In colour there is life. To understand this power,
Colour could very well be the most magnificent experience we take for
granted. Look around; it's everywhere, surrounding and embracing us.
We interpret life as much through colour as we do shape, texture and
The truth is, the power of colour is the very essence of life.
Our most important energy source is light, and the entire spectrum of
colours is derived from light. Sunlight, which contains all the wavelengths,
consists of the entire electromagnetic spectrum that we depend on to
exist on this planet.
Light flows through our eyes and triggers hormone production, which influences
our entire complex biochemical system. This biochemical system then affects
our being. And light does not travel alone. Light travels with other
energies as shown below.
We know that each colour found in the visible light spectrum has its
own wavelength and its own frequency, which produces a specific energy
and has a nutritive effect. We know some rays can be dangerous if we
are exposed to them. But the visible light, the rainbow, has a soothing
effect on us.
Light is the only energy we can see, and we see it in the form of colour.
Our body absorbs colour energy through the vibration colour gives off.
All organs, body systems, and functions are connected to main energy
Through colour we receive all the energies we need to maintain a health
body, mind, and soul. The National Institute of Mental Health has done
studies showing that our mental health, behaviour, and general efficiency
in life depends to a great extent on normal colour balance. When something
goes wrong, or is out of balance, we can strengthen our energy centres
through the conscious use of colour.
Light consists of the seven colour energies: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green,
Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Each colour is connected to various areas of
our body and will affect us differently emotionally, physically, and
mentally. By learning how each colour influences us, we can effectively
use colour to give us an extra boost of energy when we need it.
If you wake up in the morning with little energy, or you need to prepare
for a business meeting, this is where the power of colours can help.
All you have to do is reflect on the type of day you have planned; choose
the colour that will help you meet the demands of the day; and then absorb
that particular colour. It's like fuelling your system with the right
kind of gas!
BRIEF HISTORY OF COLOR AND LIGHT THERAPY
Healing by means of color and light was the first type of therapy used
by man. The sun's rays kept him warm, the colors of the flora fed him
and accounted for his mood. The Egyptian Pharaohs and the Inca Indians
worshipped the Sun as God and used plants as medicinal herbs.
In 6th century BC, Orpheus, the founder of the first metaphysical mystery
school in Greece utilized vibrational medicine of color and light as
a means of healing and spiritual awareness. Both Pythagorus and Plato
were strongly influenced by his teachings.
In 125 AD - the ancient scientist, Apuleius experimented with a flickering
light stimulus used to reveal epilepsy.
In 200 AD - Ptolemy observed patterns of color rays coming from the
sun into the eyes produced a feeling of euphoria.
In the 17th century - French psychologist Pierre Janet used flickering
lights to reduce hysteria for hospital patients.
1876 - Augustus Pleasanton used blue light to stimulate the glandular
system. In this same year, Seth Pancoast utilized red light to stimulate
the nervous system.
1878 - Dr. Edwin Babbitt used variant colors to produce healing of internal
1908 - Aura Soma developed in England used colors to heal physical and
emotional symptoms and promote psychological change.
1926 - C.G. Sander specified that application of particular colors was
necessary for normal health.
1930 - The Father of Spectro-Chrome Metry, Dinshah P. Ghadiali compiled
an encyclopedia of treatment with the use of color and light for over
400 various health related disorders.
1941 - Dr. Harry Riley Spitler formulated "The Syntonic Principle" stating
that light by way of the eyes balances the autonomic nervous system.
1943 - Dr. Max Lucher developed psychological color testing to reveal
information hidden in the subconscious mind which is still used today.
1980 - Dr. Thomas Budzynski - used phototherapy to accelerate learning.
1991 - Dr. Harrah Conforth applied color and light to facilitate whole
brain synchronization and Dr. Robert Cosgrove utilized colored light
for sedative properties prior to , during and immediately following surgery.
That color affects us all is an undoubted fact. Its significance has been investigated
and the results utilized in merchandizing, selling, home decorating, the
workplace environment, industry, plant growth, nutrition, physics, physiology,
psychology, ecclesiasticism and art. In fact, color is so much a part of
our lives that we tend to take it for granted.
Physical healing is encouraged by directing colored light towards diseased
areas of the body or to the eyes. In conventional medical treatment,
phototherapy and photochemotherapy are used in current dermatological
practice e.g. in the treatment of psoriasis, and blue light has been
shown to be effective in the treatment of hyperbiliruminemia in the newborn.
There is a wealth of evidence to support the psychological effects of
color and Dr Max Luscher's The Luscher Color Test contains ample evidence
of this (be advised that many of the references in this book are in German).
In conventional medical practice, the use of blue light in the treatment of
hyperbilirubinemia has been proven by many researchers including Vreman et
al with their study "Light-emitting diodes: a novel light source for
phototherapy". Creamer and McGregor of St John's Institute of Dermatology,
London. UK published a paper in January 1998 entitled "Photo (chemo)
therapy: advances for systemic or cutaneous disease", exploring the
value of light as a treatment. Griffiths of the University of Manchester,
UK, in July 1998, published a paper on "Novel therapeutic approaches
to psoriasis" and in October 1998, The Archives of General Psychiatry
ran four articles on light therapy. Regrettably, where treatment of a broader
spectrum of disorders is concerned, the evidence is largely anecdotal.
Research in the agricultural field lends support to the potential for color
as a therapy in humans as the following examples show:
1. In 1997 researchers at the School of Agriculture and Forest Science
at the University of Wales, UK used red and blue light to establish whether
these would increase activity and reduce locomotion disorders in meat
chickens. They showed that in 108 chicks walking, standing, aggression
and wing stretching all increased in intensity when reared from day 1-35
in red light. Where blue light was used, there was a high incidence of
gait abnormalities. Prayitno DS., Phillips CJ and Stokes DK. 1997. The
effects of color and intensity of light on behaviour and leg disorders
in broiler chickens. Poultry Science 76(12): 1674-81.
2. Michael Kasperbauer, a researcher at the US Agricultural Research
Service Center in Florence, South Carolina, showed that using red plastic
sheeting under tomato and cotton plants produced a 15-20% higher yield
than plants grown over traditional black or clear plastic. Also turnips
grown under blue plastic had an improved flavour when compared with those
grown under green sheets. Analysis of those grown under the blue plastic
revealed that they had higher concentrations of glucocinolates and vitamin
C (glucosinolates being the compounds which give turnips and horseradish
their traditional "bite"). Kasperbauer and his team have also
investigated the link between color and pest control. Michael Orzolek
of Pennsylvania State University proved that aphids and the plant viruses
they transmit are generally attracted to yellow and repelled by red and
blue. This finding echoes the work of Babbitt a century earlier when
he wrote "The electrical colors which are transmitted by blue glass
often destroy the insects which feed upon plants." Boyce N. Rainbow
Growing. New Scientist. 24 October 1998.
Future research could focus on the clinical efficacy of color therapy
and, the neurobiological mechanism of action. Extensive anecdotal evidence
of the value of color therapy in the treatment of countless physical
disorders over many decades deserves to be revisited. However, this evidence
needs to be subjected to rigorous scientific research in order to establish
(or otherwise) a sound basis for color therapy. Developing instruments
for applying color could provide a commercial incentive for clinical
A major resource for researchers is the Faber Birren Collection Of Books on
Color which was presented to Yale University in 1971. Faber Birren (1900-1988)
was a leading authority on color and the collection's holdings are the most
extensive to be found anywhere. A complete online bibliography can be found
at the Yale University Library website.
from the chapter on Color Therapy by Therese M Donnelly in the Clinician's
Complete Reference to Complementary & Alternative Medicine by Donald W
Novey MD, published by Mosby, 2000.
The practical application of a specific colour for a bodily condition
requires common sense and experimentation. Generally, dis-harmony that
produces a cold, wet condition requires red. Conditions of a hot, thermal
nature require blue to calm and effect a stabilization of the subtle
body in question. Therefore, contra-indicated to any red condition is
the use of a red colour application such as with sunstroke. The use of
red will aggravate the problem. The same is true of any blue condition;
ie, contra-indicated for colds or pneumonia is the use of cold blue.
Some color therapists believe colours contain energy vibrations with healing
properties. Exposure to a color and its vibrations can be used to assist the
body's natural healing and recuperative powers to achieve and maintain health
The are seven natural colours in the visible light spectrum (rainbow): red,
orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Each color vibrates at its
own individual frequency. In Color Therapy each color corresponds to one of
the seven chakras (energy centres in the body), which in turn can influence
a specific gland, organ, or tissue of the body. for example, the color red,
which corresponds to the root or base chakra, can be used for problems with
the adrenal glands, kidneys, and bladder. The color rays may be in the visible
or invisible spectrum and can be administered through colored lights or applied
mentally through suggestion.
Red is called "The Great Energizer" and "The
Father of Vitality." Red is warm, vital, heating. It loosens,
opens up clogs, releases stiffness and constrictions. It is excellent
for areas that have become stiffened or constricted.
RED is the first visible colour we see after the infra-red band
is passed. Red is thermal, heating, warming, yang and positive.
It has many tendencies including the promotion of cellular growth
and activity, stimulating the Will aspect, corresponding to our
life force, or the circulatory system. It is therefore indicated
for all colds, sluggish or dormant conditions, such as pneumonia,
bursitis, paralysis, arthritis, anaemia, as a liver stimulant,
an energy builder, for raising the blood pressure and increasing
Red is called "The Great Energizer" and "The Father of
Vitality." Red is warm, vital, heating. It loosens, opens up clogs,
releases stiffness and constrictions. It is excellent for areas that
have become stiffened or constricted.
Red links with and stimulates the root chakra, at the base of
the spine, causing the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This
results in greater strength. Red causes hemoglobin to multiply,
thus increasing energy and raising body temperature. It is excellent
for anemia and blood-related conditions.
RED VITALITY, COURAGE, SELF CONFIDENCE
Use when you need to meet a demanding day, or when you feel drained of
energy. The colour red provides the power from the earth and gives
energy on all levels. It connects us to our physical body. Everything
that is to be commenced needs the life vitality of red.
Orange in the true color of
the sun. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind,
Because orange is a blend of
red and yellow, it combines physical energy with mental wisdom,
inducing a transformation between lower physical reaction and
higher mental response. Thus, it is often referred to as "The
Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting.
Through orange, we are able to heal the physical body (red) and,
at the same time, induce within the mind (yellow) greater understanding
on how the body may be kept in good repair. Orange helps assimilate
new ideas and stimulate mental enlightenment. It is also helpful
in dealing with excess sexual expression.
Orange in the true color of
the sun. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind,
Because orange is a blend of red and yellow, it combines physical energy
with mental wisdom, inducing a transformation between lower physical
reaction and higher mental response. Thus, it is often referred to as "The
ORANGE - joy and constructivity - animates like red, although different
cures are effected by this ray. Included are inflammation of the kidneys,
gallstones, prolapses, menstrual cramps, epilepsy, wet cough and all
Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting. Through orange, we are able
to heal the physical body (red) and, at the same time, induce within
the mind (yellow) greater understanding on how the body may be kept in
good repair. Orange helps assimilate new ideas and stimulate mental enlightenment.
It is also helpful in dealing with excess sexual expression.
ORANGE HAPPINESS, CONFIDENCE, RESOURCEFULNESS
Brings joy to our workday and strengthens our appetite for life! Orange
is the best emotional stimulant. It connects us to our senses and helps
to remove inhibitions and makes us independent and social.
Yellow helps strengthen the
nerves and the mind. It helps awaken mental inspiration and stimulates
higher mentality. Thus, it is an excellent color for nervous
or nerve-related conditions or ailments.
Yellow links with and stimulates
the solar plexus, or psychic center. It can be used for psychic
burnout or other psychic-related conditions or ailments.
Yellow can be used for conditions
of the stomach, liver, and intestines. It helps the pores of
the skin and aids scarred tissue in healing itself. It also has
a very enriching effect upon the intellect and the brain.
YELLOW is stimulating to the
nervous system and the intellect. These rays have an alkalizing
effect which strengthens the nerves, and are awakening, inspiring
and vitally stimulating to the higher mind or manas, aiding self-control.
Typical diseases treated by yellow are constipation, gas, liver
troubles, diabetes, eczema and skin troubles, leprosy and nervous
YELLOW helps strengthen the nerves and the mind. It helps awaken mental
inspiration and stimulates higher mentality. Thus, it is an excellent
color for nervous or nerve-related conditions or ailments.
Yellow links with and stimulates the solar plexus, or psychic center.
It can be used for psychic burnout or other psychic-related conditions
Yellow can be used for conditions of the stomach, liver, and intestines.
It helps the pores of the skin and aids scarred tissue in healing itself.
It also has a very enriching effect upon the intellect and the brain.
Like the color of gold, yellow represents the highest of the physical
colors. "Worth its weight in gold" applies to yellow.
YELLOW WISDOM, CLARITY, SELF-ESTEEM
Gives us clarity of thought, increases awareness, and stimulates interest
and curiosity. Yellow energy is related to the ability to perceive and
understand. The yellow energy connects us to our mental self.
Most people associate blue with healing. However, green is the universal
healing color. The ancient Egyptians and Chinese used green as the
primary color of healing. Why is that? Because green is midway in the
color spectrum; therefore, it contains both a physical nature and a
spiritual nature, in equal balance and in equal harmony. Thus, green
can be used for just about any condition in need of healing. When in
doubt, green will always work.
Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It is balance and
harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both
mind and body. It is neither relaxing nor astringent in its impact.
In a more practical sense, green affects blood pressure and all conditions
of the heart. It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing
GREEN BALANCE, LOVE, SELF CONTROL
GREEN is the colour of balance, harmony, nature, neutrality and of non-resistance.
It was the colour of the first system from which we evolved and remains
with us to this day as the calming, peaceful green of spring and nature.
Green corresponds to the heart center on the physical plane and heals
many illnesses of this nature, specifically including heart troubles,
decreasing and stabilizing blood-pressure, ulcers, cancer, headaches,
nervous disorders and influenza, and acts as a general tonic.
Helps relax muscles, nerves, and thoughts. Cleanses and balances our
energy, to give a feeling of renewal, peace and harmony. Green connects
us to unconditional love and is used for balancing our whole being.
Green is the color of Nature and the earth.
It is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing
influence upon both mind and body. It is neither relaxing nor
astringent in its impact.
In a more practical sense,
green affects blood pressure and all conditions of the heart.
It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing
Dr. Edwin Babbitt, in his classic, "The
Principles of Light and Color," states that "The Blue Ray is
one of the greatest antiseptics in the world."
Blue is cooling, electric,
astringent. It helps bleeding, decreases fevers, and cures soar
throats. Blue can have a sedative effect, as expressed in the
remark of "feeling blue." It is a very positive color, indicating
loyalty and reliability, as expressed in the sentiment of being "true
BLUE, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the visible spectrum
and is electric, cooling, yin and negative. Dr Babbitt has called blue
one of the greatest antiseptics in the world. Blue light will stop
bleeding of the lungs, decrease fevers, cure sore throats, give relief
to most inflammations of the skin and gums, and can be used with infants
for pain while teething. Blue is also used for goitre, measles, chickenpox,
cuts, bruises and burns. Relaxing, soothing blue rays will also bring
great calm and peace to the mind that is worried, excited, or in a
constant nervous state. More diseases are treated by blue light than
by any other colour, which is not surprising considering that cosmic
fire in our system is clear cold blue.
Dr. Edwin Babbitt, in his classic, "The Principles of Light and
Color," states that "The Blue Ray is one of the greatest antiseptics
in the world."
Blue is cooling, electric, astringent. It helps bleeding, decreases
fevers, and cures soar throats. Blue can have a sedative effect,
as expressed in the remark of "feeling blue." It is a
very positive color, indicating loyalty and reliability, as expressed
in the sentiment of being "true blue."
Blue links with and stimulates the throat chakra. The throat chakra
is often referenced as the "power center" and "the
greatest center in the body" because it is the primary center
of expression and communication, through speech. Thus, the effect
of blue upon this center and the aura, in general, is quite profound.
Blue can be used for any type of ailments associated with speech,
communication, or the throat. Solarized blue water is an excellent
tonic for laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx.
BLUE KNOWLEDGE, HEALTH, DECISIVENESS
This is a mentally-relaxing colour. Blue has a pacifying effect on the
nervous system and brings great relaxation. Ideal for sleep problems,
and hyper-active children. Connects us to holistic thought, and gives
us wisdom and clarity enhancing communication and speech.
Blue can be used for any type
of ailments associated with speech, communication, or the throat.
Solarized blue water is an excellent tonic for laryngitis or
inflammation of the larynx.
Indigo is a great purifier of
the bloodstream and also benefits mental problems. It is a freeing
and purifying agent.
Indigo combines the deep blue
of devotion with a trace of stabilizing and objective red. Indigo
is cool, electric, and astringent. It is, also, the color ray
used by Spirit to help entrance a medium.
Indigo is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also benefits mental
problems. It is a freeing and purifying agent.
INDIGO, as previously stated, is the colour of our solar system. It has
been particularly beneficial in treating cataracts, glaucoma and various
eye problems. Other uses of indigo include purification of the blood
and of the mind. Ear and nose complaints, diseases of the lungs, asthma,
infantile convulsions and mental complaints may be remedied through the
use of indigo.
Indigo combines the deep blue of devotion with a trace of stabilizing
and objective red. Indigo is cool, electric, and astringent. It is,
also, the color ray used by Spirit to help entrance a medium.
Indigo links with and stimulates the brow chakra (third eye) and
controls the pineal gland. It governs both physical and spiritual
(not psychic) perception; that is, clairvoyance, clairaudience,
and clairsentience. Thus, it can be of great assistance in dealing
with ailments of the eyes and ears, as well as assisting in problems
or conditions related to mediumship.
Finally, indigo is considered the ray of the Holy Spirit.
INDIGO INTUITION, MYSTICISM, UNDERSTANDING
The indigo energy connects us to our unconscious self, and gives us the
experience of being part of the whole universe. Strengthens intuition,
imagination, psychic powers, and increases dream activity.
Violet is truly the color of
the divine Spirit. Violet works only on the levels of the Spirit.
It is generally not used for physical conditions; however, some
color experts believe that it does provide nourishment to the
cells in the upper brain and does have a link with the crown
chakra. Furthermore, it helps expand the horizons of our Divine
Violet should be used only
for spiritually-related problems.
Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed
that you can increase the power of meditation ten-fold by meditating
under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in Church windows.
VIOLET is the last colour we can see before light passes on to ultra-violet.
This colour is an excellent remedy for neurosis, diseases of the scalp,
sciatica, tumors, rheumatism, cerebro-spinal meningitis, concussion,
cramps and epilepsy. Violet animates and cleans the venous blood. Esoterically
violet is white and synthesizes all form manifestation.
Violet is truly the color of the divine Spirit. Violet works only on
the levels of the Spirit. It is generally not used for physical conditions;
however, some color experts believe that it does provide nourishment
to the cells in the upper brain and does have a link with the crown
chakra. Furthermore, it helps expand the horizons of our Divine understanding.
Violet should be used only for spiritually-related problems.
Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation
ten-fold by meditating under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in Church
VIOLET BEAUTY, CREATIVITY, INSPIRATION
Purifies our thoughts and feelings giving us inspiration in all undertakings.
The violet energy connects us to our spiritual self bringing guidance,
wisdom and inner strength. Enhances artistic talent and creativity.
White is the perfect color;
for it is all color, in perfect balance and harmony. It is the
color of the awakened Spirit; the light of perfection; the light
of the Christ and Buddhic consciousness. It is also the Divine
Just about everyone has heard
of surrounding people with the "White Light of Healing and Protection." Directing
white into the aura helps stimulate the person's own divine nature
into healing the self.
The general rule of thumb is to place the affected area 12 inches from
the glass and approximately 10-12 inches from your LIGHT SOUIRCE if you
are inside. Twice a day is the ideal and, once started, the treatment
should continue until the complaint is gone.
Colds are the most dramatic to experiment with. Use red. Focus over the chest
and leave it there for 5-7 minutes. Colds and asthma, utilizing red and orange
respectively, have reportedly brought dramatic results in a very short time.
If you are not sure of any colour, always under-expose the time of treatment.
RED: 5-10 minutes. Never more than 10 minutes.
ORANGE: 5-15 minutes, with 15 minutes used only for sinus problems.
YELLOW: 15 minutes. As a nerve tonic 15 minutes is ideal.
GREEN: 10-25 minutes. This is the only colour that can be applied at such length.
BLUE: 5-15 minutes. Never over-expose around the head region.
INDIGO: 10 minutes. For eye therapy usually 1-5 minutes is sufficient.
VIOLET: 5-25 minutes. The only occasion for a 25-minute application of violet
would be in treating sciatica, exposing only the back or sides of the body.
Any colour that is applied to a specific area must be localized; this
is very important. Green, yellow and blue may be general.
Red is never to be applied to the head region.
The best part of the rainbow isn't the pot of gold...
...It's the rainbow itself
" An apple reflects a shade of red to the retina, forming impulses that
travel as coded messages to the brain, where hormones are released, altering
metabolism, sleeping, feeding and temperature patterns. So you see, we don't
just notice colors, we feel them. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually,
they empower us. Dawn to dusk, they rule our world, transforming nature's energy
into personal realization. Every color has its own personality and in each
lies knowledge and clarity."
Color Therapy, or Color Healing, is the therapeautic use of varous
forms of color and light for physical, emotional, and spiritual benefit
to the human body. Color and light therapy involves the application colour
in a variety of ways: colored gels with light to penetrate and stimulate
the body's meridians which corresponds to traditional Asian acupuncture
systems as well as accessing and incorporating the axiational lines ;
colored lights applied to areas of the body; the use of colored lenses
(prescription and non-prescription eyewear) for a variety of health concerns;
the use of the sun; light applied to the eyes ; and the use of crystals
or crystal rods with or without an outside light source for penetration
of colorinto the body through the auric field, also using the acupuncture
systems and axiational lines. Further use of color is made in the environment
through the use of colored light bulbs, the paints applied to a room,
the color of carpeting and furniture, or through the use of certain colored
clothes, the use of crystals in the environment, sunlight, all of which
directly impact the body through the bio magnetic (auric) field.
Color assists the body in its natural ability to balance itself and has been
used for centuries by practitioners of the healing arts especially in Asia and
in the ancient civilizations.. Egyptian priests left manuscripts showing their
system of colour science, and Indian and Chinese mystics had knowledge of colour
in their secret doctrines.
In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton developed the first valuable theory of color when he
admitted sunlight through a prism. Newton established the presence of seven basic
colors in the spectrum. For centuries the healing profession has recognized that
color is a force of immeasurable and infinite power, exerting a tremendous psychological
and physiological influence on people.
In Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s psychologists working in mental hospitals
researched the effect of color on patients. By utilizing different colored walls
and lights it was found that depressive patients put into rooms with red or bright
yellow walls, and hyperactive patients put into rooms with blue or green walls,
were both calmed by the respective colours.
Black is a color associated with tragedy and death. Blackfriars Bridge, in London,
was a was a gloomy black structure known for its high rate of suicide. After
the bridge was painted green, the suicide rate declined by one third.
The use of color has numerous applications in industry. Experiments have shown
that muscular reaction time is much quicker under the influence of red light
than green light, which has application on an assembly line. The colours used
on factory walls and machinery affect employee morale, efficiency, absenteeism,
and accident rates.
In sports, a locker room painted in colours on the red side of the spectrum is
known to stimulate team members. Uniform color can also influence a teams performance:
thus, many professional football teams use red or orange as some part of the
Color is used extensively in interior design to create a certain feeling or mood,
and to influence behaviour. For example, red rooms cause an overestimate of time.
This is a particularly effective color for restaurants that want to make an individual
feel she has spent more time there than she actually has. This allows the restaurant
to seat more people in a given time period.
Restaurants and food processors use color to make food more attractive and appetizing.
it has been suggested that consuming naturally colored foods and beverages is
and an excellent way of getting color into the body for the improvement of health.
The condition that led the way to acceptance of some form of light treatments
is Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D.. This condition occurs most
frequently during the long winter months but has also been shown to be
present in people who have been house or hospital confined for long periods.
Other occupations, such as pilots, flight attendants, miners, third shift
industrial workers, etc., also experience symptoms of light deprivation.
Some of these industries have begun to require the employees to sit in
full spectrum light rooms for periods of time to avoid symptoms. Some
people have affectionately called this condition "Cabin Fever" and
have used it to describe a feeling of frustration, confinement, irritation
at everything and anything and an inability to concentrate or enjoy the
simple pleasures of life.
" ALL FORMS OF MATTER
ARE REALLY LIGHT WAVES IN MOTION."
Color. We delight in a rainbow, sigh at a sunset, luxuriate in the rich
colors of our homes, clothes, special spaces. Our eyes gravitate towards
saturated color like moths to the light. No coincidence, considering
the entire spectrum of colors is derived from light. And no surprise,
really, that seeing, wearing or being exposed to color- whether in the
form of light, pigment, or cloth- can affect us at levels we are only
just beginning to understand.
Scientifically, it makes sense. Color is simply a form of visible light,
of electromagnetic energy. Let's break it down. What exactly is light?
It is the visible reflection off the particles in the atmosphere. Color
makes up a band of these light wave frequencies from red at 1/33,000th's
of an inch wavelength to violet at 1/67,000 of an inch wavelength. Below
red lie infrared and radio waves. Above it: the invisible ultraviolet,
x-rays, and gamma rays. We all understand the impact of ultraviolet and
x-rays, do we not? Why then wouldn't the light we can see "as color" not
have as big an impact?
How we "feel" about color is more than psychological. The
last decade has proven that lack of color, or more specifically, light,
causes millions to suffer each winter from a mild depression known as
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Because of the complex way in which
exposure to various colors acts via the brain upon the autonomic nervous
system, exposure to a specific color can even alter physiological measurements
such as blood pressure, electrical skin resistance and glandular functions
in your body. And they most certainly can affect how you feel on a day-to-day
basis. Learning about color's qualities and putting it to use can enhance
your spirit, improve your health, and quite ultimately, expand your consciousness.
Did you know?
Many people today agree that we are made up of vibrations and vibrations are
colors. Some people who are sensitive can see other people and even objects
giving off or being surrounded by colors. These emanations are called auras
or energy fields. There are also some common misunderstandings associated
with particular colors. For instance, the color black has often been feared.
It has been believed to represent the unknown. Black in the past and even
now has had associations of somehow being bad. But if you look again, you
will see that black has great depth. Many image consultants, color therapists
and healers have a fixed belief system about color. For example, orange is
accepted for autumn, blue for calming, yellow for intellectual openness and
mental clarity, white for purity, and purple for power. Colors do not need
to be fixed or used only in these ways. Find out what works for you by exploring
In Occult Meditation, by Alice A. Bailey, the Tibetan says that "..colours
are the expressions of force or quality. They hide or veil the abstract
qualities of the Logos, which are reflected as virtues or faculties.
Therefore, just as the seven colours hide qualities in the Logos, so
these virtues demonstrate in the life of the personality and are brought
forward objectively through the practice of meditation; thus each life
will be seen as corresponding to a colour."
The basic premise of the ancient art of Colour Therapy is that all manifested
life is energy, emanating from One Source, to and including all directions,
encompassing all possibilities. It is here that we begin to see just
why colour and sound play a very important part in our everyday lives.
Each day we see colours and hear sounds which act upon our bodies. When
we find a colour or ray quality lacking or in excess, the result can
be dis-ease, dis-harmony or dis-cord.
The modern interpreter of colour therapy, or chromo therapy, was Dr Edwin Babbitt
with his widely known work The Principles of Colour Therapy, printed in 1878.
It is interesting to note that Babbitt's diagram of the atom is found in
A Treatise on Cosmic Fire by Alice Bailey. The Tibetan illustrates that this
energy system is repeated throughout the manifested universe, from the smallest
atom up to and including the largest solar system. Here again we find agreement
between exoteric and esoteric scientific theory.
In meditation, you may visualize or 'breathe in' a specific colour for
treatment of any conditions previously named. By consistently practising
this form of colour therapy, you will achieve the desired result, though
the time period may be slightly longer. As we have seen through example
and experiment all is Energy and that Energy generates a force which
is applied either correctly or not. In the correct apprehension of force
and its action upon our bodies, we can truly effect lasting change within
ourselves. "Colour is therefore 'that which does conceal'. It is
simply the objective medium by means of which the inner force transmits
itself; it is the reflection upon matter of the type of influence that
is emanating from the Logos, and which has penetrated to the densest
part of His solar system. We recognize it as colour. The adept knows
it as differentiated force, and the initiate of the higher degrees knows
it as ultimate light, undifferentiated and undivided." - The Tibetan.
This ancient art is still practical today, and its uses are many and
As John Gage shows in his definitive history Colour and Culture (1995),
the way we see colour is associative rather than empiric – for
example, we think of blue as cool, expansive and soothing, even though
the blue bit of a gas flame is hotter than the orange. Colour has different
meanings in different contexts, but, Gage writes, “there seems
to be a universal urge to attribute affective characters to colours”.
Practitioners of chromo-therapy were convinced that colour was primarily
a question of immediate feeling rather than intellectual judgment, and
that it could have profound psychological and physiological influences.
This belief in the powerful corporeal effects of colour influenced avant-garde
artists such as Gauguin and Kandinsky, who thought of chromo-therapy
as a useful tool in developing a non-representational art, because it
provided the grammar for a supposed universal language of colour. But
though chromo-therapy was once an intellectual fashion, its role in the
story of modern art is largely forgotten. Where did the idea that colour
could heal come from?
In the West, theories of colour evolved out of alchemy and medicine; colour
was, therefore, intimately bound up with the therapeutic. The first colour
circles were urine charts used by physicians to identify an imbalance of
the four humours. A fifteenth-century example, from an anonymous Treatise
on Urine, shows a radial pattern of twenty vials in various hues, running
from clear (indicative of a phlegmatic temperament) to black (melancholic)
through a series of yellow ochres (choleric) and blood reds (sanguine). Potions
and herbs were often chosen by doctors on the basis that their colour opposed
and would therefore harmonise any humoural lopsidedness.
In his influential Theory
of Colours (1810), Goethe developed this relationship between colour
and Hippocratic medicine. He and his friend, the Romantic philosopher
Friedrich Schiller, also visualised colour relationships in a circle – which
they called a “Temperamental Rose” – but they adapted
the entire spectrum (not just those shades relevant to the medical diagnosis
of bodily fluids) to the four humours. Green and yellow represented the
active, sanguine character, exemplified by bon vivants, lovers and poets.
Purple and blue-red characterised the passive and melancholic type – monarchs,
scholars and philosophers. However, for Goethe, colours weren’t
just arbitrary symbols of these bodily states, they could also produce
them. “Every colour,” he believed, “produces a corresponding
influence on the mind.”
Goethe tried to prove that colour had a direct, rather than mediated,
effect on our feelings by tinting his laboratory windows alternately
yellow, red, green and blue. He concluded that “the eye could be
in some degree pathologically affected by being long confined to a single
colour; that, again, definite moral impressions were thus produced… sometimes
lively and aspiring [yellow], sometimes soft and yearning [blue], sometimes
uplifted to the noble [red], sometimes dragged down to the base [green]”.
His own house was decorated according to this scheme. Unpopular guests
never made it past the “Juno room”, which was painted a “gloomy
and melancholy” blue so that they wouldn’t be tempted to
stay long. The lucky ones who had dinner invitations were led into the
warmth of his yellow dining room: “The eye is glad-dened,” he
hoped, “the heart expanded and cheered, a glow seems at once to
breathe towards us.” He preferred to work in a green garden room
as he found the neutral admixture of yellow and blue to be peaceful and
Following Goethe, doctors began using colour not just as an aid to diagnosis,
but as a cure in itself. The French psychologist Charles Féré,
who worked under Charcot at the famous Salpêtrière Hospital
in Paris, was convinced of its psychological therapeutic properties.
He began experimenting with coloured light on hysterics in the 1880s,
glazing asylum cells with blue or violet glass to create calming and
curative effects. Féré thought of coloured light as different
waves or vibrations of radiant energy that could be sensed not just by
the eyes, but all over the skin in a form of cutaneous vision. In 1887
he set up a device, invented by Etienne-Jules Marey, who pioneered the
photography of serial motion, to test this peculiar theory. It was a
primitive oscillograph which measured the contractions of the hand and
forearm under the influence of various coloured lights, definitively
proving, Féré thought, that red had the most exciting effect
and violet the most calming.
Other doctors had already followed Goethe’s lead. Dr Ponza, Féré wrote
excitedly, “has announced happy effects from red light in melancholics
and blue light in maniacs”, and Dr Davies, of the County Lunatic
Asylum in Kent, “has obtained four cures of maniacs by the same
treatment, but has not obtained any results in melancholics”. (However,
Féré admitted, “the experiments of M Taguet had a
negative result in all cases”.) Colour treatment soon became fashionable.
The illustrations in Seth Pancoast’s Blue and Red Light: or, Light
and its Rays as Medicine (1877) show a well-dressed woman sprawled languidly
on a couch as she bathes in coloured light. One contemporary writer dubbed
the resulting craze the “blue glass mania” and offered the
following prescription: “Blue glass one part; faith, ten parts;
mix thoroughly and stir well until all the common sense evaporates, as
the presence of a minute quantity will spoil the mixture.”
However, apparently lacking in common sense, the research conducted
by scientists and physicians into the psychological power of colour inevitably
influenced artists, who found in this work an affirmation of the moral
significance and physiologic impact of their medium. Paul Gauguin’s
use of bold, flat planes of non-representational colour, as seen in Faa
Iheihe (1898), was directly inspired by chromo-therapy. “Since
colour,” he wrote in his diary, “is in itself enigmatic in
the sensations which it gives us (note: medical experiments made to cure
madness by means of colours) we cannot logically employ it except enigmatically… to
give musical sensations which spring from it, from its peculiar nature,
from its inner power, its mystery, its enigma.”
Kandinsky, who had been impressed
by Gauguin’s forceful use of brilliant colour when he saw his paintings
in Paris in 1902, came across chomo-therapy when he read Arthur Osborne
Eaves’s The Power of Colours (1906). “Colour directly influences
the soul,” Kandinsky wrote in Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912). “Anyone
who has heard of colour therapy knows that coloured light can have a
particular effect upon the entire body. Various attempts to exploit this
power of colour and apply it to nervous disorders have again noted that
red light has an enlivening and stimulating effect upon the heart, while
blue, on the other hand, can lead to temporary paralysis.”
That same year, the Swiss psychologist
Dr Max Lüscher developed a colour test which consisted of a person
sorting 73 colour patches into an order of preference (an abbreviated
test of eight cards was also used), and claimed to be able to judge personality
from the results. He even believed that “it is sometimes possible
to deduce personality characteristics of a painter when great emphasis
is placed on one or two colours, for example, Gauguin’s obsession
with yellow in his later paintings”. His ideas served to boost
interest in chromo-therapy, reviving a fashion just as the FDA was recalling
all of Ghadiali’s devices. Lüscher was influenced by both
Goethe’s theory of colour and Kandinsky’s neo-Romanticism – and
thought his test worked as “an early warning system for stress
ailments… cardiac malfunction, cerebral attack or disorders of
the gastro-intestinal tract”. He was convinced colour had fixed
primal associations that took us back to an ancient fear of the dark,
to hunting and self-preservation. “The test is a ‘deep’ psychological
test,” Lüscher asserted, insisting on its scientific veracity, “developed
for the use of psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians… It is
NOT a parlour game.”
His theories were taken up not only by psychiatrists and therapists,
but by the advertising and marketing industries, where they had a wider
and more long lasting influence. For example, Lüscher advised that
sugar shouldn’t be sold in a green package, as the colour is associated
with astringence, whereas blue was associative of sweetness. In the 1960s,
the American scientist Alexander Schauss read Lüscher’s musings
on colour psychology, packaging and décor and began his own research
into the physiological effects of colour. He thought he’d discovered
a colour with a profoundly calming effect and was keen to put it to use.
Beginning in 1979, he persuaded a number of American prisons to paint
their cells a camp, but supposedly pacifying shade. If only he’d
done so in time for Ghadiali’s confinement, the Bombay colour theorist
might have found himself in a cell painted a bright Indian pink