Color therapy can be traced back to practices of Vedic masters in ancient India, and Egyptian healers in the Nile. Today, we see color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, as an upcoming trend in alternative medicine and natural healing. Doctors and researchers are beginning to use color to aid in a variety of conditions including eliminating stress, fighting depression, reducing anxiety, and increasing energy.
Experiencing color is a sensory experience. Our disposition, mood, and mental state can be enhanced or even diminished by the reflection, surrounding of, or immersion within different colors. Color is its own sensory information and delivery system; although primarily subconscious, the psychology behind may affect the mind and mood. Color can have an emotional effect on people, and may even be therapeutic. So what colors create specific responses? How can we incorporate color to enhance our lives?
Here is an overview of the main colors and their properties:
Black: Ancient Egyptians considered black the color of night, magic, and death. This is fairly consistent today, but we also find black to be the color for formality, preciseness, and concreteness that contributes to its dignified appearance.
White: White is also precise, pure, and sincere. Ancient Egyptians considered white the color of the Moon and femininity. Today it is also used to symbolize newness, as a contrast or opposite to black, love, peace, and freedom.
Red: Ancient Egyptians considered red to symbolize life, heat, danger, and masculinity. Today it brings to mind the characteristics of passion, drive, excitement, speed, and alertness. Intense shades create a feeling of ‘action.’
Orange: Orange is the subdued version of red; it still encourages ambition and alertness, but can also be associated with joy, light-heartedness, and happiness.
Yellow: Ancient Egyptians ascribed Yellow for the Sun. Today, it elicits feelings of happiness, memories, pleasantness, and intellectualism. Gold in a lighter or darker shade of yellow can encourage richness, solidness, and feelings of nostalgia.
Green: Ancient Egyptians favored green to describe Life. Today, it is considered healing, soothing, and balancing.
Turquoise: Turquoise is a combination of blue and green, and is refreshing and distinct. It is mellow, rich in darker shades, and can promote alertness and awareness.
Blue: Ancient Egyptians considered blue a spiritual color, and sometimes even depressive and moody. In lighter versions it can be enlightening and fresh; darker colors can create feelings of regality, richness, and sociability.
Purple: This mixture of red and blue can create positive feelings of grandness, softeness, reflection, and dignity. Lighter shades encourage femininity, while darker shades create feelings of maturity and even prestige.
Brown: Brown is neutral, earthy, grounded, and secure. It creates feelings of warmth, solidness, and overall calm.
Grey: Although considered a neutral color, it is still a combination of black and white. Grey may be considered ‘fickle,’ uncertain, or shadowy. Silver, in either a darker or lighter version of grey, can encourage spirituality or nobility.
Color plays a significant role in our daily lives, a role we may often take for granted. Try to incorporate the feelings you would like to encourage in your space at work, at home, or even in your car! Use different colors to elicit ‘messages’ to yourself and you may even be able to enhance your well-being. Chromotherapy baths and lights are also available to relax and focus your mind on basic colors and identify with the key characteristics. Whatever your approach, be assured that your senses do help you create your perception and feelings about the world around you!