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chocotherapy

noun [uncountable]

a health treatment in which a cocoa-based cream is rubbed all over the body in order to cleanse the skin

chocotherapist

noun [countable]

'Lavinia lies before us, naked but for a liberal smearing of chocolate. She looks a little like Shirley Eaton as the golden corpse in Goldfinger, only browner and almost edible. This is not a scene from a fetish movie. This is a treatment room in Kensington, west London, and we are watching chocotherapy, in which a gooey mousse is smoothed all over the body …'

'… Once our volunteer has stripped off, she is offered a piece of chocolate to eat. It's a tough call, but it's only polite to accept. "We want to treat the inside as well," says the chocotherapist, referring to an "internal natural boost of essential minerals and vitamins".'

The Telegraph 4th March 2006

the 'delicious' concept of chocotherapy has spawned a derived noun chocotherapist

With the Christmas holidays almost here, many of us will be indulging in our favourite treats: roast turkey, Christmas pudding, mince pies, all washed down with plenty of wine, and topped off with coffee and chocolates. And more chocolates. Chocolate coins. Chocolate Santas. Chocolate tree decorations. And 'fancy a chocolate?'. If you love to eat chocolate, but dread the consequences – i.e. you finish the holiday considerably heavier than you started it – chocotherapy could be just the answer.

The 'delicious' concept of chocotherapy has spawned a derived noun chocotherapist, though there is as yet no substantial evidence for a related adjective chocotherapeutic.

Background – chocotherapy

The concept of chocotherapy is promoted in the UK by 'skinfood' company ISHI, who market what they describe as 'luxurious gourmet' skin treatments. Another treatment that the company specialises in is vinotherapy (sometimes called wine therapy), which involves being massaged with the seeds, skins and stalks of organically-grown grapes – also thought to be rich in antioxidants.

Chocotherapy and vinotherapy are two recent additions to an explosion of different kinds of 'therapies' which people can indulge in in the noughties. Others include apitherapy, the use of bee venom and bee products for healing and therapeutic purposes (from the Latin apis, meaning 'bee'), fangotherapy, based on mud products (from the Italian word fango, meaning 'mud') and algotherapy, a treatment involving a warm seaweed paste.

Somehow chocotherapy and vinotherapy seem much more appealing – so here's to a choccy and a glass or two.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 14th December 2006.

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