Sorry there are no pictures with this one. Read on and it will rapidly become clear why not and then read a little further and be mightily relieved.

My esthetician, Ildi Pekar (you can find her contact details on her website by clicking here) kicked off the new year by introducing a new body treatment. What I like about Ildi is that she is always on the look out for new things (note new, not gimmicky) and she is curious by nature and has very high standards so does lots of homework before introducing a product or treatment. So I was delighted when she invited me to take a test drive.

It turned out to be an extraordinary experience. I haven't had many body wraps and wasn't quite sure what to expect. Developed in Belgium, this treatment uses a mixture of essential oils to boost lymphatic drainage, circulation and purge the body of toxins.

It's worth cutting to car chase: by the end of the session I had lost two centimeters from my waist, one from each upper arm, two from the butt/hips and so on for a total of nine centimeters or about five inches. According to Ildi, it is possible to go down an entire dress size after several sessions.

Ildi started by measuring my upper arms, waist, hips, thighs and just above the knee so that we could do the before and after test. She then used a body brush over my entire body, using upward motions (towards the heart) along the arms and legs, downwards across the chest and circular movements on the stomach. This helps stimulate the circulation in preparation for the treatment. Ildi pronounced my circulation fairly poor on account of my cold feet.

I was then rubbed all over with a cocktail of essential oils, wrapped in cellophane and plastic and left to contemplate the ceiling for about half an hour. After about 30 seconds, I started to feel really hot. Not unpleasantly so, but it was strikingly intense. Within 10 minutes I was sweating copiously. After 15 minutes I felt as if I was lying in a pond - or a hot spring. Most people fall asleep at this point. I felt as if I could run a marathon.

I found the essential oils incredibly invigorating. It is worth outlining what was used because they all serve a slightly different purpose.

Pine - stimulating (I can testify to that), purifying, astringent, promotes oxygen in tissues and removal of carbon dioxide
Lavender - antiseptic, detoxifying, healing, promotes fluid balance
Juniper - toning, diuretic, detoxifying, stimulates blood circulation, regulates water content
Thyme - antiseptic, detoxifying, promotes capillary circulation
Peppermint - antiseptic, astringent, promotes perspiration (I can testify to that too), stimulates the lymphs, activates tissue fluid circulation
Sage - toning, regulates nervous system, improves metabolic function, stimulates lymphatic detoxification
Wheat germ - healing, anti-oxidant, helps metabolize lipids
Wheat bran lipids - provides fatty acids, anti-oxidant, moisturizing
Bisabolol - anti-inflammatory

When I was unwrapped, the river of sweat that I left behind was a toxic yellowish. I thought guiltily about wine and coffee. But my skin looked fantastic. I would absolutely do a few sessions before a beach holiday and would highly recommend it to anyone going on a fourth date (or whenever you feel like making someone else feel very lucky).