Body wrapping is the practice of winding warm fabric or rubber bandages around body parts to “detox,” tone, hydrate or slim the bod. It is a staple at spas the world over.
These pampering treatments often include wraps soaked in herbs, seaweed and mud from exotic locations. They also contain oils, creams, or minerals depending on the type of treatment and desired result.
Body Wraps At Home
Body wraps purchased for home use seek to mimic the promised results of more elegant spa body wraps. They are usually for the purpose of eliminating weight. They are achieved by wrapping a band of non-porous fabric or plastic around the waist or other “problem” area.
The premise is that the heat and sauna effect caused by activity while wearing the body wrap will “reduce” belly fat and take inches off. However, actual results vary considerably. The truth is that any reduction in size is due to fluid loss, which may or may not return.
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Dehydration is even a possibility if the body wrap is not used properly. No fat is actually being burned. So while a body wrap may offer benefits such as smoother, softer, or tighter skin, it will not change the shape of the body.
You Should NOT Use Body Wraps During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, body wraps — whether of the spa variety or the home body wrap variety — are not recommended.
- First, pregnant women should not wrap the midsection or otherwise seek to constrict the tummy. Pregnancy is a time when the uterus needs to expand, so wrapping is counter-productive.
Second, along with hot showers, whirlpools, or anything that can increase the core body temperature, body wraps with their invariably heat component are on the forbidden list for expectant mothers.
Increased body temperatures can bring about a miscarriage or hurt the baby. They are to be avoided without question — particularly in the first trimester.
Additionally, various oils and herbs commonly used with body wraps can cause irritation. In some cases they can even be toxic to the growing baby or the mother. For the same reason, new mothers who are nursing should also stay away from body wraps.
Body Wraps After Pregnancy
Postpartum, a body wrap used around the midsection even without added oils or other treatments may feel soothing. It may give the impression of a slimmer, pre pregnancy body. However, wraps do little to actually support a new mother’s body in recovery.
Better postpartum options include a quality belly bandage, girdle, or corset designed to relieve pressure and back pain. They also support healing muscles and the abdominal wall, helping sagging skin bounce back into shape.
Pregnancy and childbirth can certainly cause stress and anxiety in the life of a new mother, and a day at the spa or beauty salon is a great way to pamper and reward. A warm shampoo and scalp massage, relaxing facial, or mani-pedi session with organic products can help melt those tensions away during pregnancy. Body wraps can wait.