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Chromotherapy, sometimes called colour therapy or colourology, is an alternative medicine method. It is claimed that a therapist trained in chromotherapy can use colour and light to balance energy wherever our bodies are lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental.
Chromotherapists claim a scientific basis for their practice, proposing that colours bring about emotional reactions in people. A standard method of diagnosis is the use of Luscher’s colour test, developed by Dr. Max Luscher in the early 1900s. When performing chromotherapy, colour and light is applied to specific areas and acupoints on the body. Because colours get associated with both positive and negative effects in colour therapy, specific colours and accurate amounts of colour are deemed to be critical in healing. Some of the tools used for applying colours are gemstones, candles, wands, prisms, coloured fabrics, bath treatments, and coloured glasses or lenses. Therapeutic colour can be administered in a number of ways, but is often combined with hydrotherapy and aromatherapy in an attempt to heighten the therapeutic effect.
Several findings indicate that colour and light have been used for health treatments since the beginning of recorded time. Colour therapy is possibly rooted in Ayurveda, an ancient form of medicine practiced in India for thousands of years. Other historic roots are attributed to Chinese and ancient Egyptian culture. In traditional Chinese medicine, each organ is associated with a colour. Ancient Egyptians built solarium-type rooms, which could be fitted with coloured panes of glass. The sun would shine through the glass and flood the patient with colour.
Today, some therapists have a box with a mechanism that flickers light into the eyes.They report success in speeding the recovery of stroke victims and those persons who experience chronic depression. Some therapists recommend the wearing of eyeglasses with coloured lenses. Specialized shops also sell (baths equipped with) lamps that emit the wanted colour to induce the desired effect. Chromotherapy is not bound to medicine: practitioners of Feng Shui bring specific colours into our homes and workplaces, trying to achieve optimum balance of energy.
In the United States, colour and light therapy is beginning to be recognized as a complementary system to other treatments. In Europe, Dr. Peter Mandel, a German acupuncturist, developed a system to apply colour and light to acupuncture points on the body. This so called colourpuncture is now being taught in many countries.
Meaning and use of colours
Alternative healthcare providers who practice colour therapy often relate the seven colours of the colour spectrum to specific areas of the body known as the chakras. Like in yoga, the chakras are believed to be specific spiritual energy centres of the body. The accredited therapeutic action of colours is related to the chakra they represent:
First Chakra: base of the spine
In chromotherapy, red is considered to be the colour of life, of the glowing sun and of fire. Red is said to increase the pulse rate, to raise the blood pressure and the rate of breathing. Red has also been called the colour of desire. Red would generally be applied to support the circulatory functions and is claimed to be used with success to combat anaemia, asthma, diseases of the larynx, certain skin diseases and chronic coughs. A person with an excess of red could express domination, physical cruelty, anger, and vulgarity.
Second Chakra: pelvis area
Being a colour mixed from red and yellow, according to chromotherapists orange stands for kind-heartedness and warm-heartedness of an individual. Orange would symbolise the rising sun, and make us alert and cheerful. It is believed to affect both our bodies and our minds. Astonishing results are ascribed to the use of the colour orange to treat mental illness, depressions, discontent and pessimism. Orange could be applied for the treatment of arteriosclerosis, sclerenecephaly, cardiosclerosis, loss of appetite, anaemia, anorexia and digestive system discomforts (e.g., flatulence, cramps). A person with an excess of orange could express confusion, tiredness, and pessimism.
Third Chakra: solar plexus - just above the belly button
In colour therapy, yellow is the symbol of the sun at the horizon. Yellow is the brightest of the colours that are commonly used in colour therapy. Yellow reflects light in all directions, and could therefore be able to create an impression of detachment and liberation. In naturopathy yellow is applied when trying to combat glandular diseases and diseases of the lymphatic system, and to strengthen the nervous system. Yellow is said to have effects that greatly assist metabolism and glandular activity. A person with an excess of this colour could express lack of concentration, malice, and deviousness.
Fourth Chakra: heart
The colour green is located in the middle of the colour spectrum and is associated with a harmonizing effect. It would not make us quiet, but calm us in a neutral, positive sense. Green is called the colour of possession and of the will to possess. Green is also considered to be the colour of concentration. Among other things, the colour green is applied for the naturopathic treatment of bronchitis, whooping cough, inflammations of the joints, and swellings. In addition, green is thought to have a positive influence on the treatments of cysts, eye diseases and diabetes, generally promoting the secretion processes. Green is supposed to promote relaxation of the organs and stimulate general detoxification of the body. A person with an excess of green could experience lethargy, lack of motivation, insecurity, and jealousy. Pink is a secondary colour that can also be associated with the Heart chakra.
Fifth Chakra: throat
In chromotherapy, blue is the colour of peace and infinity. Blue is claimed to profoundly calm and relax us. Our bodies and minds are believed to be conveyed to a state of peace, repose and softness. This acclaimed relaxing and tranquilizing property of blue is applied for relieving headaches and migraines, the pains of stomach, muscle cramps, and even liver disorders. As a general rule, the colour blue is said to have a very positive effect on all kinds of pain conditions. An excess of this colour in a person could bring about doubt, distrust, apathy, and melancholia.
Sixth Chakra: lower part of the forehead
Indigo is believed to be a cooling colour that develops psychic perception and intuition. It is applied in health treatments for eyes, ears, nose, and mental problems. It is also used in attempts to treat addiction. Indigo is also ascribed to have sedative and calming effects. Some chromotherapists say indigo may be useful in controlling bleeding, and treating abscesses. Sometimes the colour violet also gets associated with this chakra, depending upon the practitioner's training.
Seventh Chakra: top of the head
Practitioners name violet to be the colour of the emotions and it is considered to be a meditative colour. In colour therapy and in particular in colour acupuncture, violet is applied for treating the lymphatic system and the spleen. Violet is also used in attempts to soothe organs, relax muscles, and calm the nervous system. A person with an excess of this colour could express fanaticism and domination. The colour white or magenta can also be associated with this chakra, depending upon the practitioner's training.
- Luscher's colour test
- A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution
-  Theo Gimbel/Rudolf Steiner
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