Cherie's touching faith in holistic massage therapy

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Indy Lifestyle Online

What a toe-curling notion: Tony in his boxers and socks tenderly massaging the lovely Cherie in her drawers, the pair bathed in candlelight. Yikes! Let's not go there. But the image may have been on some people's minds yesterday when the Prime Minister's wife opened the Bharti Vyas Holistic Therapy Training Centre in London, which, among other things, offers courses on massage techniques for couples.

"People don't touch each other enough," said Bharti Vyas, 57, a self-styled holistic and beauty guru, who gave Mrs Blair an eye-watering bear hug and double-sided kiss on arrival. Cherie Blair is believed to have been going to Mrs Vyas' for treatment for 10 years. The therapist, whose clients include Cher, Mariah Carey and Ralph Fiennes, is seen as being responsible for the acupuncture pin in Mrs Blair's ear revealed by a gust of wind at the Labour Party conference. It caused many a sceptical eyebrow to rise in the medical profession.

The pin was not in evidence yesterday. Nor was the £239 bioelectric pendant Mrs Blair wears to protect her from negative vibes. That job was being done by a tight-lipped, grey-haired woman who said "no questions" when The Independent attempted to speak to the guest of honour.

Mrs Blair chatted to her fellow client Britt Ekland, 59, who wore leopard-skin print trousers and an enormously plump – presumably enlarged – top lip. "It's strange having a baby again, I can tell you," Mrs Blair told her.

While the QC preferred to keep her own lip buttoned about what treatments she has, Ms Ekland was more forthcoming. "It's easier to say what I haven't had. I've had everything from acupuncture to homoeopathy. Whatever there is, I've done it," she said.

"I had to laugh when I saw Cherie Blair with that pendant because I've got the same thing. I can only recharge mine when I go to Los Angeles. She might have a European version that needs less recharging." Ms Ekland also confessed to undergoing Mrs Vyas' lymphatic drainage therapy, which Mrs Blair is said to have tried. It is used to combat heavy legs, puffy ankles and cellulite, and involves wearing "Flowtron trousers", which resemble inflated wetsuit bottoms. Whatever treatments Mrs Blair has been forking out for (a "harmonising facial" costs £120), they appear to be working – she looked in much better nick than her therapist. Even Lady Helen Taylor, 37, another celebrity client who has tried reflexology and bizarre trousers, gasped: "She does look very, very radiant for a mother of four. It's amazing."

Mrs Blair opened the centre wishing "both the teachers and students a very successful outcome". But for Mrs Vyas, such noble presence – and its invaluable publicity – was all too much. "I wish my mother had been here, she would have been proud of me," she sobbed.

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