There are many different forms of light therapy, mainly chromotherapy, infrared light therapy, and red light therapy.
Although each form sounds very similar, they are in fact, very different from each other.
In this article, we will be explaining chromotherapy, how it works, and why it has become an integrated part of so many infrared saunas.
What Is Chromotherapy?
Chromotherapy, or colour light therapy, is a traditional holistic treatment used to improve health and elevate mood, using colourful light.
Colours are visible with light because they sit on a spectrum of wavelengths, with specific wavelengths being responsible for the different colours of light that we see.
Invoking the healing properties of the natural world, chromotherapy harnesses the visible spectrum of electromagnetic wavelengths (approximately 390 to 780 nanometres) to produce a range of biochemical and hormonal effects in the human body.
Each colour has a specific electromagnetic frequency, and each frequency is attuned to the body's vibrations.
Chromotherapy offers an effective non-pharmaceutical treatment method and current research indicates that this field is set to expand dramatically in the near future.
Where Did Chromotherapy Originate?
Colour light therapy has its origins in the ancient world.
Egypt, Greece, India, and China all have their own medical traditions associated with colour therapy.
Egyptian mythology attributes Thoth, the god of wisdom, with the creation of colour therapy and their healers used minerals, stones, crystals, salves and dyes to treat a variety of afflictions.
In India, colour therapy is intertwined with Ayurveda and the chakra system.
In his seminal 11th century medical encyclopedia, The Canon of Medicine, Ibn Sina (known in the West as Avicenna) established the foundations of chromotherapy.
The Persian polymath recognised that colour could be used to diagnose and treat disease, developing a schema that aligned the primary colours with particular biochemical reactions.
His colour theory, elaborated on and enhanced over the past millennia, has now borne fruits in the present.
What Is Chromotherapy Used To Treat?
Chromotherapy replicates the therapeutic or stimulating effect that one obtains from being in nature.
Basking in radiant sunlight, sitting by a calm azure lake, or laying in a lush green meadow all offer clear holistic benefits.
While this process occurs organically through interaction with the natural environment, targeted intensive application through chromotherapy can be used to treat specific health ailments.
This field of light therapies encompasses everything from art therapy on one side of the spectrum to phototherapy (heliotherapy) on the other.
The health conditions applicable to treatment with chromotherapy are growing every year.
A 5-month study on stroke victims found that colour therapy greatly enhanced mental stability and alleviated depression.
Another trial determined that blue short-wavelength light “has demonstrated potency as a stimulus for acute melatonin suppression and circadian phase-shifting”, promoting better sleep patterns.
Each colour has its own unique medical, cosmetic, and mood healing properties.
Red, for example, is typically associated with stimulation and supercharges the body’s internal systems.
Blue, on the other hand, is imbued with sedative properties and is useful for treating sleeping disorders.
Colour light therapy is evidently versatile and can be tailored specifically to your wellness plan with ease.
If you would like to learn more about what the different colours do for your body, click here.
Is Chromotherapy The Same As (Infrared) Light Therapy?
Chromotherapy is a complementary treatment to, yet distinct from, infrared light therapy (such as an infrared sauna), and red light therapy (LLLT or photobiomodulation).
Colour light therapy operates within the visible spectrum of electromagnetic wavelengths while infrared light rays exist outside of the visible colour spectrum.
The human eye cannot detect infrared light, but we do experience it as heat (e.g. sunrays).
In other words, chromotherapy is the application of coloured light while infrared light therapy uses heat.
The pure distinction between chromotherapy and infrared light therapy is that the wavelengths used in an infrared sauna (infrared light therapy) occupy the 780-1000 nanometres range and travel past the skin to reach muscles, nerves, and bones.
One variation to this is red light therapy which combines a specific wavelength of visible red light with another specific wavelength of invisible near-infrared light (heat) for further therapeutic effects.
Many users also use chromotherapy lights during an infrared sauna session for the simple, and enjoyable added wellness gains it provides.
All of the Clearlight Infrared® Sanctuary Sauna models come with medical-grade chromotherapy lighting, ensuring that your sauna experience is both relaxing and productive.
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Does Colour Light Therapy Work?
Chromotherapy offers a wide range of health benefits.
In terms of physiological effects, chromotherapy delivers a much-needed energy boost when you’re feeling low.
Warm colours have a motivating effect on the human body and can stimulate both mood and appetite.
As for psychological benefits, colour treatment can alleviate depression and anxiety, drastically improve mood, and provide cognitive enchantment.
Using light to stimulate our endocrine systems naturally regulates hormonal imbalances, stabilises mood changes, and alleviates sleep disturbances.
In a 2013 study evaluating the effects of chromotherapy on general wellbeing, more than 110 participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups.
The first was exposed to specific colours, the second received treatments of specific modulations in light frequency, and the third was a placebo group of those exposed to non-modulated white light.
Measurements of autonomic function were noted before and after the study.
The clinical results included decreased heart rate, great skin conductance, and enhanced mood stability. Interestingly, the different colours of modulated light were found to result in different autonomic nervous system effects.
One recent trial from the Philippines offers promising results for cognitive enhancement after colour therapy treatment.
135 participants were divided evenly into three groups and each exposed to red, green, and white lights.
The study concludes that the “red and green light experimental groups acquired a modest increase in cognitive ability scores against the comparison white light group”.
Today, the therapeutic applications of light and colour are being investigated in major hospitals and research centres worldwide.
One group of scientists conclude that “Interest is growing in the therapeutic potential of light.
The effects demonstrated in the current study indicate that coloured light could significantly enrich the therapeutic potential of light, and further research into chromotherapy is warranted”.
If you're interested in an infrared sauna cabin for home, click here to view our range of full-spectrum saunas, far-infrared saunas, and outdoor saunas.
Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and you should always consult a licensed health practitioner before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or existing pain treatment regimen.