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History of colorlight therapy

Therapy with colors and colored light is very old; it has been applied in all corners of the world and in all cultures. References to light therapy go back in time as far as ancient Egypt. There light therapy was used to support other therapy forms. Of course in these days there was no artificial light: the old Egyptians used the light of the sun.

Sunlight shone in from above in chambers especially built for that purpose only. These chambers had no ceiling or roof, but were open. By means of colored sheets which acted as ceiling the sunlight shining through was colored in the same color as the walls and the floor of the chamber. In this way a treatment chamber was totally filled with one color. The person receiving light treatment sat or lied down in such a chamber for a session for 15 minutes up to an hour. Generally 1 up to 4 of such sessions were prescribed.

In these days doctors worked with 8 different colors: dark blue, light blue, green, yellow, orange, bright red, dark red and gold. Great attention was given to the purity of the color in the treatment chambers.

The blue colors were used by the Egyptian doctors for treatment of water related deficiencies (kidney and bladder). They applied green for relaxation and balance (physical, mental and emotional!) and yellow for the treatment of glands. Orange was applied in case of digestion problems (flatulence and bowels); the red colors for disorders of muscles, veins, heart and blood. Gold was applied for support of the nerves and for spirit and soul.

In the ancient Greece there was a dedicated centre for light therapy, called Heliopolis (City of Light). In this center people were exposed to filtered sunlight. The Greeks already studied the use of colorlight for the treatment of tuberculosis.

At the end of the 17th century it was the English philosopher and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton, who stood at the basis of the modern conceptions concerning color. He experimented with prisms and proved that day light is a mix of the colors of the visible spectrum.

150 years after Newton Johann Wolfgang Goethe defined the three primary colors (red, blue and yellow) and how the other colors of the rainbow could be composed out of these three. He also recognized, that some colors are active and warm (red, orange, yellow) whereas others are passive and cold (green, blue, violet). Nowadays these principles are still taught and used in education, art and psychology.

In the century after that doctors used colors to treat all kinds of disorders, varying from psychological ailments to small pox. In 1878 Dr. Edwin D. Babbitt published his book "Principles of Light and Color". In this book he described what he called Chromatotherapy (healing with colored lights) as well as treatments for several disorders, among which burns and nervousness.

At the beginning of the 20th century Dinshah Ghadiali, coming from India and naturalized to the American nationality, developed chromium therapy, embroidering at the work of Babbitt. He applied light on the body using colored filters. Ghadiali's system is based on matching the frequency of colors to the frequency of a disease pattern.
Dinshah made the radical step of considering disease according to its vibrational nature. He reasoned that all living things are imbued with specific energy patterns. Pathogenic organisms each have an original vibratory signature, some vibrating slowly (fungi), others rapidly (viruses). The lower frequency diseases resonate to the lower frequency colors -- the reds and oranges. The higher frequency diseases need higher frequency colors, such as violet and blue, to disperse them. He achieved spectacular results on diseases considered to be incurable (among which diabetes and tuberculosis). Applying innovative but controversial light treatments, Ghadiali spent much time in court rooms to defend his work.

In the 1950ís and 60ís John Nash Ott experimented with photography, working for Walt Disney Studios. He produced new artificial sources of light, which were almost identical to regular spectrum sunlight.

Russian biologists showed that cells of plants communicated mutually, even separated by a quartz glass wall and that light is the carrier of biological information.

In 1947, the Swiss psychologist Dr. Maxim Luscher introduced the Luscher color test, a form of color therapy named after him, which is still used by many psychologists. The test exists of choosing 43 colors from a total of 73. By analyzing which colors a person chooses or rejects the therapist gets insight in the psychological status of that person. If for example someone chooses especially dark colors it indicates that that person is in need of rest and relief of tension.

The Russian scientist S.V. Krakov studied the impact of colors on the nerve scheme in the same time period. He observed that red stimulates the adrenalin, raises the blood pressure and accelerates the heart beat, whereas blue light had a calming effect.

In the end of the 70ís Peter Mandel, color visionary from Germany, started using Kirlian photography to make pictures of the toes and fingertips for diagnostic purposes. The pictures show subtle differences in electric charges as a result of pathological processes (diseases and disorders). Improved versions of this camera are still used today the day by a lot of therapists to support their diagnosis.



It was, however, another discovery of Mandel which laid the foundation of modern light therapy. He discovered that pain can be diminished in a couple of minutes by shining colorlight on specific acupuncture points, irrespective of the condition that caused the pain. His further investigations have led to the discovery of manners to interpret and influence the emissions of light coming from the energy fields of the human body. Through the years Peter Mandel has developed a lot of treatments, consisting of the use of colored lights on energy points on the human body.

The last decade light therapy has gained interest enormously: successful treatments have been developed for disorders related to depressions, sleep problems and hormonal imbalances. The remarkable results have also awoken the curiosity of modern science. There more and more proof is found for the fundamental law, which applies to all organisms in the universe (including to us, humans): all communication and all interaction between organisms is related to or is brought about by the energy of light!

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