Color therapy uses color and light to treat a variety of emotional and physical conditions ranging from depression to migraine headaches through continued exposure to them.
Today, color therapy is considered a somewhat archaic approach to light therapy.
It originates in ancient India, where certain colors are believed to have specific effects on the energy centers of the body. It was also used in ancient Egypt, where colored glass was hung in sunny rooms to affect the mind and body, but it remains a topic of interest.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between color therapy and light therapy, and ways you can use light to boost your well-being.
There’s nothing wrong with curating the colors in your environment. However, for those interested in a more scientifically sound holistic treatment, the BIOMAX Series offers an alternative solution.
The Difference between Color Therapy and Red Light Therapy
What are the differences between color therapy and light therapy?
Let's look at how each can affect the mind and body.
Color Therapy: The Basics
In color therapy, specific colors have been thought to both carry and elicit different qualities. Here are a few of those:
Red is associated with increased energy and love, but also aggression. However, it was thought that it should not be overexposed to people who suffer from anxiety or who are quick to anger.
Orange is considered an upbeat, energetic color that was used to stimulate mental sharpness and boost moods.
Yellow is the color of sunshine and is widely considered to be the ‘happiest’ of all colors. It was used to improve moods and to boost optimism.
Green is soothing and is the color of rebirth and renewal. It is used to calm the nervous system and relieve stress and anxiety. It can be a great choice for those who suffer from migraine headaches. Its close association with nature can be comforting.
The history of color therapy reveals some cultural differences. In China, red has historically been seen as a lucky color. In some Native American cultures, red is seen as the color of victory and courage. In Egypt, blue was often a sign of the sacred.
While one could perceive these as simply symbolic, the significance of color could nonetheless impact the perception of one’s environment. Colors can be integrated in different ways to motivate different aspects of the psyche.
Color therapy was thought to be effective at influencing the way people perceive their environment, just how it affects an individual depends on personal preferences and cultural background.
How Colors Affect the Body
While color therapy is often used to change moods, there is very little research that confirms whether color therapy is effective at treating any medical condition.
Keep in mind that ‘color therapy’ refers specifically to the use of objects that are different colors, as opposed to light therapy, which uses exposure to specific wavelengths on purpose to stimulate cells in the body.
So, color therapy and light therapy should be considered in different categories completely.
Nonetheless, when it comes to color therapy, few would dispute that an environment filled with sunlight would be much more positive for the human experience than a perpetually dark one.
And similarly, it would of course be unpleasant to live in an environment where everything was the same color.
Therefore, it should be sensible to think that a degree of variety in one’s environment would also be desirable. It’s for this reason that color therapists and interior designers use specific colors to elicit certain moods in homes and in commercial spaces.
One study suggests that color therapy can in fact cause physical changes by facilitating a change in the body’s vibration.
For example, a body that is out of sync with nature may exhibit certain signs of illness, including high blood pressure. If the body is brought into resonance with Nature, it argues that elements like blood pressure may start to return to normal levels.
Some color therapists use colors to stimulate the energy centers in the physical body. These are referred to as chakras. Each chakra corresponds to a specific color.
Warm colors are typically seen as stimulating or energizing, while cool colors are typically seen as having a calming effect.
A Form of Color Therapy
Color healing techniques include color visualization, using colored glasses, panes of glass, or colored lights to change the light quality of a room, art therapy, interior design, and clothing.
Color therapy treatment sessions often start by offering up a variety of objects of different colors to see which one the patient is drawn to. The patients are encouraged to interact with the objects, meditate on them, and study them closely.
Sometimes, they may find that one color appeals to them more than others. Then, they are asked to focus on that color and explore what it may elicit. The results of this are that patients may leave the exercise with more knowledge about what colors to surround themselves with.
How Light Affects the Mind and Body
The effects of light on the body have been studied for over a century. For example, specific light waves in the visible spectrum affect our circadian rhythm, sleep, and moods. Some of the effects of light depend on the eyes, while other effects simply require that light shine onto bare skin.
All visible light has benefits for the human body. Most of these are therapeutic in moderation. The same goes for wavelengths that are invisible to the human eye.
Research suggests that visible wavelengths of light are largely therapeutic when used correctly. In particular, red wavelengths have a wide range of physical and mental health benefits.
What Are the Differences Between Color Therapy and Red Light Therapy?
In a nutshell, color therapy relies on eyesight, whereas red light therapy penetrates the skin and treats the mitochondria underneath, stimulating its energy.
For example, seeing green can make you feel calm, but it isn't likely you will feel any calmer sitting in a green room unless you can see where you’re sitting. While proponents of color therapy will insist that simply sitting in a green room, even with your eyes closed, can influence your body's vibration, there is no scientific evidence to support this.
By contrast, light therapy does not require eyesight to work. The only requirement is that the light is directed at bare skin, where it will absorb into the tissues and interact with light-sensitive molecules.
What are the known benefits of treating the body using light? Let’s look at the various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation that are used for their healing properties.
Of the rainbow of light colors, red and near-infrared wavelengths have the widest range of benefits because of their deeper absorption. Meanehile, blue wavelengths are a great choice for anyone looking to clear up their complexion or heal skin wounds.
Red and near-infrared wavelengths have been studied extensively. What’s remarkable about these wavelengths is that they have a wide range of therapeutic benefits, with only minimal side-effects. This is confirmed by numerous researchers as well as doctors who use red light therapy on a regular basis to provide therapeutic treatment.
"Near-infrared light, in therapeutic wavelengths like 810nm, 830nm, and 850nm from PlatinumLED therapy lights, excels in medical applications for its deep tissue penetration, making it a potent tool for treating diverse conditions by reaching deep anatomical structures, unmatched by other color therapies."
Functional Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy, Dr. Alayna Newton, PT, DPT, FAFS
Red Light Therapy BIOMAX Solutions
Using light to promote healing is a complex science. When using light, you need to choose the most effective light waves for your treatment purposes and make sure they absorb into your skin. Here’s what you need to know.
BIOMAX devices come in four sizes to give you plenty of treatment options. They are modular, meaning you can link up to four panels together for even more power and coverage. And, you can opt for the convenience of horizontal or vertical stands for hands-free comfort.
Learn more about the BIOMAX Series to see which panel may be right for you.