Several findings indicate color and light have been used for health treatments since the beginning of recorded time. Color therapy is possibly rooted in Ayurveda, an ancient form of medicine practiced in India for thousands of years.
Other historic roots are attributed to Chinese and ancient Egyptian culture. In traditional Chinese medicine, each organ is associated with a color. Ancient Egyptians built solarium-type rooms, which could have fitted with colored poles of glass. The sun would shine through the glass and flood the patient with color.
As late as the nineteenth century, European smallpox victims and their sickrooms were draped with red cloth to draw the disease away from the body.
Color's Family Tree
Greek philosopher Aristotle is known as the Grandfather of color theory and Sir Isaac Newton, mathematician and physicist, is considered the founding father of color theory. Newton, one of the foremost scientific intellectuals of all time was the first to bring a scientific method of investigation to study color.
Avicenna, a Persian polymath, physician and Islamic philosopher, viewed color to be of vital importance in diagnosis and treatment, and made significant contributions to chemotherapy in The Canon of Medicine.
"I See Red People …"
He wrote that "Color is an observable symptom of disease" and also developed a chart that related color to the temperature and physical condition of the body. His view was that red moved the blood, blue or white cooled it, and yellow reduced muscular pain and inflammation.
He further discussed the properties of colors for healing and was "the first to establish that the wrong color suggested for therapy would ellicit no response in specific diseases." As an example, "he observed that a person with a nosebleed should not gaze at things of a brilliant red color and should not be exposed to red light because this would stimulate the sanguineous humor, whereas blue would soothe it and reduce blood flow." His other famous works included The Book of Healing.
Today, color and light therapy is being recognized as a complementary system to other treatments. In Europe, Dr. Peter Mandel, a German acupuncturist, developed a system of applying color and light to acupuncture points on the body. This so called 'colorpuncture' is now taught in many countries.
The power of color is fascinating, more importantly, the healing properties of color's radiant energy has a unique effect when trying to achieve balance and harmony within your whole life.
French Artist Henri Matisse said, "The chief function of color should be to serve expression as well as possible." and given today's modern society, I could not agree more.