Colors are all around us and are an integral part of our world. Colors have a profound impact on us in every aspect of our lives. Whether its black and white or the more vibrant red, blue and green – they make life interesting. Colors can bring a dull black & white photograph of a family picnic to life: different tones and hues of blue in the sky give an idea of the weather, the dark and pale shades of green highlight the texture and depth of the grass, the pallets of red, yellow and green leaves on trees indicate the sadness of Autumn. Colors make live interesting.
Would it be realistic to suggest that colors have an impact on our psychology?
The amount spent on paint for living rooms and the umpteen number of shows on the television focusing on which room to get what type of color etc point to the obvious answer. Color does have an impact on our mood – enter the concept of color therapy.
Color therapy has been in use for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, Greece and China “color halls” or rooms were painted with different colors in an attempt to treat the mental state of being. Egyptians looked at nature and took inspiration from the colors they observed. The green of the grass was used on the floors, the blue of the sky was often used for the ceiling. The Egyptians hung crystal gems in the windows, sunlight would flow into the rooms through the crystals thus brightening their clay and mud walls.
The Romans would import dyes from around the then known world to dye their robes and as they were a luxury at that time, color would unconsciously create classes among the wealthy citizens and the plebs. Without going into a historical lesson, there is some data to show that color was used in association with herbs to treat the whole person – body, spiritual, emotional and mental aspect – not just the disease of the physical body. By the nineteenth century, the use of drugs was growing and color fell into disuse.
Through out the 20th century, interest in color therapy has been growing. As we spend a fair amount of time resting, interacting with the family or entertaining in our home, it becomes natural for us to experiment with color therapy in our home environment. When using color in the home environment, we all have our own personal choice. Particular color choice though can help towards providing a specific perspective of space. There are colors associated with calm, joy, anger, peace, prosperity, wealth, depression, longevity… the list goes on. The color on the wall to the color combination of wall paper – furniture – rug – accessories – paintings, all need to be in balance to create the specific aura that one is after. Some take the concept of color therapy out of the home and into their daily lives. The choice of clothes and jewelry associated with specific colors are worn to get in the mood.
In the world of today where skepticism is prevalent and belief in scientific facts trumps common sense, would a man on the street seriously consider color as part of his therapy?
Valerie Logan-Clarke, author of Color Therapy Healing and a professional color therapist in the United Kingdom said this to World Spa when we asked her, “Does it work?”.
“Yes it does. Color Therapy can be used for adults, children and babies alike and works very well. Color is a form of energy as it is simply light at different wavelengths. The various energies have different effects on the body and on the emotions. This light energy affects all living cells” she says. “Used in the right way, these different frequencies of light, i.e. color, can have a profound and healing effect on all creation. It is a well known scientific fact that everything has a vibration, that is to say that all things have their own vibration / frequency / energy field, and that includes us, as human beings!”.
“Colour Therapy can be used for any problem whether, physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, for specific problems as well as an over-all relaxation therapy. It is easier to quantify physical reactions to colour therapy than emotional reactions, of course. For example: take the blood pressure. Red increases blood pressure and blood flow quite significantly and should NOT be used on someone who has high blood pressure” she warns. “Blue will lower blood pressure and decrease blood flow. Colour Therapy is safe and has no adverse interactions with other therapies but one should always be very careful when using red for the reasons above.”
“Assessing the effects on people’s emotional state is less clear cut / scientific, however, certainly not impossible” she notes.
To get some insight into the healing process, we asked her what kind of results would one look out for?
Valerie explains, “This depends upon the issue. However, almost immediate pain relief can be experienced and other more obvious results which can be seen very quickly include:- relaxing of muscular tension, changes in mood/feelings of wellbeing, relaxation, release of emotion. Reactions and effects of colour therapy are many and varied and, in my experience, it is unusual to have no reaction whatsoever. One will almost always have some feedback from the client whether it be a just a feeling of being more relaxed, sleepy, invigorated, feeling the need to urinate – this is often due to release of blocked energy which can be experienced after many energy therapies including healing, Reiki, acupuncture etc. One of the most common ‘reactions’ to colour therapy is that the client will fall asleep” she explains.
World Spa interacted with Jo-Ann Valentine, a color harmonics practitioner and educator living in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. We asked her how long would it take to see results?
“That depends on the individual and also the nature of the condition one is addressing” she reflects. “Individuals respond differently to color therapy just as they do with allopathic treatments. Color therapy, in my opinion, is about restoring energetic balance rather than chasing symptoms.”
“Most people, particularly those who are able to ‘feel’ or sense energy movement within their own bodies will notice this effect almost immediately after light is first introduced into the body. That is because the energy impulse to the cells is immediate. As far as noticing any change to the condition being addressed this varies. Clients suffering from headaches, digestive distress or low energy for example, may find relief with just one treatment. I should mention that treatments generally last for an hour or less. In fact, they could be successful in just a few seconds” notes Jo-Ann.
Jo-Ann elaborates, “Chronic conditions may require weekly treatments over a course of months to affect improvement. Color therapy is also used to treat psychological disturbances. This is usually done in concert with other methods, such as counseling by certified practitioners, and can take a longer time. I should point out that color therapy should never be undertaken in place of recommended treatment by a qualified health care provider. Think of it as a method of restoring and maintaining energetic balance and as an adjunct to other healing modalities when necessary” she notes.
“I believe that a person’s attitude is very important when undertaking any kind of treatment. One should never underestimate the power of the mind in the effect it has upon the response in the physical body”. She recalls, “To illustrate what I mean I will cite two examples. Several years ago, my Mother sustained an injury, which resulted in a small tear in her retina. The doctor could not repair the tear with a laser without risk of further damage. Needless to say my Mother was very depressed but agreed to participate in one of my experiments. She intuitively chose the color to be used. Every day she would use visualizations and positive affirmations. In addition we placed a blue gel filter over the affected eye for about an hour a day while she sat outside in the sunshine, not looking directly at the sun, of course. After a few weeks she returned to her specialist who could no longer detect the tear and was amazed that it had healed. Her vision had also been normalized” she says.
“At one of the seminars in which I was teaching Color Harmonics one of the students, who was diabetic, indicated that she had forgotten to bring her medication to class that day. She tested her blood sugar and found it to be very high. She agreed to undergo a color treatment protocol and within an hour her blood sugar level had returned to normal” she says.
“In these two cases I think that the positive attitude of the individuals certainly had an effect. How much of the success can be attributed to the application of color I cannot prove. I think what is important is the result, no matter how it came about. Perhaps believing is seeing” Jo-Ann concludes.
We asked Valerie about the practical things we can do in our daily lives to benefit from color therapy.
Valerie said, “Interior décor:- Look at the colours you surround yourself with in the home and at work. Look at the colour of the clothes you wear, the foods you eat. Practice meditation / visualisation using colours, introduce colour into your life with simple art work and flowers, get outside and really look at nature – all the colours we need surround us and nature is a totally free colour resource!”
She concluded, “There are a number of different methods of giving colour as a therapy. There are lights which are used with different colour filters, colour silks which are placed upon the body, hands-on energy work / healing combined with colour which can be likened to hands on healing or perhaps Reiki; the use of a light source with a crystal point which can be applied to either a specific site on the body (say for example on an arthritic joint) or to acupuncture points or reflexology points – both these techniques are very powerful. The “tools” used will depend upon the user’s preferences and acceptance and a professional colour therapist will always involve the user fully in the therapy process. Colour Therapy, like all energy therapies, can be used as a catalyst for the user’s own healing processes.”
Jo-Ann brought food into the equation by saying, “Color is everywhere, within us and in our environment. Let’s begin with food. Eat food that is fresh and rich in color. Dark, leafy green vegetables, orange and red fruits and vegetables, for example. Rule of thumb; the richer the color the more nourishment. Did you ever notice the color of food in a fast food restaurant? It’s not very appetizing to me,” she states.
“Use visualization to introduce color. Red, orange and yellow are warm and energizing, while blue, indigo and violet are cool and calming. Green, sitting at the centre of the color spectrum, is the balance, the color of nature.”
Explaining further, she says “You can hold a glass of pure water and visualize colored light flowing into it. Then drink the water. For example, if you want to improve digestion and elimination you might choose lemon yellow. For calming you might want to visualize blue. Apply the same theory of color to the clothing you wear and to your surroundings. There are many associations with colors and the psychological affects are well known. Feeling ‘blue’ or sad, wear something orange to cheer yourself. Paint your bedroom blue or lavender to ensure a good, peaceful night’s sleep.”
Colors have a profound impact on us at multiple levels of our being. Color therapy is a science worth implementing in our daily lives and the benefits are immense. Do visit a local practitioner and enroll in sessions that suit your lifestyle and start benefitting!
Valerie Logan-Clarke Professional Colour Therapist and Tutor, treats a wide range of problems including Colour therapy specifically for the eyes, which is one of her particular interests. Valerie presents Workshops across the world and teaches Colour Therapy to qualification level. Valerie is also qualified in Reflexology, Reiki and Healing and is the author and administrator of colourtherapyhealing.com
Jo-Ann Valentine is a Color Harmonics practitioner and educator living in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. In addition to conducting her own personal research into this fascinating subject for the past 30 years, she trained with Spectrahue and with Renee Brodie, author and pioneer in the field of color therapy. In her practice she incorporates the principles of acupuncture, reflexology, geometry, Taoist healing imagery, breathing techniques and visualization.