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A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution – Part 1
An Analysis of Chromotherapy – Finnleo Sauna
Chromotherapy is a centuries-old concept. The history of color medicine is as old as that of any other medicine. Phototherapy (light therapy) was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India. The Egyptians utilized sunlight as well as color for healing (4). Color has been investigated as medicine since 2000 BC(5). People of that era were certainly unaware of the scientific facts of colors as medicine, but they certainly had faith in healing with colors. They used primary colors (i.e. red, blue and yellow) for healing as they were unaware of the mixing up of two colors. The science seems to have been silent at those times.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, the art of chromotherapy was discovered by the god Thoth. In the hermetict raditions, the ancient Egyptians and Greeks used colored minerals, stones, crystals, salves and dyes as remedies and painted treatment sanctuaries in various shades of colors (6). The ancient Ayurvedic physician Charaka, who lived in the sixth century BC, recommended sunlight to treat a variety of diseases (7). In ancient Greece the physical nature of color was dominant. Color was intrinsic to healing, which involved restoring balance. Garments, oils,plasters, ointments and salves were used to treat disease. The Greeks were unaware of biological changes in the body as a result of color treatment; nevertheless, they had blind faith in the healing properties of colors. It is also interesting to know that they used both forms of treatment with colors: direct exposure to sunlight and indirect healing. In the indirect method, they used such materials as stones, dyes, ointments and plasters as the medium.What was missing in their medicinal use of color was water as a medium for the absorption of color, which later proved to be the best remedy for removing toxins from the body. This concept is common among all researchers working on hydrochromopathy (3).
Avicenna (AD 980) advanced the art of healing using colors. He made clear the vital importance of color in both diagnosis and treatment. According to Avicenna, ‘Color is an observable symptom of disease.’ He also developed a chart that related color to temperature and physical condition of the body. He used color treatment with the view that red moved the blood, blue or white cooled it and yellow reduced muscular pain and inflammation (6). Avicenna’s work undoubtedly advanced the use of chromotherapy in those times. He discussed the properties of colors for healing and was the first to establish that the wrong color suggested for therapy would certainly elicit no response in specific diseases. For example, he observed that a person with a nosebleed should not gaze at things of a brilliant red color and should not be exposed to red light because this would stimulate the sanguineous humor, whereas blue would soothe it and reduce blood flow. This seems to be the practical understanding at the time, but we do not find discrete values of frequencies or energies associated with these colors.
19th Century Ideas and Practices – Pleasanton (1876) used only blue and stated that blue was the first remedy in case of injuries, burns or aches. He reported his findings on the effects of color in plants, animals and humans. He claimed that ‘the quality yield and the size of grapes could significantly increase if they were grown in a greenhouse made with alternating blue and transparent panes of glass’ (8). He also cured certain diseases and increased fertility as well as the rate of physical maturation in animals by exposing them to blue light. The same methodology employing the color blue was adopted by Hassan (1999), who found it to be very useful as a first-line treatment for injuries as well as for burns. Since, Pleasanton’s work lacked scientific proof and evidence, no established rules were presented before the scientific societies, leading to a great gap between his work and the development ofcolor/vibrational healing on scientific grounds. If work could be carried out even now on his great ideas, especially in agricultural development and in animals, researchers could make new discoveries.