Body treatment wraps and stone massages are the latest crazes taking over day spas, and they are gaining popularity every day.
"I see a lot more this year than I have in the past," said Barbara Sinha, owner of Clinical Skin Care Centre and Barcelona Salon and Spa, 3307 S. College Ave. Suite 112.
Body treatment wraps vary by what the body is wrapped in as well as the intended outcome. Thanya Nguyen, owner of Elements Day Spa and Wellness Center, 2008 E. Harmony Road, said the most popular body treatment wrap is the Seaweed Mud Body Treatment.
In body treatment wraps, mud is coated on the body before it is wrapped in plastic; a silver sheet is then laid over the plastic and a blanket is wrapped around the three layers. The client must remain in this cocoon for half an hour before being allowed to shower.
Nguyen said body treatment wraps should be used primarily for relaxation. However, an Elements Day Spa and Wellness Center informational guide states the "seaweed's rich minerals helps eliminate cellulite, improve circulation, break down fat deposit and balance metabolism."
Elements also performs a raindrop therapy body treatment, which "reduces spinal inflammation and kills viruses that hibernate along the spinal column and helps to straighten spinal curvature," according to the guide.
Morgan Valente, a senior health and exercise science major, said she is skeptical of a body treatment wrap's ability to break down fat or kill viruses.
"To an extent, I think it could help with some things, like relaxation," Valente said.
Carole Diamond, a nurse practitioner at Hartshorn Health Service who practices healing touch, which is the channeling of the healer's energy to a client through touch. The client is then supposed to be able to use the other person's energy to relieve pain. She said that the ability to relieve pain is very dependent on how receptive the client is.
"Relaxation promotes a good sense of well-being in your body, stimulating your immune system," Diamond said. "It's (body treatment wraps and stone massages) more of a trendy thing and it's a big money-maker because it doesn't require that much to do it."
Clients should discuss the effect of a body wrap with a therapist before it is applied. Body treatment wraps that claim to take off inches do so by temporarily compressing the body, Sinha said. The body will decompress in about a day.
"There are some body wraps where you can come in and they wrap you in a compression wrap and you get smaller, but it only lasts for the day. So if you're going out that evening and you don't want your dress to fit too tight, then yes, you can get it. But that's not a permanent thing," Sinha said.
Both the body treatment wraps and stone massages, which are the placement of hot or cold stones on various parts of the body to relieve pain, often claim to be detoxifying. Diamond said the word "detoxify" is a red flag.
Body wraps draw out fluids, not toxins, by causing the body to sweat, Diamond said.
Hot and cold applications of stones can influence how the body metabolizes certain toxins, Diamond said. The toxins are not physically drawn out. The same effect can be achieved by adjusting the water temperature in a shower.
"Anything that does heat and cold can cleanse a body," Diamond said. "If it has the extra oomph to having mud and/or hot stones that just makes it a more beautiful experience than standing in your shower."