The body wrap craze: Why you shouldn’t waste your money
If it sounds too good to be true, it is. So let’s take a test here: A spa claims that simply wrapping you up like a mummy, maybe with some special “magic” mineral concoction applied to your skin, will miraculously “detox” your body, take inches off your waistline and eliminate cellulite. Too good to be true? Of course it is!
Plenty of people are throwing $100-plus at spas for this treatment and walking away with a distorted theory — most likely the result of some serious cognitive dissonance — that they’ve lost inches from their waist and are now healthier, happier people because toxins have been removed from their bodies.
We feel like a broken record here, but we’re going to say what we always say: There is no healthy, quick-fix solution for losing weight and being healthy. It takes hard work and a long-term commitment to improving eating habits and exercising.
Despite this logic, spas are successfully duping optimistic customers into body wrapping. The process usually involves wrapping the person in plastic after applying some type of mineral product to the skin — or simply wrapping them in mineral-soaked pieces of fabric, like Ace bandages. Next, the customer is instructed to do some sort of light exercise, whether that means hopping on an Elliptical for 30 minutes to an hour or following a dance/aerobics DVD. Other spas simply cover the mummified customer in thermal blankets and let them sweat for the next 30 minutes in a room with a massage-type of atmosphere — cue the beach sounds and candles.
As a weight-loss solution & cellulite cure
While this can be an effective — albeit expensive — way to moisturize your skin and relax, it’s not going to do much else. An FDA Consumer article explained: “There is no scientific or clinical evidence to support the use of body wraps or sauna suits for controlling weight. Nor is there any data to back up promoters' claims that these products will eliminate cellulite and bulging fat, or make ‘spot reductions’ possible, or improve the ‘calorie burn rate,’ or control appetite. Accordingly, there are no FDA-approved body wraps or sauna suits.”
Ignore any spas claiming that body wrapping can melt the fat that causes cellulite. Fat doesn’t melt, and the Food and Drug Administration considers it an unsubstantiated claim when products or services advertise their ability to “melt” fat or cellulite.
It’s true that you might appear to have “shrunken” in certain areas, like the waist, but this is most likely due to the loss of water weight from sweating and the compression of the wraps. It will magically reappear after you eat or drink, or within a couple of days, according to Quackwatch and Livestrong.
So the spa guru measured you before and after, and informed you that you’re now X number of inches slimmer? This could just be the water weight, but be skeptical of their measurements as well. ABC found discrepancies in the way their reporters were measured before and after the treatment; the woman administering the treatment measured the waist in a different place the second time and measured the first time with her finger behind the tape, creating slack and a bigger measurement.
As a detoxifier
As far as detoxing is concerned, we truly wish we could banish the word completely. Unless you have a serious health condition that interferes with the functioning of the liver, kidneys or intestines, those organs do an excellent job of ridding our bodies of toxins on their own, filtering the unwanted things we ingest and expelling them through urine, bowel movements, breath and sweat.
And even if there was something to detox, wrapping your body in mineral-soaked fabric wouldn’t do anything but possibly improve your skin. As one Quackwatch article explained, “Real detoxification of foreign substances takes place in the liver, which modifies their chemical structure so they can be excreted by the kidneys, which filter them from the blood into the urine. Sweat glands in the feet can excrete water and some dissolved substances, but its minor role in ridding the body of unwanted substances is not changed by anything done to the skin.”
"There's never been any real scientific evidence that body wraps pull out toxins or purify your body in any way," Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, a Washington, D.C., dermatologist, stated on WebMD.
Instead of paying $100+ for a body wrap, try eating healthier foods and exercising — the foolproof way to shed some pounds, feel healthy and boost self-esteem.