Shop until you drop…a dress size!


Cancel the gym membership, scrap the diet and forget about plastic surgery. Scientists have today announced what all women want to hear – that shopping is good for your health.

Chevrolet, a carmaker synonymous with value for money, studied the neurological and physiological reactions of female shoppers as they hunted for bargains and compared these to other experiences to chart the effect of retail therapy on the body and mind.

On spotting a ‘value for money’ item the average shopper experienced a surge in positive emotions, reflected by changes in the way their brain was working, together with an increase in heart rate and sweating, reflecting both their physical and mental excitement.

Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis at Mind Laboratories who studied the shoppers explained: “When we’re excited, neurons in the brain go into overdrive and powerful chemicals – related to amphetamines – are released into the blood that produce the feeling of a giddy high. The “buzz” people receive from value for money purchases also creates a physiological reaction that is very similar to that experienced with physical exercise: heart rates increase and blood pressures raise, which all lead to the body functioning more efficiently and healthily.”

Over nine in ten women (93 per cent)** said they got more of a thrill from a thrifty shop, preferring bagging a bargain to kissing their partner (91 per cent), getting a promotion (85 per cent) or eating chocolate (73 per cent).

Additionally, over half of women (57 per cent) said they actually felt physically healthier after a successful shop – and a further 44 per cent thought that an hour on the high street burnt off just as many calories as an hour in the gym.

Les Turton of Chevrolet comments: “People have always said retail therapy is a natural anti-depressant, but now it’s actually official. Not only does spotting a value for money purchase leave you with a smile on your face, but it physically improves your health too, which means the more you shop the more weight you could potentially drop.”

* Neuropsychological research was conducted on 8 participants over a period of one day in February 2008.

Whilst shopping, participants were linked to concealed EEG monitors (Electroencephalography), fitted with scalp sensors in a neurocap. EDR (Electrodermal Response) monitors also measured the electrical resistance of the skin through finger sensors fitted to the non-dominant hand, and heart rate monitors were worn continuously. Participants also wore glasses kitted with a video camera so that responses could be correlated to experiences during their shopping trip.

** Chevrolet used the independent online research company MyVoice who surveyed 1,000 women, from across the country aged 18 and over, on 31st February 2008.

Kick start the black dress party season with a slimming wrap

You may have slimmed down last summer, but during the dark winter months you’re seeking solace in your favourite TV armchair and warm comfort food. You’re feeling lethargic and out of shape but the thought of thrice weekly at the gym has become ‘must I really?’

Surely there’s something that can help kick-start this year’s slimming plan? The answer is Universal Contour Wrap, the nation’s leading fast inch loss and figure firming body treatment, available in more than 900 beauty salons nationwide.

One Wrap typically reduces a combination of your vital statistics by 10-12 inches, with a guarantee that if you don’t lose at least six after your first full body wrap, there’s nothing to pay. And the minimum loss is guaranteed to last for at least 30 days or you’ll be wrapped again free, provided you haven’t put on weight. A course of three body wraps could help you lose up to a dress size in just three weeks.

“The slimming effect of the Universal Contour Wrap is evident immediately and spurs people on to start or maintain effective exercise and dieting regimes,” says Universal Contour Wrap’s Gill Hardy. “Salons tend to be quieter in the early part of the year and so there are often good discounts if you book a package or course of slimming beauty therapies.”

What is involved? After recording key body measurements at 18 points, clients are ‘wrapped’ firmly in elasticated bandages soaked in a warm, sea clay and mineral solution. The wrap acts like a giant poultice, drawing out toxins and stimulating the body’s natural waste disposal processes. The wrapping process compacts the fatty areas of the body, while special sculpting techniques smooth hips, thighs and stomach, define the waist and lift the bust and bottom. The clay formula tightens flabby skin, reduces the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks, improves skin tone and leaves the skin feeling luxuriously soft. The total inch loss is calculated by re-measuring at the points marked on the body at the start.

Universal Contour Wrap costs from around £50, and a course of three from £125 (UK regional variations). Call 01784 259988 for salon locations or visit