"Everything in life is vibration"Albert Einstein


In colour there is life. To understand this power, is living.
Colour could very well be the most magnificent experience we take for granted. Look around, it's everywhere, surrounding and embracing us. We interpret life as much through colour as we do shape, texture and sound.
The truth is, the power of colour is the very essence of life.

Our most important energy source is light, and the entire spectrum of colours is derived from light. Sunlight, which contains all the wavelengths, consists of the entire electromagnetic spectrum that we depend on to exist on this planet.
Light flows through our eyes and triggers hormone production, which influences our entire complex biochemical system. This biochemical system then affects our being. And light does not travel alone. Light travels with other energies as shown below.

We know that each colour found in the visible light spectrum has its own wavelength and its own frequency, which produces a specific energy and has a nutritive effect. We know some rays can be dangerous if we are exposed to them. But the visible light, the rainbow, has a soothing effect on us.
Light is the only energy we can see, and we see it in the form of colour.

Our body absorbs colour energy through the vibration colour gives off. All organs, body systems, and functions are connected to main energy centres.
Through colour we receive all the energies we need to maintain a health body, mind, and soul. The National Institute of Mental Health has done studies showing that our mental health, behaviour, and general efficiency in life depends to a great extent on normal colour balance. When something goes wrong, or is out of balance, we can strengthen our energy centres through the conscious use of colour.

Light consists of the seven colour energies: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Each colour is connected to various areas of our body and will affect us differently emotionally, physically, and mentally. By learning how each colour influences us, we can effectively use colour to give us an extra boost of energy when we need it.
If you wake up in the morning with little energy, or you need to prepare for a business meeting, this is where the power of colours can help. All you have to do is reflect on the type of day you have planned; choose the colour that will help you meet the demands of the day; and then absorb that particular colour. It's like fuelling your system with the right kind of gas!


Healing by means of color and light was the first type of therapy used by man. The sun's rays kept him warm, the colors of the flora fed him and accounted for his mood. The Egyptian Pharaohs and the Inca Indians worshipped the Sun as God and used plants as medicinal herbs.

In 6th century BC, Orpheus, the founder of the first metaphysical mystery school in Greece utilized vibrational medicine of color and light as a means of healing and spiritual awareness. Both Pythagorus and Plato were strongly influenced by his teachings.

In 125 AD - the ancient scientist, Apuleius experimented with a flickering light stimulus used to reveal epilepsy.

In 200 AD - Ptolemy observed patterns of color rays coming from the sun into the eyes produced a feeling of euphoria.

In the 17th century - French psychologist Pierre Janet used flickering lights to reduce hysteria for hospital patients.

1876 - Augustus Pleasanton used blue light to stimulate the glandular system. In this same year, Seth Pancoast utilized red light to stimulate the nervous system.

1878 - Dr. Edwin Babbitt used variant colors to produce healing of internal organs.

1908 - Aura Soma developed in England used colors to heal physical and emotional symptoms and promote psychological change.

1926 - C.G. Sander specified that application of particular colors was necessary for normal health.

1930 - The Father of Spectro-Chrome Metry, Dinshah P. Ghadiali compiled an encyclopedia of treatment with the use of color and light for over 400 various health related disorders.

1941 - Dr. Harry Riley Spitler formulated "The Syntonic Principle" stating that light by way of the eyes balances the autonomic nervous system.

1943 - Dr. Max Lucher developed psychological color testing to reveal information hidden in the subconscious mind which is still used today.

1980 - Dr. Thomas Budzynski - used phototherapy to accelerate learning.

1991 - Dr. Harrah Conforth applied color and light to facilitate whole brain synchronization and Dr. Robert Cosgrove utilized colored light for sedative properties prior to , during and immediately following surgery.

george star white


Color Research
That color affects us all is an undoubted fact. Its significance has been investigated and the results utilized in merchandizing, selling, home decorating, the workplace environment, industry, plant growth, nutrition, physics, physiology, psychology, ecclesiasticism and art. In fact, color is so much a part of our lives that we tend to take it for granted.

Physical healing is encouraged by directing colored light towards diseased areas of the body or to the eyes. In conventional medical treatment, phototherapy and photochemotherapy are used in current dermatological practice e.g. in the treatment of psoriasis, and blue light has been shown to be effective in the treatment of hyperbiliruminemia in the newborn.

There is a wealth of evidence to support the psychological effects of color and Dr Max Luscher's The Luscher Color Test contains ample evidence of this (be advised that many of the references in this book are in German).

In conventional medical practice, the use of blue light in the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia has been proven by many researchers including Vreman et al with their study "Light-emitting diodes: a novel light source for phototherapy". Creamer and McGregor of St John's Institute of Dermatology, London. UK published a paper in January 1998 entitled "Photo (chemo) therapy: advances for systemic or cutaneous disease", exploring the value of light as a treatment. Griffiths of the University of Manchester, UK, in July 1998, published a paper on "Novel therapeutic approaches to psoriasis" and in October 1998, The Archives of General Psychiatry ran four articles on light therapy. Regrettably, where treatment of a broader spectrum of disorders is concerned, the evidence is largely anecdotal.
Research in the agricultural field lends support to the potential for color as a therapy in humans as the following examples show:

1. In 1997 researchers at the School of Agriculture and Forest Science at the University of Wales, UK used red and blue light to establish whether these would increase activity and reduce locomotion disorders in meat chickens. They showed that in 108 chicks walking, standing, aggression and wing stretching all increased in intensity when reared from day 1-35 in red light. Where blue light was used, there was a high incidence of gait abnormalities. Prayitno DS., Phillips CJ and Stokes DK. 1997. The effects of color and intensity of light on behaviour and leg disorders in broiler chickens. Poultry Science 76(12): 1674-81.

2. Michael Kasperbauer, a researcher at the US Agricultural Research Service Center in Florence, South Carolina, showed that using red plastic sheeting under tomato and cotton plants produced a 15-20% higher yield than plants grown over traditional black or clear plastic. Also turnips grown under blue plastic had an improved flavour when compared with those grown under green sheets. Analysis of those grown under the blue plastic revealed that they had higher concentrations of glucocinolates and vitamin C (glucosinolates being the compounds which give turnips and horseradish their traditional "bite"). Kasperbauer and his team have also investigated the link between color and pest control. Michael Orzolek of Pennsylvania State University proved that aphids and the plant viruses they transmit are generally attracted to yellow and repelled by red and blue. This finding echoes the work of Babbitt a century earlier when he wrote "The electrical colors which are transmitted by blue glass often destroy the insects which feed upon plants." Boyce N. Rainbow Growing. New Scientist. 24 October 1998.

Future research could focus on the clinical efficacy of color therapy and, the neurobiological mechanism of action. Extensive anecdotal evidence of the value of color therapy in the treatment of countless physical disorders over many decades deserves to be revisited. However, this evidence needs to be subjected to rigorous scientific research in order to establish (or otherwise) a sound basis for color therapy. Developing instruments for applying color could provide a commercial incentive for clinical trials.
A major resource for researchers is the Faber Birren Collection Of Books on Color which was presented to Yale University in 1971. Faber Birren (1900-1988) was a leading authority on color and the collection's holdings are the most extensive to be found anywhere. A complete online bibliography can be found at the Yale University Library website.
from the chapter on Color Therapy by Therese M Donnelly in the Clinician's Complete Reference to Complementary & Alternative Medicine by Donald W Novey MD, published by Mosby, 2000.


The practical application of a specific colour for a bodily condition requires common sense and experimentation. Generally, dis-harmony that produces a cold, wet condition requires red. Conditions of a hot, thermal nature require blue to calm and effect a stabilization of the subtle body in question. Therefore, contra-indicated to any red condition is the use of a red colour application such as with sunstroke. The use of red will aggravate the problem. The same is true of any blue condition; ie, contra-indicated for colds or pneumonia is the use of cold blue.
Some color therapists believe colours contain energy vibrations with healing properties. Exposure to a color and its vibrations can be used to assist the body's natural healing and recuperative powers to achieve and maintain health and well-being.
The are seven natural colours in the visible light spectrum (rainbow): red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Each color vibrates at its own individual frequency. In Color Therapy each color corresponds to one of the seven chakras (energy centres in the body), which in turn can influence a specific gland, organ, or tissue of the body. for example, the color red, which corresponds to the root or base chakra, can be used for problems with the adrenal glands, kidneys, and bladder. The color rays may be in the visible or invisible spectrum and can be administered through colored lights or applied mentally through suggestion.


Red is called "The Great Energizer" and "The Father of Vitality." Red is warm, vital, heating. It loosens, opens up clogs, releases stiffness and constrictions. It is excellent for areas that have become stiffened or constricted.

RED is the first visible colour we see after the infra-red band is passed. Red is thermal, heating, warming, yang and positive. It has many tendencies including the promotion of cellular growth and activity, stimulating the Will aspect, corresponding to our life force, or the circulatory system. It is therefore indicated for all colds, sluggish or dormant conditions, such as pneumonia, bursitis, paralysis, arthritis, anaemia, as a liver stimulant, an energy builder, for raising the blood pressure and increasing circulation
Red links with and stimulates the root chakra, at the base of the spine, causing the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This results in greater strength. Red causes hemoglobin to multiply, thus increasing energy and raising body temperature. It is excellent for anemia and blood-related conditions.

Use when you need to meet a demanding day, or when you feel drained of energy. The colour red provides the power from the earth and gives energy on all levels. It connects us to our physical body. Everything that is to be commenced needs the life vitality of red.



Orange is the true color of the sun. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions.

Because orange is a blend of red and yellow, it combines physical energy with mental wisdom, inducing a transformation between lower physical reaction and higher mental response. Thus, it is often referred to as "The Wisdom Ray."

Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting. Through orange, we are able to heal the physical body (red) and, at the same time, induce within the mind (yellow) greater understanding on how the body may be kept in good repair. Orange helps assimilate new ideas and stimulate mental enlightenment. It is also helpful in dealing with excess sexual expression.

ORANGE - joy and constructivity - animates like red, although different cures are effected by this ray. Included are inflammation of the kidneys, gallstones, prolapses, menstrual cramps, epilepsy, wet cough and all sinus conditions.

Brings joy to our workday and strengthens our appetite for life! Orange is the best emotional stimulant. It connects us to our senses and helps to remove inhibitions and makes us independent and social.



Yellow helps strengthen the nerves and the mind. It helps awaken mental inspiration and stimulates higher mentality. Thus, it is an excellent color for nervous or nerve-related conditions or ailments.

Yellow links with and stimulates the solar plexus, or psychic center. It can be used for psychic burnout or other psychic-related conditions or ailments.

Yellow can be used for conditions of the stomach, liver, and intestines. It helps the pores of the skin and aids scarred tissue in healing itself. It also has a very enriching effect upon the intellect and the brain.

YELLOW is stimulating to the nervous system and the intellect. These rays have an alkalizing effect which strengthens the nerves, and are awakening, inspiring and vitally stimulating to the higher mind or manas, aiding self-control. Typical diseases treated by yellow are constipation, gas, liver troubles, diabetes, eczema and skin troubles, leprosy and nervous exhaustion.
Like the color of gold, yellow represents the highest of the physical colors. "Worth its weight in gold" applies to yellow.

Gives us clarity of thought, increases awareness, and stimulates interest and curiosity. Yellow energy is related to the ability to perceive and understand. The yellow energy connects us to our mental self.




Most people associate blue with healing. However, green is the universal healing color. The ancient Egyptians and Chinese used green as the primary color of healing. Why is that? Because green is midway in the color spectrum; therefore, it contains both a physical nature and a spiritual nature, in equal balance and in equal harmony. Thus, green can be used for just about any condition in need of healing. When in doubt, green will always work.

Helps relax muscles, nerves, and thoughts. Cleanses and balances our energy, to give a feeling of renewal, peace and harmony. Green connects us to unconditional love and is used for balancing our whole being.

Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body. It is neither relaxing nor astringent in its impact.

In a more practical sense, green affects blood pressure and all conditions of the heart. It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing effect.

GREEN is the colour of balance, harmony, nature, neutrality and of non-resistance. It was the colour of the first system from which we evolved and remains with us to this day as the calming, peaceful green of spring and nature. Green corresponds to the heart center on the physical plane and heals many illnesses of this nature, specifically including heart troubles, decreasing and stabilizing blood-pressure, ulcers, cancer, headaches, nervous disorders and influenza, and acts as a general tonic.



BLUE, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the visible spectrum and is electric, cooling, yin and negative. Dr Babbitt has called blue one of the greatest antiseptics in the world. Blue light will stop bleeding of the lungs, decrease fevers, cure sore throats, give relief to most inflammations of the skin and gums, and can be used with infants for pain while teething. Blue is also used for goitre, measles, chickenpox, cuts, bruises and burns. Relaxing, soothing blue rays will also bring great calm and peace to the mind that is worried, excited, or in a constant nervous state. More diseases are treated by blue light than by any other colour, which is not surprising considering that cosmic fire in our system is clear cold blue.

Dr. Edwin Babbitt, in his classic, "The Principles of Light and Color," states that "The Blue Ray is one of the greatest antiseptics in the world."

Blue is cooling, electric, astringent. It helps bleeding, decreases fevers, and cures soar throats. Blue can have a sedative effect, as expressed in the remark of "feeling blue." It is a very positive color, indicating loyalty and reliability, as expressed in the sentiment of being "true blue."

Blue links with and stimulates the throat chakra. The throat chakra is often referenced as the "power center" and "the greatest center in the body" because it is the primary center of expression and communication, through speech. Thus, the effect of blue upon this center and the aura, in general, is quite profound.

Blue can be used for any type of ailments associated with speech, communication, or the throat. Solarized blue water is an excellent tonic for laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx.

This is a mentally-relaxing colour. Blue has a pacifying effect on the nervous system and brings great relaxation. Ideal for sleep problems, and hyper-active children. Connects us to holistic thought, and gives us wisdom and clarity enhancing communication and speech.



INDIGO, as previously stated, is the colour of our solar system. It has been particularly beneficial in treating cataracts, glaucoma and various eye problems. Other uses of indigo include purification of the blood and of the mind. Ear and nose complaints, diseases of the lungs, asthma, infantile convulsions and mental complaints may be remedied through the use of indigo.

Indigo is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also benefits mental problems. It is a freeing and purifying agent.

Indigo combines the deep blue of devotion with a trace of stabilizing and objective red. Indigo is cool, electric, and astringent. It is, also, the color ray used by Spirit to help entrance a medium.

Indigo links with and stimulates the brow chakra (third eye) and controls the pineal gland. It governs both physical and spiritual (not psychic) perception; that is, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience. Thus, it can be of great assistance in dealing with ailments of the eyes and ears, as well as assisting in problems or conditions related to mediumship.

Finally, indigo is considered the ray of the Holy Spirit.

The indigo energy connects us to our unconscious self, and gives us the experience of being part of the whole universe. Strengthens intuition, imagination, psychic powers, and increases dream activity.




VIOLET is the last colour we can see before light passes on to ultra-violet. This colour is an excellent remedy for neurosis, diseases of the scalp, sciatica, tumors, rheumatism, cerebro-spinal meningitis, concussion, cramps and epilepsy. Violet animates and cleans the venous blood. Esoterically violet is white and synthesizes all form manifestation.

Violet is truly the color of the divine Spirit. Violet works only on the levels of the Spirit. It is generally not used for physical conditions; however, some color experts believe that it does provide nourishment to the cells in the upper brain and does have a link with the crown chakra. Furthermore, it helps expand the horizons of our Divine understanding.

Violet should be used only for spiritually-related problems.

Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation ten-fold by meditating under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in Church windows.

Purifies our thoughts and feelings giving us inspiration in all undertakings. The violet energy connects us to our spiritual self bringing guidance, wisdom and inner strength. Enhances artistic talent and creativity.



White is the perfect color; for it is all color, in perfect balance and harmony. It is the color of the awakened Spirit; the light of perfection; the light of the Christ and Buddhic consciousness. It is also the Divine Light.

Just about everyone has heard of surrounding people with the "White Light of Healing and Protection." Directing white into the aura helps stimulate the person's own divine nature into healing the self.


The general rule of thumb is to place the affected area 12 inches from the glass and approximately 10-12 inches from your LIGHT SOUIRCE if you are inside. Twice a day is the ideal and, once started, the treatment should continue until the complaint is gone.
Colds are the most dramatic to experiment with. Use red. Focus over the chest and leave it there for 5-7 minutes. Colds and asthma, utilizing red and orange respectively, have reportedly brought dramatic results in a very short time. If you are not sure of any colour, always under-expose the time of treatment.


RED: 5-10 minutes. Never more than 10 minutes.
ORANGE: 5-15 minutes, with 15 minutes used only for sinus problems.
YELLOW: 15 minutes. As a nerve tonic 15 minutes is ideal.
GREEN: 10-25 minutes. This is the only colour that can be applied at such length.
BLUE: 5-15 minutes. Never over-expose around the head region.
INDIGO: 10 minutes. For eye therapy usually 1-5 minutes is sufficient.
VIOLET: 5-25 minutes. The only occasion for a 25-minute application of violet would be in treating sciatica, exposing only the back or sides of the body.

Any colour that is applied to a specific area must be localized; this is very important. Green, yellow and blue may be general.

Red is never to be applied to the head region.

The best part of the rainbow isn't the pot of gold...
...It's the rainbow itself

" An apple reflects a shade of red to the retina, forming impulses that travel as coded messages to the brain, where hormones are released, altering metabolism, sleeping, feeding and temperature patterns. So you see, we don't just notice colors, we feel them. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, they empower us. Dawn to dusk, they rule our world, transforming nature's energy into personal realization. Every color has its own personality and in each lies knowledge and clarity."
~Suza Scalora


Color Therapy, or Color Healing, is the therapeautic use of varous forms of color and light for physical, emotional, and spiritual benefit to the human body. Color and light therapy involves the application colour in a variety of ways: colored gels with light to penetrate and stimulate the body's meridians which corresponds to traditional Asian acupuncture systems as well as accessing and incorporating the axiational lines ; colored lights applied to areas of the body; the use of colored lenses (prescription and non-prescription eyewear) for a variety of health concerns; the use of the sun; light applied to the eyes ; and the use of crystals or crystal rods with or without an outside light source for penetration of colorinto the body through the auric field, also using the acupuncture systems and axiational lines. Further use of color is made in the environment through the use of colored light bulbs, the paints applied to a room, the color of carpeting and furniture, or through the use of certain colored clothes, the use of crystals in the environment, sunlight, all of which directly impact the body through the bio magnetic (auric) field.
Color assists the body in its natural ability to balance itself and has been used for centuries by practitioners of the healing arts especially in Asia and in the ancient civilizations.. Egyptian priests left manuscripts showing their system of colour science, and Indian and Chinese mystics had knowledge of colour in their secret doctrines.
In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton developed the first valuable theory of color when he admitted sunlight through a prism. Newton established the presence of seven basic colors in the spectrum. For centuries the healing profession has recognized that color is a force of immeasurable and infinite power, exerting a tremendous psychological and physiological influence on people.
In Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s psychologists working in mental hospitals researched the effect of color on patients. By utilizing different colored walls and lights it was found that depressive patients put into rooms with red or bright yellow walls, and hyperactive patients put into rooms with blue or green walls, were both calmed by the respective colours.
Black is a color associated with tragedy and death. Blackfriars Bridge, in London, was a was a gloomy black structure known for its high rate of suicide. After the bridge was painted green, the suicide rate declined by one third.
The use of color has numerous applications in industry. Experiments have shown that muscular reaction time is much quicker under the influence of red light than green light, which has application on an assembly line. The colours used on factory walls and machinery affect employee morale, efficiency, absenteeism, and accident rates.
In sports, a locker room painted in colours on the red side of the spectrum is known to stimulate team members. Uniform color can also influence a teams performance: thus, many professional football teams use red or orange as some part of the team colours.
Color is used extensively in interior design to create a certain feeling or mood, and to influence behaviour. For example, red rooms cause an overestimate of time. This is a particularly effective color for restaurants that want to make an individual feel she has spent more time there than she actually has. This allows the restaurant to seat more people in a given time period.
Restaurants and food processors use color to make food more attractive and appetizing. it has been suggested that consuming naturally colored foods and beverages is and an excellent way of getting color into the body for the improvement of health.


The condition that led the way to acceptance of some form of light treatments is Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D.. This condition occurs most frequently during the long winter months but has also been shown to be present in people who have been house or hospital confined for long periods. Other occupations, such as pilots, flight attendants, miners, third shift industrial workers, etc., also experience symptoms of light deprivation. Some of these industries have begun to require the employees to sit in full spectrum light rooms for periods of time to avoid symptoms. Some people have affectionately called this condition "Cabin Fever" and have used it to describe a feeling of frustration, confinement, irritation at everything and anything and an inability to concentrate or enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

" All forms of matter are really light waves in motion."
- Albert Einstein

Color. We delight in a rainbow, sigh at a sunset, luxuriate in the rich colors of our homes, clothes, special spaces. Our eyes gravitate towards saturated color like moths to the light. No coincidence, considering the entire spectrum of colors is derived from light. And no surprise, really, that seeing, wearing or being exposed to color- whether in the form of light, pigment, or cloth- can affect us at levels we are only just beginning to understand.

Scientifically, it makes sense. Color is simply a form of visible light, of electromagnetic energy. Let's break it down. What exactly is light? It is the visible reflection off the particles in the atmosphere. Color makes up a band of these light wave frequencies from red at 1/33,000th's of an inch wavelength to violet at 1/67,000 of an inch wavelength. Below red lie infrared and radio waves. Above it: the invisible ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays. We all understand the impact of ultraviolet and x-rays, do we not? Why then wouldn't the light we can see "as color" not have as big an impact?

How we "feel" about color is more than psychological. The last decade has proven that lack of color, or more specifically, light, causes millions to suffer each winter from a mild depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Because of the complex way in which exposure to various colors acts via the brain upon the autonomic nervous system, exposure to a specific color can even alter physiological measurements such as blood pressure, electrical skin resistance and glandular functions in your body. And they most certainly can affect how you feel on a day-to-day basis. Learning about color's qualities and putting it to use can enhance your spirit, improve your health, and quite ultimately, expand your consciousness.

Did you know?
Many people today agree that we are made up of vibrations and vibrations are colors. Some people who are sensitive can see other people and even objects giving off or being surrounded by colors. These emanations are called auras or energy fields. There are also some common misunderstandings associated with particular colors. For instance, the color black has often been feared. It has been believed to represent the unknown. Black in the past and even now has had associations of somehow being bad. But if you look again, you will see that black has great depth. Many image consultants, color therapists and healers have a fixed belief system about color. For example, orange is accepted for autumn, blue for calming, yellow for intellectual openness and mental clarity, white for purity, and purple for power. Colors do not need to be fixed or used only in these ways. Find out what works for you by exploring every color.

In Occult Meditation, by Alice A. Bailey, the Tibetan says that "..colours are the expressions of force or quality. They hide or veil the abstract qualities of the Logos, which are reflected as virtues or faculties. Therefore, just as the seven colours hide qualities in the Logos, so these virtues demonstrate in the life of the personality and are brought forward objectively through the practice of meditation; thus each life will be seen as corresponding to a colour."

The basic premise of the ancient art of Colour Therapy is that all manifested life is energy, emanating from One Source, to and including all directions, encompassing all possibilities. It is here that we begin to see just why colour and sound play a very important part in our everyday lives. Each day we see colours and hear sounds which act upon our bodies. When we find a colour or ray quality lacking or in excess, the result can be dis-ease, dis-harmony or dis-cord.

The modern interpreter of colour therapy, or chromo therapy, was Dr Edwin Babbitt with his widely known work The Principles of Colour Therapy, printed in 1878. It is interesting to note that Babbitt's diagram of the atom is found in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire by Alice Bailey. The Tibetan illustrates that this energy system is repeated throughout the manifested universe, from the smallest atom up to and including the largest solar system. Here again we find agreement between exoteric and esoteric scientific theory.

In meditation, you may visualize or 'breathe in' a specific colour for treatment of any conditions previously named. By consistently practising this form of colour therapy, you will achieve the desired result, though the time period may be slightly longer. As we have seen through example and experiment all is Energy and that Energy generates a force which is applied either correctly or not. In the correct apprehension of force and its action upon our bodies, we can truly effect lasting change within ourselves. "Colour is therefore 'that which does conceal'. It is simply the objective medium by means of which the inner force transmits itself; it is the reflection upon matter of the type of influence that is emanating from the Logos, and which has penetrated to the densest part of His solar system. We recognize it as colour. The adept knows it as differentiated force, and the initiate of the higher degrees knows it as ultimate light, undifferentiated and undivided." - The Tibetan.

This ancient art is still practical today, and its uses are many and varied.

As John Gage shows in his definitive history Colour and Culture (1995), the way we see colour is associative rather than empiric – for example, we think of blue as cool, expansive and soothing, even though the blue bit of a gas flame is hotter than the orange. Colour has different meanings in different contexts, but, Gage writes, “there seems to be a universal urge to attribute affective characters to colours”. Practitioners of chromo-therapy were convinced that colour was primarily a question of immediate feeling rather than intellectual judgment, and that it could have profound psychological and physiological influences. This belief in the powerful corporeal effects of colour influenced avant-garde artists such as Gauguin and Kandinsky, who thought of chromo-therapy as a useful tool in developing a non-representational art, because it provided the grammar for a supposed universal language of colour. But though chromo-therapy was once an intellectual fashion, its role in the story of modern art is largely forgotten. Where did the idea that colour could heal come from?

In the West, theories of colour evolved out of alchemy and medicine; colour was, therefore, intimately bound up with the therapeutic. The first colour circles were urine charts used by physicians to identify an imbalance of the four humours. A fifteenth-century example, from an anonymous Treatise on Urine, shows a radial pattern of twenty vials in various hues, running from clear (indicative of a phlegmatic temperament) to black (melancholic) through a series of yellow ochres (choleric) and blood reds (sanguine). Potions and herbs were often chosen by doctors on the basis that their colour opposed and would therefore harmonise any humoural lopsidedness.

In his influential Theory of Colours (1810), Goethe developed this relationship between colour and Hippocratic medicine. He and his friend, the Romantic philosopher Friedrich Schiller, also visualised colour relationships in a circle – which they called a “Temperamental Rose” – but they adapted the entire spectrum (not just those shades relevant to the medical diagnosis of bodily fluids) to the four humours. Green and yellow represented the active, sanguine character, exemplified by bon vivants, lovers and poets. Purple and blue-red characterised the passive and melancholic type – monarchs, scholars and philosophers. However, for Goethe, colours weren’t just arbitrary symbols of these bodily states, they could also produce them. “Every colour,” he believed, “produces a corresponding influence on the mind.”

Goethe tried to prove that colour had a direct, rather than mediated, effect on our feelings by tinting his laboratory windows alternately yellow, red, green and blue. He concluded that “the eye could be in some degree pathologically affected by being long confined to a single colour; that, again, definite moral impressions were thus produced… sometimes lively and aspiring [yellow], sometimes soft and yearning [blue], sometimes uplifted to the noble [red], sometimes dragged down to the base [green]”.

His own house was decorated according to this scheme. Unpopular guests never made it past the “Juno room”, which was painted a “gloomy and melancholy” blue so that they wouldn’t be tempted to stay long. The lucky ones who had dinner invitations were led into the warmth of his yellow dining room: “The eye is glad-dened,” he hoped, “the heart expanded and cheered, a glow seems at once to breathe towards us.” He preferred to work in a green garden room as he found the neutral admixture of yellow and blue to be peaceful and soothing.

Following Goethe, doctors began using colour not just as an aid to diagnosis, but as a cure in itself. The French psychologist Charles Féré, who worked under Charcot at the famous Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, was convinced of its psychological therapeutic properties. He began experimenting with coloured light on hysterics in the 1880s, glazing asylum cells with blue or violet glass to create calming and curative effects. Féré thought of coloured light as different waves or vibrations of radiant energy that could be sensed not just by the eyes, but all over the skin in a form of cutaneous vision. In 1887 he set up a device, invented by Etienne-Jules Marey, who pioneered the photography of serial motion, to test this peculiar theory. It was a primitive oscillograph which measured the contractions of the hand and forearm under the influence of various coloured lights, definitively proving, Féré thought, that red had the most exciting effect and violet the most calming.

Other doctors had already followed Goethe’s lead. Dr Ponza, Féré wrote excitedly, “has announced happy effects from red light in melancholics and blue light in maniacs”, and Dr Davies, of the County Lunatic Asylum in Kent, “has obtained four cures of maniacs by the same treatment, but has not obtained any results in melancholics”. (However, Féré admitted, “the experiments of M Taguet had a negative result in all cases”.) Colour treatment soon became fashionable. The illustrations in Seth Pancoast’s Blue and Red Light: or, Light and its Rays as Medicine (1877) show a well-dressed woman sprawled languidly on a couch as she bathes in coloured light. One contemporary writer dubbed the resulting craze the “blue glass mania” and offered the following prescription: “Blue glass one part; faith, ten parts; mix thoroughly and stir well until all the common sense evaporates, as the presence of a minute quantity will spoil the mixture.”

However, apparently lacking in common sense, the research conducted by scientists and physicians into the psychological power of colour inevitably influenced artists, who found in this work an affirmation of the moral significance and physiologic impact of their medium. Paul Gauguin’s use of bold, flat planes of non-representational colour, as seen in Faa Iheihe (1898), was directly inspired by chromo-therapy. “Since colour,” he wrote in his diary, “is in itself enigmatic in the sensations which it gives us (note: medical experiments made to cure madness by means of colours) we cannot logically employ it except enigmatically… to give musical sensations which spring from it, from its peculiar nature, from its inner power, its mystery, its enigma.”

Kandinsky, who had been impressed by Gauguin’s forceful use of brilliant colour when he saw his paintings in Paris in 1902, came across chomo-therapy when he read Arthur Osborne Eaves’s The Power of Colours (1906). “Colour directly influences the soul,” Kandinsky wrote in Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912). “Anyone who has heard of colour therapy knows that coloured light can have a particular effect upon the entire body. Various attempts to exploit this power of colour and apply it to nervous disorders have again noted that red light has an enlivening and stimulating effect upon the heart, while blue, on the other hand, can lead to temporary paralysis.”


That same year, the Swiss psychologist Dr Max Lüscher developed a colour test which consisted of a person sorting 73 colour patches into an order of preference (an abbreviated test of eight cards was also used), and claimed to be able to judge personality from the results. He even believed that “it is sometimes possible to deduce personality characteristics of a painter when great emphasis is placed on one or two colours, for example, Gauguin’s obsession with yellow in his later paintings”. His ideas served to boost interest in chromo-therapy, reviving a fashion just as the FDA was recalling all of Ghadiali’s devices. Lüscher was influenced by both Goethe’s theory of colour and Kandinsky’s neo-Romanticism – and thought his test worked as “an early warning system for stress ailments… cardiac malfunction, cerebral attack or disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract”. He was convinced colour had fixed primal associations that took us back to an ancient fear of the dark, to hunting and self-preservation. “The test is a ‘deep’ psychological test,” Lüscher asserted, insisting on its scientific veracity, “developed for the use of psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians… It is NOT a parlour game.”

His theories were taken up not only by psychiatrists and therapists, but by the advertising and marketing industries, where they had a wider and more long lasting influence. For example, Lüscher advised that sugar shouldn’t be sold in a green package, as the colour is associated with astringence, whereas blue was associative of sweetness. In the 1960s, the American scientist Alexander Schauss read Lüscher’s musings on colour psychology, packaging and décor and began his own research into the physiological effects of colour. He thought he’d discovered a colour with a profoundly calming effect and was keen to put it to use. Beginning in 1979, he persuaded a number of American prisons to paint their cells a camp, but supposedly pacifying shade. If only he’d done so in time for Ghadiali’s confinement, the Bombay colour theorist might have found himself in a cell painted a bright Indian pink