Probably going to offend a few people with this post, but please understand that I only wish to educate and not to displease. Today, I am going to discuss body wraps, and all things sauna-related. Sadly, I consider myself an "expert" when it comes to products that rid the body of water weight. With over 20 years of trying to "make weight," I know what works, what doesn't, and what is the fastest. I have stories, lots of stories- losing 20 pounds in two weeks, losing 10 pounds overnight, and these are nothing compared to my husband's weight loss "achievements." But trust me, I am not bragging, nor am I proud, because it was dangerous and never permanent. In fact, even quicker than I lost it, I put it back on.
So, what convinces people in search of a weight loss solution to buy such products? Is it the before and after pictures? You should ask for an after-after picture, a once they drank some water or ate some food picture! Is it the promise to target just fat or to spot-reduce your trouble areas? Well, that is just physiologically impossible...in fact, here is some actual evidence.
When asked about body wraps and their claims to detoxify the body or shrink inches, the former president of American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, stated they were "chicanery and hucksterism." He continued to point out that any difference that did occur was all due to water loss and would be gained back once the client has a few glasses of water.
Other claims are the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and herbs being added to the body and used to help flush out cellulite and toxins. As you all read in my blog about detox diets, your body just does not work like that. Let your liver and kidneys do their job.
According to Dr. Mariotti, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, "Diet and exercise is the only thing that works, but, everyone is looking for a shortcut." There is no scientific evidence that wraps help shrink inches, rid the body of cellulite, or help with sags and bags of the skin. Even doctors involved with natural-healing are skeptical. Dr. Andrew Hall, a natural-healing guru, writes that body wraps will not melt away anything but your wallet. Ouch.
As far as sauna suits, sauna belts, and sauna sessions, be careful...a nice relaxing moment in the sauna after a long day is one thing, but anything beyond that is dangerous and ineffective. Saunas (and sauna-related clothing) cause dehydration, changes in blood volume, and significant changes in oxygen supply. It also causes oxidative stress, you know, that thing we eat a lot of antioxidant food trying to prevent!
There is no correlation between fat loss and sweating. When famous celebrity trainers were interviewed about the benefits of body wraps and sauna belts, they were quoted as saying:
If sweating had anything to do with fat loss, "everyone would look like a model come summer." - Clancy
Sweating does assist your body in flushing toxins, but you do not need to buy expensive wraps or belts, "everyone has a pair of sweat pants and a sweatshirt." - Conrad
Spot reduction is a physiological impossibility. Thank your grandma's thighs or your dad's belly to where you gain and lose fat. It is all up to genetics. Society would call my body type a "pear." My thighs and tooshie are the first to get all my bad decisions, and are the last to go when I try to lose a few pounds. No amount of squats or lunges are going to change that. A nutritious diet along with exercise is the best way to lose extra pounds and inches. Stop spending your money on shortcuts. Steve and I are here to help you make long-term changes that will lead to a healthy lifestyle and lasting results!
Casey, L. (2010, December 8). Trimming trends: Do body wraps really help lose inches?. Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA).
Do body wraps slim more than your wallet?: Treatments are often touted as cure alls, but do they really work. (2007, Dec 09). McClatchy - Tribune Business News.
Zinchuk, V., & Zhadzko, D. (2012). Sauna effect on blood oxygen transport and prooxidant-antioxidant balance in athletes. Sports Medicine Journal / Medicina Sportivâ, 8(3), 1883-1889.
Oh, the benefits of a massage! Relieving tight, sore muscles is essential for proper recovery during your training. For those of us who can not afford daily massages, a cheap, yet effective, alternative is to perform a self-massage using a lacrosse ball. Watch Maddie demonstrate a few examples of lacrosse ball massage in our video "Massage Recovery."