"Everything in life is
In colour there is life. To understand this
power, is living.
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
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
Our body absorbs colour energy through the vibration colour gives
off. All organs, body systems, and functions are connected to main
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
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
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 organs.
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
1980 - Dr. Thomas Budzynski - used phototherapy to accelerate
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
george star white
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 trials.
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
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 and well-being.
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 circulation
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 is the true color of the sun. Orange has a freeing
action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions.
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 Wisdom Ray."
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 - 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 sinus conditions.
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
Like the color of gold, yellow represents the highest of
the physical colors. "Worth its weight in gold" applies
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.
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 effect.
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.
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
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 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
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.
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 is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also
benefits mental problems. It is a freeing and purifying
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
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 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
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 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 Light.
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
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 team colours.
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."
- Albert Einstein
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
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
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
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
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." -
This ancient art is still practical today, and its uses are many
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
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 soothing.
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,
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
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