Color Therapy - Magic or Medicine? by Amanita Reproduced from _The Bard_, Vol. 1, No. 2 -

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Color Therapy - Magic or Medicine? by Amanita Reproduced from _The Bard_, Vol. 1, No. 2 - Imbolc 1980 Although occult tradition tells us that color was used therapeutically in ancient times for a wide variety of mental and physical afflictions, today there is scant remaining information on the subject. We find from what is left however, that the healing priesthood of ancient Egypt utilized "color halls" where they researched the science of light and color therapy. The Greeks as well, experimented with it, and believed that color was absorbed by the body through the eye. The seven hues of the visible spectrum were considered representative of the seven fold nature of mankind, and corresponded to the seven chakras in Ayurvedic (Hindu) medicine also. Today's implementation of color science or chromotherapy is evident in the use of soft blues and greens used in hospital rooms and surgical gowns, which are intended to sooth and calm as contrasted with the warming energizing hues of recovery and physical therapy rooms. Educators have found that students shown slides which were colored green retained 40% more information contained therein than the students shown the same material on black and white slides. Red and blue slides produced less satisfactory results respectively, but still gave superior results with regard to retention than did the black and white slides. In the Soviet Union, Professor Novomeisky has instituted classes in eyeless sight for blind people in what he calls "dermochromatics". His findings, based on feedback from his students, indicate that various colors 'feel' differently from one another - eg. red "burns", green is neutral, violet "pinches", etc. How then, is this of any use? Dr. Oscar Brunler, a leading researcher in this field, has worked extensively with color, and found that partially intoxicated test subjects, when exposed to red light continued their drinking, whereas a second group exposed to the yellow-orange ray, refused further alcohol; a fact which is profitably utilized in many cocktail lounges and restaurants. A child suffering from a severe asthma attack for which medication had proven useless, recovered within hours when her mother tied a red ribbon around her wrist per Dr. Brunler's advice. Lest one be too quick to sneer at this bit of folk medicine, it would be helpful to know that red is the longest wavelength in the visible color range, measuring 6500 angstroms, and can penetrate five eighths of an inch into the body. A beam of red light can split a salt crystal on contact, lending further credibility to the hypothesis that light is a form of energy. Light makes up about 1% of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, which also comprises cosmic rays, gamma rays, X-rays, ultra violet rays, infra-red rays, and radio-TV rays - all of which are known energy sources themselves. Pure white light, diffracted through a prism, breaks down into seven hues. They are, from the lowest end of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These are the basic hues most color therapists work with, although some also incorporate infra-red and ultra violet in small quantities. Green, because it lies in the middle of the spectrum, is considered the 'balancer' of the combined color energies, uniting as it does, the 'hot' and 'cold' hues. As a general rule, the hot colors have and energizing and stimulating effect, as opposed to the soothing, astringent effects of the cool range. Corinne Heline, in her book _Healing and Regeneration Through Color_, cites the instance of a scientist who was stationed on an outpost mission in the far north latitudes, and found himself encased in a ray of light from the Aurora Borealis. He described the experience as "exhilarating" and noted that the area's residents are particularly energized on those nights when the lights are most active and do not sleep as soundly; a phenomenon not unlike that of the full moon. This analogy is especially apt when one considers the two affect, and are affected by, the Earth's magnetic field; for it is only at the poles the lights are visible, decreasing in intensity the further one gets from them. Again, it is apparent that color is allied with energy. The use of the spectroscope (a sophisticated prism) in astronomy has shown that visible light as emitted by the sun is deflected and refracted by the stars, planets, and minerals; the resulting hues depending on the chemical constituency of each. The individual cells of the body react similarly to white light depending on what can be viewed as their alchemical constituencies, which are determined by nutrition, emotion, philosophy, etc. The resulting interplay of color is perceived by the sensitive eye as the aura. Thus, the validity of the old maxim "as above so below" is further established. When a deficiency of a given color is observed in the aura, this will manifest in a lack of those attributes energized by that color. Orange, for example, is credited with healing properties indicated for liver trouble. Therefore, this condition would manifest itself in the aura as either an overall deficiency of orange, or a lack of same on the area of the liver. The appearance of muddy orange as well, would be indicative of an unhealthy condition in this area. The methods of color treatment are varied; ranging from Dr. Theo Gimbel's color rhythm beaming machine, which is used in conjunction with music and meditation; to simple visualization. Visualization is probably the most convenient if not the easiest way of applying color. Some therapists use the palms of the hands as 'spotlights', visualizing the color flowing from them onto the affected area. This can also be done _in absentia_, but requires greater concentration of both healer and patient. A simple yogic breathing exercise can be utilized in self healing by merely inhaling the chosen color to the count of four, holding it for four counts, and likewise exhaling on four counts. It is recommended that this be done daily, visualizing the appropriate color for each chakra and linking them together with a column of white light. This establishes a balance of color throughout the physical and spiritual bodies. The most common method is to irradiate the affected part of the body with the desired color for 15-30 minutes once or twice daily, depending on the severity of the condition. This can be done by using colored light bulbs or colored gelatin filters which cover the opening of a lamp. Water may be charged with color by either exposing it to colored light for about 24 hours or by placing it in a colored bottle and leaving it in the sunlight for a day or two. It is then used to make coffee or tea. As explained previously, white light when diffracted through a prism will separate into seven hues; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Each of these corresponds to one of the seven chakras and so is used for psychic, as well as physical healing. Their correspondences are as follows: Red - Corresponds to the base of the spine or "root chakra" and the planet Mars. It's effect is vitalizing and energizing but the intensity is such that it should not be used in a weakened condition in large doses. Some color therapists believe that it should not be used alone but always in conjunction with another color, preferably green or blue. It is beneficial for treatment of arthritis, anemia, paralysis, and sinus conditions. An overabundance of this color in the aura may result in anger, irritation, greed or violence. Orange - Corresponds to the spleen chakra and is ruled by Mercury. It is used to treat lungs, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, stimulates feelings of well being and livens the emotions. It is helpful in treating coughs, cramps, gallstones and asthma. In it's negative aspect, it is flamboyant and sometimes thieving. Yellow - This color is ruled by the Sun and corresponds to the solar plexus. It activates motor nerves, muscles, and is used in treating skin conditions. A valuable anti-depressant, yellow is credited with the property of lessening calcium deposits and is reputed to be of benefit in the treatment of dyspepsia and obesity. It is often used in schools because it has been found to stimulate learning processes. An overabundance of this color is said to result in conceit and loudness. Green - Symbolic of harmony and balance, this color corresponds to the heart chakra and the planet Venus. It is considered a tonic for the heart and blood and is believed to relieve tension; a condition activated by an overabundance of it's opposite color, red (Mars). It's tranquilizing effects are also manifested in it's action on high blood pressure, ulcers, and anxiety. Also used for hay fever, blood clots, and varicose veins. Too much may result in inflexibility, self indulgence and phlegmatic behavior. Blue - Corresponds to the throat chakra and the planet Jupiter. The effects are cold, astringent and antiseptic. It, as well as green is useful in treating 'red' conditions such as inflammation and fevers. Not recommended for colds, rheumatism, or paralysis. Throat conditions, goiter, fevers, cuts, burns, and colic all respond well to the application of blue light. It is also recommended for alleviating infections and the effects of poison. Too much blue in the aura can result in mistrust, dullness, lethargy and depression. Indigo - Corresponds to the pituitary or third eye chakra and the planet Saturn. It's effects are similar to those of blue but somewhat more intense. It stimulates the parathyroid glands but depresses the thyroid. It is valuable in clearing up congested conditions in the eyes, ears, nose, lungs,and stomach. Indigo reduces bleeding, inflammation, violence, excitability, and is reputed to be of value in exorcisms. It's unhealthy manifestation results in in tolerance, disassociation, and illusions. Violet - Corresponds to the chakra at the top of the head; the crown chakra, and is ruled by the Moon. It is not for the undeveloped mind due to the subtlety of it's vibrations, and is well suited to the temperments of artists, musicians, writers, and other creative people. It is credited with purifying the blood and alleviating tumors. It also regulates the potassium balance in the system and is considered antiseptic for negative spiritual conditions (psychosomatic disorders). Too much is said to result in arrogance or treachery.

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