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:: Wrapsody
Apr 22, 2011 04:51 pm
When thinking about Body Wraps the word Rhapsody comes to mind - musical rhythms that create an atmosphere of sheer bliss. Like music, body wraps can create a feeling of sheer bliss for the body. Winter is the perfect time to experience body wraps, as you can escape the cold and spend an hour or two cocooned in warmth and luxury.

Body wrapping has played an important role in the spa industry since we first discovered their cleansing, detoxifying and healing effects. Many of the ancient civilisations like the Egyptians, Arabs, Romans and Eastern cultures used herbal wraps to heal ailments.

Over recent years there has been renewed interest in body wraps and we have begun to experiment with many more exotic ingredients. Wraps have evolved to become one of the Spa's most sought after treatments and new techniques are constantly being developed. Most five star spas have developed their own signature treatments and often include their own exclusive body wrap.

Luxurious and exotic ingredients, previously found only in the kitchens of gourmet chefs, are now being included in wraps and applied lavishly over the whole body. These new ingredients include chocolate, grape, green tea, mother of pearl, ginger & wasabi and volcanic dust.

There are various ways that the body wrap can be applied and a host of ingredients used in order to exfoliate, hydrate and detoxify the body. Exfoliation is always recommended prior to any wrap treatment in order to aid with the absorption of the product.

The linen body wrap was one of the earliest methods of body wrapping and is still popular today as it helps to draw out toxins as the client gently perspires. It is excellent for anyone suffering from circulatory disorders. The linen bandages can either be soaked in a mixture of clay and detoxifying additives or the body can be first painted with the product and wrapped afterwards. Warm blankets or reflective sheets are then applied over the body to encourage perspiration and detoxification.

Herbs and essential oils work well together with different wraps to draw out the toxins. They aid the digestive system, encourage circulation, boost the immune system and soothe the nervous system.

Compression body wraps, which work on the same principle of wrapping the body in bandages, helps to shape the body. By applying detoxifying products and tightly wrapping the body, fluid is extracted, puffiness reduced and the intercellular space is compacted, thereby tightening the skin tone and decreasing body volume. You should be encouraged to drink water before and after the treatment in order to prevent dehydration.

The Cellophane or plastic wrap is excellent for winter as the body is painted with the product, then wrapped like a cocoon in plastic and covered with warm blankets. This is also excellent as a de-stressing treatment as the warmth of the wrap allows the muscles to relax whilst the body is detoxifying. When experiencing these wraps you should be advised not to shower for 6-12 hours after wraps in order to allow the products to continue working and the body to continue detoxifying.

Pelo-therapy is the use of clay in wraps. On a cellular level clays have excellent detoxifying and restorative properties. They absorb excess oils and have antiseptic properties. The mineral content of the clay and the effects on the body depends on where the clay is found in the earth.

Mud wraps are still popular. These, with clay wraps, have been used for centuries for their healing powers. Mud is the product of natural decomposition of multitudes of plants. The dark coloured Moor Mud contains virtually no clay (less then 3%) and consists of the organic residue of herbs, flowers and grasses. It has a high concentration of bio-minerals, trace elements, vitamins, amino acids, plant hormones and fatty acids in a molecular form that is easy for the human skin to absorb. It is not only used in spa treatments, but also to cure a multitude of ailments including mobility problems, arthritis, hormonal imbalance and muscle recovery in sports medicine. Its actions are thermo-physical, biochemical, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and natural antibiotics.

The peat found in mud has chelatic properties (it binds heavy metal isotopes) making mud an excellent natural detoxifier.

Some of the latest trends and ingredients in wraps include:

Chocolate , which is used to detoxify the body, to soothe aching muscles and give the skin a luminous glow. Chocolate contains caffeine and polyphenols, which when absorbed through the skin, leads to the release of endorphins, creating feelings of
well-being and relaxation.

Chocolate body wraps do not only contain chocolate - these body packs usually have a mixture of other ingredients like cacao extract, citric acid and magnesium oxide. These substances, along with gentle massage can help relieve the symptoms of PMS including increase in appetite and the feeling of stress.

Green Tea Extract , now being included in many skincare products, contains EGCG - a powerful antioxidant which is 200 times more intense than Vitamin E, known to reactivate dying skin cells and dramatically strengthen the body's immune system - vital to prevent winter colds or aid recuperation after illness.

Grape seeds , used in Vinotherapy body wraps, contain polyphenols, which have incredible benefits for the skin. The antioxidants contained in the grape seed have the capacity to fight free radicals, and therefore are extremely beneficial for anti-ageing.

Eucalyptus based body wraps are another wonderful winter treatment, nature's cure for colds. Eucalyptus oil is applied to the body using warm herb-infused towels. The body is completely wrapped to create a relaxing and invigorating experience.

The healing power of eucalyptus helps counteract bacteria, fight infection, heal wounds, burns and other inflammations. It relaxes tired, sore muscles and is especially beneficial for upper respiratory circulation and detoxification.

Pumpkins are one of the latest vegetable ingredients being included in body wraps. Pumpkin is best known for its high concentration of Beta-Carotene and Vitamin E - two very important antioxidant agents that fight the effects of ageing. It also contains Vitamins A, B1, B2 B6, C, & D. Pumpkin's active enzymes are nature's way of exfoliating dead skin cells without the abrasiveness of a scrub - excellent for sensitive or inflamed skins conditions. The client can still benefit from an exfoliation without aggravating the skin. Rich in minerals such as Magnesium potassium, Calcium and iron, pumpkin will re-nourish dehydrated skins.

For those who enjoy sushi, the combination of Ginger and Wasabi in a Gel wrap is a wonderfully warming and exotic experience for winter. Both ingredients have healing, detoxifying and anti-ageing properties.

Ginger is well known for its internal effectiveness as a digestive aid; however, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve the pain and swelling associated with arthritis, rheumatism, and muscle spasms. Ginger's therapeutic properties stimulate circulation of the blood, removing toxins from the body, cleanse the bowels and kidneys, and nourish the skin.

Wasabi contains chemo protective agents which boosts the epidermis' ability to combat harmful oxidants that age the skin.

To accompany a Ginger and Wasabi wrap, rice grains are an excellent exfoliator. Rice has a calming effect, is anti-inflammatory and contains amino acids to increase the skins protective capabilities. It possesses a high absorption capacity and aids in the transference of heat and cold to balance the skin's temperature - which is the main principal in Ayaevedic healing and is perfect for cold winter days.

Another exotic eastern wrap that has been developed includes Mother of Pearl and Coral Powder, mixed in a clay base. These luxurious ingredients stimulate cellular regeneration. Amino acids and more than a dozen minerals present in pearl powder work synergistically to promote the growth of new epidermal cells giving the skin a smooth, fine, elastic, and naturally radiant appearance. Fossilized coral powder replenishes the skin with minerals including calcium. The effects are healing, skin brightening, anti-wrinkle, smoothing & firming.

Volcanic Dust , found in clays from Hawaii have intense detoxifying properties and are excellent for oily, problematic skins as they possess properties that are absorbent, remineralising and enzymatic. These clays can be used in conjunction with essential oils to create a personalised body treatment.

Other ingredients that are added to wraps include:

Aloe - a cellular nutrient, it is a natural moisturizer derived from the aloe plant with the power to heal, soothe and moisturize. With anti-inflammatory properties, it promotes skin hydration as well as the tightening of the skin.

Algae Extract - promotes skin hydration as well as tightening of the skin. A cellular nutrient, it contains Vitamins A, C and E. Algae also activates the forming of collagen and elastin, increases circulation, is an antioxidant, contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Honey - mother nature's humectant, works to protect the skin and lock in the body's natural moisture.

Shea Butter - soothes rough, dry or chapped skin on contact. Naturally rich in Vitamins A, E, & F, shea butter balances and normalizes the skin, while helping keep it clear and healthy. It is particularly beneficial for dry or sun-damaged skin.

Cocoa Butter - reduces degeneration of skin cells and restores skin flexibility

Vitamin E - a powerful, anti-ageing, free radical fighter (antioxidant). It helps to soothe, protect and regenerate dry, irritated and sun damaged skin. Increases the amount of oxygen present in the skin, promoting new and healthier skin tissue.

Soy & Oat Protein - has natural cleansing properties and helps the skin to retain moisture. Excellent for removing toxins from pollution.

Kaolin - refines skin and absorbs surface impurities.

Glycerine - attracts moisture to skin


Contra-indications to wraps include:

Pregnancy, heart conditions, epilepsy, open wounds, contagious skin conditions, low/high blood pressure, asthma, claustrophobia.

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