Mud Marvel

Our skin is our body’s largest organ. It is also the most exposed, which means it can catch and collect all manner of nasty things. A detoxifying body wrap is believed to draw out toxins from the body and increase blood circulation. There may be a difference of opinion on whether a detox treatment can actually draw internal toxins from the body, but everyone seems to agree that it can pull out impurities from deep within the skin itself. It can also be one of the messiest treatments, yet most beneficial to the look and feel of the skin.

I visited Dakotah Salon & Spa in Woodbury on a Saturday and found the busy upstairs salon to be bustling with frenetic energy. But the downstairs spa was an oasis of calm. I changed into a plush robe and relaxed in a waiting room decorated in an old-world Mediterranean style, with a waterfall and soothing music.

Jamie, an aesthetician and massage therapist, brought me into the warm, steamy treatment room set up with a Vichy shower and table. A scrub is recommended prior to the mud wrap for the best results, so we began with the Salt Glow Treatment, which combines Dead Sea and mineral salts with essential oils. Jamie said she uses salt in her scrubs because it is more effective than sugar.

After the scrub was rinsed away with the overhead Vichy shower, I used the warm towel to dry off while Jamie prepared the table for my wrap. Most detox wraps employ mud or clay, and Jamie favors Ess Moor Mud Wrap. Moor mud is actually peat, the product of natural decomposition of plants. This particular type of mud is believed to have outstanding preservative properties. Believe it: In 1950, a remarkably well-preserved body from the Iron Age (known as the Tollund Man) was found in Denmark buried deep in a peat bog.

As you may imagine, the mud doesn’t have the most pleasant scent, so Jamie mixes it with essential oils of cinnamon, orange and ginger. Once I was nice and muddy, she wrapped me in Mylar and blankets to encourage heat and left me to relax. Anyone who suffers from claustrophobia should discuss this with your aesthetician beforehand. Leaving your arms outside the wrap is an option that could work for you, but everyone responds differently and should address individual concerns for maximum comfort.

Jamie checked in on me a couple of times to make sure I was fine, and after about 15 minutes, she returned and gave me a soothing scalp massage. I was then unwrapped, washed and dried. As the final step, she massaged an olive oil lotion into my skin.

Jamie has a nurturing spirit and engaging personality. She clearly knows what she’s doing and I would absolutely go back to her. My skin felt soft as velvet and my cellulite was definitely diminished. Be forewarned, though. Any resulting weight or cellulite loss is distinctly temporary.

Ruthie, an aesthetician at La Carezza Salon D? Spa in Southampton, also advises a pre-wrap scrub. “After winter, people will have more dead cells, so we recommend a scrub to deeply exfoliate before the wrap to see better results.”

She, too, prefers sea salt to sugar in a scrub because it is a deeper exfoliant and better for most skin types. She does note, however, that for sensitive skin, sugar is the gentler choice.

Ruthie believes that detoxifying body wraps rid the body of toxins through metabolic stimulation. “It also helps to both hydrate the skin and reduce excess fluids, minimizing the appearance of cellulite.”

The Detoxifying Body Pack at La Carezza has a mud base customized with a blend of essential oils to address each client’s skin type and any specific issues they wish to address. The treatment includes a relaxing Vichy shower, “to remove any excess mud or salt to leave the body extra soft.”

While Ruthie recommends a detox wrap once a month for best results, she says it’s a priority to receive one both before and after the summer season. This is important to nourish the skin and repair it from the negative impact of environmental factors and sun damage.

Whether a detox wrap truly pulls toxins from within the body or just from deep within the skin is still up for debate. One thing I can tell you for sure, my skin looked so healthy and felt incredibly soft, and the entire process was extremely relaxing. When combined with a pre-wrap scrub, I found this to be one of the best body treatments for soft, radiant skin.

toni munna

Toni Munna is a native Long Islander who is always on the lookout for products that fulfill their promise to firm, hydrate, slim, soothe, de-wrinkle, plump, relax, de-stress, and just generally make you look and feel better. She a firm believer that wellness enhances beauty and has been testing beauty products and reviewing spas for you since the fall of 2006. You can reach her with questions at