DOORSTEP AEROBICS: If you're consumed with guilt by over-indulgence of home-delivered pizza, why not dial-a-gym? American companies like Fitness To Go in Alabama and Fitness On The Move in Florida are now being aped over here. Joanna Berry at the National Register of Personal Trainers says some of her members now make house calls; but don't expect vanloads of equipment - "some might haul exercise bikes and weights around, but you can get equally good results with a couple of rolling pins". The NRPT can put you in touch with your nearest low-tech mobile trainer if you call 0181-944 6688.

BEANS MEANS BREASTS: The humble soya bean has been put to many uses, but its latest application may be the most remarkable yet: its oil is being explored as an alternative to silicone for breast implants. Tests have been encouraging, according to the National Hospital of Aesthetic Surgery: "The oil is biodegradeable, so if there's a problem with migration, it's absorbed naturally into the body."

EAU DEAR: Q: When is a bottle of water not a bottle of water? A: When it's a fashion accessory. Supermodels have been known to sport Volvic or Evian on the catwalk, but the new H2O to be seen with is Donna Karan's DKNY Water, pounds 1.50 per 500mls, and bottled in California, but only available from the DKNY shop in London's Bond St. A homegrown "holy water" is Glastonbury Pure Water, chock full of ley lines and a bargain at 70p a litre, from Wild Oats, 210 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RH (0171-229 1063).

TROUBLE IN STORE: Just to prove there's now a pill for every dysfunction, the University of Iowa College of Medicine has developed fluvoxamine, a drug designed to "cure" shopaholics. According to the university's Dr Donald Black, those who've tried the drug found their carrier-bag count dropped considerably: "They showed a decreased preoccupation with shopping, their home lives improved, and they were beginning to pay off their bills." There was just one snag: "As soon as they came off the drug, they made a beeline back to the malls."

CLUBBING TOGETHER: Golf may not be such an easy activity after all - according to a recent survey, the average person burns off 500 calories while playing and walking an 18-hole golf course. Two further tips: dispense with a caddy (carrying your own bag can see off another 100 calories), and increase your handicap (the worse you play, the more you'll burn).

FLAKE TREATMENT OF THE WEEK: REIKI It's pronounced "rakey" and it's a healing technique, invented by a Japanese sage named Sui around 100 years ago. Health and beauty nightmares - bad skin, sluggishness etc - are banished by "cleansing the soul". Reiki practitioners pay up to pounds 7,500 to learn the art at the feet of acknowledged "masters". The treatment works by placing invisible "symbols" on different parts of clients' (fully- clothed) bodies; these symbols are regarded as sacred and never disclosed. Toxins, negative ions and mean streaks then, theoretically, come flooding out. The treatment is sometimes followed by a therapy course in which dozens of crystals are arranged on the body to absorb any excess negativity still lurking. For more details, contact the Reiki Association, Cornbrook Bridge House, Clee Hill, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 3QQ (01584 890284).

TOVA! TOVA! TOVA!: The worlds of Hollywood, New Age and home-shopping have spookily combined thanks to Tova Borgnine, wife of the veteran actor Ernest. Her Tova Corporation flogs vast quantities of life-enhancing beauty products from her Body-Mind-Spirit Salon in Beverly Hills on the cable channel QVC: Tova's appearances have pushed takings to $10,000 (pounds 6,700) per minute of air-time. Now Tova is livening up QVC UK with regular slots, hoping to bowl over Brits with oils and unguents containing her miracle ingredient: cactine - "an ancient Aztec blend derived from the roots of four cacti". She pumps it into everything from hair volumiser ("turn a head of hair into a glorious mane!") to liquid talc ("has been known to reduce body temperature by up to 20 degrees!"). If you've yet to succumb to cable, but are itching to try the cactine miracle for yourself, the Tova Corporation is at 192 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210, or call 00-1-800 852 9999.

CONTRAPTION OF THE WEEK: The Wholistic Research Company is proud to stock a particularly large and springy family-sized bouncer. Bouncing on a trampoline, explains the brochure, provides a rhythmic, simultaneous stimulation of every body cell at once, as well as strengthening bones, improving eyesight, and improving learning ability and emotional stability in children. In fact (here it quotes research by NASA), boinging on a bouncer is in fact the most efficient form of exercise known to man. The family bouncer is easy to put together; its six legs attach firmly to its body, padded in a tasteful green. It's very sturdy; it feels as though even a hefty man could get plenty of sproinging out of it. It doesn't come with an instruction booklet, but there's not an awful lot you can do on a bouncer except bounce. Exercising like a manic Zebedee is quite fun, if a bit monotonous. The neighbours may be alarmed as different members of the family keep bobbing up and down over the garden wall.

Family-sized bouncer pounds 77.95, plus pounds 12 postage. Wholistic Research Company, Bright Haven, Robin's Lance, Lolworth, Cambridge CB3 8HH (01954 781074).

Comments