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How to Use Color Therapy to Relieve Stress

Updated on July 24, 2012

Can Color Therapy Reduce Stress

Colors and What We Feel
Colors and What We Feel | Source

Color Therapy Has Been Practiced Since Ancient Times

Color affects our moods, evoking powerful feelings on a conscious and unconscious level. From the colors of clothes we choose to wear to the shades that decorate our home, colors have a powerful impact on what we feel and the choices we make. From marketing executives to holitistic healers, colors have been studied to help people in many ways.

The ancient Indian practice of medicine called Ayurveda uses color therapy, as does the study of chromotherapy used by Egyptians and Chinese in their holistic practice of healing, In western cultures, color therapy, chromotherapy, colorology, and light therapy are used primarily as an alternative or holistic treatment.

Conventional medicine and psychology does not provide any certification or licenses in any state in the United States, using color therapy. There have not been extensive studies done in this area, and although colors do affect us emotionally, the effect may only last for a brief period of time.

Colors have different meanings to people of different cultures. A holistic practitioner will use their knowledge about color to stimulate a certain feeling that color may represent. Some use crystals, some use silk and cloths, some use lights to help achieve a certain mood in their client.

Colors Evoke Feelings on a Conscious and Unconscious Level

Modern color therapy can be traced back to the 1800’s when light spectrums and electromagnetic waves were discovered. There is a reason color affects us in ways that are not necessarily tangible. It is thought colors, seen through our eyes affect the hypothalmic and cortical layers of our brain. This area has a lot to do with for our emotions.

Color therapy is not scientific, yet it does have a place in helping us feel better. Proponents of colored light therapy believe colors can help alleviate stress and sleep disorders among other ailments. They believe hues and shades of colors can be used to improve our well being on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.

Color Therapy and Cautions

Cautions Using Color Therapy and Light Therapy

  • Do not use color therapy as a substitute for conventional psychological or medical care
  • Flashing lights used in chromotherapy may be harmful to people who have epilepsy
  • Avoid looking directly at any lights used in color therapy, as it may be detrimental to your eyesight
  • Read about the prescription drugs you taking to make sure there are no side effects when exposed to any of the lights used
  • Color therapists are not licensed, regulated, or certified in any state in the United States
  • Color Therapy does not work on serious disorders

Colors Affect Our Senses and Emotions

Art therapists use a combination of conventional and alternative health methods and has been used since help people deal with their emotions. Through different methods of art, a therapist can attribute some meaning to their work and their use of colors to their feelings.

Our senses are connected to our emotions. Hearing music on the radio today, can bring back memories from our teens and feeling from that time. The aroma of fresh baked cookies can remind of Grandma and fill us with emotions we didn’t expect to feel. Colors do this too. Visually they create a sensation that trigger feelings and associations that evoke emotions on a deeper level than we may be consciously aware of.

Colors and The Way We Feel

Do Certain Colors Help You Relax?

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What Happens When We Feel Stressed

When we feel stressed everything from our thoughts, to the chemistry in our body reacts. There are many aspects to shedding stress. One component is action. For example, if you are feeling stressed because you have not finished a project, finishing the project will help you get rid of that stress. Another component to reducing stress is to relax. Relaxing is an integral part of destressing.

Learning to relax is a matter of changing our thoughts, changing our behavior, and changing our environment. Color therapy can help change our thoughts and change our environment. For example, blue is thought to be a calming color. If blue evokes feelings of serenity, wearing blue, sitting in a blue room may help soothe a person feel. Hospitals are now paying closer attention to the colors they use, realizing that colors do evoke certain emotions.

Color Therapy and How it Can Help Us Relax

For people who are seeking color therapy through a holistic practitioner, educate yourself fully about the effects, and the cautions about using this type of therapy. Color can play an integral role in how we feel at any given moment, but it may not have a lasting impact on our emotions. or change our stress levels permanently.

Color therapy is not something someone goes to have done. Color therapists can teach someone who would like to use color to help them feel better by using colors in their everyday surroundings. An expert in color therapy can be a valuable advisor in using color to help improve balance and well being for you. But color therapy is best not to be used as a stand alone treatment, as its value has yet to be studied in detail.

There is a connection to how we feel and how we may react when we see certain colors. Color therapy in combination with talk therapy can be a very effective tool to help us learn more about ourselves and how we are affected by our environment on many levels. As science learns more about the effects of color therapy treatments, new opportunities will exist to help us discover more about ourselves.


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