The gym where I have my stretch therapy sessions also has an infrared body wrap that I was talked into trying. My stretch therapist is also the owner of the gym, so I was a little skeptical that she was just trying to sell me on anything she could, but her arguments were convincing, so I was willing to give it a try.
It is called the Formostar Body Wrap and it works by applying targeted infrared heat to the body. This is how it is supposed to work: Stored fat is known as “cold fat” as blood circulation is extremely low in fat storage areas. When we work out, our muscles and vital organs get the majority of our blood flow. It is virtually impossible to “work off” fat through exercise. Limited blood circulation results in what is known as ‘cold spots’ where the fat hardens and over time leads to cellulite. During the body wrap, infrared rays gently heat the body from the inside out to get underneath the fat tissue. Blood flow is increased over 300% in the ‘cold spots’ where fat tissue resides. Bringing blood back into the areas that have restricted blood flow causes the metabolism rate to rise. Infrared heat softens the fat/cellulite tissue, breaks it up, and releases it back to the blood stream to be burned up as energy.
From what I’ve read, most people use the wrap to help them lose weight and cellulite. My stretch therapist, however, said that it is extremely beneficial for sore muscles and recovery after hard workouts because it helps flush out the lactic acid and increase the circulation to the muscles. According to one website, the infrared wrap is used to:
- Burn up to 1400 Calories in just 1 treatment
- Lose Cellulite
- Lose Weight
- Lose Inches
- Reduce Stress
- Reduce Post Workout Pain
- Reduce Muscle Stiffness
- Rejuvenate the Skin
- Cellular Detoxification
- Reduce Menstrual Cramps
- Increase Blood Circulation
I figured the best time to try the wrap was after my half marathon last weekend. I was told the sooner the better, so I went in the same afternoon as the race. The wrap is an hour long. You must wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt and it must all be cotton. You lie on a table (on your back) and are wrapped in 4 silicone pads that emit infrared rays into your body. Two of the pads are wrapped around each thigh, one is wrapped around the lower torso and one around the upper torso. I’ve seen pictures with people’s arms also wrapped, but mine weren’t (not sure why). Then you basically lie there and sweat for an hour. I took a good book and thoroughly enjoyed the quite, relaxing hour.
I will say that I did notice a difference in how my muscles felt after the wrap. I went in pretty stiff and was starting to get sore from the race. But when the wrap was over, my quads in particular were noticeably less sore and my entire body was noticeably less stiff. This is not to say that it eliminated all soreness. I woke up on Monday quite sore, but less than I had anticipated given past experiences. By Tuesday I was not sore at all, which is weird because I’m usually sore for at least 3 days after a half marathon or marathon. This could be due to the wrap, or it could be my level of conditioning. Or some of both.
I won’t say that I’m a believer just yet – the jury is still out. But, I will say that I will likely try it again after another hard workout because if nothing else, it is a relaxing hour that I have all to myself and the heat feels good on tired muscles (NOT injured muscles, but tired muscles. For injured muscles, cold is better – but that’s an entirely separate post for another time).