When dealing with insomnia, color therapy can be of some help. Color therapy or chromotherapy is the use of color to promote general health and also to treat particular maladies (including but not limited to sleep-oriented problems).
Chromotherapy can be used to treat both emotional and physical sleep disturbances, and may involve exposure to colored lights, massages using color-saturated oils and salves, meditation and visualization of certain colors, or wearing certain colors of clothing.
Color has been used for centuries in the treatment of a wide variety of disorders.
In India, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine believed that specific colors corresponded with each of the seven chakras, vortices of energy in the body that represent organs, emotions, and aspects of the soul or life force.
In the days of ancient Egypt, practitioners built solariums with specifically designed glasses and lenses that served to break up the sun's rays into the colors of the spectrum.
In the late 17th century modern-day color theory was born when English mathematician and philosopher Sir Isaac Newton conducted his prism experiments and showed that light is truly a mixture of colors from the visible spectrum.
But it was not until the late 1800s, when Dr. Edwin D. Babbitt published his book Principles of Light and Color, that Chromotherapy as we know it was outlined.
It is in this work that Dr. Babbitt suggests the use of color as a treatment for a variety of ailments, including sleep and anxiety disorders.
In the late 1940s, Russian researcher S.V. Krakov conducted a series of experiments in which he separated the different wavelengths in the light spectrum to show how color affects the nervous system.
In his experiments, he observed that red light stimulated the adrenal glands, raising blood pressure and pulse rate, and that blue and white light had a calming, relaxing effect.
The fruits of Krakov's studies are still used today by many practitioners, and his brand of color therapy is commonly recommended for stress and for stress-related pain.
In recent years studies have demonstrated the positive effects of full-spectrum light on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other forms of depression, which has resulted in increased public awareness of color therapy.
It is becoming more and more common to find mainstream researchers turning to chromotherapy for a variety of ailments as well, particularly sleep disorders.
Color is a property of light, which is made up of many different waves of energy. When light falls upon the photoreceptor cells of the retina, it is converted into electrical impulses.
These impulses travel to the brain and trigger the release of hormones. The release of these hormones in controlled bursts can be used to treat the body and mind for many of the medical conditions that hinder sleep as well as promote conditions that are conducive to sleep and rest.
While many forms of chromotherapy can and should only be practiced by licensed practitioners and/or medical doctors, some forms of color therapy are simple and safe enough to be practiced in the comfort of your own home.
These include wearing clothing of particular hues, surrounding yourself with a recommended color, eating certain colorful foods, and concentration on visualizing a particular color.
Never use color therapy instead of conventional care for serious sleep problems.
If you suffer from epilepsy, use caution when looking at flashing lights.
If you are receiving colored light therapy, avoid looking directly into the light source. Look at an object illuminated by the colored lights instead.
When taking prescription drugs, read the warning label to make sure that no side effects are induced if your skin is exposed to bright light.
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