Colour informs your dress sense, your décor style, even (for some) the car you drive. But it's not just a superficial, style thing: colour has emotional resonance, and can be used to calm and heal you.
"In colour therapy, we nourish the body, emotions, heart, mind and spirit through various energy systems, using colour," says Gayle Friedman of The Sunshine Health academy in Cape Town. Aromas and flower essences, crystals and astrological birth charts, sound and clothes, even breathing and food can be used to enrich and support you in unexpected ways, she says.
How it worksWhen I had a session with Friedman, she allayed my nerves by explaining the principles of the therapy.
A session of colour therapy begins with a brief consultation to discuss your needs, and to allow the practitioner to assess you.
In the soft-spoken manner of one who has the utmost trust in the therapy, she instilled a sense of calm, and I felt totally peaceful on the bed in the middle of the room, as the soft scents of an aromatherapy massage washed over me.
This started with me under a blanket with small crystals and stones placed at various points on my body. Under the bed, there were dozens of beautiful crystals and stones to enhance the therapy. Friedman explained how each was supposed to work, and kept telling me to focus on my breathing.
Starting with a reflexology massage on my feet (an old therapist's trick for checking up on the body's ills – they can tell much from reflexology), and using oils chosen for their colour aroma blends to balance the body’s energies, the massage began.
Throughout the session, Friedman spoke softly, encouraging me to imagine myself in serene places, such as lying on lush lawns, breathing in the scent of the air around me.
She asked me to visualise breathing in colours such as red for the pelvis and leg area; or yellow for the liver and nervous system. This is known as "colour breathing", and is about unlocking blockages such as contracted physical body areas, negative emotions and mental stress, to allow the light/colour to flow into the body.
This was difficult at first, as I was trying to focus on breathing and visualising at the same time, and I had to keep reeling in my wandering mind. Friedman reassured me afterwards that this is normal – keeping focus is something that only comes with practice.
The therapy concluded with a gentle head massage, a treatment to release tension from the neck, back, spine and legs, and a colour energy balance along the spine and chakras, into the feet to ground the body.
After an hour of having my feet massaged, my head rubbed and visualising myself in beautiful and serene places, I was upset when it was over.
It took me a while to open my eyes and come back down to earth. My body felt like lead for about 10 minutes. But gradually I came around, and the feeling of relaxation was astounding.
I would definitely recommend this to those in need of time out and relaxation.
The cost is R300 at the centre. The price of home treatments depends on travel distance.
How to make colour work for you
According to the Sunshine Health Academy's website, there are many day-to-day ways in which the awareness of colours can lead to balancing and healing:
- Colour in food: Our diets should include the spectrum of natural food colours, such as red (apples); orange (squashes); yellow (bananas); green (spinach); blue (blueberries); and violet (plums).
- Colours in surroundings: Pink and peach are known to have a soothing, peaceful effect (great for bedrooms); yellow lends energy and stimulation (study and work places); and blue lends calm and concentration (great for bathrooms). Babies, especially, should be surrounded by pastel colours in the first year, as – the website says – these are the colour of their auras at that stage of their life. Bright colours can be overwhelming.
- Colours we wear: Colour is powerful in matching your moods and needs. If you require emotional strength, wear orange; lilacs and blues help to maintain calmness; and green supports the immune system. Pregnant women may favour orange and blue clothing, as orange is the colour corresponding to the area in which the baby is growing and blue enhances the qualities of motherhood.
- Minerals and crystals: Gemstones, minerals and crystals can be worn to balance and strengthen the aura. An example of a widely used crystal is the amethyst, with its calming and protective qualities.
- Visualisation: Visualising a healing colour is a powerful tool, and is a strong component of colour therapy. Try visualising a healing colour around any pain you feel in your body. Many also believe that in any situation in which you feel threatened, visualising yourself surrounded by a triangle of protective white light can give you strength.
Sunshine Colour Academy
(Amy Henderson, Health24.com, December 2007)