Our world is filled with a rainbow of colors that are all associated with different moods. Depending on the person, a color like blue can represent calm and relaxation, but it can also represent coldness. Not only can colors affect our mood, they can actually affect our mental and physical health. You can learn to harness the power of color therapy to boost your mood, improve mental health, and reduce stress and anxiety.
What Is Color Therapy?
Color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, is a therapeutic practice that incorporates color and colored lights to help treat physical and mental health. This can take many different forms, from saunas bathing clients in different colored lights to incorporating certain colors into home decor.
The significance of color has a long history in cultures around the world and was involved in worship in different forms in ancient Greece, India, China, and India. For example, Egyptian healers wore blue to represent sacredness, and in Greece, Athena wore a golden robe to represent her wisdom and holiness.
Today, color therapy is mostly viewed as alternative medicine. Some medical spas offer chromatherapy saunas, where people can go inside and be bathed in different colors of light for different reasons. Blue light helps guests feel relaxed and calm, while pink light is said to detoxify.
You don’t have to go to a fancy spa to harness the benefits of chromotherapy. There are tons of ways to incorporate color into your life at home to help boost your mood and provide relaxation.
Color Therapy Science
Since color therapy is still an emerging technique, there isn’t a ton of existing scientific research to pull from. Scientists are now working to figure out why colors affect our moods the way they do.
When working on chromatherapy treatments, color therapists think about the way we experience light and color. Colors are made up of reflected lights that hit our eyes when the wavelengths vibrate. The information travels from our eyes to our brains, which interpret these wavelengths. Color therapy is based on the idea that by controlling the types of colors our eyes see, we can send certain electrical impulses to the brain to trigger the desired mood.
Although much of the research behind color therapy is still in the experimental phases, people all around the world have experienced the benefits. According to patients and therapists, color therapy can help reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and can assist in healing physical illnesses as well.
Types of Color Therapy
There are so many different forms of color therapy that treat a variety of different mental and physical illnesses, with more treatments showing up every day.
Color Therapy For Mood
One of the most common uses for chromatherapy is mood boosting. Different colors are used differently to encourage different desired moods. Blue and purple lights are said to be anti-inflammatory and calming, green lights purify and cleanse, and red lights invigorate.
Color therapy spas are becoming increasingly popular. These spas incorporate colors into their treatments in many different ways, including bathing clients in colored light, having clients wear special colored glasses, and having clients spend time in certain rooms painted with different colors.
Colored light therapy is said to help relieve stress and anxiety and reduce the symptoms of depression. A really common example of this is light therapy being used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression common during fall and winter when people are usually exposed to less sunlight. People who suffer from SAD are often encouraged to spend time under bright, yellow-toned lamps that mimic sunlight. After participating in regular light therapy treatments, patients typically report higher mood stability, happiness, and positivity.
Color Therapy For Pain
Chromatherapy is used to treat more than just mental illnesses. Doctors and scientists have also been studying the effects of color therapy for chronic pain, such as migraines and fibromyalgia-related pain. Dr. Mohab Ibrahim is an associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and is one of the leaders in this field of study.
Dr. Ibrahim specifically studies the effects of the color green on pain. He began this research after his brother, who suffers from chronic headaches, reportedly began to feel better after spending time in his garden around lots of greenery. Dr. Ibrahim’s study found that regular exposure to green light reduced the average number of headache days experienced per month by about 60%. The participants in the study also reported reduced headache severity and intensity while using green light therapy.
Since migraines are notoriously difficult to treat, these types of advancements are really exciting. Scientists are now beginning to study the way this research can have applications for all different types of chronic pain.
Color Therapy For Skin
Participating in color therapy can have tons of benefits when it comes to skincare. It can help skin look brighter, reduce redness and inflammation, and even help with acne.
Blue light is commonly used in hospitals to help treat jaundice in newborn babies. Jaundice is a condition that causes high levels of a compound called bilirubin in the blood and can make the skin and eyes turn yellow. Treatment involves placing jaundiced babies under blue halogen or fluorescent lights while they sleep, so their skin can absorb the lightwaves. These light waves help eliminate the bilirubin from their systems, so their skin can return to a normal color.
LED light therapy is also used to treat a variety of skincare concerns in adults, including wrinkles, acne, and inflammation. According to estheticians, red LED lights help to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin, which reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles and helps the skin appear younger. Blue LED lights kill acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin and reduce oil production, leaving you with clear, smooth skin without any needles or invasive treatments.
Using Color Therapy At Home
While chromatherapy treatments are making waves in doctor’s offices and spas around the globe, not everybody has the time or money to go out and get these treatments. But don’t fret; there are tons of ways you can reap the benefits of color therapy right from home.
Decorate With Color
Filling your house with your favorite colors can help boost your mood, reduce stress, and help improve relaxation. By learning the effects of different colors on the brain, you can paint certain rooms to match the feeling you want to achieve when you’re in them.
Colors that relax you should be used for bedrooms and bathrooms. For most people, these are cool, soft tones, like greens and blues. Use bright, vibrant colors for rooms where you want to feel energized, such as kitchens and dining rooms. These can be colors like oranges and yellows.
Spending time outside can help drastically improve mood, especially during times of the year where you’re not getting as much sunlight. Exposure to the sun can help improve mood and relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plus, being in nature around green plants is a great way to get exposure to green light, which can help reduce pain.
Creating art projects with colors you love is a great way to reap the benefits of chromotherapy. Art therapy is a well-documented practice that can help improve self-confidence, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Combining art therapy and color therapy helps you get the maximum benefit of both practices. Try making a painting with colors that calm you, or even complete a custom Paint Your Numbers kit that uses your favorite shades.
Colored Light Bulbs
Incorporating colored light bulbs into your home is a cheap but effective way to reap the benefits of chromotherapy. You can use any kind of light bulb, from LED to fluorescent. Use different colors for different desired effects.
If you need a night light, try getting a dim, red bulb. Research has shown that bright blue lights can wake us up and reduce melatonin production, the chemical that makes us sleepy. Green lights have been shown to reduce pain, so try placing those in bathrooms, bedrooms, or other areas you commonly relax in.
Lights and colors can have a huge effect on our moods and feelings, and that can sometimes be for the negative. Lots of exposure to blue light can make us feel bright and wide-awake, which is great in the morning and afternoon, and not so great at nighttime.
Electronics such as phones and computers emit a lot of blue light, so if you use these devices right before bedtime and find yourself lying awake, invest in a pair of blue-light blocking glasses. This helps shield your eyes from the blue light and can help you sleep better as a result.
It’s no secret that colors can have a powerful effect on our bodies and minds. There are tons of amazing ways to harvest the power of chromotherapy right from home, whether you want to improve your mood, reduce chronic pain, use it for skincare, or to sleep better at night.
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