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Beginner's Guide to the Body Wrap (Photo: Penelope & The Beauty Bar)

A Beginner's Guide to the Body Wrap

Even if you’re a seasoned spa-goer, you might now know what a body wrap is. Or, you may have a vague idea, but have no idea what the point of it is. Part of the reason may be because there's a plethora of body wraps you can choose from including algae, mud, herbal, and slimming to name a few.

To try to get a better understanding of the elusive body wrap, I recently tried a French Sudatonic Slimming and Detoxifying Body Wrap for the first time at Penelope & the Beauty Bar.

Why the Sudatonic slimming wrap? While there are plenty of different types of wraps, I was intrigued by the Sudatonic because it has the added bonus of helping you lose weight. Turns out, Sudatonic body wraps are like the yoga of the spa treatment world. They cure just about everything and might even help you lose weight in the process. Beyond weight loss, they help reduce cellulite and stretch marks, improve skin, increase blood circulation, reduce stress and fatigue, help with pain relief, and improve your immune system.

“People tend to get a beautiful glow in their skin,” said Angela Rosen, Owner and Product Merchandiser. “It is reported by many clients that their bodies don't hurt and they see an improvement in their energy levels.”

How does this miracle treatment work? A therapist first uses French Sudatonic creams to lotion your entire body (yes, this means you’ll have to be naked but don’t worry, your therapist will cover you with a towel). You are then wrapped with what looks like a plastic wrap layer, followed by the four-zone far infrared blanket on top. Both the creams and the infrared heat work to increase your metabolism.

After about 45 minutes, your therapist will remove the blanket and you’ll get some extra towels to wipe up the sweat. Don’t stress out too much about getting overheated. Your therapist should check up on you throughout, and Angelina (my spa technician) kindly offered me sips of water throughout. Finally, you’ll apply one last cream layer, and you’re done!

Still unsure? Here are a few other tips if you’re thinking about booking your first body wrap:

You could burn 1,500 to 3,000 calories. Yes, you may shed pounds by simply getting pampered, no workout required. My therapist even compared the Sudatonic body wrap to, “hot yoga without moving.” Remember, everyone’s body reacts differently to the wrap, so don’t assume you’ll drop five pounds after one session. A lot of what you lose will be water weight. Still, "Your pants are defiantly looser the first or second time,” Rosen said.

Watch what you eat before your appointment. I know I said you wouldn’t have to work out to see results from the body wrap, but you will have to watch what you eat. Fortunately, you’ll only have to “diet” for about 24 hours before your session.

Penelope & the Beauty Bar recommends:

  • • No alcohol, coffee, or soda the night before and day of your appointment
  • • No sugar, and limit your carbs the night before
  • • Drink at least 36 oz. of water before the treatment
  • • Eat a protein filled meal before your appointment

It feels like you’re lying out on the beach. I was a little wary about trying the wrap because I’ve always felt a little sensitive to heat. One of the few workouts I’ve ever walked out on was hot yoga, and I’ve never been the best about drinking my recommended water intake. To my happy surprise, lying wrapped up in the blanket mummy-style was really relaxing. It reminded me of how you feel when you’re sun-bathing (with sunscreen of course), soaking up Vitamin D.

You may fall asleep. I ended up feeling so relaxed, that I was half asleep for most of the session. Not too surprising, since the heat can often make me feel sleepy. Angelina assured me this was normal.

The blanket gets hotter every 10 minutes. If you feel like you’re getting hotter the longer you lie in your blanket, it’s because you are. Every 10 minutes or so, the temperature increases a notch. For the most part, my body wrap was a very enjoyable experience. I'll admit though, by the last 10 minutes of my wrap I was starting to get antsy. To be fair, Angelina offered to let me out early, but I stubbornly wanted to stick with it until the end.

Avoid working out after. I seriously doubt you’ll want to go on a run (I was still half asleep by the end), but avoid doing anything too strenuous after your wrap like hitting the gym. Take it easy the rest of the day and just rest up.

Like the gym, if you want better results, you’ll have to commit. Unfortunately, one body wrap will probably not make a huge difference if you’re trying to drop two pants sizes immediately. You’ll want to book a few sessions to get the best outcome. “It is similar to working out,” Rosen said. “So the more often you have them the better the results will be. I would suggest 10 to 12 in the first six weeks to help the body detoxify and get re-balanced. Then once a week after.”

Penelope & the Beauty Bar offers their French Sudatonic Slimming and Detoxifying Body Wrap for $165, with a discounted price of $130 for members.