Color as Therapy

by Cathy Embrey LMT, LMEi

Color has many uses and its therapeutic function is expanding. We are used to seeing color used as warning devices such as stop signs and red lights. Businesses and organizations use color such as red to stimulate the appetite: green in hospitals for healing and relaxation, and pink in jail holding cells. Some therapists use static color found in flowers, wall color, blankets and artwork to stimulate the eye, mind or sense of balance. Color also has a vibration, like a wave frequency. The sun, reflective prisms, even light bulbs vibrate colors of the rainbow. Color became part of the healing process for many alternative therapists going back to the early 1980s. How can this be? Sometimes to open the mind to understanding new concepts, we have to briefly look at the use of the concept in our daily lives. We know that light penetrates flesh; we also know that without light there would be no color, color would cease to exist.

Ultraviolet color waves are used to disinfect pools and kill bacteria on the skin. Deep, penetrating infrared lamps are used to warm muscle tissue.

We describe feelings with color. We may hear, “He’s green with envy; They’re feeling blue; She’s in the pink; or I am so mad I’m seeing red.” We describe people as having a dark cloud over them, or she is absolutely glowing, usually referring to the color of white or gold. White and gold usually refer to a period of great joy, such as the birth of a child, or to someone traveling a path of enlightenment.

Color is documented in history as a rainbow, the covenant symbol, from God made to Noah and his descendents to never destroy the earth again by water. The same color spectrum is found in body energy work most often described in the folklore rituals of Hinduism as Chakras. Note how the rainbow is color seen by anyone, the chakra colors are said to be seen by a few and invisible to most. But how do the colors affect the healing journey and is there a way we can incorporate them in to our daily lives?

How is color reflecting your life? Red. We are in a physical body, the blood runs red, and discussions of color often begin here. It is known as the root, the base of sexuality, passion, action, ambition, also of anger. Red can boost your energy level, increase the heart rate, and release adrenaline. It promotes action and movement. It reflects living with passion. Red is stimulating of both positive and negative passions (love and hate). It can also stimulate your appetite. But too much can cause a negative reversal in the desired outcome. Red cars often have higher insurance rates. Red gets your attention: think of red lights, stop signs, emergency vehicles, or a red dress in a room of dark suits. It is considered a universal color of danger.

Orange is optimistic. Orange promotes physical confidence and enthusiasm; adventure seekers are drawn to orange. It stimulates two-way conversation. Orange helps in group social events whether it is a party or a community gathering. Orange also helps people move on or think ahead. The extrovert and optimist feel even more uninhibited in orange. It restores energy, vitality and balance. On a diet? Get that orange out of the kitchen – it stimulates the appetite.

Yellow is the color of mind and intellect whether weak or strong. Yellow stimulates the left analytical side of the brain. It uplifts your spirit and creates enthusiasm for life. Yellow also helps with the integration of new ideas and thoughts, a new way of doing things. Though yellow can make you impulsive, it helps with quick decision making. Yellow relates to the head not the heart. Staying in yellow can cause nervousness and agitation.

Green rejuvenates balance, growth and self-reliance. Often thought to be the color of healing, it helps balance our mental, emotional and physical energies. It balances the physical center of the body with the surrounding environment. Green waits in anticipation that the planet is still growing. Green is the predominant color on the planet. It reflects the hope of things to come. It links the heart and helps us to nurture others. Green helps us see clearly from all sides. Green revives mental exhaustion yet also can encourage materialism.

Blue is trust and peace. It also represents integrity, loyalty, trust and intelligence. It represents conservatism, perseverance, caring, concern, idealism and devotion. The negative side of blue can elicit aloof, passive and self-righteous behavior. It helps with one-to-one communication. Blue induces calm, peace and truth, the darker the blue the more authority it represents. It enhances wisdom as well as devotion and religious study. Blue is safe and predictable, and loves order while unpredictability can be overwhelming. Blue is stubborn, it doesn’t like change and will always believe its ways is the best way.

Indigo is the color of intuition, idealism and structure as well as being ritualistic or addictive. Indigo is idealistic, highly responsible, deeply sincere, obedient, faithful and visionary with a devotion to truth and selflessness. Negative attributes are being fanatical, judgmental, intolerant, impractical and self-righteous. Indigo helps when there is a desire to restructure your life. It represents an inner wisdom, a knowing and awareness. It promotes deep concentration during times of introspection and meditation. Indigo supports addictive personality types. It allows drama to flow freely by making everything larger than life.

White represents purity, innocence, wholeness, completion and perfection. In psychology it is often thought of as the color of new beginnings. White opens the way for creation, anything that the mind can conceive. It is also the color of protection and encouragement. It cleanses your thoughts, emotions and ultimately the spirit, refreshing and strengthening your entire energy system. Too much white can cause feelings of isolation and emptiness.

For personal application, study aspects of each color to see which one(s) radiate to your soul. If you can’t tell just stare at the color and see if you feel better or weaker after fifteen minutes. Then get yourself some colored light bulbs and relax.

Author: Brian

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