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Make Colour Therapy Work in Your Life
In the third of our series on complementary medicine we look at how colour therapy can influence your mind and body. Whether people see red, feel blue or go green-eyed, they have always used colour to describe their moods.
Colour therapy has formalised this way of thinking. Colour therapists urge people to be aware of the power of colour in their everyday lives, and to make it work for them.
Although we tend to think of colour as something tangible; a pigment, or a dye, for example; it is actually reflected light. Light appears colourless, but is in fact made up of a spectrum, the seven colours of the rainbow. Different pigments reflect different colours. A white object reflects the whole spectrum, and a black object absorbs it all and reflects no part of it.
The colours that make up the spectrum are basically different vibrations. In general, the faster the vibration, the warmer the colour (red), the slower the vibration, the cooler the colour (blue).
Red makes us active, passionate and, when taken to extremes, rebellious.
Blue is said to calm us, make us reflective, and can make us emotionally chilly if we are surrounded with it.
Colour is widely believed to influence people. Interior designers and architects choose the colours in hospitals and hotels to make people feel relaxed and at ease - and in offices to complement our work.
Even people blind from birth respond to colour by picking up vibrations through their fingertips. After practice, they can differentiate between the colours with 100 per cent accuracy.
Some psychologists believe that these vibrations influence our brain patterns, so colour can have a strong effect on emotions.
"We're all aware of colour every day, from our clothes to our surroundings," says colour therapist Janet James.
"A city dweller feels an uplift when he visits the countryside. Light and colour play an important part in this change."
Colour therapy has been used for centuries. It was used in ancient Egypt, China and Mesopotamia.
Janet James uses the Chakra's system of colour therapy, which covers the energy centres in the body.
Red corresponds to the base of the spine, orange the reproductive organs, yellow the solar plexus, green the heart, blue the throat, indigo the brow, and violet the crown.
Among the complaints this therapy has helped are irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps and thyroid disorders.
"It's not just about wearing certain colours. The colour of your food can help too. If you had gastric 'flu, yellow rules the stomach area, so if you ate lemons, that would help.
"Colour therapy can sound weird, but it has helped a lot of people who have had difficulties with the medical profession.
"For colour therapy to work, people have got to be open and willing to try it. Ten years ago, aromatherapy and reflexology were new to people, but they've become much better-known now."
A crystal torch is used in colour therapy. "It's a pen torch, like the kind the dentist puts in your mouth," explains Ms. James.
The torch contains stained-glass discs of different colours which are interchangeable so the light is shone through the selected disc into a quartz crystal, which is applied directly to the foot.
"I've had very positive results with this therapy. I never claim to cure anything, but like other forms of complementary medicine, colour therapy restores the energy of the body and helps people to be the best they can for themselves. We're not working with symptoms, but with causes."
Stay in the pink with
our guide to the power of
Orange is energising, but less potentially destructive than red. If you are depressed, lonely or lacking in motivation, you can benefit from the vibrations of orange. It is said to be good for gallstones, chest conditions and arthritis. But beware; an 'overdose' of orange can turn liveliness into restlessness.
Green is the colour of natural balance, of harmony and hope. It is good if you need to relax, but too much green can be soporific and drain away energy.
Blue is the colour of honesty, loyalty, serenity and protection. A cooling colour, it should be worn on very hot days. Blue has a sedative effect, helpful if you are flustered or in shock. But it is also cold, so avoid it if you have bad circulation.
Indigo is a profound and mysterious colour. It helps give us authority and inner calmness. People drawn to indigo are attracted to spiritual things, perhaps even to the occult. It is said to be good for treating nervous disorders, boils and ulcers, and for cleansing the blood.
Violet is an immensely powerful colour, associated with creativity. Violet is also said to help compulsive eaters, calming them and helping to drain away the compulsion.
Brown is associated with stability and practicality, but also with the tendency to be uninspired. People attracted to brown are often confident, but its earthiness can blind them to emotional matters.
Grey is the colour of self-denial, self-martyrdom and repression. It is also associated with stress and mental fatigue.
Black is associated with death, mourning, negativity, all that opposes warmth and love. An attraction to black may show eccentricity, or a need for emotional support.
Janet James is a member of the International Association of Colour Therapists and a trained reflexologist. She prefers to do colour therapy sessions after an hour of reflexology.
Written and compiled by Julie McCreadie, a journalist and publisher for over 20 years. Now also advises companies on IT, new media and changes in the law - particularly regarding publishing, copyright and intellectual property. She is involved in the Technology means Business programme, managed by the Institute of Management and supported by the DTi to promote UK competition with better use of information and communications technology (ICT).
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