JUST WHEN YOU think you've heard of all the indulgent ways to spend money on finding tranquility or inner peace in Hong Kong, along comes another one. Colour therapy - and it has nothing to do with the shade of your clothing - is one of the latest in a seemingly never-ending stream of healing treatments. Among the various types of colour therapy is the British Aura-soma system, which uses coloured essential oils, and is offered by several local therapists, including Ming Oi-go. 'I've been doing it for about three years now,' says Ming, who's based in Central and charges $520 for a 75-minute session (which includes one free bottle of oil that sells for $250). 'I see between three and five clients a week. I find it quite good for relieving old problems.' Then, there's colourpuncture, which uses coloured crystals and is offered by therapist and teacher Keven Duff, among others, who charges $500 for a one-hour session. The crystals are applied to points of the body where an acupuncturist would insert a needle. Each colour is said to have a different effect. Hong Kong mother Beverly Lucas, who says she's open to New Age therapies, is a fan of colour-puncture. 'I'd recommend it,' she says. 'She attaches different coloured crystals to what looks like a torch, and they light up. She lightly presses them to the body's meridians to unblock your chakras [energy points].' Lucas tried the therapy in the hope of overcoming some emotional concerns and her tendency to snack. 'I'd quit smoking and I was nibbling on food a lot more,' she says. 'After the therapy I couldn't even be bothered dragging myself to the kitchen to eat.' The first session helped her not to snack for a few days. The effects of a second session lasted longer. 'I'd do it again,' she says. 'I just wish they could make the results permanent. But even if something doesn't work for you, you're not wasting your time trying it, because it may lead to something else.' The Aura-soma system entails clients being asked to choose four from a range of more than 100 bottles of coloured oil. Based on their choice, the therapist supposedly can infer what they need, and whether it's physical or emotional. 'The colour is usually what attracts them,' Ming says. 'Based on the bottles they choose, I can see what's in their subconscious mind. Then I can tell them what they need and what they can do. After that, they take the bottles home and use them on their body twice a day. 'Every colour has a different vibration,' Ming says. 'And these vibrations work on different parts of the body.' For example, yellow is often used for someone who's depressed or nervous. Red is best for those with lower back pain. The Aura-soma system uses 105 bi-coloured bottles, according to practitioner Louise Pang Hin-sze, who says it's a form of aromatherapy. 'Red can mean energetic or danger,' Pang says. 'So, I read the bottles according to their choice and the colour combination. It can show what characteristics you carry and what situation you're in. 'Yellow usually means confusion, but it depends on the person. It can also mean happiness. And sometimes it means knowledge. It depends on the combination they choose.' What do clients think? 'Usually, we ask them to put the oil on their body, and they say they feel good, but that not much changes,' Pang says. 'But they have to be patient. When I got into it, I finished eight bottles and suddenly had a dramatic change.' Pang says the system eventually enabled her to release pent-up emotions. 'I wasn't connected to my emotions before,' she says. 'Up to my 29th birthday, I couldn't cry. The only time I could was at a movie. The practitioner looked at my bottles and said, 'You need to cry'. I said I don't know how. 'I finished the four bottles and picked four more. Then, after I finished the next four, I couldn't stop crying. It was good. I could feel and release my emotions.' Training in the Aura-soma system is conducted by a visiting teacher from Britain, and Pang, who charges $500 for a one-hour session, says she believes it will become increasingly popular. 'Not a lot of people know about it,' she says. 'It's a very mild, gentle way to heal.' Many spas now also offer some form of colour therapy, sometimes while the client is immersed in a bath or in a darkened room. But not everyone is convinced. 'I don't buy it,' says Caroline Lee, a beauty therapist operating in Causeway Bay. 'I think it's one of those things that, if you want to believe in it, then it works. It wouldn't be something I'd use in my salon.'