The idea of dropping a few inches from your waist in an hour's time without exercising or dieting might sound like an impossible feat, but repeat users of mineral body wraps claim that it's true. Celebrities often get these wraps before special events, such as an awards show or performance. Former model Tyra Banks had herself filmed while getting one and reported the results on her syndicated talk show. This spa treatment is now growing in popularity among non-celebrities, too
When you go in for a mineral body wrap, you're wrapped from head to toe in special bandages that contain certain minerals. Then you might sit in a sauna, do some light exercise or just rest under a thermal blanket while you're wrapped up. After an hour or so, the bandages are removed. As a result, you will supposedly see at least some body slimming.
Other claims by supporters are that these body wraps can draw out metabolic wastes in the body, such as chemicals and pollution that contribute to water retention and stress your body systems [source: Saether]. In addition to removing toxins, proponents say body wraps put minerals back into your body to enable it to function well.
Some repeat users say that they even get a psychological boost from a mineral body wrap, which was worth more than to them than the initial physical effect. The quick results from a body wrap can provide the motivation needed to eat healthier and exercise more, thereby achieving long-term results [source: Greene]. On the other hand, it could also have the opposite effect by prompting the person to make no lifestyle changes since he or she experienced a noticeable change without any effort.
If you're thinking about giving mineral body wraps a try, read on to find out what to expect and how much you'll have to pay.
Mineral Body Wrap Process
Before stepping into a spa to try out a mineral body wrap, it's important to know what's involved and what to expect. At some spas, before the minerals come the measurements. A worker will take several measurements all over your body. Once the measurements are done, it's time for the application. You'll undress, and you can usually leave on your undergarments if that makes you more comfortable. However, the material should be a breathable fabric, such as cotton, so that the solution can seep through, and any garments you leave on may become wet or stained during the wrap.
The mineral wrap involves an overall application of water and minerals. Then, you may have special porous bandages soaked in a warm mineral solution applied to your body. You can choose from different wrapping techniques to enhance results in problem areas: The wrap can be applied to the entire body, or just to any troublesome areas such as the thighs or the abdomen. Once the soaked bandages are in place, you'll have the opportunity to exercise lightly in order to increase your circulation and enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. In some wraps, your whole body is wrapped in layers, like a cocoon, rather than wrapping different parts with layers of bandages.
The entire process, from preparation to unwrapping, can take up to about two and a half hours, although the actual time spent in the wrap is usually just about an hour. Some spas advise not washing the minerals off your body for a while so that they can continue to work, but this might not be the best course of action for your skin. If you were measured before you went into the wrap, you'll be measured again after the wraps are removed [source: Slender Smiths].
If you're thinking of trying an at-home version of a mineral body wrap, you'll need some help. Invite a friend over to assist with measuring your body and applying the wrap. You'll need to purchase elasticized cloth bandages, and for the solution you'll need powdered magnesium, potassium, MSM (a sulfur compound that is available at most health food stores), and distilled water. If you'd rather not deal with the minerals, you could also opt for a mineral-rich sea mud instead [source: Woman's World].
Read on to learn what results you might expect and how much you should budget for a mineral body wrap.
Benefits of Mineral Body Wraps
When former model Tyra Banks and a friend demonstrated a mineral body wrap treatment on her syndicated talk show, she reportedly lost more than 9 inches (23 centimeters) total. Both said they noticed a difference in the way clothes were fitting them after the treatment [source: Slender Smiths]. Other results that people have claimed include:
- Inches lost all over the body
- Improvement in the appearance of cellulite
- Relaxed yet energized feeling
- Smoother skin
- Tighter, firmer skin
Getting a mineral body wrap might be able to give you a slightly thinner appearance, but it is not effective as a way to lose weight, nor is it an actual loss of fat. Instead, it's a just a loss of water. The fat cells in your body are compressed as water weight is removed, but they don't go anywhere. The reduction of inches is temporary -- it may last up to one week. Your body works quickly to regulate a water balance, and anyone having a body wrap should be aware that dehydration is a possible side effect. Some people have also been known to have allergic reactions to ingredients in the solution, and if you have any kind of skin condition, you should consult a physician before going in for a body wrap.
Now that you know the skinny on how mineral body wraps can make you appear thinner, you might be wondering whether you can afford one. The cost varies but ranges from about $50 to $130 depending on your location and what kind of treatment you're having done [source: CBS]. If you go to an upscale destination spa, you could pay more than $250 for a wrap.
Since the results aren't permanent, mineral wrap advocates say it is a process you'll need to do periodically. Determining just how often to undergo a wrap depends on what results you're looking for. According to one spa, it's possible to wrap two to four times in one day if you need fast results for a special event, such as a wedding. It also recommends that its clients get a wrap once or twice a week until his or her goals are achieved, and then return for maintenance a few times a year [source: Slender Smiths].
If you're looking to drop a few inches, body wraps definitely aren't a long-term or inexpensive fix, and they do have risk factors, but they are a popular way to achieve fast results. If you'd like further details on getting mineral body wraps, see the links and articles listed on the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- CBS. "Mineral Body Wrap Help Take Inches Off Your Body." May 8, 2008. (Accessed Sept. 17, 2009) http://cbs11tv.com/health/weight.loss.cornelia.2.716815.html
- Greene, Amanda. "Bound and Determined." Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News. Oct. 16, 2001. (Accessed Sept. 29, 2009) http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_p4WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VB8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=3771,109330&dq=mineral-body-wrap
- Monigan, Thomas J. "Ginger Smith Gets A Wrap on Business." Northwest Florida Daily News. Aug. 2, 2008. (Accessed Sept. 17, 2009) http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/GingerSmithSuddenlySlenderSlenderSmith%27sSalonWordontheStreet-9876--.html
- Saether, Linda. "Think Before You Get Wrapped." CNN. June 13, 2008. (Accessed Sept. 30, 2009)http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/06/13/hfh.skinny.wraps/index.html
- Slender Smiths. "Body Wraps." (Accessed Sept. 17, 2009)http://www.slendersmiths.com/bodywrap.htm#
- Slender Smiths. "Frequently Asked Questions." (Accessed Sept. 17, 2009) http://www.slendersmiths.com/faq.htm
- Slender Smiths. Tyra Banks Video. (Accessed Sept. 29, 2009)http://www.slendersmiths.com/video-tyra.htm
- Woman's World. "Lose 8 inches in an hour." (Accessed Sept 28, 2009) http://www.slendersmiths.com/inthenews02.html