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Hot Shell Massage

Quite recent in Quebec, this massage technique uses hot shells to relax the body. Combining effleurage and other techniques reminiscent of Californian massage, this massage is soft and highly enveloping.

The shells used are natural tiger clams from the Philippines that have been sanded and polished to give them their characteristic shape and softness. Today, porcelain imitations of these shells designed specifically for this type of treatment can also be found.


Hot shell massage is first and foremost a relaxing treatment that offers complete relaxation to those who experience it. The heat from the shells allows relaxation of the nervous system and tensed muscles. Because of its enveloping effect, this massage is recommended against stress and fatigue. It also promotes better blood and lymphatic circulation.

Hot Shell Massage Réseau des massothérapeutes


The shells are naturally warm and mingle with the heat of the body to become hot. However, there is a mixture that can be introduced inside the shell to create a greater and more constant heat. Normally, the shells begin to cool down after an hour of massage.

This massage technique uses oil and combines palm movements and thumb pressures. Shells can be placed at strategic locations (back, shoulders, legs, etc.) for a period of time to create a heat effect and relax tension or be slipped all over the body. The thin side of the shell is used to untie tension knots, while its rounded side is used for large effleurage movements.


Some general contraindications such as heart problems, hypotension, phlebitis, major varicose veins, open wounds or recent injuries apply to this type of massage. Areas of the body affected by these conditions or by inflammation should be avoided. The heat of the shells can also be reduced to suit children and the elderly.

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