Have you ever wondered why doctors (especially in operation theatres) are always in green or blue scrubs and white coats? People consistently describe rooms painted blue and green as relaxing and harmonious. These are generally believed to be cool colours and make us feel calm, balanced, and less emotional. It is said that hot colours like red or orange cause blood pressure to rise, muscles to become tense and result in an increased heart rate. Colour in its healing context could best be described as a sign language of the soul, says Mark Wentworth, who gives Colour Psychology action, meaning and a voice.
• Can you explain what is Colour Therapy? Is it different from Colour Light Therapy?
Colour is something that we are constantly surrounded and influenced by, be it in the colours we decorate our homes, the colours we choose to wear, and the colours chosen by the advertising agencies to sell our favourite products. They all have an effect on how we feel and how we perceive our lives to be.
Colour Therapy, as a tool for healing is a complementary therapy that uses specific colours for helping people achieve a state of balance and wellbeing, and to help support people on their healing journey be it of a physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual origin.
There are many different forms of colour therapy some using coloured scarves placed on different parts of the body, others using a mix of colour and aromatherapy oils and yet others using colour combined with different types of expressive arts and storytelling.
Sitting in a room of our favourite colours, for example, can be considered healing, as can a simple walk in nature be it in woodland or by the sea, both could be considered a form of colour therapy.
And then there is Colour Light Therapy, which uses a light source to either project coloured light onto the body or to have clients look at the coloured light.
• Where did it originate?
The use of colour for healing and wellbeing dates back thousands of years and was used in much the same way in many different cultures from around the world. In Ancient Egyptian mythology the god Thoth passed the knowledge of the healing power of colour to the people, in Ancient Greece it was said that the god Hermes brought colour healing through the use of gemstones, coloured minerals and plant based dyes, as well as creating colour healing sanctuaries with specific colour painted walls to heal different ailments.
Some tribal cultures in the Amazon in South America believed that each colour connected different tribes to different star systems and that we all came from different parts of the Universe and it was the colours that brought us here, and it was the colours that could be used to heal different illnesses. The colours were applied using natural pigments to the body in specific geometric patterns, which were believed to represent both healing and the ailment or illness itself. The belief about colour and its links to the stars and the practice of colour healing in some tribes is still practiced and followed today.
What I personally find interesting is that there wasn’t the global communication system that we have today and yet the similarity and belief about colour as a healing tool is quite remarkable.
• How did you end up being a colour therapist?
Since a child I have always been fascinated by colour, it has so much to say and to express, and when we take time to listen and to look it has so much to offer in the way of happiness and contentment of life.
When I first met my colour teacher over 30 years ago and she started talking about colour it was as if she were talking a language, which woke something up in me that had been dormant and waiting for that moment. As she was talking I knew I had found home, during my training I was asking questions, which my tutor often said, were discussed and explored in the later modules, I was only on the first module.
It was like learning a language, whilst new to me on one level it wasn’t on another. As I studied more I realised I wanted to help people understand and know the healing and life potential of colour, and to teach about how to use this gift of nature for every day living and wellbeing.
Since that time, it’s been an ongoing journey, I never could have imagined that colour would take me all around the world and enable me to meet and work with some pretty amazing people from all walks of life. I’ve worked in Nepal helping children tell their stories through colour and have worked in a big psychiatric hospital in downtown Manhattan teaching the nurses how to use colour to help deal with the personal stresses of a busy Emergency Room department. Colour goes beyond the spoken word; I’ve come to learn it really does speak the language of the heart and Soul.
• Does Colour Therapy help in Healing? I mean can you ’colour yourself free’ of stresses/ailments? What are the therapeutics of colour?
Colour can be used either as a stand alone healing system or combined with other complementary therapies, it really is such a versatile healing modality to work with.
I use a system called Colour Profiling which is the ability to translate, through the medium of colour, a personality profile for an individual, a business or a family, the intention of this is to highlight the inner strengths and greatest potential of an individual, a group or a business. Knowing our motivators and understanding our natural way of relating to the world certainly helps to reduce stress and in some cases ailments decrease and or disappear. Colour Profiling is one way of defining and knowing yourself from the inside out, we then stand on firm solid ground to be better able to deal with the world and begin to live the life we love.
• Why are we/people attracted to specific colours and dislike certain colours? I mean is there an association of colour therapy in logos? We like certain logos and dislike some…
Likes and dislikes of colour are absolutely personal and when it comes to dislikes of colour, colour really is the innocent party here. Our likes and dislikes of colour are very often associated to past experiences and memories, for example one lady found yellow most horrible and refused to have anything yellow in her house, which wasn’t so good for her husband as his football team wore yellow shirts!
Anyway, after a bit of exploration she remembered a particular painfully sad incident where her then boyfriend was telling her he was ending their relationship, she was washing the dishes as he broke this news to her. It just so happened that the dishes were yellow! Yellow wasn’t the horrible colour as she described it was the situation in which the colour was present which was the unresolved issue.
Colour is a great storyteller; it is also a wonderful keeper of memories. All we need to do is start with a colour we either like or dislike and see what feelings and memories start to emerge, like this we then begin to understand our own language of colour.
• Is Sunshine/Sun rays a colour? How does it affect us? Why is a sunny yellow usually associated with cheerfulness and a grey with gloominess?
Again, ancient civilizations understood the healing power of the sun, in some cultures there was dedicated worship to the sun, it was seen as a living god, the provider of life and all that is.
Sunlight as such doesn’t have a colour, it is light, and it is the angle in which the sun’s light hits the earth, which makes colours brighter or less so depending on the time of the day. For example, the red, orange, yellow end of the spectrum is stronger in the morning than in the afternoon and vice versa. Have a look and see how red appears in the morning to how it looks late afternoon.
• Do colours have psychological effects?
All colours have psychological and emotional effects and these effects are used very well in advertising, for example would a blue sale sign have as much impact as red sale sign does? Next time you walk around the supermarket stop and look for a moment and ask why do they use a particular colour for one product but not for another one?
An interesting experiment is to look for an advert in a magazine of a perfume that you do not know the scent of. Look at the colours in the ad and write down how you think the perfume smells based on the colours alone. Then go smell the perfume; you will be quite surprised at how accurate you are. Colour effects us on all levels of being.
• Is this similar to the aura that we have?
Looking at the aura is another aspect of colour therapy, people who specialise in this field of work can either physically see the colours of the aura or there are now numerous computer programmes which measure and show the auric colour field on the computer screen. The colours change with our emotions and can also show where we have energetic blocks and show where we hold past traumas. It’s very interesting to watch on screen how the colours change in your aura as you talk about different life situations.
• Who can do colour therapy? I mean anyone with an ailment can do it?
There is a DIY colour therapy protocol that I teach to people, which is very easy to use, and a great tool for dealing with stress and pain relief along with many other uses.
- If the stress or pain had a colour what is the very first colour you imagine them to be?
- What colour would be a healing colour for these symptoms, what is the very first colour you imagine?
- Now imagine that you are breathing in and filling yourself up completely with the healing colour, and when you breathe out you breathe out the colour you have given to that which you wish to change.
Do this exercise on a regular basis, it can be once a day or even more, the important thing is to do it. If the colours change, let them. Introduce the healing colour into your life in whatever way you wish. Some people find an image of the healing colour and make it their screen-save photo, others introduce into clothing or home furnishings.
It sounds very simple, and it is, and it is often the very things in life that are so easy and simple that we question and doubt the most. But if we step out of the way and let colour do what it needs to do then change will happen.
• What can one expect in a session?
Initially I ask the person what is their intention for making the session, I find it helpful to clarify and to focus on exactly what is that brings the person to the session. More often than not people come for sessions at a time of change; they know something needs to change but they are either not sure how to do it, or even what it is that needs to change.
I then create the Colour Profile which could be likened to looking at a blueprint of the person sitting in front of me, this helps me and them to understand how they view the world and how best to work with the person. For example, someone who is Red would to be active in their session, so we may do some expressive arts with colour, whereas someone who is Indigo would relate more to visualising and imagining the colour. Change happens in different ways for different colours, and it’s then my role to guide that person in enabling them to best understand their core values and drivers and then explore how they might then put these to work in daily life to help with whatever change or issue the person initially came to the session for.
I would say most people leave a session feeling centred and reconnected with parts of themselves which maybe they have forgotten about or hidden away because they learnt or were told that this part was not ok. The first session is in a way about reminding the person about who they are and the natural gifts and talents they already have.
It’s like saying if you are born an orange tree you can go on as many retreats, have as many therapy sessions as you like, but you will never be a lemon tree! So best be the most amazing orange tree that you can be! An orange tree never compares itself or judges itself against another orange tree it just grows and becomes a unique tree.
A session can either be in person or done remotely via on-line communication.
• Can you share a few colourific secrets to a healthy happy and harmonious life?
One way we start to use colour for a healthy happy life is to use our own personal colour. This personal colour is part of Colour Profiling and is known as a Life Path Colour. By introducing this colour, in whatever shade or tone that works for us, we remind ourselves of our authentic core nature. The colour can be introduced in anyway that works for you, be it clothing, if it suits you and you like it, or in home accessories or even finding an image which contains your colour to have as your screen save on your phone or computer. Like this every time you see it, it reminds you, “this is who I am”
Your Life Path Colour comes from your date of birth, you add together all the numbers in your birthday until it reduces to a single digit between 1 – 9. Each number is then associated with a colour.
1 = Red – Energetic, lively, always on the go.
2 = Orange – Fun-loving, playful, can be quite emotional.
3 = Yellow – Inquisitive and curious, needs plenty of mental stimulation.
4 = Green – Space is important, as is a balanced, harmonious home.
5 = Blue – Communication is a strong need, so is music.
6 = Indigo – Deep and mysterious, great people watcher.
7 = Violet – Creative and a lover of luxury.
8 = Rose – A traveller, excellent host and always sees good in others.
9 = Gold – Natural-born teacher, high achiever, needs to be recognised.
So for example actor Tom Cruise was born on 3 – 7 – 1962 which translates to: 3 + 7 + 1 + 9 + 6 + 2 = 28 = 2 + 8 = 10 = 1 + 0 = 1 = RED
If you want to change your life, the answer is quite simple – add a little colour to your life!
Mark Wentworth has been studying and working with the transformational power of colour for 30 years. He is the founder of Colour for Life and the principal and creator of the Colour Psychodynamic method, which offers life-enhancing protocols integrating colour therapy with the archetypal and visionary worlds of C.G. Jung, the pioneering methods of Dr Roger Woolger, and the Psychodramatic work of J.L. Moreno, combined with the wisdom of Transpersonal Psychology. Mark pioneered workshops in the late 90’s uniting colour with bodywork, expressive arts and psychodrama techniques, giving colour, for the first time, not only a voice but also story and action. He continues to add colour to the lives of many. www.colourforlife.com