Colour therapy, also knows as chromotherapy, uses the benefits of different colours and shades to affect your wellbeing. As each colour has a unique light wavelength, the colour therapy principles use the energy of each shade to boost your mental and physical health.
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You can use these ideas in your own home, in your decor and furniture, and in the clothes you wear – in a similar way to using aromatherapy to influence your mood.
You can start by taking part in a Colour quiz, based on research by Dr. Max Lûscher, which aims to identify your emotional response to each colour. It’s best to complete the test twice, a few minutes apart, and your answers are likely to vary on different days. The report covers your existing situation, your stress sources and your restrained characteristics. It then explains your desired objective and your actual problems.
Colour and your body
Chromotherapy practitioners believe that each colour relates to an area of the body:
Red and pink colours are linked to your blood, circulation and breathing. Use these colours to raise your pulse, blood pressure and the speed that you breathe, and strengthen your veins.
Yellow is linked to your skin and tissues, mainly your digestive system, metabolism and nervous system. It can be used to strengthen your body, treat asthma and bronchitis, and help with skin problems.
Green colours have a harmonious, calming effect. Green can be used to fight infection and as an antiseptic.
Blue also encourages relaxation and calm, so can be used to treat all types of pain (especially stomach and muscle pain) as well as headaches, colds, tension and stress.
Indigo colours are beneficial for problems with the eyes, ears and nose, while more violet shades of purple with a pink tone can help relax your muscles and nervous system. Violet colours are also useful when meditating.
Colours can also be linked to your chakras: red relates to the base chakra, orange the sacral chakra, yellow the solar plexus chakra, green the heart chakra, blue the throat chakra, indigo the brow chakra (the third eye) and violet relates to the crown chakra.
Colour for wellbeing
Vanessa Volpe of Colour for Wellbeing uses colour therapy techniques to manage symptoms of anxiety and boost your confidence, as well as treating problems such as insomnia and physical pain. Her ‘Colour Play’ programme combines occupational therapy techniques with colour therapy.
Professor University’s Lighting Laboratory can light an environment across the spectrum and research the effect of colour and light on sleep, emotion and wellbeing. Coloured light has been found to have a small effect on heart rate and blood pressure: red light raises heart rate and blue light reduces it. You can read more about their experiments here.Chair of Colour Science and Technology at the University of Leeds and studies the non-visual effects of colour. The
Karen Haller is a colour psychologist, who uses colour to create a well-balanced environment that creates positive behaviour. “Colours can influence how someone thinks, feels and behaves,” she explains, “so we can use colour to boost wellbeing and morale. Using a palette of colours that you resonate with, you’re likely to feel good and help support long-term positive behaviours.”
Karen’s advice is to not be scared of colour, and of what people think of your colour choices. “Trust your own colour intuition. Explore the colours you love – you might not know why, but if you love them and they make you feel good then use them. You’ll want different colours at different times of the day and week.” She warns against following the colours your friends use, or are in fashion – colours are completely personal.
Colouring for therapy
You can also apply the theories of colour therapy with colouring books for adults. Lucy at In The Midst Of Madness reviews colouring books, and discusses being given colouring activities while she was treated for her mental health issues at The Priory. Colouring has been found to release dopamine; the benefits include better sleep, and it can be used for pain management and managing mental illness.