So far, it sounds like nothing more than a toasty nap. But spas say that you’ll leave an infrared wrap session skinnier and healthier, with better circulation, a faster metabolism, clearer skin, and less cellulite. How?
The pads give off long and short infrared waves that penetrate deep into your fat layers, websites claim, increasing your body temperature, metabolism, and blood circulation. The heat “break[s] down fats into a liquid form, allowing secretion of body water, toxins and fat as you perspire,” according to one Chicago spa.
All that formerly stored fat, once liquefied by the infrared waves, is obviously eager to escape your body through the nearest exit. But don’t worry if the fat gets stuck inside you—you’ll burn it anyway. “You can burn 900 to 1,400 calories or more in just one 50 minute session,” another Chicago site proclaims.
Daniel Lynch, a Williams College biochemist, says that heating parts of your body could certainly increase your water loss. But your fat isn’t budging. “To get rid of the fat, it must be metabolized,” he says, “and that is not going to be enhanced by lying on a bed with silicone wraps on your legs.”
If you’re looking for an exercise-free way to burn fat, Swoap suggests hanging out in a cold room rather than under a warm blanket. Being in the cold will raise your metabolism as your body tries to replace the heat you’re losing. If you’re still hankering after the spa experience, you could always wait until winter, wrap up in a scarf, and have someone log-roll you down the sidewalk.