A shrink-wrap nappy? Call it pampering
Being a mummy really canmake you slimmer, finds Janie Lawrence
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