Related Terms

  • Acu-light, acu-light therapy, chromopressure, chromotherapy, color theory, colored filters, colored light therapy, colored overlays, colorpuncture, Dinshah Ghadiali, holographic memory resolution, light-color therapy, Luscher Color Testâ„¢, ocular light therapy, Peter Mandel’s Esogetic Colorpuncture Therapy (ECT)â„¢, photochromotherapy.
  • Not included in this review: Light therapy (phototherapy or conventional ultraviolet light phototherapy) is used to treat high bilirubin blood levels in infants and skin disorders such as acne or psoriasis. Light therapy is used to treat seasonal affective disorder.


  • Color therapy uses colors for their proposed healing abilities to treat emotional and physical disturbances. Changing the colors of clothes or home or office décor or visualizing different colors may be recommended. Color therapy is based on the idea that different colors evoke different responses in people. For example, some colors are considered to be stimulating, whereas others may be soothing. Some color therapists assert that they can read and alter the colors of people’s auras. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, different colors are associated with different chakras, or energy centers.
  • Color, light, or phototherapy using single or mixed colors, sometimes from a laser, may be shined on the whole body or on particular chakras. The Luscher Color Testâ„¢ is said to indicate mood and personality. Silks colored with natural dyes, solarized water, color cards, or a light box or lamp with colored filters may be included as part of treatment. In addition, meditation and breathing exercises may be performed during color therapy.
  • Ocular light therapy, which projects light through colored filters and into the eyes, is sometimes used in people with psychological disorders. Colored light therapy, colorpuncture, and chromopressure are newer techniques.
  • Scientific evidence is lacking for color therapy. Although color therapy has been suggested for many conditions, and it has been used in some hospitals, its safety and effectiveness have not been thoroughly studied.

Evidence Table


    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    High blood pressure

    In humans, color therapy has been studied as a possible way to lower blood pressure. Further research is needed before a recommendation can be made.

    Infant development / neonatal care

    Studies have tested the use of integrative therapies, including color therapy, during the neonatal period. Additional study is warranted.

    Kidney disorders (glomerular nephritis)

    Early research found that light-color stimulation improved cardiovascular symptoms in patients with glomerular nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney. More research is needed in this area.

    Musculoskeletal pain

    There is early research suggesting that color therapy may help relieve hand, elbow, or lower back pain. Further study is needed before a clear conclusion can be drawn.

*Key to grades:



    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.



    Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.


  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().



    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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  • Barber CF. The use of music and colour theory as a behaviour modifier. Br J Nurs 1999;8(7):443-448.
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  • Cocilovo A. Colored light therapy: overview of its history, theory, recent developments and clinical applications combined with acupuncture. Am J Acupunct 1999;27(1-2):71-83.
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  • Deppe A. Ocular light therapy: a case study. Aust J Holist Nurs 2000;7(1):41.
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  • Ebbesen F, Agati G, Pratesi R. Phototherapy with turquoise versus blue light. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2003 Sep;88(5):F430-1. PMID: 12937051
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  • Ebbesen F, Madsen P, Stovring S, et al. Therapeutic effect of turquoise versus blue light with equal irradiance in preterm infants with jaundice. Acta Paediatr. 2007 Jun;96(6):837-41.
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  • Jones JE, Kassity N. Varieties of alternative experience: complementary care in the neonatal intensive care unit. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Dec;44(4):750-68.
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  • Ohara M, Kawashima Y, Kitajima S, et al. Inhibition Of lung metastasis of B16 melanoma cells exposed to blue light in mice. Int J Molecular Medicine 2002;10(6):701-705.
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  • West RW, Penisten DK. The effect of color on light-induced seizures: a case report. Optom Vis Sci. 1996 Feb;73(2):109-13.
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  • Wileman SM, Eagles JM, Andrew JE, et al. Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder in primary care: randomized controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;178:311-6.
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  • Wohlfarth H, Schultz A. The effect of colour psychodynamic environment modification on sound levels in elementary schools. Int J Biosocial Res 2002;(5):12-19.
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  • Zifkin BG, Inoue Y. Visual reflex seizures induced by complex stimuli. Epilepsia. 2004;45 Suppl 1:27-9.
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