lightThe Return of Color Light Therapy

Color light therapy, also called chromotherapy, is the therapeutic use of light to improve health and is re-emerging as an “old new age” therapeutic option embraced by some health care practitioners.

Proponents of color light therapy healing say it can help prepare a client’s body for massage, achieve more profound results and induce deeper levels of relaxation.

colorful historyA Colorful History

In 1903, Niels Ryberg Finsen, the developer of a device that produced synthesized light, was awarded the Nobel Price in Medicine for this discovery. Since that time, the health benefits of color have been studied but not in depth.

For one study on the effect of color on the body, see “The Effects of Baker-Miller Pink on Biological, Physical and Cognitive Behaviour,” published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.

Additionally, according to color therapist Constance Hart, “In 1938, the Worchester State Hospital in Massachusetts did effective testing on patients with colored lights, revealing that red had a stimulating effect while blue had a soothing effect.”

In 1958, Robert Gerard, Ph.D., of UCLA, did substantial testing to [indicate] that blood pressure increases under red light and decreases under blue light. (Color Psychology and Color Therapy, Birren, 1950.)

And in the article “Let There Be Light; The Healing Art of Spectro-Chrome,” Steven Ross, Ph.D., wrote, “The effects of color and light on the human system are subjects of scientific investigation … An example of this effect is found in the medical practice of treating premature babies with Bilirubin Syndrome (jaundice) by exposing them to blue light.”

lightBathe the Body with Color Light Therapy

Meanwhile, some health care practitioners are turning toward light and color therapies.

Vanessa Cisneros, a doctor of Chinese Medicine practicing at the Healing Elephant Clinic in Miami, Florida, has dedicated her professional life to the combined learning of color, light and sound therapies, which can transform the mind and deeply heal the body. Cisneros serves on the board of the International Light Association and was invited to represent it at the recent Nobel Peace Prize concert in 2016.

“I can produce quicker and more accurate results with color and sound than with any other therapy,” Cisneros said.

Cisneros says she takes color light therapy very seriously and uses only authentic color therapy tools that have the correct healing frequency.

She bathes the body in light with the Spectro-Chrome system, which dates back to the late 19th century and uses the best source of light from an incandescent bulb that emits a selected continuous light spectrum. When combined with specific color filters, this spectrum supports healing.

Some of the other color tools she uses to apply color to smaller areas are the Bioptron and the Molimed color-light system. The Bioptcron, in particular, she says, reduces swelling and inflammation.

Directing focused colored lights on acupressure points stimulates the healing energy that “naturally occurs in our bodies,” according to text on the business page of Sound Color Acupuncture. “Color can assist with emotional releases, a deeper sense of self, which brings about insight, clarity and harmony. It is very useful in relieving stress and anxiety,” that site said.

Cisneros says she has learned much of what she knows from attending educational conferences where she is exposed to the latest therapeutic uses of color light therapy as well as the latest equipment.

As Darius Dinshah noted in the article, “Color Therapy: An Old New Age Therapeutic Option,” there is “a difficult point for many to understand: How can colored light possibly cause a physiologic effect inside a human (or animal) body?”

receptorTwo Receptor Organs

Color light therapy can establish or improve health in a gentle, biophysical way. In the human body, there are two receptor organs for light, which are formed during embryonic development: the eyes and skin. Besides what we see through the eyes, colors do not in fact exist as such; they exist only as wavelengths that also contact the skin.

An example of this effect is found in the medical practice of treating premature babies with Bilirubin Syndrome (jaundice) by exposing them to blue light.

“Light applied to the skin causes a chemical reaction (photo-oxidation) in blood circulating under the skin, effectively lessening bilirubin levels with the aid of the liver,” Dinshah said.

Color combines both physiological and physical characteristics. The two most studied colors for treatment are blue and red light, and it has been established that red corresponds to the stimulating effect of the sympathetic nervous system, while blue affects the regenerating and relaxation of parasympathetic nervous system.

“Additional light exposure is well-known to cause a beneficial change in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a condition believed to be caused by insufficient light energization through the eyes to the hypothalamus thence to the pituitary gland, which controls the endocrine system,” said Dinshah.

There is no question that light, color (and sound) can be an important therapeutic tool that aid everyone. They will allow for deeper relaxation and improve the healing response from the body after a massage.


Ronel Corbin is a physician of Chinese medicine who has been in the holistic health and wellness field for more than 24 years. She wrote this article on behalf of The International Light Association, which  will hold its 14th Annual Conference April 30 to May 3 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hosted in North America for the first time in six years, the conference, themed “The Power of Light,” will feature presentations from 17 of the most renowned light therapists and researchers from across North America, Europe and Asia.