A shrink-wrap nappy? Call it pam­per­ing

Be­ing a mummy re­ally can­make you slim­mer, finds Janie Lawrence

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Wellbeing -

I t’s the type of email that in hap­pier, thin­ner days I would have in­stinc­tively deleted. ‘‘Would you like a di­a­per wrap?’’ it asks. “You can lose up to 12 inches off your body.” Di­a­per ? No way. 12 inches? Far-fetched non­sense.

But times have changed and I am now, in a word, des­per­ate. All I want is to be able to squeeze into my old size 12 jeans, if only for a week.

How bad can it re­ally be? The di­a­per wrap, or to give it its full name, the Uni­ver­sal Con­tour Wrap, was in­vented by Dr Richard Strem, an Amer­i­can chi­ro­prac­tor. Mum­mi­fi­ca­tion ban­dages are soaked in a mix of sea clay, sodium chlo­ride, mag­ne­sium chlo­ride, mag­ne­sium sul­phate and zinc ox­ide, a com­bi­na­tion that pur­port­edly brings fat cells closer to­gether. The­o­ret­i­cally, it’s this tight­en­ing and ton­ing, rather than any wa­ter loss, that causes the shrink­age. The man­u­fac­tur­ers claim that some women have gone down a dress size af­ter just one treat­ment, al­though a course of three is rec­om­mended.

Aban­don­ing my nat­u­ral scep­ti­cism and all pride, I find my­self stand­ing in a pa­per thong as 18 mea­sure­ments are taken, from my ribcage to but­tocks and wrists. The ver­dict is that I have “spongy” fat, not “hard” fat. Be grate­ful for small mer­cies, hard fat is more com­pacted and tougher to shift.

Fiona Har­ring­ton-Wright, a for­mer nurse and trainer for the com­pany, says: ‘‘You can­not take tox­ins out of the fat cells them­selves but they can be re­moved from the in­ter­sti­tial fluid, in be­tween the tis­sues, where tox­ins ac­cu­mu­late.’’

The wrap­ping be­gins at the an­kle, and by the time three ban­dages, equiv­a­lent to three nap­pies, are stretched across my tummy and pulled tightly to­wards my neck to give me a “con­tour” it’s im­pos­si­ble to walk with­out adopt­ing a Franken­stein gait. Quite how I make it on to the bed af­ter the last one is wrapped around my chin is any­body’s guess. I have new ad­mi­ra­tion for those ex­tras in The Mummy. The process has taken about 30 min­utes and, com­plete with face pack, I am then popped un­der a foil ther­mal blan­ket for an hour.

Any hopes of mirac­u­lously see­ing my old self once I’m un­wrapped are not ful­filled but, as­tound­ingly, I do in­deed ap­pear to have lost a to­tal of 11¼ inches. That in­cludes ¼in off my wrists and knees (hold the bunting) but, much more en­cour­ag­ingly, an inch from both my thighs and waist. Breasts do not store tox­ins, so Jor­dan I re­main.

Will it last? Pro­fes­sor Peter Mor­timer of St Ge­orge’s Hospi­tal, Lon­don, says, ‘‘I’m a con­ven­tional medic but I still try to keep an open mind. If there is a pres­sure change in the tis­sues you will en­cour­age the move­ment of fluid into the lymph sys­tem so the pres­sure of the ban­dages will do that but it is only tem­po­rary and I can’t see how it can be sus­tained.’’ There is, he says, only one guar­an­teed way to stim­u­late lym­phatic drainage — you’ve guessed it — ‘‘ex­er­cise and move­ment’’.

Har­ring­ton Wright de­fends the treat­ment. ‘‘Ev­ery wo­man comes in as a scep­tic but, if you can get into your jeans af­ter three ses­sions, you will keep com­ing back.’’

Will I be re­turn­ing? Ac­tu­ally yes. Ten days since the treat­ment, three peo­ple have asked if I’ve lost weight (I haven’t) and the treat­ment has had a fan­tas­ti­cally sooth­ing ef­fect on my back pain, some­thing that Pro­fes­sor Mor­timer agrees the wrap’s in­gre­di­ents would help. Af­ter just one ses­sion the ef­fects can last up to a month and with the prospect of elas­ti­cated waists loom­ing I’m not pre­pared to quit yet.

Pinch an inch: the di­a­per wrap

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