Chromotherapy, sometimes called colour therapy, colorology or cromatherapy, is an alternative medicine method.
It is claimed that a therapist trained in chromotherapy can use color and light to balance energy wherever a person’s body be lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental.
The practice has been labelled pseudoscientific by its critics. Color therapy is unrelated to light therapy, a valid and proven form of medical treatment for seasonal affective disorder and a small number of other conditions.
Avicenna (980-1037), who viewed colour to be of vital importance in diagnosis and treatment, discussed chromotherapy in The Canon of Medicine.
He wrote that “Colour is an observable symptom of disease” and also developed a chart that related color to the temperature and physical condition of the body.
His view was that red moved the blood, blue or white cooled it, and yellow reduced muscular pain and inflammation.
He further discussed the properties of colors for healing and was “the first to establish that the wrong color suggested for therapy would elicit no response in specific diseases”.
As an example, “he observed that a person with a nosebleed should not gaze at things of a brilliant red colour and should not be exposed to red light because this would stimulate the sanguineous humor, whereas blue would soothe it and reduce blood flow.”
In the 19th century, healers claimed colored glass filters could treat many diseases including constipation and meningitis.
Photobiology, the term for the contemporary scientific study of the effects of light on humans, has replaced the term chromotherapy in an effort to separate it from its roots in Victorian mysticism and to strip it of its associations with symbolism and magic.
Light therapy is a specific treatment approach using high intensity light to treat specific sleep, skin and mood disorders.
Chromotherapy has been deemed pseudoscience by its critics, who state that the falsifiability and verifiability conditions necessary to deem an experiment valid are not being met, and therefore that it has not been proven that introducing colors is the key element in the healing process which is healing its patients.
Chromotherapy has also been criticized for selection bias in statistics of success for the treatment. It has also been suggested that the placebo effect may be a key factor in the healing of some patients, which could be tested for by a chromotherapy control group.