Body wraps are the new “it” treatment at the spas. The celebrities are boasting about it and your friend down the street is probably talking about how it is her new go to for weight loss. Apparently, they are the new “cure for everything” treatment, or at least that is how they are being advertised.
There’s even a cheaper way that some are using to lose inches by wrapping themselves in plastic wrap and literally sweating the inches off.
They promise to treat everything from loose skin, toxicity and even excess weight! So I’m sure you’re wondering how does this work and where can I get one?
Body wrapping historically was simply a method of losing weight in certain areas of the body through vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels). Ace bandages would be wrapped around your body parts and would cause a quick, and temporary weight loss. Contemporarily, this treatment is a bit more of a complex procedure.
It often involves serums, lotions, mud, and/or seaweed that are supposed to assist in the weight loss and toxin release process. Steam and other environmental factors are also used for an added relaxation or harmonizing effects. And instead of wrapping just certain portions of the body, the spas do more of a cocoon/mummy-type wrap, where your entire body is completely concealed.
The ideology of body wrapping is based upon two principles: absorption and compacting. The body is wrapped tight, and therefore, the heat will open your pores and release moisture and toxins. The clay and other substances that your body is wrapped in absorb the matter being released. This wrapping process compacts the body and in essence, slims it down.
So, what is the issue?
Sweating too much can lead to dehydration which is dangerous as the sweat does not dry, but stays on the body, raising body temperature possibly to unsafe levels. Profuse sweating also leads to changes in blood chemistry, reducing blood volume and sending less oxygen to the cells. Weakness, dizziness, confusion, coma and even death can result because of excessive fluid loss. If you are having a body wrap at a spa, your attendant may not be qualified to deal with any of these reactions.
The dangers of wrapping your stomach in plastic are not limited to sweating alone. Cling wrap used for wrapping the stomach is made from Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which has been described as one of the most dangerous consumer products. It leaches harmful substances which have been linked to negative effects on the liver, spleen, kidneys, bone formation and body weight. PVC is also linked to cancer.Some wraps are dipped in mineral products, some of which may contain aluminum, which is linked to Alzheimer’s. In addition, you may be allergic to some of the ingredients used in the wrap.
With that said, body wrapping can be okay, but lets be clear: this is a very temporary option. If you need to fit into a tight little dress for a special occasion, a body wrap before the event would be perfect. If you are trying to lose some weight and keep it off, you’re better off picking up a gym membership.
While these wraps may moisturize, tighten and firm you skin, it cannot be used as a replacement for good old exercise. Not to mention, a gym membership can run you about $50-100 bucks per month and body wraps at a spa cost about $75-500 per session. And even if you only use plastic wrap, many women complain of weight coming back unless they add diet and exercise to their regime.
So what’s the lesson? Go old school. Eating right and exercise always works.