Diet? Exercise? Viva la creme

Well this is the slimming tip that takes the cake – or should I say the cream? Yes ladies and gentleman, ‘they’ are saying that you can use a cream on your skin to lose weight now. I’d thought I’d heard it all but the French magazine, 60 Million de Consommateurs (quoted by The Week) has seemingly endorsed the use of slimming creams by quoting a study showing that slimming creams are more effective at getting you to lose weight than dummy creams or placebos.

This is what the men in white coats (admittedly men in white coats at the magazine rather than at a French hospital) did. They got 40 or so volunteers to rub cream into their thighs. (Where else? This is France you know.) Half were given a dummy cream and the other half 2 different slimming creams. After two weeks, it is alleged that the ones (‘dummies’?) using the slimming creams lost 2cm off their thigh measurements. Eureka! The wonders of ‘medical’ research leave me dumbfounded again. By all means get your partners to massage cream into your thighs but Vaseline or aqueous cream should be less expensive. However it is entirely possible that this process could lead to another activity that definitely helps you blow off some calories.

More benefits of exercise

Meanwhile back in Britain the Government was extolling the virtues of plain old exercise. The Independent reported further benefits of exercise including reduced breast and colon cancer and osteoporosis. Overall 30 minutes of exercise five times a week can reduce the risk of an early death by 30%. According to the Government however, it’s not necessary to join a gym; cycling to work can do the trick. They don’t say anything about riding through red traffic lights or treating one way signs with contempt but as a medical doctor I can tell you that these activities are not particularly helpful in staving off an early death.

From personal experience, I think getting some training in a gym is most useful. A good quality gym offers motivation and correct instruction on strengthening all groups of muscles. But by all means walk. Apparently two thirds of us are not taking enough exercise and according to a French psychiatrists this also makes us less happy! In a new book, called Healing without Freud or Prozac, Dr. Servan-Shreiber advocates exercise as a treatment for depression. The book is a bestseller in France and an English edition will be available next month. Watch out for the following bestsellers from this columnist: Help yourself to health by drinking more water; Vegetables, the mystery health foods and Think positive – for a happier day!

Homeopathic Tip of the Week: Nerves before Exams?

Getting nervous before some big exams? Homeopathy has a good reputation for treating apprehension before important events.

The following medicines can be used in a 6c strength three times a day on the following indications:

Gelsemium: For when you get all shaky, want to pass urine a lot and even may have some nervous diarrhoea.

Lycopodium: For those who get terribly nervous before the event, but inevitably do well at the time.

Argentum nitricum: For those who get trembly and nervous before and during important occasions.