Can you feel the heat?

New Age beauty products claim to heal the soul. What tosh.

ANY SENTENCE that begins with the phrase "for centuries" ends in a lie. For centuries people have known about the ancient Eastern forces of feng shui, chakra, reiki, chi and aromatherapy. In fact, they are at the vanguard of a horrible new female trend.

Perfectly sensible and pitiably low-paid women are buying into the New Age beauty industry. Women who still pride themselves in not believing in anti-wrinkle cream will reach for their store cards if the label on some dubious goo claims that it will heal their souls.

Until now, the most mystical the beauty industry got was Anita Roddick on all fours among some tribeswomen who were wishing this bouffant loony would leave the money on the sideboard and go home. Pharmaceutical companies are now hawking piles of cold cream by putting it into white boxes and claiming that it's good for the psyche.

Women are entering a New Age of unbearability. I accidentally turned on the TV during the hours of daylight last week and there was some failed chalet girl lecturing a single mother in a council flat on why her life would be better if she burnt some flower oils, rather than the flat itself.

Cynics may say that aromatherapy is make-believe for people who think they are above Impulse body spray, or that feng shui is lucky heather for the middle classes.

Open a feng shui book. It says throw away your junk and buy nice furniture. But corporations are spending pounds 60 an hour for consultants to tell them this. In the Seventies, our interest in well-being peaked with sauna culture, all about losing a few pounds and trying to cop a feel off a Swedish girl, if you could find one in Potters Bar. Now we have New Age spa culture: it's not your thighs that are the problem, it's your thought processes.

The latest, silliest spa therapy is reiki. Don't ask what it is. That was my mistake.

"With reiki you use the universal energy," said a London reiki practitioner. "And you concentrate on whatever is out of line," she continued.

"But what does it do?"

"We adjust the energy levels of parts of the body."

"And?"

"You feel the heat."

"What heat?"

"It's hands-on. We apply hands." So it's a rub-down. At pounds 45 an hour.

Next, I wandered into a department store, where the Lancome counter was launching an all-new product, Hydra Zen. Zen because it "de-stresses" you, and Hydra because in real life it's a moisturiser. I asked the sad-faced Lancome girl how a face-cream could be de-stressing.

"It's got a patent formula," she explained.

"Yes, but what does it do?"

"It's the ingredients - the honey, the rosemary."

"Does it actually relieve stress?"

"Yes. Hence the Zen. It's de-stressing emotionally. In an aromatherapeutic way."

I've got friends who spend a day's wages on "positive energy" enemas. I asked Amanda, a shop girl who earns pounds 14,000 a year, why she'd pay to let a total stranger take her up the wrong 'un. She looked at me as if I was mad. "I can see more clearly now," she said. "My vision improved straightaway."

Women have reverted to their natural state, buying into any crap they think will wash away their inadequacy. The New Age is sowing the seeds of a deeper insecurity - spiritual worth. Since starting my research, I've consulted my healer and I've got bad news for Mel B about her chakra: there's no such thing. Personally, if I wanted healing crystals to make me feel better I'd spend my money on cocaine.

Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL are releasing Plectrum Electrum next month

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Arts and Entertainment
John Kearns winner of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award with last years winners: Bridget Christie and Frank Skinner
comedyJohn Kearns becomes the first Free Fringe act to win the top prize
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Sue Vice
booksAcademic says we should not disregard books because they unexpectedly change genre
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Muscato performs as Michael Crawford in Stars in Their Eyes

TV
Arts and Entertainment
‘Game of Thrones’

TV
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?