Melt Inches with a Wrap

“Lose 6 to 20 inches on your very first wrap.” We know that’s not possible, but we wondered if there was any hope for a little temporary improvement for those times — weddings, high school reunions, beach vacations — when you want to look your best.

Tester: Catherine Cassidy, 41. “My weight isn’t really a problem, but I’d welcome a quick lump-and-bump fix.”

Product claims: Some places promise that you can lose up to 20 inches, but the day spa I visited confided that results vary — and that a cellulite wrap certainly wasn’t a permanent weight loss solution.

Cost: $45 a session.

The experience: As I lay naked on a massage table, an employee named Liz used her incredibly strong fingers to pummel the living daylights out of my problem spots, kneading and punching me as if I were bread dough. I winced hard — and hoped like mad I’d see positive results. Finally, it was time for the wrap itself: I was slathered all over with a seaweed-based cream, then wrapped in shiny material and heated blankets for 15 minutes. Herbal formulas are the keys to success, Liz told me. But when I asked about the ingredients, she didn’t know for sure what they were.

Results: I didn’t look better in my swimsuit. The tape measure was the ultimate and harshest judge: Sadly, my problem spots were no smaller.

Analysis: When I asked what I could do to maximize my treatment, Liz said I should steer clear of too much fatty and sugary foods, and try to get regular exercise every day. Hmmm. If I do that, why bother with a body wrap?

Expert opinion: “There are no studies, nor any scientific basis to think that body wraps might work for weight loss or cellulite reduction,” says obesity expert Caroline Apovian, M.D., of Boston University School of Medicine. “If you do try one, drink lots of water because all the sweating could lead to dehydration.”

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