Aromatherapy massage provides people with more than just a way to relax after a hectic week at work. By combining the healing properties of essential oils with specific massage techniques, this form of manipulation offers a range of therapeutic benefits. With more people in Hong Kong turning to holistic treatments for their ailments, courses in aromatherapy massage have become increasingly popular. 'Swedish massage is the major style employed in an aromatherapy session. Compared with the more vigorous and stimulating movements of Thai massage, aromatherapy is much more gentle,' explains Dawn Chan, executive director of Asia-Pacific Aromatherapy ( www.aromatherapyapa.com ). Asia-Pacific Aromatherapy offers a five-hour, introductory course in Cantonese and English. The course covers the basic nature of aromatherapy, its therapeutic uses, safety issues, getting to know six major essential oils and two base oils, blending of oils and massage techniques. The cost is HK$600. It also runs an internationally recognised diploma course that aims to equip students with the skills necessary to become a competent holistic aromatherapist and run a practice. The course can be completed on a part-time basis in Cantonese or on a full-time basis in English. The cost is HK$45,000. 'After getting to know a client's health history and their physical and mental health issues, an aromatherapist chooses a specific blend of essential oils to be applied during the massage treatment,' explains Kat Lai of DK Aromatherapy ( www.aroma.com.hk ). DK Aromatherapy runs workshop courses for groups of four or more. The courses comprise four, two-hour classes and cost HK$800 per person. Classes include touching in a therapeutic way, using different massage strokes and pressure points, blending essential oils to create your own aromatic massage oil and completing a 50-minute, full body massage. A holistic aromatherapy diploma course is also available for those wishing to develop a career. The course involves modules on essential oil practice, massage therapy and anatomy, and physiology. The course costs HK$39,800. 'Aromatherapy massage brings balance and harmony to our body, mind and emotions. 'When we use our healing hands to make others feel good and become healthier, it makes us feel good also,' explains Ranjeet Kour, principal at International Spa and Beauty College (ISBC, www.isbc.com.hk ). ISBC offers certificate and diploma courses in aromatherapy massage. There is a 15-hour aromatherapy massage certificate course, which costs HK$4,280 and a nine-hour oil-blending certificate course, which costs HK$1,980. Courses start at the beginning of each month and are in Cantonese and English. The aromatherapy diploma course lasts three months and costs about HK$10,000. Applicants need to have completed an anatomy, physiology and body massage diploma course (three months, HK$15,480), the aromatherapy body massage certificate course and the aromatherapy oil blending certificate course. All courses are internationally accredited.