How can colour therapy nourish your soul?
The different wavelengths of visible light, which we perceive as colour, have been extensively studied for their effects on our wellbeing. The colour and intensity of sunlight are among the main cues for your circadian rhythm, which is like your body’s internal timetable of various biological cycles, ranging from sleep to digestion to cellular regeneration.
Colour therapy can be divided into two main forms: light that is intended to be seen, and colours that are shone onto the body for therapeutic purposes. In both cases, using specific wavelengths of light with the aim of treating disorders of the body and mind are relatively mainstream practices.
A more esoteric approach to using coloured light is called chromotherapy, or colour healing therapy. Each of the body’s chakras, or energy centres described in Eastern spiritual practices, is associated with a specific colour. Chromotherapy is the practice of shining coloured light on the areas where the chakras are believed to be, or in some cases simply surrounding a person in light of a certain colour, with the intention of restoring balance to the body’s energy field.
Benefits of colour therapy
As a Western medical procedure, research suggests projecting a specific wavelength of blue light over a person’s entire body may be an effective treatment for severe dermatitis. Light therapy for children born with jaundice is a common treatment that is agreed to be effective by the medical community.
There is evidence to suggest that a specific wavelength of blue light used in colour therapy for adults suffering from seasonal affective disorder may significantly alleviate the symptoms of depression. Research has also been done regarding the effect of the colours in a person’s environment on their mood and their ability to focus.
It is important to note that medicinal phototherapy usually relies on high-intensity light applied in clinical settings, as distinct from colour therapy treatment, which is a holistic approach not yet supported by academic research. Nevertheless, people who have experienced the treatment report positive impressions of the result.
Colour therapy may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Anorexia, bulimia and eating disorders
- Arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis
- Back pain
- Blood pressure
- Circulation and cardiovascular conditions
- Colds and flu
- Concentration, focus and problem solving
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Digestive and gastrointestinal issues
- Energy and vitality
- Headaches and migraines
- Immunity issues
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Mental health
- Mood imbalances
- Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
- Pain relief
- Panic attacks
- PTSD and trauma
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Stress and tension
- Vomiting and nausea
- Weight control and obesity
What to expect from a colour therapy session
Please note that this section refers to chromotherapy in the sense of a holistic treatment intended to restore energetic balance, rather than phototherapy as a medical procedure.
The session will usually begin with the practitioner asking you about your symptoms, and evaluating what colours you should be exposed to in order to improve the condition and function of your chakras. You will be invited to lie down on a treatment table, without needing to remove your clothes, and light of various colours will be projected onto your body. A session will usually last from 20 minutes to an hour.
Some practitioners will lay coloured silk over areas of your body as part of the treatment, while others project coloured light into a hot tub where you are relaxing. Also, there are infra-red saunas that include energetic chromotherapy as part of your sauna session, filling the space with a colour that is believed to support a specific mood or state of mind.
As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing colour therapy. If you have an injury or other health issue, such as increased sensitivity to light, or any concerns at all, also speak to your colour therapy practitioner, who will be happy to address these and adjust the session to your individual requirements.