What’s your favorite color?
Most of us get asked that question at various points throughout our lives. It is worth considering why we ask this – could it be that what color we associate with the most has some sort of effect on us, or says something about our personality?
Color therapy taps into the psychological effects of color. Participants are exposed to a range of colors via food, massage oils, colored lights, crystals or stones, etc. Some practitioners of color therapy use visualization techniques to help their patients. Different colors are said to affect different body systems or energies. Patients who undergo color therapy do so in order to experience restoration and/or healing.
Color and Light
If you’ve seen a rainbow, you have seen the colors present in light. White light, or full-spectrum light, is made of all the colors of the rainbow, and when light is broken up by rain droplets, prisms, or other means, the colors become visible.
Light itself, and a lack of it, has been shown to have psychological effects. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is caused by the decreased light that comes with the change of seasons from summer to fall and winter. People affected by SAD have shown great improvement when exposed to special light boxes that emit full-spectrum light.
If light can affect people’s moods, it stands to reason that the components of light, colors, would affect it as well. After all, without light, there would be no life at all.
Colors, particularly colored light, are said to affect the energy flow of the body. This flow of energy, or vibration, has optimal rhythms and speeds and connects all the internal organs via channels. Color therapy helps align those vibrations and open channels so that the body’s systems work in harmony.
In industrialized cultures, people spend a lot of time indoors. This lack of exposure to full-spectrum light can leave the body in a state of imbalance. Color therapy aims to make up for this deficiency by ensuring exposure to all colors present in light.
While principles of color therapy are applied to each patient, treatment is influenced by what colors affect that particular person. Colors can have strong associations. For example, blue may be considered in color therapy to bring a cooling sense of calm, but if someone has frightening memories associated with blue – perhaps they were attacked or abused by someone wearing that color – then it would not have a positive effect. Perhaps that person would need some additional therapy to build positive associations with blue.
Physical and Emotional
Color therapy is not just for emotional healing. Physical healing is part of such therapy too. Yellow is used to relieve abdominal cramps, for example, and red, blue or orange lights are shown on the chest to treat asthma.