The Body Wrap Vienna – my mummy experiment
Once you have made your way through the shabby lobby and lift to the 19th and top floor of Vienna’s first residential high tower located in Vienna’s 5th district, you will be in for a big surprise!
On my ring, the metal door is opened by Gertrude Hiebler, wearing a fully white medical staff like outfit, who has been expecting me and welcomes me very friendly.
Getting into the airy and light loft with large window giving a panoramic view on the city and beyond leaves me breathless!
The whole place has a calm, light, functional feel to it.
With a cup of herbal tea, we sit down in a cosy lounge area with two leather couches and Gertrude – a trained nurse – tells me all about Body Wrap – the original:
The idea was born in (where else?) the US, maybe back in the 1960s, and Gertrude tells me that today there are about 300 studios across Northern US. The more surprising that the concept is much less known and popular in Europe, where we find only a handful of studios in total.
The concept’s promise: loose up to 10 centimetres of body circumference in only one treatment.
Sounds rather lurid to me and that is why I am pretty sceptical.
The secret apparently lies in the formula of the liquid used combined with the wrapping technique:
After a thorough measurement of the entire body, you are wrapped tightly into bandages soaked with the liquid, followed by a 60 minutes light workout.
Thats right, workout.
There is no comfortable lying on a treatment table being spoiled with a hand or head massage during the wrap…
And I can tell you it is hard work, more of that further down.
Charismatic Gertrude, who took over the studio (that can host only a handful of customers at any given time making it highly private) about 2 years ago is now planning to add further services such as comprehensive nutrition and sports programs. She says during our conversation: “It all goes hand in hand. The body wrap is highly efficient, even in a one time only experience, however sustainably, diet workout and treatments go all hand in hand.”
She also tells me that she has a few celebrities popping in occasionally, for example before a red carpet event, but also has customers who come on a more regular basis, for a series of treatments.
The body wrap is used for treating:
- anti age
Due to 4 different types of liquids aiming at different problems, the treatment can be customised. The 100% natural liquid solutions are patented and manufactured by a pharmacist. The ingredients do not contain any oils, chemicals or perfumes and dissolve in ionised water. The exact recipe of course is under wrap…
And then Gertrude asks me if I had 2 hours time and wanted to try it for myself? I am a little nervous, now that I know more and that I have a faint idea of what is to come, yet of course say YES!
I am not sure what exactly I first expected, certainly not what I experienced. I thought of this body wrap more of the usual relaxed body wrap where some product is applied to the skin and where you are then wrapped up in a warm blanket, resting on a comfortable treatment bed whilst enjoying a hand or foot massage.
And that is exactly what this treatment is NOT about!
I am asked into above private cubicle where I undress to my underwear (best to bring a second set as it gets wet!).
Then I have to answer a few questions about lifestyle, habits, and conditions.
Gertrude uses my answers for identifying the right solution for me and then starts measuring my entire body: chin, neck, chest, rib cage, arms, waist, hip, legs, ankles.
The findings are noted on my consultation sheet.
Starting from the ankles, I am skilfully wrapped in about 20 bandages, that are very tightly strapped around me. Depending on the problem zones or areas that the customer would like to focus on, Gertrude moulds by wrapping tighter or slightly looser working her way up to my chin.
Gertrude promises that the effect is also achieved when not wrapping too tightly, which serves customers suffering from claustrophobia.
My hands and feet are covered with plastic bags that are held in place by rubber bands. These bags serve as water gatherers, water that comes out of the bandages over time.
Now I am all set for my workout, which I am going to do on a small trampoline.
Walking is not that easy, I feel like a mummy and waddle along…
My own experience of the body wrap
10 Minutes on the trampoline:
Gertrude promises me that the wrap will become looser, it should feel easier soon. She occasionally assists me in emptying the plastic bags on my feet and hands from water.
20 Minutes on the trampoline:
I am getting a little cold. At first when wrapping me up, the bandages are warm, however they cool down after a while. So I am provided with a sort of plastic rain coat and a warm neck pillow which keeps me nice and warm for the remaining time.
30 Minutes on the trampoline:
this is hard work! I hardly have any range of motion or space to breathe and am supposed to bounce on a trampoline. Not an easy job!
Another client got in and seems to be feeling the same as me, so I am relieved I am not alone…
40 Minutes on the trampoline:
My thoughts start wondering and I ask myself why the concept is rather unknown in Europe.
Is it not really working well as promised?
Is scientific proof missing?
Is it a false promise?
Is it too much hard work and people are more looking for easy and lazy solutions instead?
50 Minutes on the trampoline:
The magnificent view over Vienna and hilly areas far in the back make up for a lot of the discomfort, yet I cannot wait to be unwrapped soon!
60 Minutes on the trampoline:
I made it!
I rush back into my changing cubicle, to be quickly unwrapped. What a nice relief, it feels like taking off my extremely tight jeans back then when I was a teenager…
Gertrude gives me a fluffy and warmed bathrobe and a cup of herbal tea – a great treat!
After I have relaxed a little in the lounge area and sipped my tea, I am asked back for more measuring.
Again, Gertrude measures me thoroughly, using the exact same areas that she had marked before, and she comes to the conclusion that I have lost 25 cm of circumference in total. For example 1 cm each around my upper arms, 2 cm on the legs and 2.5 around the hip.
I feel very tired and totally exhausted and cannot wait to get to the hotel and have something to eat. I feel this cosy tiredness like after a long day hiking or skiing followed by an extensive Sauna visit.
Over the next few days, I feel well, however the slimming effect does not seem to be long lasting, although I am looking well after my diet.
The Body Wrap certainly did work as a short time quick fix for me. I have not done a series of treatments as yet and can hence not comment on a longer lasting experience and effect.
I do see this treatment as a supplementary support of detox programs and can imagine this service being successful in spa resort environments with a holistic approach to detox diet, exercise and treatments.
Although the time spent of about 2 hours seems high, no treatment room is blocked or therapist needed for the entire lengths of the treatment. Which bears good opportunities for combination of other spa services together with this type of body wrap.
If you are interested in a body wrap treatment yourself or want to know more about learning the technique as a therapist, please contact Gertrude by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.