Chromotherapy is the colourful wellness trend designed to cheer us all up

Chromotherapy is a kaleidoscopic alternative medicine, based on the theory that different colours – when applied to the body – can bring about harmony and wellbeing. Before you dismiss it as a bit too woo-woo, it seems there might be some scientific evidence to support it.

Another day, another wellness trend. And, if you don’t fancy presenting your nethers to the sky in a spot of bumhole-bathing (yes, really), comparing your lady Garden Goop-style, or tracking your sleep cycle on your iPhone, you may have better luck with the Insta-friendly, rainbow-coloured wellness movement currently sweeping social media.

“Chromotherapy is a centuries-old concept of treatment that uses the visible spectrum (colors) of electromagnetic radiation to cure diseases,” says a 2005 study by scientists, Samina T Yousuf Azeemi and S. Mohsin Raza. While the exact underlying scientific principles remain a bit sketchy, we’re beginning to understand more about how it can help our health.

“Energy” despite its wishy washy connotations, has been established, irrefutably, by science. Anything that has mass (or produces a physical effect), must have an equivalent amount of energy attached. This is what Einstein was talking about when he discovered the E=MC2 equation. “A slowly vibrating substance is referred to as physical matter, whereas the subatomic (which vibrates at or above the speed of light) is subtle matter or pure light energy,” explains Azeemi and Raza.

Effectively, light is energy and each different colour of light has its own specific wavelength, electrical impulses and magnetic currents that can activate different parts of our body. We’ve seen it before in LED facials. “Our skin is photo (or light) sensitive, so LED light can stimulate certain sensors within the skin which boost cell activity and trigger the production of certain chemicals,” explains skin and laser expert Debbie Thomas.

“Red is healing, calming and reduces inflammation,” she continues. “It stimulates a biochemical reaction within the mitochondria of the cells, energising them so they work better.”

“Blue light is used for acne reduction. The blue light is absorbed by the bacteria that grow inside pores and cause acne, known as P.acne. The light reacts with the bacteria stimulating oxygen and free radical damage which in turn kill the bacteria, thus reducing the acne.”

“Other colours which are available but not as proven include yellow, which is said to energise the skin and green, which helps even out pigmentation and discolouration,” she says.

Now, this theory has been extended to health bars offering multi-coloured sauna experiences. “This ancient concept combines colour and light to restore energy balance,” says Sasha Sabapathy, founder of London’s trendy Glow Bar, where you can add a coloured light option onto your sauna session for free. “Each hue is associated with specific properties related to the chakra. You can plug in your iPhone, listen to some tunes and let everything just melt away,” she says. “The reception has been great and we’ve had a one hundred percent response, with customers adding Chromo on to their booking.”

The evidence behind each colour is less established than in skincare and scientific research around how it can help is still in its infancy. For now, practitioners have a rough idea of how it works. “Green is for general healing, purple offers calming and lymphatic assistance, yellow promotes skin health, pink is detoxing and blue can help you sleep better,” says Sasha. Mentally, too, we know different colours can stimulate our moods. If nothing else, the trend offers wellness-seekers the chance to choose their favourite shade and bathe in its energising, calming or uplifting light. Still looking for an excuse? Beside an extra pick-me-up, it’ll look fantastic on your Insta grid…

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