Chromatherapy, or Color Therapy, is the use of color to promote general health and also to treat particular maladies (including, but not limited to, sleep-oriented problems).
Chromatherapy can be used to treat both emotional and physical sleep disturbances, and may involve exposure to colored lights, massages using color-saturated oils and salves, meditation and visualization of certain colors, or wearing certain colors of clothing.
Color has been used for centuries in the treatment of a wide variety of disorders.
But it was not until the late 1800s, when Dr. Edwin D. Babbitt published his book Principles of Light and Color, that Chromatherapy as we know it was outlined.
It is in this work that Dr. Babbitt suggests the use of color as a treatment for a variety of ailments, including sleep and anxiety disorders.
In the late 1940s, Russian researcher S.V. Krakov conducted a series of experiments in which he separated the different wavelengths in the light spectrum to show how color affects the nervous system.
In his experiments, he observed that red light stimulated the adrenal glands, raising blood pressure and pulse rate, and that blue and white light had a calming, relaxing effect.
The fruits of Krakov's studies are still used today by many practitioners, and his brand of color therapy is commonly recommended for stress and for stress-related pain.
In recent years studies have demonstrated the positive effects of full-spectrum light on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other forms of depression, which has resulted in increased public awareness of color therapy.
It is becoming more and more common to find mainstream researchers turning to chromatherapy for a variety of ailments as well, particularly sleep disorders.
Color is a property of light, which is made up of many different waves of energy. When light falls upon the photo receptor cells of the retina it is converted into electrical impulses. These impulses travel to the brain and trigger the release of hormones. The release of these hormones in controlled bursts can be used to treat the body and mind for many of the medical conditions that hinder sleep as well as promote conditions that are conductive to sleep and rest.
While many forms of chromatherapy can, and should, only be practiced by licensed practitioners and/or medical doctors, some forms of color therapy are simple and safe enough to be practiced in the comfort of your own home.
These include wearing clothing of particular hues, surrounding yourself with a recommended color, eating certain colorful foods and concentration on visualizing a particular color.
We do offer a few precautions regarding the use of chromatherapy.
Other related pages at Relax and Sleep