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Herbal Body Wraps

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Body wraps are one of the most popular luxury spa treatments today. Also sometimes called body cocoon or body mask , [1] body wraps often start with mud or clay scrubbing to exfoliate then wrapping of your body using a combination of herbs, minerals, collagens and oil for 20 minutes or so before the product is washed off and lotion is applied to the skin. [2]

The extent of advantages you may get from body wraps is debatable, especially in terms of being able to help you lose weight (which some doctors say may be only a temporary benefit caused by water loss). While experts argue on the efficacy of body wraps to reduce cellulite and even detox internal organs, they do however agree that body wraps can detoxify skin impurities as your body sweats during the process as well as help moisturize and soften the skin. [2]

Body wraps are also often described as herbal wraps and rightly so. There have been several herbs identified to enhance the effects of body wraps such as these five:

Herbs For Herbal Body Wraps:

Aloe Vera - if aloe vera is effective for promoting hair growth, why not for promoting healthier looking skin? This plant is traditionally used by tribesmen to facilitate wound healing and improve certain skin conditions. But this is not just traditionally used but also scientifically proven as a comparative study of 3 kinds of aloe vera showed remarkable inhibitory activities against bacteria causing skin diseases and fungal infections. [3]

Seaweed - aside from aloe vera, seaweed is also a known herb used for body wraps to tone the skin. [4] An initial study of a new clothing product made with cellulose fabric and incorporated seaweed also demonstrated the clinical value of seaweed in improving mild to atopic dermatitis of 12 subjects as opposed to wearing 100% cotton clothes. [5] Hence, like clothing which directly touches your skin, seaweed body wraps can add skin comfort, especially if you have disrupted skin conditions.

Chamomile - chamomile extracts are not just taken to help you sleep but may also be applied externally to soothe the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties which researchers have confirmed. [4] As one study discovered, skin lesions can heal significantly faster when applying chamomile compress than when using hydrocortisone ointment, with twice a day application relieving itching and inflammation better. [6] Such lesions include those similar to eczema and fungal infections where another research conducted showed 66% of participants using chamomile extract cream were healed or improved with no adverse side effects compared to just 29% from the placebo group. [7]

Burdock root - scientists found that butanol extracts from this herb possess anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the activation of cells that trigger allergic reactions like atopic dermatitis. [8] Some studies also indicate the presence of blood purifying properties of burdock beneficial for eczema or psoriasis. [4]

Ginger - while studies on effects of ginger on human skin are fairly limited, preliminary studies injecting compounds of ginger in vivo show these to suppress activities that promote squamous epithelial cell carcinomas tumor growth. [9] Externally applied, ginger has also been found to stimulate circulation, add warmth to the skin and ease painful joints or muscles. [4]

One challenge with spa body wrap treatments though is that aside from being costly, services labelled as 'herbal wraps' often do not always consist of pure herbs but may also contain fragrances and oils that can be absorbed by and irritate sensitive skin, or even adversely interact with medications you are taking. [2] Be sure to know Good news is, these herbal wraps are mostly accessible and can be home made remedies you can do all by yourself.

Herbal Body Wraps - References:



[3] A Comparative Study of Three Aloe Species Used to Treat Skin Diseases in South African Rural Communities.


[5] A pilot study of silver-loaded cellulose fabric with incorporated seaweed for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

[6] Using chamomile solution or a 1% topical hydrocortisone ointment in the management of peristomal skin lesions in colostomy patients: results of a controlled clinical study.

[7] Researching accessible and affordable treatment for common dermatological problems in developing countries. An Ethiopian experience.

[8] Anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects of butanol extract from Arctium Lappa L.

[9] Effects of ATRA combined with citrus and ginger-derived compounds in human SCC xenografts.

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking, © 2013

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