The Use of Color Therapy as a Method of Non-traditional Treatment

Subject: Alternative Medicine
Pages: 22
Words: 6168
Reading time:
25 min
Study level: Master

Introduction

There is no doubt that modern medicine has made tremendous progress in the treatment of many previously incurable diseases, including conditions that only two or three decades ago led to mass deaths of diagnosed patients. Such advances indeed appear to be a significant milestone in human history, but it should be clearly understood that this path has not been unimpeded and strictly scientific. On the contrary, since ancient times, healers and herbalists have sought to cure human diseases based not on scientific concepts and models, due to their absence, but metaphysical knowledge of reality and being. Generally speaking, many of the pseudomedical practices that were relevant a few centuries ago will seem not only bizarre but possibly harmful to effective medical practice, to a modern qualified physician and patient with developed critical thinking.

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Nevertheless, it should be clearly understood that the effectiveness of some of the metaphysical techniques for treating painful conditions may be justified by the patient’s personal experience, contrary to the beliefs of official science. In this case, convinced patients will continue to use such practices, allowing them to continue to be used and passed down through generations. In this context, it is particularly appropriate to explore the phenomenon of color therapy centered around the miraculous abilities of individual color shades. This medical practice’s historical context dates back to ancient civilizations, traditionally associating the therapy of the sick with mythological teachings. For example, from the surviving records of the clinical powers of the ancient Egyptians, it becomes clear that the skillful combination of fruit juice containing the power of the god Ra and a gem of the same color placed in a glass was, according to the ancient healers, an effective strategy for treating sick citizens (Scully). However, the color had much more power for ancient civilizations, which justifies the use of specific color hues: the nobles of ancient Egypt used blue as a sign of holiness and sacredness, while the golden color of ancient Greek Athena signaled the wisdom and holiness of a mythological character.

Much time has passed since the time of ancient civilizations, but color therapy has only strengthened its status as the method of alternative medicine. Although the official scientific community’s position on the use of color for healing remains unchanged, namely, this trend has been recognized as pseudoscientific, many people continue to resort to using colors to achieve specific biological effects. The central core of such beliefs is that most chronic and serious illnesses are of a psychosomatic nature and thus occur because of lesions in the individual’s cognitive abilities. The action of certain color shades can favorably affect the human mind, either exciting or inhibiting specific areas of consciousness. For example, an anxious patient who experiences regular psychological pressure and oppression can be placed in a room with the color blue, which, according to proponents of the color technique, allows for relaxation and calmness. On the other hand, pink light can lead to the forced removal of toxins from the body, so the poisoned or intoxicated patient will want to resort to therapy with these shades. Thus, it is worth noting that each of the colors has a unique biological effect and, therefore, can be used for individual cases.

This thesis is not intended to disparage or unrecognize the accumulated knowledge and experience in color therapy. On the contrary, recognizing the potential metaphysical effect of this technology, the author of this paper seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and nuances of color therapy. The research method in this paper is based on a literature review, supported by a critical analysis of the sources received. It is suspected that the use of color therapy as an alternative area of medicine does have biological efficacy and thus can be used for the therapy of psychological, cognitive, and chronic painful conditions of the patient. This master’s thesis aims to conduct an in-depth study of this issue and discuss the possible effects of color shades.

Literature Review

In reviewing the biological effects of color therapy, it is paramount to discuss the origins of the idea in the scientific community. Despite the antiquity of the idea of using colors to treat disease, the first meaningful rational attempts to substantiate the phenomena of color therapy were made by the medieval Persian physician and philosopher Avicenna. While he was still alive, Avicenna described in detail his own findings and discoveries regarding color effects on people in his own works, the Canon of Medicine (Avicenna 203). Thus, according to the scientist’s notes, the insufficiency of any body fluids in the internal environment should be compensated by nutrients of the same color. To support his ideas, Avicenna cited the example of a bleeding patient: losing the red colored fluid, which according to color therapy stimulates blood circulation, the patient may be in danger of being surrounded by red objects. On the contrary, turning to the shade of blue at this moment is an effective strategy to calm down and stop uncontrolled bleeding.

The evolutionary development of these views has been gradual, so the history of medicine and alchemy knows quite a few iconic names who have made some contributions to color therapy. However, the works of the Indian scientist Ghadiali, who conducted his research in this field in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century, deserve special attention. With evidence of successful episodes of treatment and rehabilitation of patients by using the light of different shades, he concluded that each of the existing colors has its own biological effect on the human body. In particular, while some of the colors, according to Ghadiali, had a stimulating effect on organ systems, others, on the contrary, could inhibit activity. In an effort to bring his own reasoning to bear, the Indian was able to design a device called Spectro-Chrome, which was used in medical practice until it was officially banned by the FDA in 1945 (Weird). The principle of operation of such a device was based on combining a patient’s specific symptoms with the therapeutic system: for diseases of the digestive system, the patient could turn to the use of yellow colors, while liver diseases could be eliminated with the activating red shade (Weird). Suggested instructions for the use of Spectro-Chrome described the actions of twelve different colored rays, which had effects on the body ranging from vitality to antimalarial effects.

In reviewing the available literature, similar beliefs can be found in the American color therapist Edwin Babbitt. In his book the Principles of Light and Color, published in the late nineteenth century, Babbitt defined in detail the healing properties of each of the fundamental colors (Babbitt 54). However, when interpreting the effects, it is easy to see discrepancies: while Avicenna and Ghadiali interpreted red as activating and stimulating blood circulation, in the work of the American Babbitt, red is presented as a soothing component. Moreover, it is interesting to note that Edwin Babbitt also used his theoretical findings for the clinical practice: the man designed a room in which the patient was exposed to natural sunlight through color filters installed on the windows.

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It is fair to say that such developments have not only not lost their relevance to modern alternative medicine, but on the contrary, they have become more deeply integrated with the clinical environment, receiving instrumentally improved representations. In particular, one of the modern works of Japanese researchers in the field of physiological and psychological health of patients refers to the use of an automated unit offering the patient a specific color shade in response to an identified disorder (Kawakami et al. 957). The conceptual design uses sensors of fundamental biological metrics: heart rate and electrocardiogram as indicators of pathology. If elevated parameter values are detected, the instrument illuminates the patient with a soothing blue.

It is essential to understand that the relative simplicity of the theoretical grain of pseudomedical technology, namely the effect of light of different hues on the patient, determines the breadth of potential modifications of such therapeutic systems. In addition to the already cited Japanese development of automated delivery of the desired color shade to the patient, it is necessary to mention the integration of these solutions with computerized structures. For example, a study by Korean scientists has shown that the use of computer modeling to visualize the effect of different colors in addressing interior design issues is an essential milestone for creating favorable living conditions for retirees with specific sensory problems (Sengupta et al. 2270). In other words, based on the suggested sources, it is possible to notice a clear tendency towards expanding the possibilities of color therapy and integrating its basics not only into the medical field but also into the environment of everyday life. More and more people are becoming convinced that color does affect their psychological state, so they tend to use the most comfortable shades in their own surroundings.

In recent years, including due to the official renunciation of the ideas of color therapy by the scientific community, interest in identifying the exact mechanism of the effects of color on people has only grown. With a reliable knowledge of exactly what effect a given color has on a patient’s health, a specialist can make their own decisions regarding treatment options and the duration of therapy. At the same time, a unification of the available information in this field will make it impossible to have discrepancies and differences in interpretations, which are noticeable, for example, when analyzing the works of Avicenna, Ghadiali, and Babbitt. The potential danger of such disagreements is that if monochromatic light does have biological effects, then undesirable side effects are possible if color filters are improperly used. This, in turn, is a sufficient argument for pursuing color therapy research, although according to Scully, this decision often involves financial and reputational risks for the researcher. In the few paragraphs below, an attempt has been made to review the various existing perspectives on exactly how color affects the physiological and mental state of the patient.

In fact, there is no consensus on clarifying the mechanisms of the effects of color on the human body. While some authors point to a purely biological principle of influence, others refer to Ayurvedic principles, postulating the existence of color chakras. From the physiological point of view, it is worth understanding that the eye is a complex system, including photoreceptors that detect both black and white and color shades: rods and cones, respectively. When light strikes the inner cavity of the retina, the photoreceptor is excited and transmits the color signal to the hypothalamus via the optic nerve, as shown in Figure 1 (“Structure of Human Eye” 2). At the same time, natural light itself, or white light, is the totality of all existing monochromatic beams, from red to violet. To put it differently, it is a stream of electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range visible to the human eye, whose constituent parts, depending on the wavelength, are perceived by man as a color octave, as it is shown in Figure 2. Consequently, it is suspected that each color has a specific effect on the human organism, including its psycho-emotional and physiological state. According to Westland, the abundance of blue hues in incoming color signals the activation of the release of cortisol, a biologically active glucocorticoid hormone of steroid nature. This hormone allows the body to wake up and stay awake, so using blue hues at night is not a useful measure for healthy sleep. In other words, the core of this idea is determined by the effect of specific wavelengths of light on hypothalamic arousal.

Structure of the human eye.
Fig. 1. Structure of the human eye. From: “Structure of Human Eye.” Ncert. 2018. Web. 
Visible color spectrum. 
Fig. 2. Visible color spectrum. From: NASA. “The Appearance of the Sky.” UCAR. 2020. Web.

In contrast, most color therapists seek to justify the effects of color with esoteric teachings about chakras and soul vibrations. More specifically, Ghadiali argued that color represents chemical potentials with high vibrational frequencies that can resonate within a person (“Chromotherapy”). Whereas some colors are well compatible with the body’s characteristics, others, on the contrary, can cause displacement, resulting in ill health. Another explanation for this phenomenon lies in the energy balance of the body: according to Koggala and Hettiarachchi, energy balance is closely related to the psycho-energetic centers, otherwise known as chakras (3). The assumption of the existence of chakras is based on the hypothesis of energy flows through the human body that support physical and mental health. Thus, in seven specific areas of the body, energy is more intense and spiraling: these seven areas are called the fundamental chakras, as shown in Figure 3.

Location of the seven main chakras of the body.
Fig. 3. Location of the seven main chakras of the body. From: Koggala, Radha and Anishka Amilani Hettiarachchi. “Impact of Room Colour for Patient’s Recovery: a Study Implemented with Post Cardiac Surgery Patients in Lanka Hospitals, Colombo.” 7th International Conference on, Sustainable Built Environment, University of Peradeniya. 2016. Web. 

In the esoteric community, it is believed that the chakras and their structure became known after yogis saw and described them as lotus flowers in deep meditation. Each of the body’s seven chakras, located vertically along the spine, vibrates with a specific frequency and amplitude (Zoldan). Those located in the lower part of the energy chain operate at a lower frequency: such chakras are considered coarser and produce coarser states of consciousness. In contrast, the chakras at the top of the chain operate at a high frequency and are responsible for more subtle states of consciousness and higher intelligence, development of spirituality and altruism, and compassion. A total of seven chakras determine the pivot consisting of Sahasrara, Ajna, Vishuddha, Anahata, Manipura, Svadhishthana, and Muladhara, as shown in Figure 4.

The structure of the seven chakras of the human body. 
Fig. 4. The structure of the seven chakras of the human body. From: “What are the 7 Chakras? A Comprehensive Guide of the Energy Centers and their Effects.”Arhanta Yoga. 2016. Web. 

While it is not the purpose of this review or of the scientific work as a whole to explore the phenomenon of the inner chakras, it is nevertheless essential to discuss them briefly. This is important for color therapy since most sources discussing this alternative medicine technique operate in vague terms. Thus, the lowest chakra is located at the perineum in men and at the cervix in women: it is the red lotus with four petals, called Muladhara (Zoldan). This chakra influences the organs of secretion and reproduction, but it is also where human evolution begins. Above Muladhara, at a distance of two finger widths, is the Svadhisthana chakra, closely connected to Muladhara. It represents an orange lotus with six petals. It is related to the secretion of the urogenital and reproductive systems, as well as to the organs of these structures. Its effect on the deeper layers of the personality causes a selfish feeling. Going higher up the body, one can find the third chakra, which is located in the area of the vertebral column, necessarily behind the navel. It is the yellow lotus of ten petals, called the Manipura, and associated with the solar plexus: the Manipura influences the digestive process and the assimilation of food and energy. It is worth noting that at this chakra level, consciousness and personality identification are still limited to coarse animal skills, namely greed, sensuality, and striving.

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In continuation, along the spinal column above, there is another chakra, Anahata, which has a traditional symbolic representation in the form of a green lotus with twelve spread out petals. Proximity to the heart determines the functionality of this chakra: being embedded in the solar plexus, it is responsible for the heart and respiratory organs and is also inextricably linked with the thymus gland. From the sensual point of view, Anahata is responsible for the emotions of absolute and unconditional love without any differentiation, hatred, and cruelty. Higher than Anahata is the fifth chakra, called Vishuddha: the traditional appearance of this point is represented by a blue lotus with sixteen petals. Being woven into the cervical nerve plexus, Vishuddha keeps the thyroid gland working, keeping the body and mind pure.

Contexts related to mental balance, empathy, and purity of mind relate specifically to the Vishuddha. Even higher up, at the top of the spinal column in close proximity to the medulla oblongata is the sixth chakra, Ajna, which is one of the essential points of the body. Ajna has two silvery gray or completely colorless petals. The chakras above Vishuddha are mainly associated with higher intellect. Ajna is the command center, and it acts in conjunction with the retinal activation system, the medulla oblongata, and the gland. Meanwhile, this chakra represents the third eye: structure through which the entire subtle world can be perceived. Finally, when energy and consciousness reach the highest center, which is called the Sahasrara and has the appearance of a thousand-petal lotus, the last chakra is filled. This point is located at the very top of the human body, at the top of the head, where a direct connection with the pituitary gland is formed. The supreme experience in biological and spiritual development is observed at this point. It is believed that a person with a tipped Sahasrara is able to coexist simultaneously in two worlds, the real and the spiritual, maintaining a harmonious connection between them.

The energy fullness of all seven chakras corresponds to the full functioning of the organism. However, in the event that any of them appears to be replenished, there is a physical disturbance, which in turn leads to the development of diseases. According to numerous opinions in the field, color therapy is a central technique for maintaining normal chakra functioning (Mindmonia; Mirpadyab et al. 78). More specifically, the frequencies specific to each color of the spectrum correlate with the energetic frequency of the seven major chakras and the frequency of the vibrations of the organs, muscles, and bones in the chakra’s area of action. For example, orange is associated with the lower chakra, which is responsible for the ovaries, testicles, kidneys, pelvic area, spleen, and intestines. This means that color therapy can be used to activate the whole system or a specific chakra: if a patient has a sore throat, therefore, a color therapist can activate the corresponding chakra by placing a blue light on the neck or by imagining a beam of blue light shining on the neck. When a given chakra is stimulated with blue light, it is assumed that all of its properties are enhanced.

Necessary attention in the literature review deserves additional research on the influence of different color shades on the body. As shown earlier, there is no consensus on this issue, but nevertheless, some general trends can be outlined. Having knowledge about the structure of the polychromatic light beam, it is essential to say that, apparently, the long-wave parts of the spectrum have a stimulating effect on the organism, while the short-wave parts, on the contrary, allow for calming down and relax the body. In order to systematize the data found and to simplify the visual presentation of the material, the expedient solution was to combine the available information into the summary Table 1. Advantages of such a table consist not only in uniting physiological and esoteric models but also in illustrating a variety of interpretations of color effects on the body.

Author(s) AL‐Ayash et al. 204 DeVault Galyen Han and Lee 1248
Red raises heart rate increases physical energy, stamina, stability. highly arouses, physically heals. causes tension and anxiety.
Green soothes and relaxes supports balance, harmony, love. improves mood, enhances pleasant emotions.
Blue lowers heart rate increases calmness, communication, honesty. helps to be peaceful, calm, associated with wisdom. causes tension and anxiety, responds to fatigue and depression.
Yellow raises heart rate increases fun, humor, lightness. gives energy, awakens to action. It gives vigor and activity.

Tab. 1. Summary of the effects of specific shades on the human body.

Despite the apparent differences of opinion regarding the influence of color shade on the body, in general, it is not difficult to identify some of the certain regularities that have been cited both in a number of esoteric works studied and in scientific works. Penetrating into a human body, light causes a whole cascade of metabolic transformations in the body, affecting organs and systems, and activates physiological processes, restores the balance of the internal environment, supports the stability of cellular metabolism, regulates metabolism, increases the vitality of cells and tissues, immunity and supports natural homeostasis mechanism. Each color of the optical spectrum has a definite influence on the mental and physical state of a person. For example, the red hue affects the nervous system of the sympathetic subsystem, suppressing depressive effects in combination with increased activity of hormones, increasing heartbeat, and respiratory rate. It is evident that this leads to an increase in blood pressure. Red tones the body and warms it up from the inside, as well as instilling self-confidence. However, the color red can cause feelings of emotional tension, excitement, or anxiety. On the other hand, the color yellow is responsible for the digestive system, which stimulates the entire gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, and liver. It would not be wrong to say that yellow also activates the autonomic nervous system and has a cleansing effect on the entire body. In addition, yellow most likely purifies the person from negative emotions, promotes creativity, and activates thinking activity.

The color green has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. This shade relieves spasms of smooth muscles of blood vessels and bronchi, which has a sedative effect on the central nervous system and reduces the heart rate and blood pressure. Green inspires a sense of optimism and helps to achieve inner harmony (Lee and Kim 3). The last fundamental color is blue, which, along with general calmness, has a favorable effect on the thyroid gland, vocal cords, and lungs (Alkozei et al. 1674). Blue is known to normalize blood pressure, regulate the heart, and relieve muscle tension, which helps to reduce appetite and weight loss.

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It is interesting to note that a number of secondary colors also have special biological effects. For example, white helps a person to tune in to a positive attitude, expresses good intentions, and stores energy (Lee and Kim 3). Brown is aimed at developing a person’s professional skills, so it stimulates the desire to work and also promotes mental stability. Pink, actively used in the treatment of depressive states, relaxes the patient and sets them up for romance (Cherry). The near-purple part of the spectrum encourages philosophical reflection and increases wisdom (Johnson and Chamberlain). Finally, although black has a concentrating effect and increases a person’s alertness, it can also bring depressive emotions (Cherry). As can be seen from the above data, the effect of a particular color on the body is difficult to reduce to a single effect, which can be dictated either by the diversity of opinions in this field or by the actual ambiguity of color effects. It can be assumed that an increase in the intensity of the hue leads to an overabundance of color, which in turn provokes undesirable effects.

Without going into detail about the variety of color characteristics and their symbolic meanings, it is important to specify, however, that this theory forms the basis of the most respected and reliable psychological test, which allows for research on personality. More specifically, this is the Lusher Identification Test, which is designed on the assumption that internal mental states often dictate the test taker’s choice of color among the options offered. Taking as a basis the kernel of the idea of color therapy as expounded by Avicenna, it would be correct to assume that a patient suffering from pathologies of individual organ systems or chakras is inclined to choose an appropriate color, and therefore the results of the Lusher test may determine the patient’s state of health. It is worth noting that the output of the test upon completion is characterized by a color shift: depending on the successive choices, as reflected in Figure 5, the resulting color shade acquires a clear direction, which describes the mood, state, and mental characteristics of the subject at the time of the test.

 One of the questions of a possible variant of the Lucher psychological test.
Fig. 5. One of the questions of a possible variant of the Lucher psychological test. From: Lüscher, Max. “Color Personality Test.” Testometrica. 2020. Web. 

Discussion

The results of the literature review, supported by a critical analysis of the essence of the color therapy method, allow to draw some particular conclusions of interest for this master’s study. However, of paramount importance is the recognition of the fact that regardless of the position of the official scientific community, the influence of colors on human consciousness is easily underestimated. In fact, the experience of the past centuries during the time of human existence has accumulated enough information allowing to conclude that color has high importance for the human community, and therefore the classification of its effects has the right to exist. Generally speaking, color is the most likely to have a biological effect on humans, but there are still no precise estimates of this effect. Instead of unified, collected material regarding the color-therapeutic effects, alternative medicine offers dozens of different interpretations, which not only confuse the reader but have the potential to bring harm to the body if the colors are not chosen correctly. This section has several emphases, and while it summarizes the literature review, it also seeks to define the limits of applicability of color therapy techniques and the possible limitations of such therapy.

First of all, attention should be paid to the possibilities of use, and hence the relevance of this one in the context of modern clinical equipment. There is no doubt that advanced medical technologies such as MRI, CT scans, or genomic indicators of the early development of chronic diseases have a mighty power and potential to improve the entire nation’s health. However, the untrained reader should not perceive color therapy as opposition to classical medicine: on the contrary, being a parallel branch of clinical practice, color therapy organically complements the capabilities of modern clinics, working not only with physiological but also with the mental health of patients. Therefore, the totality of the therapeutic areas of color therapy can be conditionally divided into two clusters, namely treatment of physical diseases and restoration of cognitive and mental dysfunctions.

It should be noted that the main factor on the inhibition of which the resources of color therapy are aimed is stress. Terminologically, stress is the human body’s response to overexertion, negative emotions, or prolonged monotonous activity. While certainly stress in small amounts is a useful driving force that forces an individual to take responsibility and make serious decisions, the detrimental effects of this factor cannot be overestimated. In fact, stress is a global problem, and according to Patterson, 86 percent of Chinese workers are stressed continuously, while for Australians, the percentage is higher, reaching 91 percent. It is not hard to see that these are incredibly grandiose numbers, signaling the need to take some action to combat it. Ignoring stressful influences is not a successful psychological strategy but rather makes the situation worse (Finkelstein-Fox, Crystal, and Riley 1010). Neglected stages of stress undermine a patient’s health to a great extent and, in some cases, even lead to suicide.

Color therapy is one of the available practices that can effectively combat stressful conditions. As has already been shown, specific colors, namely blue and green in moderate amounts, have a positive effect on stress tolerance and the restoration of a normal mental state. It follows that the use of these color filters for color therapy is a successful strategy for suppressing pressures and recovery of the patient. It is interesting to note that these assumptions have been supported by reliable research by Japanese scientists seeking to address a significant social problem for a country in which stress is of paramount importance. In particular, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the efforts of three psychologists, Matsubayashi, Sawada, and Ueda, reduced the number of suicides in Japanese train stations by 84 percent (Matsubayashi, Sawada, and Ueda 386). Such a magnificent result was achieved only by changing the white lights in the train station to blue, which is better at coping with stress according to color therapy practice. Thus it has been shown that the use of the theoretical foundations of color therapy in practice for the color blue is appropriate.

However, although official science is still unable to recognize the efficacy of such measures, reports of success in using colors to treat patients’ unique psychosomatic conditions continue to come in sporadically. Indeed, a few scientific articles are still not enough to establish color therapy as a scientifically proven method, but it can be expected that this to happen in the coming decades. In order to summarize the results of the various empirical works conducted by independent specialists at different times, all the information has been written down in Table 2. The use of this table sheds additional light on the effectiveness of color therapy.

Color Rationale
Blue In addition to reducing stress levels, blue appears to have a positive effect on treating jaundice in infants because these wavelengths break down excess bilirubin in the blood (Moores).
Red Red allows replenishing your sense of appetite and, therefore, can be used to combat forms of starvation: anorexia or bulimia.
Black This color can be used to prevent nighttime wandering by patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease because patients perceive competently placed black plates as holes (Anderson).
Combined Lights The use of combined shades that simulate dawn has been shown to help combat major depressive disorder, which is more frequent in the population during the fall and winter (Roth). In addition, sequential light therapy sessions have shown promising results in the symptomatic treatment of cancer by reducing pain sensations and alleviating the psychological state of the patient (Roseman-Halsband 126).

Tab. 2. Summary of the clinical capabilities of some colors.

In the context of the discussed clinical manifestations of color effects, a relevant question for scientific research is to determine methodological recommendations for using color filters in specialized centers of alternative medicine and home, independent treatment. The main sub-directions of color therapy fall into two classes: those oriented for professional use or of everyday nature.

Many specialized patient support centers and esoteric salons often practice the use of color rooms with relaxing music. In such rooms, the client can have a color therapy session, enjoying peace and tranquility in an attempt to overcome stress, for example. Instead of an entire room, many modern clinics are willing to offer clients the use of individual capsules in which the client can rest during an extended session, as illustrated in Figure 6. Using the therapeutic effects of monochrome color exposure, the therapist can create individual therapy programs. In this case, the effect is through the skin and the central nervous system, as the patient’s eyes must be closed tightly to avoid erasing the cornea under prolonged exposure to direct electromagnetic radiation. Penetrating through the body’s skin barrier, light waves of a given length affect the cells differently, causing them to become excited or inhibited. As a result, specialists can achieve the desired effect on the patient.

Color therapy capsule demonstration.
Fig. 6. Color therapy capsule demonstration. From: Kachmar, Olena. “Stock Photo – Woman Lying in The Spa Capsule Having Relaxation, Rejuvenation and Color Therapy in the Beauty Salon.” 123RF. 2020. Web. 

On the other hand, although science still does not recognize the effects of color therapy, some of its basics can be found inside clinics and hospitals. For example, the interiors of medical facilities often have light pastel shades that evoke confidence and a sense of safety and sterility in the patient. On the other hand, it is appropriate to use bright colors in radiology rooms when treating cancer patients to reduce fear and claustrophobia (Olesen). However, such practices can also be used not by medical professionals but by ordinary people in everyday activities. For example, wishing to give the interior of a room a certain mood, charging the household with specific desires and actions, when repairing people can add bright decorative elements or paint the walls in the desired color. For example, adding red shades to the kitchen will have a positive effect on appetite, while working rooms are better designed in a blue-violet color palette.

Color therapy in self-treatment can also be applied to everyday elements of the home. Choosing a particular diet of food built on the symbolism of specific colors or wearing clothing items of a given tone seems to be appropriate strategies for using color therapy in real life. However, the most intriguing application, which nevertheless has no scientific proof of effectiveness, is the glasses with color filters capable of changing the color environment of the environment, shown in Figure 7 (Turk). Through the installed plates, the patient perceives the world in a somewhat distorted way, which causes the development of the expected effects: for example, an increase in concentration, attractiveness, or confidence. Summarizing the above, it is vital to note additionally that the transmission of a particular color to the body is possible either through the perception of the eyes or through the skin directly to the molecules that form the skin, muscles, and blood. Regardless of the color therapy technology chosen, specifying one of the known colors should be accompanied by a well-founded decision of a specialist since in case of an overabundance of color exposure, negative consequences are possible.

An example of monochromatic glasses that change the perception of objective reality. 
Fig. 7. An example of monochromatic glasses that change the perception of objective reality. From: Rainbowoptx. “Up Close and Personal with the Classic Holiday Hue.” Instagram. 2020. Web. 

It is not surprising that prolonged exposure to aggressive shades of color can lead to headaches, dizziness, and nausea. The probable mechanism of such irritation is associated with the overloading of the cone receptor photoreceptors responsible for color perception. Overloaded with signals, the optic nerve becomes fatigued, and the patient’s brain experiences fatigue. However, much more intriguing are the results showing the connection between excessive exposure to the color blue and the development of cancer and diabetes. For example, a Spanish study showed prolonged exposure to blue at night was positively correlated with the development of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men compared to those subjects who were not exposed to it (Garcia-Saenz et al. 5). At the same time, for rats, prolonged exposure to blue at night has been shown to be associated with impaired metabolic pathways of glucose absorption (Opperhuizen et al. 1333). As a result, such a disturbance could be the cause of diabetes development. Apparently, the likely mechanisms in both cases are due to disruption of circadian rhythms. As shown earlier, blue shades have a positive effect on wakefulness and awakening, but their use at night interferes with the quality of sleep. In turn, this leads to disruption of hormone synthesis and the development of pathophysiological manifestations.

Conclusion

Color therapy is a historical technique of unconventional medicine, proven by several dozen generations of people. The use of color to treat specific ailments is based on the idea of the biological effects of shades of visible electromagnetic radiation on the mental and physiological state. It must be recognized that although the official academic community does not recognize color therapy as a reliable and valid treatment for chronic diseases, it is still useful concerning symptomatic therapy and for relieving tension and stress conditions. The paper conducted a literature review and showed that a number of scientific studies had responded positively to the use of color therapy to treat patients. Although this area of alternative medicine is still unrecognized, which stimulates the development of a plurality of views and interpretations, color therapy is an organic addition to the techniques of classical medicine. Ultimately, there is no harm in adequately using colors to create specific conditions.

A significant research question that has not yet gained wide popularity but nevertheless raises a number of doubts and caveats is the admissibility of color therapy for the treatment of patients with color blindness. Taking into account the genetic condition of this disorder of visual perception of reality, it should be noted that colorblind people cannot objectively assess colors as they really are. Depending on the type of the disorder, for example, red may be perceived by such patients as green, yellow, or black and white. In this regard, it is appropriate to establish a question for future research concerning the limits of applicability of classical color therapy to the treatment of such patients. Is it appropriate to use the same color filters for the patient, or is it necessary to adjust the therapeutic system to the patient’s characteristics? In the second scenario, research can be complicated by determining what is objectively perceived color by two different people.

Works Cited

Alkozei, Anna at al. “Exposure to Blue Light Increases Subsequent Functional Activation of the Prefrontal Cortex During Performance of a Working Memory Task.” Sleep, vol. 39, no. 9, 2016, 1671-1680. Print.

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