I just had the most amazing Spa experience at “The Bellagio”, Las Vegas. After a long exhausting trip, I was faced with two options. Either to go straight to sleep or unwind at the spa East of the Hotel Conservatory. Nothing could have prepared me for the splendour and ambience, the soothing music and the calming aroma of this luxurious sanctuary. The spa menu was so extensive that it took me half an hour to finally make a decision on treatment. I opted for a mineralizing Seaweed Body Wrap to help exfoliate my skin, detoxify my body and soothe my aching muscles. It was worth every penny!
Originally, a body wrap was a form of treatment where bandages or plastic wrap were wrapped around the body to cause quick weight loss through vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels). In recent times, the body wrap has evolved to a procedure where your body is slathered with a body mask made of sea-weed, algae, mud, clay, body lotion or cream depending on the treatment. The body is then wrapped in blankets, plastic sheets, foil, or a thermal blanket to keep you warm for about 30 minutes. After the wrap is removed, the body is cleansed or rinsed off in a shower then a moisturizer is applied. This treatment is sometimes called a body cocoon or a body mask.
My wrap started with a full body exfoliation with the use of a fruit enzyme peel and a sea-salt gentle scrub. After the seaweed was applied, I was wrapped in plastic wrap then insulating foil, a blanket and finally an electrically heated thermal cocoon. It was so warm and comfortable that I slept off. After my 30 minute nap, I showered the seaweed off then got a moisturizing treatment balm. My skin was smoother than silk.
Body wraps that use mud, algae, seaweed or clay are detoxifying treatments that help rid the body of toxins through metabolic stimulation. Body wraps that use rich lotions or shea butter are hydrating treatments with the aim of softening the skin. Some individuals report inch loss after a body wrap giving a more svelte and contoured appearance.
A body wrap usually starts with thorough exfoliation of the skin through dry brushing, a salt or sugar scrub or an enzyme peel. A good therapist uses massage techniques to exfoliate the body and apply the treatment product which in turn stimulates lymphatic drainage. The essence of the wrap be it toweling, plastic or thermal blanket is to keep the body warm. During this phase, the therapist may offer to leave you alone, give you a mini-facial or give you a scalp massage.
After cocooning for 20 to 30 minutes, the mask needs to come off. A spa with a wet room may use a Vichy shower to rinse you off or ask you to take a regular shower. Alternatively, your therapist may clean the product off with warm damp towels. A Vichy shower feels absolutely fabulous. You lie on bench or wet table and a series of vertical shower heads rinse you off. It’s like taking a shower lying down. Some wet tables have hand-held showers which the therapist uses to rinse off the body. After drying off, lotion is applied to moisturize the skin.
Seaweed is reported to have deep penetrating and fat emulsifying properties and has been used to treat cellulite and skin conditions. Seaweed also helps exfoliate and soften the skin and it has nutrients, minerals and vitamins that nourish the skin. Applying seaweed stimulates the circulation and increases the body’s metabolic rate helping the body break down fat. The heat of the wrap opens the skin’s pores allowing the seaweed to penetrate to the dermis and stimulate the dilation of the blood vessels. Algae has similar properties.
Mud popularly used for body wraps include moor mud and Dead Sea mud. Mud boosts cell renewal and revitalizes and softens the skin. Like seaweed, it boosts circulation and detoxifies the body while it provides loads of nutrients. It also detoxifies the body, boosts immune function and relieves body aches.
Clay sometimes referred to as white mud has been used for centuries to beautify the skin. Clays are rich in minerals and have the capacity to purify and detoxify the skin. They are able to draw out impurities from the skin, unclog pores and remove dead dry cells from the surface of the skin.
Shea butter is a versatile product that can provide relief for everything ranging from dry skin to many dermatological diseases and even eczema. It nourishes the skin with Vitamins A and E which help maintain the skin and keep it clear and healthy. They are helpful when it comes to treating sun damage and they can prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines. They also act as a skin protectors and rejuvenators. They soothe rough, dry or chapped skin and help soften dry or damaged hair. Shea butter has been clinically shown to be an excellent moisturizer and provides several benefits including dry skin and scalp relief, treatment of sunburn and skin rashes, treatment of blemishes and wrinkles, preventing stretch marks, softening tough hands and feet, treatment of minor burns and wounds, evening out skin tone, treatment of eczema, preventing razor bumps and reducing acne.
When scheduling a body wrap, find out what it includes such as a massage, body scrub or facial.Claustrophobic individuals may not be able to tolerate such a confining experience and should avoid such treatments.
If you are allergic to seafood or iodine, you must not have a seaweed wrap as this may lead to a severe allergic reaction and possible anaphylaxis.
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