Massage: Aromatherapy Time: 90 minutes Location: Frederique, Central Price: $490 Phone: 522-3054 AROMATHERAPY involves the use of carefully selected essential oils, tailored to individual client's needs. The best and most effective way to include aromatherapy oils in a treatment is with massage. The process does not mean a rigorous and stimulating combination of pressing and kneading but rather a gentle and rhythmic routine to relax the body. The ambience at Frederique is conducive to this winding down process, candles are lit and special tapes are played as the massage is carried out. This is important as the oils will only be absorbed for seven to 10 minutes and will not be effective if applied when the body is perspiring through anxiety, heat or after exercise. The salon uses its own range of essential oils extracted from herbs and flowers, but because of their high concentration they have to be diluted with a carrier oil. Oils are selected for their desired effects on individual clients, either relaxing, detoxifying or stimulating. When the whole body is treated, the sequence starts at the legs, moves on to the spine, back of the head and neck, face, upper chest and then abdomen. Aromatherapy is not a new technique, the massage treatment with essential oils dates back to ancient China and Tibet. Each essential oil has a unique character. Lavender oil is good for burns and irritation, ylang ylang works well for oily skin and geranium is calming and anti-inflammatory. Massage: Exfoliating and massage for body Time: 90 minutes Location: L'institut de Beaute Guerlain, Central Price: $580 Phone: 869-1552 THIS would be considered by many to be an expensive massage and those who think so would be right. Most of your money is being spent for the privilege of being pampered in one of the most luxurious salons in the territory. The boutique, as it likes to call itself, showcases the Guerlain product range, but features a salon which focuses on skin care. Comprised of four private cabins, and an exclusive VIP suite, the salon is staffed by experienced beauticians, who have undertaken extensive training in Paris. This massage is the latest treatment on offer at the salon and is designed to clear the skin of impurities, smooth rough edges, and tone and relax the body. It starts with a beautician placing exfoliating scrub on the feet, elbows, hands and back, and working it in to remove the dead skin. This is followed by a shower where you can indulge in some of Guerlain's wonderful body shampoos. Once back in your cubicle the massage begins. Instead of using massage oil Guerlain's Issima body serum is spread over your body. Especially adapted for the body's special needs, the body serum helps the skin fight ageing. A long-lasting moisturiser with toning, anti-ageing and protective properties, it is absorbed rapidly, leaving the skin soft and supple. Massage: Reflexology Time: 60 minutes Location: Mandarin Hotel Beauty Salon Price: $400 Phone: 522-0111 DESPITE this massage relying entirely on the feet to ensure relaxation, it works wonders. Reflexology has to be one of the most stimulating massages available. This ancient Chinese art works on the basis that the body is divided into 10 zones running from head to toe and head to finger. By applying pressure to points on the feet and hands, pain can be relieved throughout the body. With reflexology each point on the foot relates to a part of the body within the corresponding zone, and by applying pressure to them the therapist is able to detect areas which may be in need of attention. The therapist at the Mandarin is Nicola Marshall who qualified at the British School of Reflexology in 1989. She is fully aware of the problems caused by stress and much of her work has been dealing with stress management, helping to relieve such conditions as back and neck tension, migraines and digestive problems. But be warned, if your body is in bad shape it will be reflected through your feet. A sharp pain will not only alert you but also Ms Marshall to the problem. A diagnosis will be made and work will start to relieve the problem. Massage: Slimming and anti-cellulite Time: 60 minutes Location: Koukla, 3/F 41 D'Aguilar Street Price: $300 Phone: 530-2695 THIS is not a relaxing massage, in fact at times it is positively painful. But if reducing cellulite is one of your ambitions, this is the massage for you. Koukla is a new venture set up by Kate Phillips, formally of Clarins and Beaute Parzai, which specialises in slimming treatments. If you are looking for plush surroundings you will not find it here. Koukla consists of two compartments partitioned by curtains and baby oil is used instead of exotic brands. What you will find, however, is a treatment carried out by an experienced therapist at a completely uninflated price in a clean environment. And this is a treatment, designed specially for women, which works. Ms Phillips combines the use of a G5 machine, which helps stimulate circulation, with a hand massage. The idea behind the treatment is to work on lymphatic circulation as opposed to blood circulation. As a result of the massage the body is cleansed of toxic waste products and uneven fat deposits, including cellulite. This massage is not exclusively for the overweight person - many may have a small torso yet have big hips and thighs. These are both areas that can be worked on. This treatment is also good for women who have recently had children and want to get back into shape. A maximum of eight treatments are required for positive results but you could get away with only three if your build up of cellulite is not extensive. This is not a superficial massage, it does everything it promises, and it can even be relaxing once you get used to it. Massage: Swedish body massage Time: 60 minutes Location: The Beautiful Skin Care Centre, Shop 344, Level 3, Pacific Place Price: $380 Phone: 877-8911 SWEDISH massage concentrates on the soft-tissue of the body and therefore is designed not to be too rigorous but deeply relaxing. The massage involves several different types of movement - stroking known as effleurage, kneading, hacking and cupping. A deeper massage using the thumbs can also be incorporated, although this is rare. The main aspect of a Swedish massage is the stroking movement - it is gentle and slow, and the hands move in an upward direction. The more pressure placed the greater effect on the blood circulation and muscular tissue. The lighter it is the more relaxing it is. The Beautiful Skin Care Centre provides an ideal environment for relaxing. The cubicles are not boxlike as with many other salons. During the massage the lights are dimmed, soothing music is played and essential oils are burned. The massage starts on your back with the therapist's thumbs passing over the spine. Then the hands move outwards, over the shoulders, and move lightly down the sides of the back. From there it is on to the legs and the feet before turning over to do yourfront. Kneading is another part of this massage which involves the therapist using a squeezing and rolling movement. The kneading aspect is ideal for aching muscles, aching calves and aching back. At the Beautiful Skin Care Centre the client has a choice of oil, cream or talc for the massage but if you are looking for relaxation I would opt for the salon's own essential oils. A truly wonderful massage in a pleasant environment. Massage: Traditional Thai Time: 60-90 minutes Location: At home Price: $150 Phone: 592-9465 - ask for Supar THIS diminutive Thai woman has the strength of two men - and kneads the body in a way that proves it. She works on Saturdays only, and comes to your home or office - wherever there is some privacy and enough floor space. Lay out your towels, bring out the massage lotion of your choice (she has only some strong-smelling medicated stuff) and let her work her magic. Beginning at the feet, Supar pushes certain pressure points to help alleviate stress and works her way up to the knees and legs, kneading firmly as she goes. There is nothing gentle or namby-pamby about this: as she massages your back, you can feel the weight of her body on you but it is only once she begins manipulating the back of your neck that a feeling of blissful relaxation sets in. But that is sadly short-lived. Before long, Supar has you sitting upright, yanking your torso upwards and then forwards, and twisting almost every muscle in your body. This Thai massage is as pleasurable as it is jarring - but the after-effects - a feeling of deep relaxation and the knowledge that your muscles have just been given a serious workout - are worth it.