An introduction to Color Therapy
Color is perhaps one of the most wonderful experiences that we take for granted. It is everywhere, surrounding and embracing us. We interpret life as much through color as we do through shape, texture, smell and sound.
‘We are all profoundly influenced by color, all the time, but we do not realise it’.
This paper outlines some of the reasons why color influences us so much, how it works and how it can improve our day to day well-being.
The use of Color Therapy dates back to ancient times and has been practiced in Egypt, Greece, China and India over the centuries. Color has been investigated as therapeutic treatment since 2000 BC and is in use still today.
There were bouts of promising research throughout the last century, but it mysteriously started to die down in the 80s and 90s. Now, with the entire field of energetic healing research and treatment growing fast, it is living a renaissance.
Color Therapy is a great passion of ours. The objective of this series of research papers, is to deliver an edit of scientific and qualified anecdotal content that is helpful to understand the benefits of this great natural wellness therapy.
We are not doctors and this is not a scientific paper, but it is a serious effort to summarise the credible scientific research available. While there is good research, much of the evidence still is anecdotal from patients and practitioners alike. More scientific research is certainly needed, but we hope that this introduction will awaken your interest in this alternative form of healing and encourage you to make your own experiences. Always consult your doctor or physician if you are considering therapies.
Color Therapy is a holistic and non-invasive therapy that involves the use of colors for treating various physical ailments and emotional disturbances. It is supported by research in both physics and psychology.
Every color found in the visible light spectrum has its own wavelength and its own frequency, which produces a specific energy. Visible light exists between approximately 400 to 700 nanometres. A nanometre is equivalent to one billionth of a meter and is the standard unit of measurement used to identify wavelengths of light. Each color occurs within a specific range of nanometres. For example, orange occurs roughly between 589 to 627 nanometres and blue between 436 to 495 nanometres.
The sun radiates wavelengths of electromagnetic energy primarily within the visible spectrum of light. For this reason, almost all living organisms on earth appear to have systems designed to function with visible light. This may account for the natural potency of the visible spectrum as a therapeutic agent for humans.
In 1666 Sir Isaac Newton stunned the scientists of his day by using a prism to show that sunlight (white light) is actually composed of a combination of numerous colors. An entirely new understanding of the nature of color began with this discovery. In 1810 the famous German writer Wolfgang von Goethe followed suit and wrote a book about it ‘Theory of colors’.
–– Color influences all parts of our being ––
The effects of color on our moods, health, and way of thinking have been studied by scientists for a long time.
Several experiments have shown that different colors affect blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates as well as brain activity and biorhythms. As a result, colors are now used in the treatment of a variety of diseases.
The applications range from helping with Seasonal Adjustment Disorder (SAD – a form of depression), Irlen syndrome (a form of visual deficiency) to regulating sleeping patterns and insomnia, amongst others.
When electromagnetic energy (color) enters our bodies through the eyes, it has been shown to stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands as well as the hypothalamus, deep in the brain. This affects the production of certain hormones (melatonin) and neurotransmitters (serotonin et al), which in turn affect a variety of important physiological processes.
It has been demonstrated that color affects the sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, and that specific light frequencies do influence the production of hormones.
This happens through the endocrine system, which controls many basic bodily functions and emotional responses such as aggression, anxiety or happiness. All of the above explains why color has been found to have a direct influence on our thoughts, moods, and behaviour.
‘’It seems clear that light is the most important environmental input, after food, in controlling bodily function’’
Richard J. Wurtman, MD and transitional neuroscience researcher at MIT
–– Thoughts on why color is effective ––
Quoting internationally renown developmental biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD,
‘Electromagnetic frequencies, such as color, are a hundred times more efficient in relaying information to the cells than physical signals such as hormones, neurotransmitters and pharmaceutical agents. Light, and therefore color, travels at 186,000 miles per second compared to diffusible chemicals’ (such as the pharaceuticals we have been conditioned to take) ‘that move at rates less than a centimetre per second.’
What most people are not aware of is the transduction of colored light from the eyes and brain, to specific emotion-based neural networks as well as to bodily vicinities.
There are well known studies that document the neural pathways initiated by light stimulation into the eyes, to the brain and ultimately throughout the nervous system. One route is referred to as the retinal-hypothalamic pathway.
Let’s recap these two last paragraphs: this means that color might travel not only through one but through various networks that are deeply linked to all of our body and thereby directly to the cells. And, much faster than anything else.
In one of Lipton’s studies, red-orange (not red or orange) has been observed to stimulate the area just below the naval in front of the body, lumbar vertebrae four and five in the back and secondarily the trapezius muscles between the neck and shoulders. In this case red-orange light stimulation enters the eyes and is transduced almost immediately to the aforementioned physical vicinities. Therefore, according to Lipton, red-orange can be used to activate various means of processing that often leads to powerful physical symptom changes.
Hence there is belief that electromagnetic frequencies might be a much faster and more efficient way of healing than conventional medicines and that they can influence our entire body.
–– Applications of Color Therapy ––
The effects of Color Therapy are indeed used in many different contexts, from influencing the mood of teenagers in a classroom, to calming down new inmates in US prisons and patients’ anxiety in hospitals. Marketing executives spend hundreds of millions of Dollars to find the right colors for their product. Retailers allocate large budgets on elaborate color washing of store displays to influence the customer and to increase sales. Red is well known to enhance appetite and table turnover in restaurants, green is used to calm subjects down. Blue inspires confidence and credibility.
'Color very definitely has a physiological effect’
says Professor Harold Wohlfarth, who is president of the German Academy of Color Science and a photobiologist at the University of Alberta. He has conducted very interesting studies on the subject (which you can read in the appendix).
According to him ‘The minute amounts of electromagnetic energy that compose light affect one or more of the brain's neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry messages from nerve to nerve and from nerve to muscle. Several experiments have provided evidence that light striking the retina influences the pineal gland's synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that has been found to help determine the body's output of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter for our feeling of happiness and satisfaction.’
Color Therapy treatments have been shown to alter neuro-chemical production in the brain and some scientists, and certainly practitioners, believe that the brain has specific responses to different frequencies of colors. There are also reports that sleep problems can be cured within days.
As outlined above, colors are visible electromagnetic energy of a certain wavelengths and are absorbed by the eyes, skin and skull. Some more avant-garde practitioners and researchers believe they also directly impact our ‘magnetic energy field’ or aura.
Color energy affects us on all levels - physical, spiritual and emotional.
The eyes are the most efficient way to deliver Color Therapy. Humans have photoreceptors in the retina, called cones, that translate energy into colors. The retina contains three kinds of cones: one for blue, one for green, and one for red. The brain perceives other colors thanks to the combination of these three.
As outlined earlier, our eyes have a connection to our entire body and directly into the brain through our visual nerves and other systems. Some scientists go further and argue that when color enters the body through the eye it directly impacts the blood.
The muscles of the eye move more in a 24-hour period than any other muscles of the body. One estimate is that the eyes move at least 100,000 times each day. This muscular activity requires frequent replenishment of blood through the eyes. The capillaries in the eyes at some points are closest to the surface of the skin (eyeball covering) than anywhere else in the entire body. This allows incoming light to directly affect the blood in a more impactful way than anywhere else. The light energy thus impacts the entire amount of circulating blood in the body directly through the eyes, approximately every forty-four minutes. Every cell in the body needs light energy. Researchers believe that color energy has widespread effects on the whole body and that one can achieve a great physiological impact through the circulatory system. This is in addition to other systems linked to the stimulation of the brain and the endocrine system.
If this over time is proven to be true, scientifically and empirically, then color really becomes a powerful tool in the great kit of natural healing.
‘Each color affects us differently. By learning how each color influences us, we can effectively use color to change our state of being and give us an extra boost of energy, or relaxation or happiness, when we need it.’
Although this is beyond the concept of this paper, in the ancient Indian healing science of Ayurveda also exists a deep body on Color Therapy which connects the concept directly to the concept of chakras. However, this is beyond the scope of this paper. Specific summaries on the effect of Blue Light and Color Chakra Therapy will be released soon.
Color Therapy is part of a group of ancient healing modalities that are currently being re-discovered under the fast-growing umbrella of quantum healing.
Light and color, in the form of electromagnetic waves have a significant impact on our well-being and internal balance. Through influencing the various regulatory systems of our bodies, colors can stimulate, calm down or help to achieve a state of homeostasis. They have been shown to influence vital parts of our bodily and mental functions.
After reading this paper, on your next walk, think about how much color influences your feelings and emotions. How do you feel in a grey city versus a green forest? How does a a room painted in red influence your mood versus a green room? Is your buying decisions be influenced by the color of the packaging or display? How do your children react to different colors? Pay attention to it and you will be surprised!
For now, we leave it here! We thank you for your interest in the subject and hope this is a helpful introduction to Color Therapy. As you can see, we are passionate about researching and understanding more about the profound impacts Color Therapy and other quantum healing technologies can have on our state of being. If you have any credible practical knowledge or research, please share it with us. Our aim is to make qualified information accessible, expand research and bring clarity and facts to a very promising field of inquiry that has so far been neglected or even dismissed by Western medicine. We think the world slowly is understanding that there is not one truth when it comes to healing, but many approaches that can work, depending on the individual and circumstance.
Should you wish to learn more about the specific effects and applications of colors, please sign up to the LVB newsletter to stay updated and receive our next reports on Color Therapy. In the meantime, you can find a selection of articles on Color Therapy or read up on the effect of orange and pink on the Color Therapy page.
If you would like to go into some more interesting detail now, please read on in the appendix where you also will find the associated references for this paper.
Please send any questions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Case Study A_ Passive pink, as it is also called, is perhaps the most dramatic example, and certainly the most controversial, of many attempts to use light and color to affect health and behaviour.
Based on initial research at the Seattle U.S. Naval Correctional Center, it was decided in 1979 to try painting the holding cell used for initial confinement of new inmates completely pink except for the floor. Newly confined inmates tended toward aggression much more than any other inmates, which represented a big problem at this particular facility.
The following 223 days of continuous use of the pink holding facility for new confines showed no incidents of erratic or hostile behaviour during the initial phase of confinement. The impressive results of the first 156 days were detailed in a memo to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Law Enforcement and Corrections Division, Washington, D.C.
The memorandum described that only 15 minutes of exposure to the pink holding cell were necessary to reduce the potential for violent behaviour and that the beneficial effect lasted for 30 minutes, which was long enough to process the inmate into the system and relocate him to a permanent cell.
Researchers who study light therapy say the mechanisms at work here are not fully clear, but they conclude that light seems to induce a cellular response.
Case Study B_ At the San Bernardino County Probation Department in California, when children come under detention and become violent, they are put in an 8-foot by 4-foot cell with one distinctive feature: it is bubble gum pink. The children tend to relax, stop yelling and banging and often fall asleep within 10 minutes, said Paul E. Boccumini, director of clinical services for the department.
This approach to calming manic and psychotic juveniles contrasts sharply with the use of brute force. 'We used to have to literally sit on them,' said Mr. Boccumini, who is also a clinical psychologist. 'Now we put them in the pink room. It works.'
Not all psychologists are quite so sure, and many remain sceptical. Nonetheless, officials at an estimated 1,500 hospitals and correctional institutions across the US, have become sufficiently convinced of the pacifying effect of bubble gum pink to paint at least one room in that shade.
Case study C_ Lets go back to the above mentioned Professor Harold Wohlfarth. He conducted an experiment at the Elves Memorial Child Development Centre, a private school for children with special needs in Edmonton, Alberta. Interestingly, he found that light had the 'identical' impact on the blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates of two blind children as it had on seven students with normal sight. This indicates that color interacts with body and mind in more ways that through the eyes.
In the study, reported in the International Journal of Biosocial Research (Volume 3, No. 1), the walls of the classroom were changed from orange and white to royal and light blue. A grey carpet was installed in place of an orange rug. The fluorescent lights and diffuser panels were replaced with full-spectrum lighting.
As a result, the children's mean systolic blood pressure dropped from an average of 120 to 100, or nearly 17 percent. According to the teachers and independent observers, the children were reported to be better behaved, more attentive and less aggressive, When the room was returned to its original colors, the blood pressure readings gradually increased and the children once again became rowdy.
Here you can find our color therapy glasses
Note that the contents here are not presented by a medical practitioner, and that any and all health care planning should be made under the guidance of your own medical practitioners. The content within only presents an overview of publicly available research and is for educational purposes only. It does not replace medical. Furthermore, the information in this paper is provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. Under no circumstances, including but not limited to negligence, shall the seller/distributor of this information be liable for any special or consequential damages that might result from the use of the information presented here.
- I. Sabra, Theories of Light from Descartes to Newton, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 1918
- N. Schore, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, 1994
- Zajonc, Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind, Bantum Books, New York, NY, 1991
- Breiling, Light Years Ahead, Celestial Press, Berkeley, CA, 1996
- Lipton, The Biology of Belief, Mountain of Love/Elite Books, Santa Rosa, CA, 2005
- Rosenblum and F. Kuttner, Quantum Enigma, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 2006, Chapter 10
- W F. McClare, Resonance in Bioenergetics. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 227, 1974
- Cocilovo A, Colored light therapy: overview of its history, theory, recent developments and clinical applications combined with acupuncture. Am J Acupunct. 1999;27(1-2):71-83.
- Dinshah, Let There Be Light, Dinshah Health Society, Malaga, NJ, 1996
- Gianluca Tosini, Ian Ferguson, and Kazuo Tsubota, Chromotherapy in the regulation of neurohormonal balance in human brain--complementary application in modern psychiatric treatment, Coll Antropol. 2008 Oct;32 Suppl 2:185-8.Molecular Vision 2016; 22: 61–72.
- R. Spliter, The Syntonic Principal, College of Syntonic Optometry, Eaton, OH, 1990
- W. von Goethe, The Theory of Colors, The M.I.T. Press, London, England, 2000
- Hutchinson, Mega Brain, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1986
- Jibu, S. Hagan, S. Hameroff et al., Quantum Optical Coherence in Cytoskeletal Microtubules: Implications for Brain Function, Biological Systems 32 1994
- Meditation, Subtle Energies 6- Energy Medicine 16,3 2005
- Bair, Visible Light Radiated from the Heart with Heart Rhythm
- Steiner, The Connection of the Natural with the Moral Physical: Living in Light and Weight, Colour, Rudolph Stein Press, London, England, 1934
- Y. Moore & J. P. Card. Visual Pathways and the Entrainment of Circadian Rhythms in The Medical and Biological Effects of Light, New York Academy of Sciences, New York, NY, 1985
- Radeljak S1, Zarković-Palijan T, Kovacević D, Kovac M.
- Muktananda. Play ofConsciousness, Syda Foundation. South Fallsburg, NY, 1978
- Porges, Emotion: An Evolutionary By-product of the Neural Regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System. In C. S. Carter, B. Kirkpatrick & I. I.
- R. Vazquez, Peripheral Light Stimulation for Rapid Emotional, Somatic and Transpersonal Regulation, Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine 16,3 (2005)
- R. Vazquez, The New Process Color Theory, Journal of Syntonic Optometry.
- Samina T. Yousuf Azeemi and S. Mohsin Raza, A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2005 Dec; 2(4): 481–488.
1- 100 Mandalas.com, 2- NASA, 3- University of Türingen, 4- Shutterstock, 5- Clipera Custom media/Shutterstock 6- YodiYi, 7- N/A 8- Canva.com, 9- Cranial nerve review series, 10- Science photo library