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Color Therapy (Chromotheraphy)
By Hedieh Ghavidel

Colortherapy or Chromotherapy is the use of color and light in healing based on the belief that individuals have predictable physiological responses to specific colors.

The roots of colortherapy can be traced back to ancient Egypt and China where a form of this alternative therapy was part of the medical systems of both civilizations.

Ancient Egyptians used solarium-type rooms with colored glass panes to guide sunlight and bathe the patient in color.

In the 'color your world' concept of the ancient Chinese design technique of Feng Shui, light and color was brought into homes and workplaces to balance energy.

For years researchers have been studying the effects of color on mood, health and on thought. An individual's preference for one color over another may be related to the way that color makes him/her feel.

Color can be described as light -- visible radiant energy -- of certain wavelengths which are translated into colors by the photoreceptors in the retina known as cones.

The retina has three kinds of cones: one for blue, one for red and one for green. Different colors are perceived when the brain combines these three colors.

When this light energy, which is unique to every color, enters the body through the eyes or through the skin, it stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands, resulting in the production of certain hormones which, in turn, trigger a variety of physiological processes that help physical and emotional balance.

This explains why color has been found to have such a direct influence on one's moods, thoughts, and behavior -- an influence that many believe to be separate from psychological and cultural factors.

When selecting a color to effect a change in mood or to relieve discomfort, it is important to choose the color best suited to the particular objective.

Blue is believed to have a relaxing, calming and peaceful effect. It lowers the heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. Study has found that children prone to aggressive behavior became calmer when placed in a blue classroom.

Blue has been found to make people feel cooler in hot and humid environments. It is also believed to help relieve feverish conditions.

It can help relieve the pain of ulcers, back problems, insomnia, burns, rheumatism, bladder infections and inflammatory disorders.

The best place to use the healing properties of the color blue is the countryside where the blue of the sky and water can impart a feeling of calm on the individual.

Green has a soothing and relaxing effect on the body as well as on the mind. It promotes harmony and balance. Anxious and depressed people can benefit from green surroundings.

Because it stimulates growth, green is considered an excellent general healing color. It can be used to help heal broken bones and for tissue re-generation.

The color is used in the treatment of nervous disorders, exhaustion, bacterial infections, heart problems, and cancer. It may also be a good environmental color for dieters.

Violet creates a peaceful environment. It suppresses the appetite and is good for scalp and kidney problems as well as migraine headaches. It can be used for muscle relaxation and to calm the nervous system.

Red stimulates, excites, warms the body and promotes energy. It improves circulation, increases the heart rate, and stimulates red blood cells. It also boosts brainwave activity and improves respiration.

The color of passion and energy, red is also good for impotence and frigidity. It can help heal anemia, bladder infections, skin problems, and depression.

Individuals with poor coordination should avoid wearing red.

Those suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure) should avoid rooms with red décor as such environments can cause a spike in their blood pressure. Individuals with hypotension (low blood pressure), however, can benefit from this color.

Pink is believed to have a soothing effect on the body and helps muscle relaxation. Due to its tranquilizing effect on aggressive and violent individuals, pink is often used in prisons and juvenile and drug centers as well as hospitals.

Those suffering from anxiety and withdrawal symptoms can benefit from pink.

Indigo is believed to be good for clearing congestion. It is a good astringent and purifier. It is used for treating ear, nose and eye diseases and helps relieve sinus pain.

Orange is the color of choice for promoting enthusiasm, stimulating the appetite and reducing fatigue. Using this color in placemats and tablecloths can encourage picky eaters or pique the appetite of an ill person.

This color should be avoided by those trying to lose weight.

When one feels tired or rundown wearing an orange garment may help lift energy levels.

It can also be used to ease the digestive system, to boost the immune system, and for general weaknesses. It may also improve allergies and constipation.

Yellow is the most memorable of all colors and promotes mental stimulation. Jotting things down on yellow paper helps an individual remember them.

This color also raises the blood pressure and pulse rate but to a lesser degree than red.

Being the color of sunshine, it has an energizing effect and can help relieve depression. It may be used to treat muscle cramps, hypoglycemia, overactive thyroid, and gallstones.

Yellow can also help treat dermatitis and other skin problems. It can be used to stimulate the digestive and lymphatic systems.

Black is a "power" color. Wearing black clothes promotes the feeling of strength and self-confidence. It also suppresses the appetite so covering the dining table with a black tablecloth might be helpful for weight loss. 

Article originally published on Press TV (December 12, 2008), reprinted with permission.

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