History of Chromotherapy

Chromotherapy has very deep roots, going all the way back to ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India. While using sunlight as a form of healing predates the assumed début of chromotherapy in recorded history, it is possible that it was either frowned upon or lacking practical utilization in those eras to use the individual aspects of the color spectrum as a means of healing, rather than using their combined role in the form of sunlight. After all, color is simply the concept we use to describe the detectable areas of the light spectrum that we can observe, which we further classify in terms of ‘red’ or ‘blue’. These vibrations are independent of the medium that they appear on, whether in paint, gems or sunlight.There are reasons to assume that people in the year 2000 BC were utilizing color as a means of healing, though were probably unaware of the reasons why this technique worked. Rather, it is assumed that they had faith in it and by using the primary colors of red, blue and yellow, they were able to gain benefits from an early form of chromotherapy. Perhaps the acknowledgement of medical benefits gained from color goes back even further, given its tendency to get less emphasis placed upon it during some of the various cultures that were utilizing this technique.

The ancient Egyptians believed that their god Thoth gave them the gift of chromotherapy. They, as well as the Greeks, have been known to use colored minerals, gemstones, salves and other naturally colored resources as remedies for ailments in addition to using sunlight as a form of medicine as well. Another example of the employment of chromotherapy during their times can be observed by the various shades of color that the treatment sanctuaries were painted in. In addition to their use of colored natural resources, the ancient Greeks believed that the physical nature of color was the dominant reason why it gave them such benefits. It just helped in finding balance, even if they didn’t understand the physiological effects of using chromotherapy. Charaka, an ancient Ayurvedic physician who lived in India around the sixth century BC, was also aware of the medical benefits of sunlight and it’s effect on various diseases.

Around the year 980 AD, Avicenna brought advancements to chromotherapy. He reasoned that “Color is an observable symptom of disease” and by that argument understanding it’s importance in diagnosis and treatment. Based on his understanding, the knowledge was put into the physical form of a chart, where color to temperature was related to the physical condition of the body. His work really advanced the application of chromotherapy. Another really important thing that Avicenna noted was that using the wrong color during therapy would be given the wrong response in specific diseases. Which translates to when somebody has a nosebleed, he or she would not gain any medical benefits from using red in chromotherapeutic techniques, in fact, the person would probably be worse off. Blue, on the other hand, would help.

When the nineteenth century came around, more records in recorded history indicate the use of this technique. For instance, in the year 1876, Pleasanton was using the color blue as the first treatment for injuries and burns, amongst other applications of chromotherapy. A very interesting notion that he observed was that the growth and quality of grapes could be improved by the employment of heliotherapy and chromotherapy, as well as that colors have an effect on the physical maturation and fertility in animals. Over a hundred years later, in the year 1999, this same approach to healing was used by Hassan. However, this was still based on a lack of support via the scientific method, despite this setting up a clear example for proving it’s effects.

In the late 19th century Edwin Babbitt (1828 – 1905) made a considerable impact on the study of chromotherapy. He placed aspect that were previously put in the dark in a new spotlight. Identifying red as a stimulant of blood and nerves, blue and violet as anti- inflammatory and soothing for all physiological systems, yellow as laxative and various other attributes associated with the other colors. Babbitt also stated that the vital organs are directly connected with the skin through the circulatory system and can thus be affected by color rays. Developing various devices for his studies and therapies, he gained a massive insight into chromotherapy that were published in his book.

In 1927, Ghadiali published the book ‘Spectro-Chrome Encyclopaedia’ in which he explained the physics and method by which chromotherapy works based on facts that could be verified easily via the scientific method’s approach to experimentation. It changed the popular perception of chromotherapy from a mystical or magical method to that of a more scientific nature. His work was mostly based on the theory that there are unique colors, or energy vibrations, that have an effect on the vibration frequencies of specific organ energies. By understanding these frequencies, the organ’s energies could be manipulated and be brought back in balance.

Ghadiali’s work further explains that mental and physical problems occur, at least partially, due to a disturbed balance of the affected organ’s energy vibrations. This puts the cross hairs of his research on establishing a method of treatment for curing based on rebalancing the body’s color energies. The locations of Ghadiali’s physiological correspondences to color frequencies, such as where the organs energy can be manipulated are similar to the ‘chakra’ perspective that more older cultures had in mind. Klotsche continued on this by describing these areas as containing high concentrations of energy that are connected mainly through the spinal cord.

A couple of decades after Ghadiali’s work, in 1951, it was discovered by Takkata that there is a relation between sunspots and the levels of certain proteins in human blood, which cause changes in the menstrual cycles. He came up with some experiments which involved direct exposure to sunlight, though didn’t use different colors to provide information about any measurable effect on the cellular level for chromotherapy. His work got described in 1987 by Ott, who continued the research by experimentation on the compounds of blood when being exposed to various color rays. In addition to that, he also explained various methods of which colored light can be absorbed. For instance, it can stimulate the internal glands after being absorbed by the eyes. Both Ott and Takkata have studied the effects of light on blood, though Ott incorporated chromotherapy more deeply into his research.

Klotsche’s studies of chromotherapy and chakra’s proved to be very useful for more recent researchers into the healing technique. In essence, he made it a completely functioning therapeutic system for 123 major illnesses. The treatment of these relying on the use of single colors or combination of two or more colors, direct exposure to the colored light or through the use of water. How impressive as this is, as it even incorporates the work of Einstein and Ghadiali, it still lacks the scientific proof, as well as specific calculations and equations to fine tune this method of healing. It wasn’t until 1970 where this changed. Gerard took on the massive task of going through the entire theories in all aspects of its light, color, physiological and psychological parts. He examined all of these different parts, as well as the reactions of the entire organism when being exposed to colored light beams directly onto the skin. The results of these experiments were in essence the required scientific data to change the concept of chromotherapy from a concept to a valid, scientific theory as it demonstrated that colors affect every human on a physiological and psychological manner. These affects are dependent on the specific color being used.


‘A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution’ As written by Samina T. Youssuf Azeemi and S. Moshin Raza http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1297510/

‘History of Colored Light Therapy’ As written by Anna Cocilovo http://acupuncturejournal.com/AJASple3.html


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