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 Egyptians, Ayurvedic practitioners and ancient Chinese.
Today’s spas use colour therapy in 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. Chakras in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine are seen as wheels or cogs that move energy around the body. When these get stuck, we become unwell. Each colour corresponds to a specific chakra -- there are seven located around the body. 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 medicine with no scientific evidence. It is used to enhance wellbeing, 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 shine 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 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 and is a lovely way to express how you feel.