Color is such a simple thing.
We almost take for granted the green of spring, the orangey glow
of a sunset, or the magnificence of a rainbow - but color is much
more than a treat for our senses. In fact, many color therapists,
and others who incorporate color into healing, say that colors are
actually varying energetic frequencies that affect us on mental,
emotional and physical levels. Accordingly, the color of your sheets,
the color of your essential oils and the color modalities that you
integrate into your hands-on techniques or massage-therapy sessions
can all have a profound effect upon clients.
Spas in the United States
generally limit their use of color therapy to colored-water baths;
however, there are plenty of other healing - and creative - uses
for color in a bodywork session. This article is intended to give
you some ideas about how to use color therapy in your own massage
practice or spa.
How color works
Color therapy has been used for centuries. According
to Jacob Liberman, M.D., a teacher at the London Centre of Vibrational
Medicine in London, Ontario, Canada, color has been used for treating
illness throughout history.
"Crystals, painted icons,
artwork, items of clothing and decorative effects for dwellings
were all treated ritualistically by various cultures for health
and religious purposes," Liberman says. "The effects of
color, in fact, became so interwoven into the psyche of the people
that shaman[s], medical providers and religious figures began using
colored linen, salves, ointments and plasters to treat a variety
"There were many treatises
on the effects of color on the mind and physical body," he
continues. "Many students of Aristotle, forerunners to modern
medical and scientific thought, were engulfed in the study of color
and light with regard to energetic healing."
Brian Greenfield, a licensed
color therapist practicing in Kent, England, defines the basics
of color therapy. "Each color in the spectrum of all possible
colors has a frequency or wavelength associated with it. Because
illness can sometimes be caused by a lack of color and light in
the cells within the organs of the body, a renewal of this energy
can reinvigorate the health of the organs and systems within the
Greenfield points out that
color frequencies can be transmitted to a client through a variety
of means, including the placement of gemstones and crystals on the
body, placing silk scarves on or around them, using solarized water
and by bathing the client in colored light.
yoga and other complementary modalities can be combined with the
massage and color practices to achieve optimal results," says
The client must also be put
through some type of assessment process to detail where color frequencies
are most deficient. "My initial appointments last about two
hours. In that time I cover the client's mental and emotional state
as well as discussing current health issues and concerns,"
says Greenfield. There are many different methods that a practitioner
can use to identify the state of the client. "I use kinesiology
to test muscle strength in relation to color, dowsing and diagnostic
charts, in addition to considering data from other healers on the
client," says Greenfield.
Although there are various
schools of thought about the more intricate nature of color healing,
the primary traits assigned to each color seem to be consistent
throughout the literature. In general, bright tones like red, yellow
and orange are stimulating and energizing, while cool tones like
blue, purple and shades of green can be soothing, regenerative and
calming. White is purifying and stabilizing to the individual's
energy system. Black can be a protective and grounding color - but
black must be used in moderation because it has a tendency to absorb
negativity and is, therefore, best used with another color.
Using color with bodywork
Color therapy can be used in a variety of ways
in one's spa or massage practice. With very little money, time or
space, color can be added to a touch-therapy session, or offered
as a service on its own. Beyond either of those options, color can
play a central role in the life of your practice - even if you don't
offer color therapy - through its use in your session room and accessories.
According to Caroline Bayard,
founder and director of the Northeast Holistic Center in Belleville,
New Jersey, and a feng shui expert, different colors correspond
to different elements: red to fire; blue to water; yellow and orange
to earth; and green to wood.
Colors can also be used to
express the purpose of your practice and to affect the perception
of clients, Bayard says. "To promote your business as a source
of healing, try to use yellow, beige and orange colors," she
says. Added accents of black will give your business that much more
stability and financial stamina. Add splashes of purple for prosperity
and fame for your career.
"To work on the health
of the client while enhancing the health of your business, try a
combination of yellow and lavender sheets on a black table,"
she adds. "The purple will bring prosperity to your business,
yellow will bring help to the client and aid in opening up their
chakras, and the black table will reinforce the stability of the
Anne Tooley, a polarity practitioner
in Pittsboro, North Carolina, has built a practice primarily focused
on color therapy. "There are so many powerful ways to integrate
color into your practice," she says. "One of the simplest
ways that I apply color therapy to clients is by using swaths of
material. I lay the cloth on them during different points of energy
work. I primarily use raw silk. Silk has a much higher frequency
than any other natural fabric because a living thing, the silkworm,
Tooley places the cloth strategically
on reflex points, near energetic points that affect the systems
and organs of the body and on specific chakras. She also uses colored
liquids, gels, pinpoint light wands and theater lighting to bathe
the body in light and to energize oils and solutions.
"I like to combine sound
therapy using crystal bowls and blend in essential oil mixtures
with color mechanisms for the optimal effect on the system,"
she says. Tooley believes that by working on a systemic feature
of the body, like the spine or lymphatic system, the healing energy
is more rapidly dispersed throughout the body.
This same concept is explored
in a variety of modalities within the general practice of color
therapy. One practice known as Colorpuncture, discovered by Peter
Mandel, a German color therapist, scientist and naturopath, involves
applying light to acupuncture points, meridians, reflex zones and
chakras. According to the 1997 book, Colour Me Healing: Colorpuncture:
A New Medicine of Light, by Jack Allanach, the theory behind Colorpuncture
is that light is the medium by which cells communicate.
In Colorpuncture sessions,
frequencies of colored light are focused on an area of the body
using glass rods that beam the light. The client is diagnosed with
Kirlian Energy Emission Analysis that reads where energy is deficient
in the body and prescribes a Colorpuncture treatment to restore
balance. The results are seen through before-and-after Kirlian photographs.
Allanach's book further explains that Colorpuncture can clear energy
blockages in the body and help heal old psychic wounds.
Color in the room
Dignity, spirituality. Related to insight and inspiration.
Tranquility, devotion, inspiration, peace. Expander of
space and time.
Healing. Immune system strengthener.
Harmony, sympathy, balance. Creator of wholeness in mind,
body and spirit.
Intellectualism. An energizer and stimulant.
Creativity. The color of happiness and joy, related to
Vitality, strength. An energizer and stimulant, related
to masculine energy.
Release. Encourages the release of negative thought patterns.
Holly Hogue, a Reiki practitioner and energy worker
in Louisville, Kentucky, often integrates color therapy into her sessions.
She makes the application suit the client and the need. "Sometimes
I use crystal cards, which are color energy cards about the same size
as credit cards. I use them for working on different chakras and changing
the conscious awareness of the client while doing other forms of energy
work," she says.
Hogue says that she places
the cards on various areas of the client's body, or has the client
hold the card while focusing on a specific color. Hogue believes
that color healing is very intuitive, but also thinks therapists
should also be aware of the client's attitude during the session.
"It really depends on the individual. Color is very therapeutic,
very helpful to facilitating wellness; however, it really depends
on the client's frame of mind how the session should be approached
and what tools should be used," she says.
Aguillard agrees. "Many
of my clients have an adversity to crystals and color therapy. They
are more conservative and the color methods are just too "out
there" for them," she says. "Oftentimes I will integrate
color without making it a pronounced portion of the session. For
instance, I will visualize colors as I work on certain chakras.
I don't do anything without pure intent or anything that would compromise
my relationship with the client."
Bruce Rawles is a metaphysical
practitioner in Nevada City, California, who has performed extensive
research into color therapy. He says that color is a vibrational
and visual source of energy that we interact with on a daily basis.
"There are energy frequencies
all around us that we don't necessarily always pick up on,"
he says. "Intent is at the core of the frequencies that we
emit and, to some extent, also at the core of the nature of the
frequencies that we receive."
On a subconscious level, we
are constantly affected by the frequencies of the colors around
us, Rawles says.
"It is important to use
the bright colors to energize a room and soothing colors to calm
your client during a massage," he says. "It is also crucial
to create a color scheme that energetically complements the mathematical
lay of a room. For instance, in nature straight lines and sharp
angles are rarely found. Curvature, soft lines and shapes are more
forgiving and naturally softer, which is also more pleasing to the
Rawles also points out that
the various colors used in a session and in the design of a room
can have a profound impact even when they are only used as accent
"Because the energies
of color combinations can be so subtle, it is especially important
to be aware of every nuance contained within the massage practice
or in the elements surrounding the session," says Rawles.
Reflect your creativity
No matter how you choose to utilize color therapy
in your practice, the price of exploring the methods of color healing
are low and the selection of modalities is vast. An online search
reveals an abundance of information about color therapy, including
literature, schools and various philosophies. Your local library
or bookstore should also have a selection of books about the therapeutic
uses of color.
Most importantly, color therapy
comes in such an array of methodologies that your personal choices
for integrating color into your spa or massage practice can be slight
or robust - and they can be selected to reflect your own creativity.
Color-Charged Waters and Oils
Making your own color-charged waters and oils
is easy and inexpensive. Use a clean, colored glass bottle or a
clear bottle wrapped in colored cellophane. Fill it three-quarters
full with water or massage oil and close firmly to keep dust from
Place the bottle where it
will receive morning sunlight for six to eight hours.
Minton, L.M.T., is an esthetician, cosmetologist and former spa
owner. She currently works as a spa and salon consultant, E-business
expert and free-lance writer. She calls Fort Collins, Colorado,