To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Traditional Touch-Points for Practice Branding in A Digital Age” in the June 2018 issue. Article summary: As a hands-on modality massage therapy can benefit from taking a step back to some of the pre-digital methods of practice promotion.
The colors we see in nature are for more than our enjoyment.
Color schemes can be an incredible resource if you understand how to make them work for you.
Each color is associated with a different level of safe electromagnetic radiation and a unique wavelength that can invigorate or relax you. Colors influence moods, actions, and specific physiological responses.
I call color “the language of light.” It’s a visual language constantly speaking to us.
We perceive its meanings in patterns and shapes. It influences all spoken languages, cultures, and everything we touch.
Whether or not we’re consciously aware of it, we experience colors as universal energies that carry information in their path. Not only do we receive its delight with our eyes, but through our skin, too.
There’s a theory that we can feel the energy of static colors through our fingertips, such as with silk scarves, crystals, and vegetation.
Chromotherapy, or color light therapy, is a non-touch practice of using light emitters to shine colors onto chakras, reflex zones, and acupuncture points along the energy meridian channels.
The application of color light in a trained hand is embraced in massage practices, wellness centers, spas, animal care, and for personal use at home. This ancient art is now being understood through scientific study.
The appropriate use of specific colors is believed to directly affect all living beings, encouraging positive mental and physical health. Color psychology offers additional perspectives on its value. Both fields provide insights for practice design.
Some of these chromotherapy and color psychology guidelines will seem obvious.
From birth we experience the world visually and kinetically through colors and patterns. Trust your instincts all the way to your fingertips. Your color choices should reflect your personality, what you offer, and create a welcoming and tranquil practice environment.
Be Mindful of the Mood Goal
Innate reactions are induced by color choices.
Each of the rainbow colors is associated with one of the body’s energy chakras that in turn relate to physical and mental processes.
Fresh pale tones of warm and delicate whites open spaces and soften them with their undertones to showcase room accents.
Wall hangings, flower arrangements (dry or fresh), and furnishings should blend into your color schemes.
These tones encourage the client to relax and be prepared to receive their treatment in a safe and inviting setting.
Bright colors draw attention and keep us alert so use them only as occasional vibrant splashes or in their lighter hues to create an atmosphere that reflects who you are and what you’re offering.
Light Green, Sky Blue, and Turquoise
Where in nature might you go to relax and rejuvenate?
Maybe you’d sit on a sandy beach by a turquoise ocean under an azure sky. Or take a meandering walk through an earthy trail under a sun-dappled canopy of green leaves.
You didn’t visualize bright reds, oranges, or yellows did you? This is how simple and intuitive the exercise of color selection can be.
Light green is the color most restful to the eye. It balances the exciting warm sun and fire colors with the cool blues of the ocean and sky. In neutral shades it cools, calms, relaxes, and soothes anxiety.
The color of nature, green is associated with transformation, healing, and renewal.
Optimistic, refreshing, and gently uplifting, it helps harmonize all systems of the body.
Associated with the heart chakra, it signifies balance, peace, and harmony.
Pale shades of green are commonly used for branding and decor in the wellness sectors and medical facilities to denote good health potential.
Treatment rooms can have sheets and pillows in light shades of green.
A diffuser with essential oils of pine or other tree essences could enhance the ambiance. A hand-painted mural or ceiling frieze symbolizing nature would be inspiring and liberating to view during a session.
Living plants are a great way to introduce green as a calming accent. Stay away from yellower greens associated with imbalance and illness. Dark green is a symbol for first aid.
Sky blue is a cool and fascinating color.
It makes us think of looking up, mesmerized by the cloudless skies and calm reflective seas. Bring the universe into your room with a ceiling of blue, a getaway for dreaming and expansion.
Associated with the throat chakra, sky blue symbolizes communication, speaking the truth, and encourages inner awareness and peace. It aids in clearing the mind, supports skin conditions, and readies us for inspiration.
Turquoise is somewhere between blue and green and is used in meditative practices, and the restoration and rejuvenation of the body at a deep energetic level.
At the end of a session, wish your client well and give them a keepsake of a pretty stone such as turquoise. They’ll be sure to remember you.
In nature we find many neutrals and earth tones. A monochromatic environment of whites, blacks, browns, or indigos can be too stark.
Think of those colors as accents and their shades of grays, beiges, and slate blues as backdrops for calming colors.
White is the combination of all colors of light. It evokes images of soft clouds and pristine beaches and can help clear the mind and nourish the soul.
In many cultures white symbolizes purity, cleanliness, and freshness. But bright white walls and furniture can feel cold and clinical in an out-of-context setting and cause anxiety.
Maybe you’ve heard of “white coat syndrome,” where just seeing the doctor’s coat increases the patient’s blood pressure. Use warmer eggshells, creams or touches of pastels.
Think of warm whites as a blank canvas to which you’ll add your own soothing color palette. Black accents can make small spaces appear larger. For larger expanses use soft grays to create a haven.
Soft beiges like sand and lighter wood are more restful for walls, floors, and furniture and their darker browns work better on baseboards in a corridor.
Indigo night sky can be peaceful and comforting but should be used only as an accent in a treatment room.
The right lampshade can be an eye-catching accent on a dimmed tabletop lighting fixture. Associated with the third eye chakra, white symbolizes access to universal consciousness.
Softer shades in blue-grey hues blend beautifully with fresh neutral tones and would work well in your storage room or kitchenette.
Reds, Oranges, and Yellows
Fiery reds, yellows, and oranges excite and stimulate.
These intense hues aren’t conducive to a holistic and spiritual practice décor, but you don’t have to completely omit them.
All colors have positive qualities and warmer ones help restore depleted energy. They’re associated with the chakras on the lower half of the body: the root chakra at the base of the spine; the sacral chakra below the navel; and the solar plexus above the navel.
These chakras, based on their locations along the body, relate to survival instincts, reproduction, and digestion and its related internal processes.
Powder pinks, soft peaches, and mellow yellows can be used abundantly in paint and themed wallpaper. They can even be balanced with their complementary colors in creatively designed treatment rooms and waiting areas.
Subtly incorporating energetic favorites can be a fun way to showcase your personal style. A pitcher of water with raspberries, orange peels, and lemon wedges can await your client on a hot summer day. Use different fruity flavors to spice up your ambiance as the seasons change.
Violet is associated with the crown chakra at the top of the head and represents the spiritual connection to a person’s higher self. It is the color of contemplation and wisdom.
Lavender, its spiritual shade, promotes rest and relaxation. Violet’s pastel variations are commonly used in the branding and decor of alternative, holistic, and new age practices.
More intense violets in the deep purple range can overwhelm and should only be used to accent wall and furniture trim.
Potted or cut fresh flowers in all shades of violet are a welcoming sight at the reception desk.
Try lavender and purple geranium.
Openly display your certification, awards, charity work, and business license in picture frames that match your persona and style.
Vibrant bluish pink magenta falls between red and purple.
Therapy bed sheets, towels, and tissue boxes of soft magenta can be quite intriguing.
Client washrooms could have a lavender aromatherapy diffuser to create an aroma to match the décor palette. Essential oils are distilled from nature’s palette.
Their aromatic bouquet stimulates our senses with their naturally sourced essences and colors.
Even if you have a neutral background you may want more than one accent color.
Pick colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, like restful blues and greens, or be more daring and select colors that are opposite each other.
Here are some combinations that balance and soothe: peach with turquoise; light green with soft pink; and lavender with mellow yellow.
Earth tones can be balanced with soft greens and gentle blues.
Use your intuition and experiment until you find the combinations that feel right for you.
Natural Patterns, Shapes, and Accents
Our world is pattern forming with shapes and designs spanning throughout nature, such as flower petals and butterfly wings.
Things are eventually worn smooth by the elements, even sharp rocks and mountain peaks.
Rivers meander as they reflect sunlight. Your practice decor can echo some of these features with accent mirrors and fountains for light reflection, and soothing sounds to create that special oasis destination.
You can use softly rounded wood, wicker, or bamboo furniture, and cushions and rugs made of woven natural fibers for an earthy feel.
Incorporate stones and art evoking beautiful images from nature.
Ensure energy flow as dictated by the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui and keep air moving with quiet fans. As accents, natural lighting through textured paper or laced window shades and from candles can create a gentle ambience.
Branding and Promotional Materials
You can extend your chosen color scheme into the branding of your practice website and promotional materials, even using a deeper shade if desired.
For further personal branding you can wear a uniform using aspects of your practice colors.
Taking the time to learn your own color palette for relaxation, rejuvenation, self-healing or just as a getaway will help you connect on a deeper level with your clients.
While they may not be consciously aware of your efforts they’ll sense that they’re in a special refuge from the chaotic world beyond your doorstep.
A place they will want to return to.
About the Author
Julianne Bien is the creator of The Spectrahue Method of light therapy. In addition to developing the Lumalight color delivery system, Bien has authored and published many books on this subject in her Golden Light series. She is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved continuing education provider. Her current series of blog posts, available through her website and newsletter explores in depth the chromotherapy insights for each of the colors of the rainbow.
Note: No medical claims are made or implied in this article and the information does not replace the advice and care of a medical professional.