Animals are wrapped in furs, mummies are wrapped for eternity, butterflies are wrapped for safety in cocoons. As for women, they are wrapped in skin which is exposed all through the year to harsh climatic elements, the winds that ravage, the sun that burns.
The sauna was invented to take care of such matters. But saunas are expensive. Here is the body ritual, based on the wrap-up principle. It's all done at home. And it all starts in the relaxing bath.
Run a deep, hot tub. Add some sea salt for cleaning and some brewed linden (lime) tea for relaxation. Take with you a loofah, a nail brush, a hand mirror, a face mask (mix 1 egg yolk with a dessertspoon of honey) and two slices of cucumber.
Get into the bath and be vigorous. Scrub toenails, fingernails and get busy with the loofah on arms, back, legs, stomach - everywhere. Get thoroughly clean, take the hand mirror and put on the egg and honey mask.
The mask on, begin to relax. Lie back and place the two slices of cucumber over the eyes. This will tone the whole eye area. Stay there for ten minutes while the mask is working. Relax your whole body from the toes up. Think about the muscles loosening, one by one, right up the body. Conjure up an idyllic scene. A tropical paradise island, perhaps, a smooth, green field.
Time's up. Stand up and turn on the cold shower. Be brave, let the cold water rinse away the soap suds as it tightens up the pores. Then with cotton wool, clean away the mask with a mixture of milk and sunflower oil.
Now you have the choice of two things. The first is a vitalizing body pick-me-up to pull you into action. The second is a relaxing routine to send you off in a deep, deep sleep.
1. After the bath rub yourself dry to get the circulation churning. Sit on a towel with legs crossed and massage your whole body. Begin with toes, pinch them with your fingertips, then your legs. Now stand UP and pinch all over: hips, thighs, stomach, lower back, waist, everywhere. Now smooth your favorite body lotion all over, wrap up in towels from head to toes and lie on a good, flat surface, preferably on the floor, with your feet up.
2. For true relaxation, have the bed freshly made with clean sheets. When you get out of the bath, take three or four towels and wrap up from neck to toes. The towels absorb the water and you fall into bed under the cool sheets, bound for slumber. Hours of it.
That's the big body wrap. Now for:
Hair. Bend well down from the waist and brush the hair forward. This loosens grime on the scalp. Part hair with a blunt-toothed comb and massage warm almond oil into the scalp. Comb it through, wrap hair around the head, and around the hair wrap a sheet. Drape a hot towel over your head, and that's the best conditioning treatment you can have. Leave the hot towel on for ten minutes before washing hair as usual.
Hands cannot have enough care. For this hand wrap-up, you need a pair of cotton gloves. Soak hands in a bowl of warm olive oil for five minutes. Rinse off, coat them in a mixture of equal quantities of glycerin and lemon juice (for softness and whiteness), plus a little hand cream and put on the gloves. If possible, leave them on all night. Why not wrap up your feet the same way too? They will be like country cream in the morning.
Face can be refreshed, nourished and the circulation stimulated with a delicate wrap. Take a large sheet of cotton wool and divide it into half the thickness. Pour a little cold milk over the cotton wool, squeeze it through and wrap over your face like a huge bandage. Cold, not warm, milk is used to stimulate the circulation.
Legs feel better after wrapping, too. French girls are wearing ballerina tights, support stockings and wrapping crepe bandages around their legs when cycling or walking or playing a sport where the legs are covered. Be careful, though. The wrapping should be firm but not tight. Otherwise the circulation will be restricted.
Back, knees, ankles are all vulnerable to strain and tiredness, and sometimes ankles twist. Massage skin with lanolin cream, then wrap a piece of lambswool around the area. It doesn't look pretty, but it protects. It heals. And the lanolin in the wool will nourish the skin.