begins to use the shells and the sensation is instantly soothing.
The warmth, and also the fact that the shells remain warm, together with the combination of hand pressure and strokes with the hot shells made for an experience which worked especially well on tense areas including my upper arms and the palms of my hands.
Before we began, I was warned the treatment would involve some massaging on my stomach, and while this didn’t concern me initially, when she started to apply more pressure to my rather tender tummy-area, it was definitely an unusual feeling I wasn’t expecting. However, this part of the massage is designed to relieve some tension and even ease IBS, and while it was oddly satisfying, I didn’t end up with as flat a stomach after this as I would’ve liked.
I then moved onto my front where the masseuse then concentrated on my legs, one of my key areas of tension, especially the calf muscles. And as with my palms, the shells seemed to work particularly well on this area, as their heat and smooth exterior applied just the right amount of pressure while still soothing and unknotting. After spending a lot of the week on my feet and being busy, the shells felt incredible on the soles of my feet, especially with the pointed edge working between my toes. Finishing on my upper and lower back, the shells certainly added something new to what could otherwise have been a bog-standard (but still very relaxing) massage.
The whole treatment lasted for about an hour and afterwards I was left feeling as soothed and relaxed as I could have imagined. While I have to admit that I do like any kind of massage or beauty indulgence, Lava Shell treatment was definitely worth trying for a new twist on an old favourite, and being environmentally-friendly as well is an added bonus!
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