(Investigator 162)


The use of colours dates back to primitive humans. Motives behind the use of colours, particularly in clothing, include increasing self-confidence, vanity, the attraction of the opposite sex and, used with amulets, protection against magic.

Part of ancient lore, colour has been used in healing systems developed by Babylonians, Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Persians and others. Colour therapy also forms part of Ayurvedic medicine and is used to treat imbalances of the three doshas. Prior to the Middle Ages, symbolisms and colours in religious art indicated the status of saints, martyrs and their acts.

In 1878, colour healing received attention with the publication of Edwin Babbitt's The Principles of Light and Color. In the book, Babbitt reaffirms the Pythagorean correspondences of music and colour, and the power to "vitalise".

In his Spectro Chrometry Encyclopedia (1933), Dinshah Ghadiali proposed that colours denote chemical potencies in higher vibrations. Ghadiali made a fortune selling his "Spectro-Chrome" machines claimed to be able to cure almost any ailment. The U.S. government cracked down on him with fines totaling $20,000 and a three year suspended sentence.


Advocates consider that colours can exert considerable psychological and physiological influence on people. They point out that colour has been used in mental hospitals to calm patients suffering from depression and hyperactivity, and in other areas to stimulate, create mood and influence behaviour.

Many colour therapists believe colours contain energy vibrations with healing properties and that they can be used to assist the body's natural recuperative powers.


Practices vary, and include wearing different coloured clothing, drinking from coloured vessels, bathing in coloured light, wearing coloured glasses and changing one's diet.


Colour is a part of our life — the clothing we wear, the colours we paint our walls, our choice of furniture, and the colour we choose when buying a vehicle. In one way or another, they all have a psychological or physiological effect. There is no hard and fast rule however — what appeals to one person may be an anathema to another.

Although some scientific research has tended to confirm coloured light has an effect on the human psyche, there is no scientific evidence to support the Ayurvedic or metaphysical contention that colours can be used to correct "imbalances" or influence specific glands, organs or tissues of the body.


Anderson, M. 1985. Colour Healing, Aquarian Press, Wellington, UK.

Clark, Linda. 1975. The Ancient Art of Color Therapy, The Devin-Adair Co., Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

Gerber, Richard. 1988. Vibrational Medicine, Bear & Co., Santa Fe, Connecticut.

Hunt, Roland. 1971. The Seven Keys to Color Healing, Harper & Rowe, San Francisco.

Hope, Murry. The Psychology of Healing, Element Books, Longmead, Shaftsbury, Dorset, UK.

Lad, Vasant. 1985. Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing. Lotus Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Stanway, S. Andrew. 1986. A Guide to Natural Therapies, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, England.

Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc