Light therapy, also called chromatherapy or color therapy, is the use of specific colors as a healing technique. The effect of color on cells was documented in the early 20th century when photobiologist John Ott observed a change in cell behavior in response to colored filters from his camera. This led to further research on the effect that colored light has on living organisms.
Each color in the spectrum has a different wavelength that light therapy advocates say corresponds to effects on the body. Warmer colors, such as red and yellow, tend to stimulate the nervous system, while cooler colors, such as blue and indigo, have a calming effect. The color green is in the middle of the color spectrum and, therefore, has a balancing effect on the body. Green is considered a cooler color and also helps bring about a slightly sedative effect.
Two hours of daily exposure to green light was just as effective in treating depression symptoms caused by seasonal affective disorder as exposure to white light and was more effective than red light, according to a study published in 1991 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Traditional Chinese medicine, Egyptian medicine and Ayurvedic medicine have all used light therapy. Ayurvedic practitioners use green light to treat ulcers. Each chakra is also connected to specific colors. The fourth chakra, which is the heart chakra, is associated with the color green, which is symbolic of its ability to help balance emotions.
Ayurvedic practitioners say the color green has properties that discourage the growth of pathogens, and it is considered an antiseptic and disinfectant. Holistic color therapists have used green light to treat infections, according to a 2001 article in the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine.
Gaining the health benefits of the color green at home can be as easy as wrapping yourself in a green blanket. Another option is wrapping a glass gallon container of drinking water in green cellophane and letting it absorb sunlight for several hours. According to Ayurvedic practices, the water will be infused with the energy level of the green color and will contain its therapeutic effects. You also can shine green light on yourself using a green-colored lens. Consult a chromatherapist to receive focused treatments of green light therapy.
- PubMed: Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine: Color Therapy
- The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care: Poutinen, C.J.; 1998
Based in Colorado, Jacqueline Lerche has been writing alternative health, natural science and environment-related articles since 2009. Lerche holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and an Environmental Affairs Certification from Colorado State University.