What Is a Herbal Body Wrap?

Megan Shoop

An herbal body wrap is a spa treatment that involves wrapping the entire body in herb-soaked cloths. The body is then wrapped in warm towels, bandages, or linen sheets. After 20 to 30 minutes, the towels are removed and the herbs are rinsed away. Herbal wraps are most often used to pull toxins from the skin and reduce general puffiness, which may slim and tone the body. Those with winter skin may get a hydrating wrap, while those seeking a healthier lifestyle may want to remove toxins from preservatives, nicotine, or alcohol from their bodies.

Distilled water is often used in making herbal body wraps.
Distilled water is often used in making herbal body wraps.

Though many spas offer herbal body wrap treatments, they may also be done at home. Body wraps generally begin with a light, cool shower and an exfoliating scrub. The scrub may contain moisturizing oils or herbs to help open the pores and prepare the skin for cleansing. They may also simply be handfuls of raw salt or sugar. These treatments are usually gentler than ground apricot pits, which may damage the skin. Those using an herbal body wrap at home may also exfoliate with baking soda.

Rose water is often included in herbal body wraps.
Rose water is often included in herbal body wraps.

After exfoliating, the individual is wrapped in herb-soaked towels or linen sheets. The herbal solution is often a simple tea made from dried herbs and distilled water. When making these solutions at home, individuals may crumble any herbs they like into a clean plastic bucket. The bucket should then be half-filled with hot distilled water from a clean pot or tea kettle. The rest of the bucket should be filled with room temperature water to cool the solution without making it cold to the touch. Solutions at spas are generally made well in advance of treatment.

Herbal body wrap ingredients usually include seaweed, herbs, and essential oils. Chamomile, rose hips, ginger, and lavender are all common. Angelica, rosemary, and black pepper may also be used. Hydrating wraps often include rose water, rose oil, powdered clay, or green tea powder. Those creating wraps at home may want to simply combine powdered seaweed with their favorite scents. Ginger and black pepper may irritate sensitive skin, while chamomile is very soothing for most skin types.

The wrapping portion of an herbal body wrap begins with a plastic sheet with two or three dry sheets layered on top of it. The individual then dips towels, cloth bandages, or an additional sheet into the herbal solution. The soaked fabric is then wrapped around the legs, torso, and arms very snugly. The dry sheets and plastic sheeting are also wrapped around the person to keep the soaked cloths moist and keep the person warm. At a spa, an herbalist will do the wrapping.

Many people experiencing an herbal body wrap fall asleep during the treatment. A gentle music alarm clock or cell phone alarm may be necessary for those performing home treatments. During spa treatments, the herbalist will wake the person when the time is up. The wrappings are then gently removed and the dried herbs are rinsed from the body with a cool shower or bath. The person should also typically drink plenty of water or fresh fruit juice afterward to rehydrate themselves from the warming wrap.

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