LIFE DOCTOR

GONE ARE the days when complementary therapists spent most of their time trying to justify themselves scientifically. In earlier days, they wore white coats to look more serious. Or could at least prove they were part-Cherokee. Now, with a question mark over the value of "scientific" therapy anyway, we'll try anything, so long as it works.

Colour therapy fits in perfectly. It makes you feel better and can make your home look nicer too. At Lucia Angelis, an Aura-Soma colour therapy centre in Covent Garden, London, the walls are aquamarine (the new millennium colour, according to Harper's & Queen). The centre does not smell of carob bars or incense.

Colours affect us. The pros have long known it. In the Fifties, psychiatric wards were painted yellow for depressive patients, dove grey for manic ones. Fast-food joints come in energetic shades to discourage lingering. Prisons still have pink walls to quell aggression.

Trouble is, the generic approach can backfire. Surround me with pink and I develop deeply psychotic feminist feelings. Which is where Aura- Soma comes in. You choose the colour combos that do it for you and the therapist tells you what kind of loony you are.

How does one read colours? Therapist Adam James, an ex-fashion designer, says, "I'm trained in tarot reading and numerology. I can read anything." With that reassurance, we get stuck in. I sit in front of a wall of 98 different coloured bottles. Some of the bottles contain two startlingly contrasting colours (bright orange/midnight blue). Some are identical (pink and pink). Adam is already analysing me. "You say that your favourite colour isn't here. It's beautiful that you know what it is though." (I refrain from saying that I know my favourite everything. Favourite cathedral effigy? Edward the Confessor at Canterbury.)

I choose two shades of turquoise, a double purple, the deep green, and the clear bottle. The sequence is crucial. The first choice represents how you see yourself, the second current difficulties, the third your present and the final bottle your future. My life is about to go through a profound change. (Therapists always say that.) The purple is a need to refuel. (I am going on holiday.) The green is truth, integrity. "I imagine you get pretty angry at injustice." (Who'd deny that?) The turquoise suggests a new age of fluidity. (Well, I'd thought of going swimming.)

It's not rocket science, but it's awfully nice to sit and chat colours. Like talking to an interior decorator about curtains. "Canary yellow? Ooh no!" And laughing at other people's bad taste is great therapy.

There is, of course, deep meaning to every colour combination. Yet when you get down to it it's all very simple. Surround yourself with nice colours and you'll feel good.

What your favourite colour says about you (in the spirit of new therapy, I made it up):

Yellow: you are energetic, but can be too keen and annoying.

Red: you are assertive but bossy.

Green: you are caring but weedy.

Blue: you are dreamy, calm, a lover of peace - and wishy-washy.

Purple: you are passionate in anger and love, but a drama queen.

Black: you try too hard, saddo.

Pink: you are feminine, humane, mad as a snake.

White: you are ethereal, boring.

Brown: you are smelly but with a good sense of humour.

Orange: you are extrovert, but never satisfied - always waiting for that green light.

Aura-Soma, 29 Endell Street, London WC2 (tel: 0171 240 6226).

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