Chromotherapy - Psychology of Color

Do feel a sense of calm when you look at a room that is decorated in blues? Does a black room make you feel anxious or sad? How we perceive color and how it affects our moods and emotional well being is something that product designers use today to influence  our buying habits. Chromotherapy is a method of treatment that uses the visible spectrum (colors) of electromagnetic radiation to cure diseases. It is a centuries-old concept used by healers in Ancient Egypt, China, India and has been a topic for numerous studies. Those who practice and have studied chromotherapy attribute healing powers to colors

"Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine believe that the body has seven "chakra," which some claim are 'spiritual centers', and which are located along the spine.  The chakras are associated with a single color of the visible light spectrum, along with a function and organ or bodily system. According to this view, the chakras can become imbalanced and result in physical diseases, but application of the appropriate color can allegedly correct such imbalances.The purported colors and their associations are described as:

"Color, Brain and the Effects of Light Research in Russia during the 1960s showed that one in six experimental subjects could recognize color with their fingertips after only 20–30 min training, and blind people developed this sensitivity even more quickly. Understanding of these effects has come about only as a result of research into the hormones melatonin and serotonin, both of which are produced by the pineal gland in the brain. 

Melatonin is known to be the crucial chemical pathway by which animals respond to light and synchronize their bodily functioning with diurnal and seasonal variations. Serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter in the brain, whose action has been linked with mental disturbances such as schizophrenia and hallucinogenic states.

 Colors are used to help with psychological disorders. In England many people suffer from a lack of sun exposure (the sun does not shine for up to 1 or 2 week). As a consequence, psychological diseases manifest, mainly in the form of depressions, which, according to chromopathy studies, are curable without any use of tranquilizers." A detailed study of chromotherapy, with patients exposed to sunlight through color filters, was conducted to prove modern theories of the relationship between melatonin, light and color.

Source: A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution

As an artist, I have often observed a direct correlation between the colors in a painting and the negative or positive response it evokes in the viewer. Certain colors seem to draw in more viewers than others, just think about the color palette of the Impressionists whose paintings to this day are hugely popular. Light colors of soft blues, yellows, greens, purples, pinks are by far more favored than dark browns, mauves and black. 

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