Do Body Wraps Work & Are They Safe?

Recently I received an email from groupon offering discount “slimming detox body wraps”. I have to admit that any time I see things about weight loss I can’t help but check it out. When I clicked the website link it took me to the home page of a fancy looking spa with some very expensive treatments claiming they could make you lose up to 20 inches of body fat with one treatment! That sounded pretty absurd to me until I realized they meant they measured various parts of you body (arms, waist, legs) before and after the treatment and inches lost was the total of those areas combined. Still this claim of losing so much body fat from a 1 hr treatment seemed too good to be true.

After reading the description of the treatment it was quite obvious that the claims were as fake as they sounded. The process involves putting some lotion with a special, “secret” combination of natural “detoxifying” herbs on the person’s body, then wrapping them up tight (with what essentially is saran wrap) and then having the person lay under a thermal blanket. Any perceived “weight loss” from this process would simply be water loss caused by the heat. Needless to say I did not see a reason to spend $100 to be dehydrated.

But still curious about this concept I did some more research about the pros and cons and discovered tons of videos of women demonstrating how to do this at home claiming it really did work. First let’s go over the cons. You are indeed putting yourself at risk of dehydration by wrapping yourself in plastic and heating your body up to the point where you loose enough fluids to make it look like you lost weight. If you have kidney problems you probably shouldn’t try this. Plus since you are only losing water weight and not body fat any results will be temporary.

However if temporary result are still appealing to you then this is something you can try at home. An easy way to do a body wrap is simply apply your favorite lotion to the area you want to target (often the stomach or thighs), wrap the area firmly with plastic wrap and then lay under a heated blanket or use a heating pad to keep warm for 1/2 hr to an hour. Make sure to drink water while doing this to avoid dehydration.

For a more spa like experience you will need to get an ace bandage (or a few depending how much of your body you want to wrap), some epsom salt and essential oils. Start by mixing 1 cup epsom salt into 3 cups of warm water. Then add about 5 drops of whatever essential oils you prefer. Soak the ace bandages in this solution and then tightly wrap them around your body. Keep in mind that wrapping too tightly can reduce your circulation so don’t do it so tight that it’s uncomfortable. Then wrap plastic wrap over the ace bandages to keep the moisture in and again keep yourself warm for 1/2hr to an hour.

You shouldn’t expect any miracles from body wrapping and I certainly don’t see a reason to pay hundreds of dollars for this but if you’re looking to temporarily get your waist a bit tinier then a body wrap might be worth a shot.

*Update* My curiosity got the better of me and I finally tried out a professional body wrap at a spa. What intrigued me was the fact that they used an infrared blanket and infrared heat is supposed to help relax muscles and relive arthritis pain. At the time my back was killing me, it felt like my bones were bruised so I figured it was worth a try to see if it would help my pain. The overall experience wasn’t too bad, I did sweat a ton but towards the end I felt like my heart was racing which gave me bad anxiety. I was worried the dramatic increase in my heart rate wasn’t healthy and ended the session about 10 mins early. Once my heart rate got back to normal I did notice that my body felt great, almost all of my pain was gone. However I would not do it again because I do worry about causing heart problems.

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