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hene ver we decide which
clothes to wear, make choices
on how decorate our flat, or
e ven pick which food we
a re going to eat, our decisions are strongly
influenc ed by emotional c onnections to
sp ecific colour s.
Light is absorbed through our skin,
a nd each of the three primary colours (blue,
red and green) has a different frequency of
energ y. A study conducted by the British
medical journal The Lancet in 2002 showed
that the brain’s production of the mood
enhancing hormone serotonin wa s directly
related to the duration of exposure to bright
su nlight. Not only is exposure to light
essential to human survival, but from a very
young age we have lea rnt to associate colours
In another study, patients who were
e xpos ed to one hour of bright blue light
e very day for three weeks showed marked
improvements in their depressive symptoms
in comparison to the control group, which
wa s exposed to red light. The improvements
felt by the blue light therapy group were
c omparable to those experienc ed by the
a ntidepressant drugs group.
Traditional culture s and religions from
a ncient Egypt, India a nd China have used
the emotiona l and spiritual power of colours
to stir up their followers. Of course, yoga
practitioners have used colour visualisation
a s a form of meditation to stimulate e ach of
the chakras, or centres of energy in the body,
for many centuries.
More rec ently, in the 1960s, a Swis s
psychotherapist na med Max Lu sher beg an
developing a colour chart to test the different
facets of human persona lity. A cc ording
to Wikipedia, his belief wa s that while our
s en sory perc eption of colour wa s objective
a nd universally shared by all, individual
c olour preference s were subjective. This
distinction allowed subjective state s to be
objectively mea sured by using test colours .
Lüscher believed that since the colour
s elections were guided in an unc onsciou s
manner, they could reveal the person as they
really were, not a s they perc eived themselve s
or would like to be perc eived.
Person ality traits could be identified
based on one’s choic e of colour. Therefore,
subjects who selected identical c olour
c ombinations had similar personalities. In
order to me a sure this, he conducted a test
in which subjects we shown eight different
coloured cards and asked to place them in
order of prefer enc e.
Some of the selected colours were : blue
a ssociated with feelings of c ontentment
a nd belonging, green a ssociated with self
respect and willpower, red a ssociated with
confidence and reaction to challenges, and
yellow a ssociated with development a nd
attitude towards the f uture.
Today, the advertising industry ha s
become expert at influencing our decision s
through the use of colour and music, and
we have learnt that colour choice s in
psychiatric hospital s a nd prison s c an have
a huge impact in the behaviour of menta l
patients and inmates.
In Oriental medicine, each of our main
orga ns is a s sociated with a specific colour.
In the five elements conc ept, the liver
a nd the gallbladder (Wood) are related to
the colour green; the heart and the small
intestine (Fire) to the colour red; the spleen
and stomach (Earth) to the colour yellow;
the lungs and the large intestine (Metal)
to the colour white, a nd the kidneys a nd
bladder (Water) to the colour black.
This can be a useful diagnostic tool
for the Oriental practitioner, when, for
example, a black tinge under the eyes of a
patient is interpreted a s a symptom of kidney
wea kness, a nd a green facial discoloration
c a n be the ma nifestation of a liver disorder.
But can colour be used to improve the
physical health of a patient?
In the 1950s, the legenda ry Japa ne se
a cupuncturist Dr Mana ka undertook se vera l
research experiments which proved that
placing a specific colour dot on a s elected
a cupuncture point could a utomatically
decrea se the level of pain in a patient by
harmonising the five elements relationship.
Colour therapy in Reiki
Reiki also uses a form of colour therapy
c a lled chromo therapy, which is closely
related to the yogic concept of chakras.
In this form of therapy, the seven colours
of the visible light spe ctrum correspond
to the seven chakras respon sible for our
physical a nd emotional health. Sta rting
from the ba se of the spine (red) we move
to the pelvic area (orange), then the solar
plexus (yellow), the hea rt (green), the throat
(blue), the middle of the forehe ad (indigo),
to end at the top of the head with the colour
violet. The energy of e ach of these centres is
c onnected to a specific organ and emotions.
Stimul ating the powerful energy of a specific
chakra via its own colour can help restore
the emotional and physic al wellbeing of the
It is interesting to see that c olours ca n
have specific emotional c onnections with
each culture. For example in China, the
c olours red and yellow have traditiona lly
been c onsidered to b e the luckiest. In the
field of Oriental medicine some innovative
practitioners are now using colour therapy to
e xpand the effectivene ss of their acupuncture
treatment. I must confess that I haven’t
tried yet, although my life partner has been
encouraging me to improve my profe ssiona l
dress code for some time.
Olivier Lejus MHSc.BHSc. is a registered
acupuncturist practicing in Sydney.
"...subjects who selected
identical colour combinations
had similar personalities."
"Today, the advertising
industry has become expert at
influencing our decisions through
the use of colour and music."
Take care with your colour
choices, says acupuncturist
Olivier LeJus. It can affect
your mood and perhaps
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