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Lifestyle : Rest and Relaxation
1HERSA1 A040 AG3582406AA-060211 40 SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2011 THE SUN-HERALD Thrill of the new Lava shells and Hawaiian ka huna are among the offerings that strike a chord with customers looking for a different experience, writes Carolyn Boyd. Soaking away those cares . . . a soothing lava shell massage releases muscle tension and soreness. Photo: Danielle Smith YOU'VE heard of hot rock therapy and maybe even had it. People rush to try the newest treatments and there always seem to be new therapies coming on the market. One of the latest relaxation techniques to hit the market is lava shell massage. The therapy has been popular overseas for a few years and is beginning to be offered by Australian salons. Lava shell massage is also being marketed for its eco-credentials -- with proponents saying it uses the shells of clams collected by villagers in the Philippines for the food they contain, before being recycled into a relaxation tool. The shell's natural ridged, chalky surface is sanded and polished until it becomes smooth and pink. In massage, the hollow, fused shells are filled with a mixture of minerals and oils mixed with salt, algae and dried kelp. When combined, the ingredients create a chemical reaction that heats up and keeps the shell warm for more than an hour. That continuous heat allows the therapist to maintain a constant touch with the client as they do not need to move away to reheat anything. The therapist then applies the shells using light Swedish massage strokes. The heat can be used on problem areas to release muscle tension and soreness and the shape of the palm-sized shell means it has round and narrow sections for different massage strokes. There are two types of gel that can be used inside the shells. One offers a deep heat, while the other is somewhat cooler. The Day Spa Sydney at the Observatory Hotel has just begun to offer lava shell massages. A one- hour massage costs $185. ''The benefits of the massage are similar to a hot stone massage's relaxation,'' says the spa director at The Observatory Hotel, Samantha Swan. ''The warmth of the shell penetrates the muscles, so it allows the therapist to work deeper into the muscle.'' For more details, see www.observatoryhotel.com.au. From shells to dancing, there is a wide range of unusual massage techniques to help you relax. Take ka huna. It's a Hawaiian rhythmical massage that uses long, fluid strokes and involves the masseur stretching out the client's body. The Gaia Retreat and Spa in the Byron Bay hinterland offers ka huna massage (gaiaretreat.com.au). ''It's almost like a dance, where the therapist sort of dances around the client but the body is moved in such a rhythmical way that the client almost feels in the rhythm as well, they're working together,'' says Gaia spokeswoman Priscylla Muller. ''Even though the client is relaxed, if they're able to let go and let the therapist move their body, it's quite a beautiful rhythmic experience.'' Ka huna massages at Gaia are $195 for 90 minutes, or they can be taken as an upgrade to the complimentary massage offered in Gaia's retreat packages. Ka huna massages are also available from the Sydney Ka Huna Centre in Paddington. An hour-long session costs $110, or it's $150 for 11G2 hours. For more details, see kahunacentre.com.au. The centre also offers lomi lomi massage, which is slower. Rest and relaxation SPECIAL REPORT A Sun-Herald Special Report Editor Matt Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Tina Musumeci, (02) 9282 1003