Body wraps are fabric, plastic, or elastic bands or garments that are wrapped around the body to induce weight loss, improve the condition of skin, or remove toxins. These wraps are often used in conjunction with herbal compounds, minerals, or other substances. Clay, seaweed, mud, or lotion may also be directly applied as a wrap, without the aid of a band or garment. Body wraps are often offered as a service at a spa or beauty salon, and some choose to apply wraps at home. Many types of wraps are available, but most fall under one of three categories. These are hot sheet wraps, cocoons, and tension wraps.
Hot sheet body wraps entail dissolving a substance such as mud, herbs, or seaweed in hot water, soaking a sheet in the solution, and wrapping the client with the sheet. The intention is to increase body temperature so that perspiration will occur. This rids the body of excess water weight and allows toxins to escape through the skin. Possibilities for hot sheet substances are endless, but a coffee hot sheet wrap is one example of a popular method. It is believed that topically applied coffee decreases water retention. Other common hot sheet substances are honey, milk, and juice.
Cocoon body wraps require the wrap substance to be applied directly to exfoliated skin to ensure the best conditions for absorption. The substance is then sealed by wrapping the client in a plastic sheet or blanket. One popular type of cocoon wrap is the emollient wrap. This is intended to hydrate and soften the skin by applying a thick moisturizer such as Shea butter. Others may opt for an aromatherapy cocoon. This type of wrap utilizes essential oils intended to calm or invigorate. Arthritic clients are benefited by paraffin cocoons. Paraffin traps heat so that joints are warmed which, in turn, reduces joint pain and stiffness.
Tension body wraps are the third category. The goal of a tension wrap is to push excess fluid out of specific areas so that they will appear slimmer. To accomplish this, elastic bands or plastic sheets are tightly wrapped around the targeted area. As with the hot sheet wraps, this results in perspiration and fluid loss, but this is only a temporary water loss and not a permanent solution. Care must be taken with tension wraps to ensure the wrap is not too tight, as this can result in damage to blood vessels.