Is Color Therapy a Legitimate Health Treatment Option?


The concept of using color therapy to treat physical and mental conditions is not at all new. As long as 2500 years ago the ancient physicians prescribed time spent in "color halls" as part of the healing process for certain diseases. Egypt, China and India have long held traditions that support color therapy as an integral part in the general health and healing of body ailments.

Today, many hybrid medical-sounding theories are promoted, especially on the Internet. Unfortunately, supportive scientific evidence may be non-existent or severely lacking, partly as a result of an inherent Western disrespect for Oriental medical procedures. There are, at best, limited studies that demonstrate the authenticity of color therapy in treating specific diseases. However, there can be no doubt that light and color do profoundly affect the body, perhaps more than modern physicians have been willing to previously acknowledge.

One theory of chromology suggests that the body needs to maintain a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic system for maximum health and healing benefits. When fear, anger or prolonged stress over-stimulate the sympathetic system, the body is primed for fight or flight re-action. The parasympathetic system which promotes normal body processes including fending off disease and promoting healing is effectively shut down during periods when the sympathetic system has put the body on "high alert." It has been proposed that exposure to certain colors can effectively restore the balance between these two systems. Red seems to stimulate the sympathetic system, energizing the heart and circulation; while blue has been shown to lower the blood pressure and relax the stressed areas of the body.

Another approach suggests that grief, body trauma or interpersonal conflict can create energy blockages that give disease free rein to disrupt the healthy body systems. By using color therapy to remove these blockages, the body can return to focusing on healing itself. "Colorpuncture" applies timed sessions of specific color treatments to stabilize energy flow. Red energizes the body and blue de-energizes. Colored candles, wands, gemstones, bath salts, fabrics, glasses, lens and prisms have all been used as tools for color enhancement.

A few limited studies have suggested the effectiveness of color therapy for specific conditions. Lenses tinted rose or blue-purple have seemed to reduce the number of epileptic seizures in patients whose episodes are visually provoked. Evening doses of bright white light has solved some of the sleep disturbance problems for patients with Alzheimer's disease. Regular, timed sessions of exposure to white light has also improved the mental health of suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), although green light seemed to also be helpful with this condition. Seasonal bulimia and other disorders also seemed to respond to treatment with white light.

Women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) responded positively to treatment with blue light in one small study. Injured tissue and wound healing may also benefit from blue light exposure, as well as neonatal jaundice and impotence. There is some evidence that blue/green light may improve vision in patients with macular degeneration and a level of green light may relieve glaucoma pressure on the eye. More medical research needs to be advanced to substantiate many of these claims.

However, the amazing power of the bright light emanating from this planet's sun actually contains all the light frequencies (red, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet) for color that humans seem to need for both health and healing. Getting adequate natural daylight may be one of the simplest and yet most profound ways to assist the body in achieving maximum health and in combating negative emotions, patterns and harmful diseases.

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