Body wraps were originally a treatment where Ace bandages or plastic wrap was tightly wrapped around the body to cause quick weight loss through vasodilation. You can still find these types of "slimming" body wraps, which result in the temporary loss of weight and inches, at some spas.
But today a body wrap in a spa is more likely to be treatment where you’re slathered with a body mask made of algae, seaweed, mud, clay, lotion or cream, then wrapped for 20 minutes to keep you warm. Later the product is rinsed off. The body wrap usually ends with an application of lotion (technically not a massage). This body wrap treatment is sometimes called a body cocoon or body mask.
What are the Benefits of a Body Wrap?
Body wraps that use algae, seaweed, mud or clay are detox treatments that help rid the body of toxins through metabolic stimulation. *
Body wraps using shea butter and rich lotions are hydrating treatments geared towards softening the skin.
What Happens During A Body Wrap?
Often a body wrap begins with exfoliation through dry brushing or a salt scrub. You lie down on whatever you will eventually be wrapped in – often plastic or mylar, but sometimes towels or sheets.
I think it’s best when a massage therapist does the body wrap, because they naturally incorporate massage techniques as they apply the product. An esthetician, on the other hand, is not trained in massage. She is simply applying product to the skin.
Once the product is on, you’re wrapped to stay warm, usually for 20 minutes. Oftentimes the therapist leaves the room, but sometimes they stay and give you a scalp massage (much better, in my opinion!)
When the time is up, you’re unwrapped and the body mask has to come off. This is why they often take place in wet rooms, equipped with a shower, wet table, or Vichy shower. You might either jump in a shower or the therapist will rinse you off with a handheld shower or a special Vichy shower that feels absolutely fabulous. It’s like taking a shower lying down. Then you dry off, and there’s usually an application of lotion to moisturize your skin.
Things To Watch Out For With a Body Wrap
* Don’t expect a body wrap to be a massage. You can get both treatments – body wrap and massage -- or look for signature treatments that include scrub, body wrap and massage.
* If you have claustrophobia, this may not be the right treatment for you.
* You might be left alone during the treatment. If that bothers you, ask before you book the service.
Source: About.com Spas