This Is What Color Therapy Is All About—and How to Try It at Home
We all have a favorite color, a preferred palette, or a few hues that make us feel a certain kind of way. Maybe your favorite color is a calming blue, or an energizing orange, or perhaps even a fiery red that pumps you up for the day—all of which are excellent choices and could play a significant role in developing your personal color therapy.
In its essence, color therapy, or chromotherapy, puts into practice the idea that showing people different colors—or specific colors—can help treat both mental distress and even physical pain. As a 2019 study, The Mechanic Basis of Chromotherapy: Current Knowledge And Future Perspectives, explains, "Many aspects of human psychological functioning are affected by colors. Wavelengths in the visible region produce biological effects in molecules, living cells, tissues and enzymes."
Color therapy is simple in concept, can be free, and could be life-changing. "In our culture, we already equate colors to how we feel, and that's why color therapy connects people to their emotions," Constance Hart, color therapy expert and founder of Conscious Colors, shares. "It becomes a wonderfully therapeutic way to find out where you're at emotionally. We know obvious things like, 'I'm angry right now,' 'I'm sad,' or 'I'm feeling really happy,' but we have more nuances to our emotional palette as human beings. A color palette is where we can find those nuances."
It's also a science that, though in its infancy, is gaining a lot more traction, especially when tied to light and light therapy (which is its own type of therapeutic practice). "Color and light therapy have been used to treat a variety of conditions of both physical and mental health," says Padma Gulur, MD, professor of anesthesiology and population health executive vice chair at Duke University. "Bright light therapy is used in mood and emotional disorders, such as depression, and green light has been shown to decrease the severity of migraines."
And those trendy blue-light blocking glasses you wear? Those count as color therapy, too. "Blue light filters are also commonly recommended for people who look at computer screens for extended periods of time to avoid headaches, dry eyes," Dr. Gulur says.
Ready to dive further into the rainbow? Here's everything you need to know about color therapy and how it works.