Sound isn’t the just thing that vibrates: every colour on the spectrum has its own wavelength, too. Colour- or chromotherapy has been around for thousands of years. It was used in healing by the ancient Egyptians, Ayurvedic practitioners and ancient Chinese.
Today’s spas use colour therapy in holistic treatments such as chronotherapy baths, chakra healing or LED facials, but have also started introducing therapeutic coloured light into saunas and relaxation spaces.
What’s the theory?
Light moves in waves and each colour on the spectrum has different wavelengths. Colour therapists believe that different colours correspond with the body’s inner vibrations and energy levels.
Certain colours rebalance or stimulate specific chakras. There are seven main chakras/energy centres, including heart chakra, crown chakra , brow chakra, throat chakra and solar plexus chakras. Chakras in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine are seen as wheels or cogs that move energy around the human body. When these get stuck, we become unwell. Each particular colour corresponds to a specific chakra. The third eye chakra is located between the eyebrows and is associated with the pituitary gland and pineal gland. In a colour therapy session, the therapists can deduce what colour you need to complement and rebalance your energy levels.
What’s the evidence?
Coloured light has been used to treat some serious ailments. Ultraviolet light is often used to treat skin diseases such as eczema psoriasis, while SAD (seasonal affective disorder) can be alleviated by lamps emitting blue light, which is said to affect circadian rhythms.
However, colour therapy is a complementary therapy with no scientific evidence. It is used to enhance wellbeing and mental health, not cure serious illnesses.
You may have a favourite colour, notice that you feel calmer in a green space, ‘see red’ when you’re angry or feel inspired by blue skies. In the 1900s, Dr Max Lüscher devoted his life to study how colour affects behaviour and developed his famous Lüscher colour test, which is said to reveal our unconscious emotional states. Prison inmates in Texas are made to wear pink -- the colour of the womb -- partly to embarrass them, but partly because the colour is said to reduce aggression.
How is it used in spa treatments?
Colour is absorbed by the eyes, skin and skull. Colour therapy uses a variety of methods, the most common being LED light boxes or lamps with colour filters. In ‘Colourpuncture’, practitioners the shine the appropriate colour lights onto specific acupressure points.
Simply looking at certain colours can also produce an effect: think of ‘forest bathing’, where you simply look at greenery, or ‘blue gym therapy’, which believes a natural environment can enhance wellbeing.
Therapists may ask you to select a colour, as this can guide them in diagnosing what colour or colours you need to balance your energy levels.
How is it used in facials?
LED colour light therapy is said to balance the skin using coloured wavelengths that penetrate the skin at varying depths -- blue is said to be good for congested skin, red for anti-ageing. You either wear an LED mask or have a lamp pointing at your face. Therapists claim the light can energise skin cells to produce more collagen, increase blood and oxygen flow. Carla Bruni and Jennifer Aniston are said to be fans.
Why have it?
Colour therapists claim the healing power of colour can be used to aid sleep, anxiety and depression, as well as help people find clarity and peace. It is harmless, except, that is, when certain doctors mislead the seriously ill by claiming that it can cure immune deficiencies and cancer. When used as part of a spa treatment, however, coloured light can enhance your feelings of wellbeing, it can have a lovely calming effect, and is a lovely way to express how you feel.