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Does Chromotherapy Actually Work? The History of Light Therapy and Health

What is Chromotheraphy? 

The term “chromotherapy” is one of many used to describe attempting to heal or alleviate medical symptoms using light, especially using colored light.  

Just as infrared saunas use infrared light to provide certain health benefits, chromotherapy uses light in the visible part of the spectrum as a treatment for certain health concerns, both physical and psychological. The visible light spectrum is what chromotherapy uses

Source Wikipedia 

The History of Healing With Color 

Throughout history, many cultures and traditions have believed that light—and different colors of light—have different health benefits for body and mind. It is a practice that dates back thousands of years.  

Aryuvedic Medicine and Yogic Traditions 

Aryuvedic medicine is a type of traditional medicine that originally comes from India. It is based on the idea that body, mind, and our environment are all connected and has been practiced in some form for over 6000 years.  

Aryuveda includes the belief in chakras, or pools of spiritual energy in the body that are connected to the environment. The philosopher Avicenna theorized that that color was connected to health and in modern times that connection has been made via chakras, with each chakra being associated with a particular color.  

  • The crown is associated with violet. 
  • Between the eyebrows is associated with indigo. 
  • The throat is connected to blue. 
  • The heart is associated with green. 
  • The belly button or stomach is connected to yellow. 
  • The pelvis is associated with orange. 
  • The sacrum or tailbone is connected to red.  

In this tradition, chakras can become imbalanced and need to be rebalanced using color exposure. 

The Science of Color Therapy 

For the majority of history color therapy has been more associated with fringe medical practices and spiritualism than actual medical science. However, there are instances that have demonstrated a real medical impact from colored light and color in general. Our scientific understanding of the impact of color is only now beginning to be understood.  

Neonatal jaundice 

Neonatal jaundice is a condition where an infant’s liver is unable to process bilirubin at birth. This causes a buildup or bilirubin in the skin, giving it the characteristic yellow hue, and can lead to serious health complications. 

In the 1950s, a nurse noticed that babies that were allowed more sunlight had reduced jaundice and a doctor observed that blood, when left in the sun, turns green. Because of these observations a group of doctors conducted a trial and found that exposure to blue light helps break down bilirubin and allow infants to process it.  

To this day, blue light exposure is the first choice when treating neonatal jaundice.  

Baker-Miller Pink and Color’s Impact on Mood 

The story of Baker-Miller Pink (or “Drunk Tank Pink”) is a fascinating one. In the 1970s, a scientist named Alexander Schauss was studying psychological and physiological reactions to the color pink. He discovered that one specific shade of pink tended to reduce strength, lower heart rate, and create a calming effect when compared to other colors.  

He convinced a local correctional facility to paint some of their holding cells this particular shade. It was discovered that there were fewer fights, less aggressive behavior, and less hostility overall in the cells painted pink. The shade was labeled “Baker-Miller Pink” after the directors of the facility. 

After that the color was used in the interiors of jail “drank tanks” and medical institutions. To this day, some professional sports ban the shade as teams started painting away team locker rooms pink.  

Color undoubtedly has some effect on our mood.

Modern Light Therapy, Phototherapy, and Chromotherapy 

Because the term “chromotherapy” is so heavily associated with mysticism and quack medicine, most modern allopathic or osteopathic medical doctors use the terms “light-therapy” or “phototherapy” instead. However, they are rooted in the same thing: using light to treat illness. It’s up to the consumer to use good judgement on what is and isn’t effective.  

Here are some of the problems that light therapy is sometimes used to treat in a medical setting: 

  1. InsomniaFor some people suffering from insomnia, light is to blame for their inability to fall asleep. Light therapy can be used to adjust the type of light people are being exposed to in the morning in the evening, promoting wakefulness when it’s time to get up and the production of melatonin in the evening when trying to sleep.  
  2. Acne There is some evidence that blue light and red light (including infrared light and radiation) may be helpful in treating mild acne. Though there isn’t much data supporting its long-term efficacy in treating severe acne. 
    • Other Skin Conditions Most light therapy treatments for the skin involve UVB or UVA light. This includes psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and vitiligo 
  3. Seasonal Affective Disorder Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a disorder caused by the changes in the amount of sunlight people are exposed to throughout the year. In areas near the poles in particular, people often lose energy and experience symptoms of depression in winter the months. Numerous studies have found that light therapy can reduce  like excessive sleepiness and low energy.  
  4. Jet Lag Jet lag is the result of major shifts in a person’s circadian rhythm. Our bodies work on an internal clock which uses light levels in our environment to trigger the production of melatonin and serotonin. Light therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of jetlag if used before traveling by adjusting our circadian rhythms to our destination’s time zone before we arrive.  

Light Therapy at Health Mate 

different colors have different imapcts on the body according to chromotherapyAt Health Mate, the majority of our infrared saunas include a Chromotherapy light panel in the ceiling. The color can be changed to your preference via the remote control included in your sauna. If you have any questions about Chromotherapy in Health Mate infrared saunas, feel free to call one of our sauna experts at (877) 294-8994. 

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