We all have our own personal taste when it comes to color. Some people are drawn to bright, bold colors while others prefer softer, calmer colors. While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning. This month, we celebrate National Color Therapy Month, and we are all encouraged to take a closer look at how color affects our mood.
Let’s start with the basics of color. In 1666, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors, meaning color is simply light of varying wavelengths and frequencies.
Colors can be classified as “warm” or “cool.” Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility.
Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.
Ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy (also referred to as light therapy), or using colors to heal. Chromotherapy is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment.
In this treatment, Red was used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation. Yellow was thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body. Orange was used to heal the lungs and to increase energy levels. Blue was believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain. Indigo shades were thought to alleviate skin problems.
So why does our body react to different colors in different ways? Why do some colors leave us feeling calm and relaxed while others have us feeling nervous or anxious? Pat Verlodt of Color Services & Associates addresses this topic in the following video: