Healing with colors
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Author: Metamorpheus, posted on 12/18/2011 , in Category "General"
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Abstract: Colors have a strong impact on our emotions and feelings. How can we use colors for healing?

[Article updated 21 May 2012]
“Colors brighten our lives” is more than a figure of speech. Colors affect the mood and have a strong impact on our emotions and feelings, they are used by marketers to generate reactions, and have been used within a healing context by musicians, artists and clinical curers.

What is color?

When light reflects from the surface of an object, energy of light reconfigures the orbital distributions of electrons. The distributions vary in their receptiveness to receiving certain amounts of energy. When a colored surface is illuminated, some of the energy from that light excites the surface’s electrons in such a way that they absorb and then release varying percentages of that light across the visible spectrum. This activity defines an objects’ color. Similarly, the color of a light source (e.g. the yellow of the sun) is tied to its light producing event, exactly as the color of a reflective surface is; that is, if loss of energy causes the event to cease, then the object ceases to have that color [1].

Color identification

There are numerous color systems, out of which the Munsell Color System is internationally known for its precise identification process: each color has three basic attributes: hue, value (brightness), and chroma (saturation): [2]
  • Hue distinguishes one color from another (e.g., blue from red). There are 10 hues, five of which are identified as principal hues (i.e., red, yellow, green, blue, and purple) and the other five are intermediate hues (i.e., yellowred, green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue, and red-purple).
  • Value describes the degree of lightness or darkness of a color in relation to white and black. Black, white and the shades of gray are called neutral (achromatic) colors.
  • Chroma is the degree of purity or vividness of the hue (i.e., with high saturated colors containing less gray) when compared with a neutral gray of the same value.

Color in cultures

Studies show that different cultures have different color associations and preferences, with some exceptions of universal color preferences, for example: blue is the color most frequently chosen by adults. A study involving a group of countries in different geographical zones, found unanimity regarding the fondness and meaning of the colors blue, green, and white. In contrast, black and red also received high liking ratings, however in many cases their meanings are considerably different [3]. In western traditions, for example, the color black is associated with death and mourning, whereas in China the color of death is white [2].
The use of color conventions for international symbols is also widely used. For example the red and green signs in the traffic light, signaling stop and go respectively.

Healing with colors

Color is known for its ability to bring mental, emotional and physical calmness, and can be used for therapeutic and healing in many ways. For example, some have proposed specific color paints for hospital words [4]. Colors can also be categorized “cool” (e.g., blue, green, purple) – which considered to be restful and quiet, or as warm (e.g., red, yellow, orange)- which are considered as active and stimulating, and thus should be avoided if seeking calmness [2, 4]. some studies found that bright colors elicited mainly positive emotional associations, while dark colors elicited negative emotional associations [2].
The use of color in creative expression significantly enhances art therapy; proofs have been found for a profound impact of colors on the mind and body. The practice of art therapy is based on the idea that the deepest emotions exist within the unconscious mind in the form of images, not words. This concept supports forms of counseling and a premise for the use of color. Researchers found that people in different emotional states choose and interact with colors in different ways. For example, patients with depression use significantly less color in their paintings than other patients, outgoing people tend to warm, invigorating colors, whereas introverts are drawn to cooler, calming colors [5].
Different colors hold different associations for people, triggering memories and emotions, which in turn affect performance. Some have suggested color therapy in which the counselor uses particular colors for clients with different types of problems, such as learning disabilities, adult aphasia, and depression. Others suggested the clients’ own use of color may reveal a lot. Through the use of color, the client can release a variety of moods and emotions that can’t express verbally, and monitor the therapeutic progress, noting the prevalence of certain characteristics or moods and the absence of others [5].

Meditating with color

Color can have a tremendous affect visually, outside ourselves, but also inside, imagining and focusing on it. Meditation is a very well known self aid tool. While meditating, focus on your healing color. Imagine it circulating and filling your body with its light. It is wrapping you and covering your wonderful soul with love, healing your wounds and giving you happiness.
The color healing tool may also help. Click in the circle to change the color and select your preferred one. You can then focus your mind on the color in the meditation process.

Final thoughts

Colors strongly affect our feelings and can trigger memories and emotions. A wise use of colors may be implemented in therapeutic methods for various problems or improve level of self awareness. All in all, colors can obtain the most desired phenomenon of all – make us happy.

  1. Pasnau, R., The event of color. Philosophical studies, 2009. 142(3): p. 353-369.
  2. Kaya, N. and H.H. Epps, Relationship between color and emotion: a study of college students. College Student Journal, 2004. 38(3): p. 396.
  3. Madden, T.J., K. Hewett, and M.S. Roth, Managing images in different cultures: A cross-national study of color meanings and preferences. Journal of International Marketing, 2000. 8(4): p. 90.
  4. Barber, C.F., The use of music and colour theory as a behaviour modifier. British Journal of Nursing, 1999. 8(7): p. 443.
  5. Withrow, R.L., The Use of Color in Art Therapy. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, 2004. 43(1): p. 33.

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