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Spa treatments that help you look slimmer

After wrapping Kathleen Clark in seaweed and peppermint

After wrapping Kathleen Clark in seaweed and peppermint soaked wraps, esthetician Jai Popov covers her in towels and givers her a hot water shower for about ten minutes at the Bocu Salon in Commack. (Dec. 01, 2009) Credit: Newsday / Mahala Gaylord

You've got a big day circled on your calendar - the company Christmas party, or a holiday get-together with friends you haven't seen in years. You want to look your best . . . maybe even a little better than your best.

For most of us, better is synonymous with slimmer. But now the big day is almost here - no time for all that dieting and exercise you were going to do. So what are your options? Are there any spa treatments that can actually deliver an instant - if temporary - slimming effect?

The spas we contacted said yes, with caveats. None of them, of course, promise permanent weight loss. But several offer body wraps with seaweed or mineral mud, designed to improve circulation, reduce fluid retention and make skin feel tighter.

Best-case scenario? "You can lose up to 5 pounds of water in one session, depending on your metabolism," says Satnarine Ricketts-Weller of Epiphany Day Spa and Salon in Hempstead. Worst case? You'll emerge feeling pampered and relaxed, and that can be beautiful, too.

The Seawater Spa & Thalasso Center at Gurney's Inn: 290 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk, 631-668-1892,

The treatment: Marine Kur. $220 for 90 minutes, plus 18 percent service charge and $30 facility fee for non-hotel guests.

The skinny: The kur (think "cure") starts with hydrotherapy massage in a tub filled with seawater. Then, you're wrapped in a seaweed body mask. "We don't ever make any claims for weight loss," says spa nurse Susan Yunker, the spa's registered nurse, but "the seawater and seaweed have real benefits; they help your body function optimally." The minerals they contain help to increase metabolism, circulation and lymphatic flow, she says, and poor lymphatic flow can contribute to fluid retention.

Bocu Salon and Day Spa: 6401 Jericho Tpke., Commack, 631-499-1300,

The treatment: Peppermint Twist. $125 for one hour.

The skinny: Bandages are soaked in seaweed solution and peppermint oil; then "they wrap you like a mummy," Margarita Serrano says. "It's not only detoxifying, but because of the peppermint, you have that tingling sensation." The treatment is geared toward reducing water retention and cellulite, she says.

NuBest Salon and Spa: 1482 Northern Blvd., Manhasset, 516-627-9444,

The treatment: Mermaid Body Wrap. $125 for one hour.

The skinny: Seaweed and mineral mud is applied to your skin, and then you're wrapped. An insulation blanket goes on top, and you receive a scalp massage. While the spa makes no claims for an internal slimming effect, Gianna Froccaro says the treatment stimulates circulation and nourishes and exfoliates skin, leaving it feeling softer and tighter.

Epiphany Day Spa and Salon: 285 Fulton Ave. Hempstead, 516-292-9123,

The treatment: Parafango Wrap. $90 for 90 minutes.

The skinny: A combination of mineral-rich sea mud and paraffin is heated and applied, Satnarine Ricketts-Weller says. "Then, we wrap you in plastic and give you an added steam treatment." Quick weight loss is really just water loss, she adds. "You get an immediate slimming effect, not permanent. It's perfect if you want to fit into your favorite outfit for a special occasion."

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