Body Wraps and How They Work
Originally a body wrap was a treatment that called for Ace bandages or plastic wrap being tightly wrapped around the body. This process caused quick weight loss through the process of vasodilatation (the widening of blood vessels resulting from relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls). Some spas still offer this type of body wrap treatment. Clients who have undergone a body wrap treatment with the goal of shedding pounds have boasted dropping up to two dress sizes after just one session.
If you are considering slimming body wraps for the purpose of dropping weight, beware. This is not a long-term method of weight loss. The weight that is shed during these treatments is water weight, not fat. Any weight loss experienced will return once the body regulates its water balance. Typically, the adjustment back to your normal weight takes approximately one week. A harmful side effect of this treatment could be dehydration.
I would not recommend having a body wrap performed for the purpose of weight loss. However, it can be a delightfully relaxing and revitalizing experience. If you do decide to have a body wrap done, do it for those reasons. Avoid the side effect of possible dehydration by staying hydrated after the treatment and drinking plenty of fresh, pure water.
A more desirable treatment might be a detox body wrap. These are wraps that employ the use of seaweed, mud, clay or algae. Through metabolic stimulation, they assist the body in releasing toxins. There are also moisturizing and hydrating treatments that use shea butter in order to soften the skin.
Typically, a treatment will start with you lying down on top of the materials in which you will eventually be wrapped (mylar, plastic, towels or sheets). You are then treated to dry brushing or a salt scrub that serves the purpose of exfoliating the skin.
A body wrap is often performed by a massage therapist who will incorporate techniques of massage into the treatment. This is not always the case, however. Sometimes the session is performed by an esthetician, who will not incorporate any massage. Be sure you know who will be treating you so that you know what will be included in the session. Some spas offer signature treatments that will incorporate a scrub, body wrap and massage into one session.
The room in which you are placed will often be equipped with a shower, Vichy shower or wet table. This will make it easy for you to rinse off once the treatment is completed.
Once the wrap is applied, you are then covered in order to stay warm. The treatment itself typically will last about 20 minutes. Sometimes the therapist will leave the room, but if you are having the treatment performed by a massage therapist, s/he may stay and provide you with a relaxing scalp massage.
When the treatment is completed, you will be uncovered and the wrap will be removed. Once you are rinsed by some sort of shower, there may be a lotion application that will serve to moisturize your skin.
Note that a body wrap treatment is confining. If you suffer from claustrophobia or are not comfortable in close quarters or with tight wrapping, this may not be the treatment for you.