It was in early 20th Century Europe when the therapeutic use of colour was investigated, just after reflexology course was established. The most notable figure in the investigations was Rudolph Steiner, who related colour to shape, form, and sound. Rudolph suggested that some forms amplify the vibrational quality of certain colours and that some combinations of shape and colour have either regenerative or destructive effects on a living organism.
Max Luscher, a former Basle University psychology professor, was another prominent figure that claimed that colour references show glandular imbalance and/or states of mind, and can be used as the basis for psychological and physical diagnosis.
Luscher developed a theory that forms the basis of Luscher Colour tests, which rests on the idea that the significance of colour for man is rooted in his early history when day and night governed his behaviour. According to Luscher, colours associated with the two environments i.e. dark blue and yellow, are connected with the differences in the metabolic rate and glandular secretions suited to the energy needed for hunting in the daytime and sleeping during the night. Luscher also believed that involuntary or autonomic responses are also associated with other colours.
In the 1940’s was when support for Luscher’s theories was provided by S. V. Krakov, a Russian scientist that determined that the colour red stimulates the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system, while the colour blue is responsible for the stimulation of the parasympathetic part. Robert Gerard confirmed these findings in 1958.
Recent Applications of Colour
On the other end of the colour spectrum, red light has shown great promise when it comes to treating Cancer and Migraine Headaches. Due to this development, colour is increasingly being used as a therapeutic tool with various applications in the medical field. A new technique that has been developed over the last 2 decades due to pioneering research is PDT or Photodynamic Therapy.
It is based on the discovery that some photosensitive chemicals injected intravenously not only accumulate in Cancer cells but selectively identify the cells under ultraviolet light. The photosensitive chemicals then destroy only the Cancer cells when activated by red light, which has a longer wavelength that allows it to penetrate deeper into tissues than other colours.
PDT can be used either for diagnosis or treatment. The developer of PDT, Dr Thomas Dougherty, reports that over 3000 people from all over the world, with a wide variety of malignant tumours have actually been treated successfully using this technique.
Other Therapeutic Applications
Research also reveals that colour-tinted eyeglasses can be incredibly effective when it comes to treating learning difficulties, and dyslexia in particular. Helen Irlen, a psychologist, was the first to discover this, but it was regarded sceptically until the British Medical Research Council’s recent investigations confirmed the claims made by Irlen.
The Intuitive Colourimeter, a new optician’s device, was availed to British opticians in June 1993 so that they could measure which tint i.e. blue, green, yellow, or bright pink best helps the people that usually see text as wobbling, swirling or with the letters appearing in the wrong order.
Depression generally seems closely linked with melatonin levels, and the people that suffer from it usually show rapid improvement in response to light therapy using full-spectrum lamps or natural sunlight. Research also confirms that some parts of the brain are not only sensitive to light but also respond differently to different wavelengths. It is now actually believed that radiation of different wavelengths (colour) interact differently with the endocrine system to reduce or stimulate the production of hormones.
It could be thought that modern-day healing using colour is based on the discoveries of Western science over the last several decades. However, it is based on an older and esoteric science whose practices and principles have still not been acknowledged, much less verified by scientists in the West.
Healing using colour has its roots in ancient mysticism whose major principles are common to several different cultures all over the world.