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Spa Treatments for Weight Loss

Winter…log fires, red wine, comfort food and a – ah, yes – a few extra pounds ‘round the middle! Say scientists, human beings are genetically programmed to store fat in winter – that’s because, long ago, winter was a time of famine and we needed to stock up on fat to get through the lean months. And, even though we’re now blessed with plenty of food year-round, we’re still prepping for hard times(termed the Thrifty Gene Hypothesis by scientists). Thinking about visiting a spa to shift some of that winter weight? Here, we explore whether spa weight loss treatments can really help….

Spa Body Wraps

Body wraps or mud wraps involve special ‘mineral’ mud or claybeing slathered all over the body, after head-to-toe exfoliation, while you lie prone on a massage bed. After being smeared in mud, you will be wrapped up in plastic cling film or warm sheets and blankets (or perhaps both) and left to relax in this warm cocoon for approximately half an hour.

Does a Body Wrap Help You Lose Weight?
Body wraps are said to shave centimetres off the body, but is it really true? While doctors caution that body wraps don’t lead to permanent weight loss, there can be some reduction in ‘water weight’ caused by fluid retention (through sweating from being cling-wrapped), which means you will get off the table feeling a tad slimmer, at least for a day or two. There are other benefits to a body wrap, however, including a soft, moisturised skin, feeling relaxed and happy and gaining a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance.

Spa Sauna

We have the Fins to thank for sharing their sauna experience with the world. A sauna is a bathhouse or small room where you receive a hot air or steam bath. In Scandinavia, saunas are communal or social affairs, but most South African spas offer individual sauna sessions.

Is Sauna Good for Weight Loss?
Taking a sauna is popular with professional athletes who need to reduce their weight or body fat quickly, like jockeys, boxers and bodybuilders. But does it work? When you sit in a sauna, the hot temperature causes water to leave your body though the pores in your skin (through sweating) which can eliminate fluid retention temporarily. In addition, the heat can cause a temporary increase in heart rate and metabolism. Whilst sauna should never be a substitute for a decent exercise regime, it can help with relaxing stiff and sore muscles, aiding recovery from injury and getting the skin tingling from increased blood flow. In the quest to get a post-sauna glow, though, do watch out for dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Spa Massage

Massage involves the rubbing and kneading of the muscles and joints of the body with the hands. There are many different types of massage, each of which has a slightly different technique.

Can Massage Help With Weight Loss?
Some massage treatments claim to promote weight loss or reduce cellulite. There may be no scientific evidence that massage directly helps with weight loss, but it has many other health benefits including relieving tension, anxiety and pain; encouraging good blood circulation and promoting feelings of well-being, calmness and happiness (which can help alleviate binge-eating or comfort-eating).


Spa Detox Treatments

Detox treatments are designed to draw toxins out of the system and, in so doing, promote weight loss and well-being. Such spa treatments include:

  • Seaweed body wraps–said to draw out toxins through the skin
  • Colonic irrigation– enemas which are said to cleanse the colon
  • Lymphatic drainage massage– light massage around the lymphatic vessels and surrounding areasin order to promote the release of toxins through the lymphatic system
  • Detox food regimes– like juice fasts – are said to cleanse the digestive tract and aid weight loss
  • Ayurvedic detox – according to this ancient Indian belief system, the body benefits from detoxing at every change of season to clear the body’s ‘channels’.

Detox programmes may be vigorously promoted, but doctors point out that there is little real scientific evidence to support the claims of many detox regimes. When it comes to detoxing, be sensible – limiting your alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake and drinking plenty of water is an excellent way to ensure that toxins in your system are minimised. As a rule of thumb, whacky or fad detox programmes are best avoided.


Author: South African Spas