Some folks believe that color therapy is a bunch of hocus-pocus voodoo hogwash. But the reality is that color can have a profound effect on your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Don’t believe it? Read on about what science says, and decide for yourself which colors you want to optimize in your décor.
Light is energy, and color is an interaction between energy and matter. Each color on the electromagnetic spectrum vibrates at its own special wavelength and frequency. The human eye can only detect wavelengths between roughly 380 and 780 nm, a range of the spectrum known as visible light. Visible light can be broken down into endless electromagnetic frequencies, which produce shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet–the colors of the rainbow, also known as Roy G. Biv.
What is Color Therapy?
According to Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2, energy and matter are dual expressions of the same universal substance. While contemporary Western medicine focuses mostly on understanding and addressing the physical matter–the arms, the brain, the blood vessels–it doesn’t address the energies of the body, which also contribute to health and disease. Color therapy addresses these energies of the body at the DNA and cellular level, according to research. Each color generates unique electrical impulses and magnetic currents that affect certain hormonal and biochemical processes in the body.
Through centuries of scientific study, including a growing body of modern literature, researches have amassed an enormous amount of information about how colors affect everything from fertility and nerve health to inflammation and mood. In ancient Greek and Egyptian culture, color was used in healing as garments, oils, ointments, and salves. Today, color light therapy is the most commonly used variation in a clinical setting, but colors also affect the body when they’re viewed or consumed.
Home Décor as Color Therapy
Whether you’re looking for more energy, a better mood, or more optimal blood flow, research shows that choosing the right colors for the rooms you live in can make a difference in your overall health and wellbeing. Here, then, is what Roy G. Biv can do for you in your home.
Red is associated with energy, movement, confidence, intensity, and stimulation. It’s the color of creativity, strength, and power, but only when it’s in balance. When it’s not, powerful reds can create a sense of chaos and stress. In holistic healing circles, red is used to improve circulation, heal uninfected wounds, and strengthen the kidneys, heart, and muscles.
Since red is so energetic, it doesn’t belong in the bedroom, where it can make an emotionally draining day feel even worse. Likewise, it’s a little too hot-tempered for the home office. Red is great for the exercise room, and since it can stimulate your appetite, it’s ideal for the dining room or kitchen.
Orange is associated with happiness, vitality, and optimism. It’s the color of deep insight and joy. It’s the passion of red combined with the self-awareness of yellow. Orange is a social color, promoting an awareness of others’ needs and fostering feelings of trust, acceptance, and bonding. In a therapeutic setting, orange is used to reduce depression, improve circulation and blood pressure, and balance hormones.
Since orange can make a room look smaller, it’s not ideal for bathrooms, small bedrooms, or small kitchens, where it can create feelings of stress and chaos. It’s also a color that produces feelings of excitement–although not as strongly as red–and therefore shouldn’t be used in the bedroom. It’s a great color for the sun room, family room, and other areas where the family spends time together.
Yellow is the cognitive color, boosting learning, alertness, focus, and confidence. It’s a cheerful, sunny color that brings emotional warmth and uplifts the spirit. When it’s imbalanced, you may struggle with cynicism, control issues, or indecisiveness. In color therapy, yellow is used to address issues of the stomach, gall bladder, and liver while boosting the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems.
Yellow is all about wisdom and mental clarity, making it an ideal color for the office, although you’ll want to choose a subtle shade. Brighter shades of yellow can stimulate negative emotions and anxiety, which makes them less than ideal for the bedroom. But brighter yellows are great for bathrooms, bedrooms, the kitchen, the sun room, and the living room. Because yellow stimulates digestion, it’s another good color for the dining room.
Green is calming and soothing, associated with growth, balance, birth, and prosperity. It’s the color of nature, good health, and healing, and it promotes feelings of trust and harmony. Green is the search for truth. It promotes circulation, breath, and flow. In color therapy, green is used to address liver swelling, inflammation, eye problems, and allergies, among other ailments.
Green is a great color for the yoga room, bedroom, bathroom, living room, and anywhere else you want to relax, since it promotes feelings of calmness and spiritual connectedness. Green can also inhibit the impulse to overeat, which makes it a good choice for the dining room.
Blue is all about deep, calm inner peace. It’s a nurturing color, promoting higher-level thinking, insight, wisdom, and clarity. If your blue isn’t balanced, you may experience feelings of aloneness and depression. In therapeutic settings, blue is used to inhibit bacteria and infections, reduce cramps and headaches, facilitate restful sleep, and relieve pain.
Since blue is such a calming color, it’s perfect for the bedroom, where it can help you relax and unwind. It’s also a great color for the home office, promoting honesty, integrity, diplomacy, and negotiation. In the bathroom, blue brings the sky and water into your room and provides a soothing backdrop for a long, hot bath.
Indigo is your higher consciousness, the color of intuition and clairvoyance. It promotes the communication of feelings and balances personal motivations, expectations, and perceptions. An indigo imbalance could foster feelings of remorse, regret, and conceit. Color therapy utilizes indigo to curb excessive bleeding, reduce a high respiratory rate, and purify the blood.
Indigo is a rich, worldly blue that’s getting close to charcoal or black, and it looks absolutely luscious in the living room, dining room, or family room. Since it’s so dark, it’s not ideal for the bathrooms or other small rooms, but it looks lovely in larger bedrooms and in the office, as long as you have some art pieces on the walls to break up large areas of this dense color.
Violet is an emotional color, stimulating emotional release, dreams, and transformation. It fights negativity, represents the closure of earthly issues, and promotes new growth and atonement. It smacks of life purpose and spiritual attachment. Therapeutic uses for violet include easing menopause symptoms, reducing stress, fighting viruses, and relaxing the lymphatic system.
Because of its calming effects, violet can help you sleep better, which means it’s a great color for the bedroom. However, you don’t want to go overboard on the violet, or it may make you feel agitated or depressed.
The Final Word on Designing with Color Therapy
When thinking of a color scheme, keep balance and harmony in mind. Choose hues that are complementary, and don’t be afraid to play with different tones of a color. Most importantly, choose colors you love. They’re all beneficial in their own special wavelength, so you really can’t lose.