Exploring Color Therapy
I’ll never forget the neon orange walls of my soon-to-be bedroom in Bushwick. I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “What kind of psycho could successfully live amidst this garish tone?”. Knowing I could not, the first order of business upon moving in was to give it a paint job. After much deliberation, I chose a luscious purple tinged with pink undertones that left me feeling both uplifted and serene. The color played well against the all black furniture and instantly, the room became my haven.
The psyche is funny like that. How we gravitate towards one color over another, finding home in the nuances of internal and external expression. Color has always played an important part in my life, and the hues I’ve leaned towards have shifted and evolved over the years right along with the course of my life. Attachment to color is so profound that there is an entire field of holistic health dedicated to it.
Chromotherapy, alternatively known as color therapy, is a healing system that utilizes color and light to aid in the treatment of mental health conditions. Widely underfunded, it is considered to be an alternative form of medicine that doesn’t have a lot of official research or medical backing. In fact, finding information on the topic from any reputable source proved quite the challenge. I do, however, believe that alongside many forms of holistic medicine, there is always room for exploration and intuition. By no means do I recommend throwing traditional medicine to the wind. I’m merely suggesting listening to your gut and if you find some truth to the effect color has on you, then investigate that. Color Therapy is most utilized in the realm of art therapy, a therapeutic approach to creative expression. Used to relieve stress and increase mindfulness, the goal is to help individuals develop self-expression, awareness, and insight.
In 1810, a poet named Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published a book called Theory of Colors, which kickstarted a quest into the realm of color. In it, he penned his views on the nature of color and how humans perceive them. Over time this led to many subsequent theories that link color to cognitive response. Certified Color Therapist Walaa, who is about to release her book, Heal Yourself with Color, believes, “Our subconscious mind uses color to speak to us. When we are attracted to or repulsed by a certain color or more it has a message for us. It’s telling us from a deeper place about what we need for our healing.” On her website, she offers a free color code ebook that dives into the language of color. She informs on red symbolizing the need for change and blue calling for us to align with our hidden truths. Aside from insights, she included tips on how to utilize color to your advantage. I highly recommend taking a peek at her work.
Color also plays an essential role in modern-day yogic philosophy in regards to the chakras. Following the colors of the rainbow, the root chakra takes on red, the sacral- orange, the solar plexus- yellow, the heart- green, the throat- blue, the third eye- indigo, ending with violet representing the final crown chakra. The colors are said to be aligned with wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum and align with the vibrational frequencies of each chakra of our body. While this seems a little esoteric for me, I’ll simply rely on the tangible facts.
In my personal experience, I have noticed a direct correlation between the environment surrounding me and its influence on my state of mind. I’ve always gravitated towards certain colors and met significant resistance from others. For years, I’ve found creative expression via the abundantly colorful eyeliners I use and interior design via the objects I surround myself with. I think by maintaining awareness to color, and the way it affects us is useful. Being mindful of your surroundings is just another way to embrace the moment, something all of us could benefit from.
While medical science catches up with instinct, I urge you to take a journey into color therapy and see what it has to offer you.
Create A Vibe Utilizing Color
Aesthetic is everything. Take note of how you feel existing in certain places. Are you calmed by pastels? Enlivened by bold statement tones? Utilize this knowledge to your advantage and design your spaces accordingly.
The easiest way to immerse yourself in color is to be in nature. Frolic in fields of green, spend time meandering through colorful flower gardens, or swimming in the cerulean blue oceans.
Connect with Your Emotions via Art Therapy
Are you feeling some sort of way? Not really sure what it is? Try coloring, drawing, or painting. Bring non-judgmental awareness to what colors you are drawn to, and when finished, reflect on how you feel.
Reap Physical Benefits with Red and Blue Light Therapy
Red Light Therapy is a treatment said to help skin, muscle tissue, and other parts of your body heal. It exposes you to low levels of red or near-infrared light.
Blue Light Therapy is used to treat sun damage, acne, and other types of skin disorders and can even be used to battle seasonal depression.
It’s common to see red and blue light therapy used in spas. Heyday, one of NYC’s top skin therapy centers, offers the use of light therapy as a facial enhancement. They claim, “Red light reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while blue light kills breakout-causing bacteria.”
Another healing treatment commonly offered in spas, building off of red light therapy; these are saunas designed to include chromotherapy in the process. ChillSpace NYC features a Clearlight Sauna reporting that by using three separate wavelengths of infrared light, the radiant heat emitted from a full-spectrum sauna penetrates deeply into the muscles, joints, and body alleviating pain and removing impurities on a cellular level.
Books on Color Therapy
Heal Yourself With Color by Walaa
The Little Book of Colour by Karen Haller
Color Therapy Plain & Simple by Nina Ashby