Chocolate treatments and therapies appear on many spa menus. Although we love the idea of slathering ourselves in heavenly scented chocolate, it can't possibly be good for you… Can it? Yes!
Need an excuse? Three reasons why eating chocolate is good for you (honest!)
1. There's a scientific reason why chocolate improves your mood: it contains feel-good chemicals. These chemicals include serotonin, which helps boost your mood, and dopamine, also a mood regulator, which can help keep you feeling motivated.
2. A humble bar of chocolate isn't an unhealthy treat as it contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals. Milk chocolate contains vitamins B1, B2, and E, as well as minerals including potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and, of course, calcium.
3. If you prefer dark chocolate, you'll be glad to hear that a 45g bar of 70% dark chocolate contains 12% of your recommended daily allowance of iron. Around 11% of women will suffer from iron-deficiency at some point in their lives, and women of child-bearing age are especially at risk from iron-deficiency. When you have chocolate cravings, it could be your body trying to correct an imbalance.
All that, plus antioxidants, too…
What, you may ask, is an antioxidant and what benefit can it be? Well, when the cells in our body use oxygen, they produce by-products called free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage within our body, and health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Free radicals can contribute to all of these. Antioxidants can prevent or slow down the damage to our system by "mopping up" the free radicals.
The good news for chocolate fans is that cocoa beans contain antioxidants called flavonols; the antioxidant concentration in cocoa beans is twice that of red wine, two to three times that of green tea and four to five times that of black tea. So, eating chocolate may help reduce blood pressure, improve blood vessel function and improve heart health.
Flavonol levels are highest in dark chocolate, although they're also present in milk chocolate, too.
Can chocolate be good for our skin?
Yes... Antioxidants can have a dramatic anti-ageing effect and fight against free-radical damage in your skin. Cocoa butter is moisturising and nourishing for your skin which is why chocolate now plays a part in the spa experience. You'll also benefit from that mood-lifting whoosh of chocolatey smell, too.
Chocolate head to toe… start with a facial:
Karin Herzog's Co-C02 Facial/Ultimate chocolate Facial
Karin Herzog's popular anti-ageing facial combines the power of oxygen and Swiss chocolate. After your skin is cleansed, your therapist massages oil into your skin to get your lymph flowing. A heated chocolate cream face mask follows. This chocolate treat for your face is available at Ajala Spa, London, Le Kalon Spa at The Bentley, London, and Manor Grove Spa, Harringworth.
Body treatments and wraps:
A wrap is a wrap, but a chocolate wrap is extra specially luxurious. The smell of chocolate is not too potent but is just enough to make you feel warm, snug and happy. Many of these treatments feature nurturing warmed chocolate.
Your chocolate body treatment and chocolate body wrap options include:
A mouth-watering pampering for the body using 100% pure cocoa butter and essential oils, this body scrub and massage is positively delectable. The cocoa butter leaves the skin hydrated and nourished and the calcium, potassium and magnesium remineralises the skin leaving it revitalised and moisturised.
Chocolate manicures and pedicures:
As a sweet-scented finishing touch, some spas offer chocolate manicures and pedicures. The chocolate mani at Savana Urban Spa in London "starts with a warm milk soak, followed by a hot vanilla and brown sugar scrub and finally a warm cocoa butter masque for super hydration. All served up with a cup of hot cocoa." Their choccie pedicure adds a "warm cocoa butter masque for super hydration". They also have a package entitled ‘Totally Chocolate’ or offer separate chocolate facial and body scrub. Parties or groups can book a ‘Chocolate treat’ as well.
Bliss London's Double Choc Pedicure promises to be "a chocolate fete for your feet". A hot chocolate-milk, skin-smoothing soak and sugar scrub accompany your pedicure while you sip on a creamy cup of cocoa.
Easter Season Specials:
Chocolate is, of course, at its most popular over Easter. Some spas may not offer chocolate treatments all year round, but it’s worth checking with your favourite places to see if they have a special offer on for this short and indulgent time of the year.