Body wrap spas offer the allure of shedding inches off your waistline and are an increasingly popular beauty procedure. But critics say the only thing you’re guaranteed to lose is money. Even the FDA web site says body wraps can be dangerous.(1)
What is a Body Wrap?
Body wraps were originally a treatment where Ace bandages or plastic wrap was tightly wrapped around the body to cause quick weight loss through vasodilation. You can still find these types of “slimming” body wraps, which result in the temporary loss of weight and inches, at some spas.
But today a body wrap in a spa is more likely to be treatment where you’re slathered with a body mask made of algae, seaweed, mud, clay, lotion or cream, then wrapped for 20 minutes to keep you warm.
Later the product is rinsed off. The body wrap usually ends with an application of lotion (technically not a massage). This body wrap treatment is sometimes called a body cocoon or body mask.
What Happens During A Body Wrap?
Often a body wrap begins with exfoliation through dry brushing or a salt scrub. You lie down on whatever you will eventually be wrapped in – often plastic or mylar, but sometimes towels or sheets.
I think it’s best when a massage therapist does the body wrap, because they naturally incorporate massage techniques as they apply the product. An esthetician, on the other hand, is not trained in massage. She is simply applying product to the skin.
Once the product is on, you’re wrapped to stay warm, usually for 20 minutes. Oftentimes the therapist leaves the room.
When the time is up, you’re unwrapped and the body mask has to come off. This is why they often take place in wet rooms, equipped with a shower, wet table, or Vichy shower. You might either jump in a shower or the therapist will rinse you off with a handheld shower or a special Vichy shower that feels absolutely fabulous.(2)
Lets go through the various reasons people use body wraps and cite some of the most common ways they are using wraps to attack these concerns. Then, i’ll give my best advice on how to tackle these same concerns, naturally.
Alleged Benefits of Body Wraps…
1. Body Wraps for Cellulite
Cellulite sucks. There’s no simple way to put it. There are so many expensive creams, serums, and lotions out there that promise to banish cellulite once and for all, but why waste your money when you can try all-natural remedies at home that are just as effective?
Cellulite is the appearance of orange peel or cottage cheese skin predominantly on the thighs, butt, belly, and back of the arms. It’s caused most commonly by 4 things including; fluid retention, lack of circulation, weak collagen structure and increased body fat. Others factors are hormonal imbalances, genetics, poor diet and toxicity.
2. Body Wraps for Detoxification
Many women on the “weight loss” craze are falling victim to the alleged benefits of wrapping themselves in a cling-wrap cocoon with the thought that doing so will draw out toxins and essentially loose inches and weight. “Detox” wraps are aimed to draw toxins out of your body, and during a power wrap, you are made to work out on a machine wrapped in ace bandages that are soaked in an electrolyte solution. Some wraps are using herbs, minerals and other natural products in conjunction with the body wrap, the body undergoes further detoxification which removes harmful toxins from your body making you feel a lot healthier and energized.
3. Body Wraps for Weight Loss
Cellulite build up is a big problem these days looking at our desk jobs and inadequate physical activity. Fat cells accumulating in our body lead to weight gain. Body wraps is a new age solution that is picking up fast on the weight loss craze. The skin is tightly wrapped which causes the body to sweat out water and hopefully toxins, this should reduce bloating and loose weight temporarily. This also helps fight cellulite, arthritis and skin ailments, making it beneficial both on physical and mental level. Often body wraps use algae, seaweed, clay or mud that rid the body of toxins.
4. Body Wraps for Stretch Marks and Skin Toning
Stretch marks form in the dermis of the skin, which is the thick layer of living tissue below the epidermis. When the dermis gets stretched for long periods of time, it can break down causing stretch marks that look like terrible scarring. Many woman are self conscious of these, especially in the summer swimsuit seasons.
If you are a mother that suffers from stretch marks, or you were overweight and lost weight, you could be dealing with stretch marks as well.
Many are turning to the new craze of wrapping their bodies with the hope that you’ll sweat out the toxins or trap enough solutions and creams under the skin to hopefully undue the effects of stretch marks.
I found this recipe on pinterest as an example: What you need: Vicks vapor rub, Coconut oil, Coffee grounds, and Saran wrap. First, she put a layer of vicks vapor rub on her stomach. Then mixed coffee grounds & coconut oil and made it into a paste. Then rubbed that on her stomach. Then wrapped saran wrap around my stomach 4x. Let sit for 30 min. Not a bad outcome if you ask me…
What do the experts say about Body Wraps for these ailments?
I cannot find any major studies by mainstream researchers that have been done on body wraps. Which doesn’t necessarily mean anything because there’s a ton of things that I know Chiropractic helps with that are really unexplained, they just work.
“While I think there is a place for them as a feel-good treatment in a massage or aesthetician-applied situation, the use of body wraps as weight loss is clearly more hocus-pocus than anything,” says Schlessinger, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon and president of skin care company LovelySkin.com. His biggest concerns for body-wrap clients, he says, are the risks of severe dehydration, overheating and circulation problems — though he has never seen patients who’ve had medical complications during a body wrap.(3)
It isn’t just traditional Western medical doctors who are skeptical. In the current issue of his Essential Guide to Natural Healing, natural-healing guru Dr. Andrew Weil writes in an article headlined “Detox Basics: Cleansing for Health,” that he “hasn’t seen any evidence that [body wraps] will melt away anything but your money.” He also worries about the potential for dehydration and even anxiety attacks in people who are claustrophobic.
“My bottom line: Cellulite is not toxic and, unfortunately, can’t be sucked out of the body with herbs or other substances,” he says.
Bottom line: Do wraps work?
Yes — and no. Chances are, most people will experience a temporary result from a body wrap, and that’s OK if a temporary result is expected, Ellis says.
But as with anything, beware of claims that sound fraudulent — namely, that results will be permanent.
“Once you get away from the feel-good experience that helps you to nourish the skin and appropriately moisturize and hydrate the skin, the likelihood of the wrap changing your fat cells … or any other process is essentially nil,” Schlessinger said. “There’s no substitute for a good diet, a healthy lifestyle and exercise.”
Natural Remedies for Cellulite that Work
Top Foods for Cellulite
High fiber foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries – Help cleanse the colon, support metabolism and balance hormones. Berries are also beneficial because of their high antioxidant content.
Clean protein sources – High quality, organic protein like grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, organic eggs, wild caught salmon, and legumes
Potassium rich foods – Flush excess fluids and waste out of cells which can reduce cellulite. The best whole food sources of potassium are Beets, greens, beans, and dates.
Bone Broth – Contains the amino acids proline and glycine that make up collagen. The collagen in bone broth can strengthen your tissues and heal the cause of cellulite.
MCFA’s – Coconut and wild caught fish contain fatty acids that promote healthy tissue. Consume 1 tbsp daily of extra virgin coconut oil
Foods that CAUSE Cellulite
Sugar – Causes fluid retention AND inflammation, and storage of body fat all of which can increase cellulite.
Sodium – Increases fluid retention which is a major factor in the build up of cellulite.
Refined grain products – break down quickly into sugar and are high in calories that are stored as fat.
Dairy – Such as A1 casein or whey products
Hydrogenated fats – Promote inflammation and toxic arteries
Exercises for Cellulite
Rules to Energized Fitness
1. Use Large, Opposite muscle Groups: Larger muscle groups can generate more lactic acid which stimulates more HGH production. These large muscle exercises like squats provide functional benefit to our everyday lives. Another good example of this would be standing dumbbell presses followed by lat pulldowns. While your doing one movement, the other muscle is resting.
2. Explosiveness: Exploding on the concentric phase (when the muscle is shortening) of the exercise stimulates more muscle fibers which will increase your strength and boosts HGH.
3. High Intensity: It’s good practice to work large opposing muscle groups at a high intensity with little rest in between sets. Working large muscle groups at high intensity forces your body’s anaerobic system to produce more lactic acid which produces more HGH. Example of this would be a standing shoulder press immediately followed by a lat pull-down.
4. Keep it short: Everyone is unique and no one can say what is going to work perfectly for you. Short rest periods keep your body demanding oxygen and fuel which keeps your metabolic rate high. High Intensity workouts are a major challenge to your neuromuscular system and generally speaking, 5-30 minutes several times a week is a good benchmark. The purpose of keeping the rest periods short is to go into oxygen dept, or anaerobic exercise. This is going to secrete more HGH which is going to keep your metabolism burning fat for up to 36 after your workout.
Example Week’s Workout Routine
Core Stabilization is key
- Forward and Backward Lunges
- Planks – 2 sets of 30s each
- Wall Squats – 3 sets of 12
- The Stability Ball Bridge (butt lifts) 3 sets of 12
- Stability ball crunches
Weight Training for muscle building and fat burning
- Standing Shoulder press (only go down to 90 degrees)
- Lat pull downs
- Seated rear delt rows
- Bench press
- Leg extensions followed by curls
High Intensity Training: Short bouts of exercise are scientifically proven to burn more fat, longer than say 45minutes on a treadmill at a moderate paceJ Give this your ALLL!!!
- Fast Feet (30sec)
- Mountain climbers (30sec)
– Rest for 20 sec
- Air squats (30sec)
- Pushups (30sec)
– Rest for 20 sec
- Cross body punches (30sec)
- Planks (30sec)
- Cardio: 15 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (bike, jog, or run)
- Core work: Planks (these are BEST for core),stability ball crunches, air squats, planks, lunges, superman..etc
Yes another High Intensity Burst training session! Your still burning fat from the one you did on Wednesday!
- Jumping Jacks (30sec)
- Mountain climbers (30sec)
– Rest for 20sec
- Plank (30sec)
- Sumo Squate Pulse (30sec)
– Rest for 20sec
- Standing shoulder press (30sec)
- Lat pulldowns (30sec)
For more exercise tips and videos visit DrGaglioti’s YouTube Channel