Light and Colour

By Patrick Quanten MD

Light is part of an array of electromagnetic energy that originates from the sun and the cosmos as a whole. Only a small part of the entire spectrum we are aware off: a small band of radio waves we can hear and a small part, right in the middle of the spectrum, we can see. The great majority of cosmic rays we do not have direct sensors for. This, however, does not render them inactive or neglectable to us.

We know, for instance, that the ultraviolet light consists of three wavebands: A, B and C. Although the human eye is incapable of seeing the ultraviolet light, we are well aware of the effects these light frequencies have on our lives. Waveband A produces reddening of the skin and causes certain materials to fluoresce while bringing about a photochemical reaction in others. Waveband B has both a reddening and a pigmenting effect on the human skin. It also stimulates the skin in producing vitamin D, essential to strengthen the tissues and the immune system. Waveband C has a germicidal effect.

By acknowledging that the radio waves we hear, the light that we see and the ultraviolet wavebands that we know off, all directly influence our behaviour, our mood and our life, we throw the door wide open to the fact that the other rays that we are exposed tomust also affect us profoundly. These include most definitely the inaudible radio waves such as radar, microwaves and communication and commercial broadcasting waves. Furthermore, there are the infrared rays, the photographic and radiant heat waves, the X-rays, the gamma or radium rays and, at the top of the electromagnetic scale, the cosmic rays.

Although science has identified the entire range of the electromagnetic rays and has turned at least some frequencies into industrial, medical, commercial and military use, we have to make a clear distinction between the naturally occurring rays and the human made variety. Just to give one example: X-rays naturally occur all around us and in some areas the concentration is higher than in others. The effect of these rays on life is not known and extremely difficult to quantify, because in life they cannot be separated from all other electromagnetic cosmic influences. All one can confidently say is that they are an essential part of life as it occurs on earth. The X-rays used to take pictures of your skeleton, in contrast, are known to disrupt the cellular structure of the body (used in extreme concentration in Radiotherapy). The medical authorities have known this for a very long time: X-rays cause serious deformities in exposed fetuses. In spite of more recent studies confirming that X-rays greatly increase the cancer risk - something that has been known for many decades and the reason why staff member's exposures are carefully monitored - medical authorities continue to use the same methods. Naturally occurring X-rays are never so concentrated and so powerful as used to create these images. The same must be said about our microwave communication system, the use of gamma rays in medicine and military, and even the use of infrared lamps or UV-B tanning machines, or for that matter the ultrasound scan, the CT-scan and the MRI-scan, which uses an extremely powerful magnetic field to produce images.

Technically the man made machine uses exactly the same wavelength as occurs in Nature, but the big difference, and the one that really makes the difference, is the way in which these electromagnetic waves are being used. More concentrated in form and targeted to a small area make these very dangerous to most forms of life, including our own.

And then there is one other interesting point. If authorities of the modern era are so quick to appreciate and use the whole spectrum of naturally occurring electromagnetic waves and to recognise the fact that they all have a profound effect on us, what has been their attitude towards the most obvious of the whole of the spectrum, sunlight? For the last four decades a serious advertising campaign wants us to acknowledge that sunlight is a significant cause of early deaths in the Western world. Sunlight does not give live, it takes it away!

A Short History Lesson

In many civilisations, light is associated with the manifestation of divinity and represents truth and direct knowledge, ultimately leading to a state of enlightenment, a state of wholeness. To ancient man, light was seen as sustaining life. Enlightenment was therefore synonymous with health which incorporated body, mind and spirit.

The sun and the gods ascribed to it have been worshipped by man throughout the ages. Not only were there special ceremonies dedicated to the sun gods, but ancient man also built their houses and temples according to the influence of the sun. They lived their lives ruled by the seasons and the night and day rhythm.

In ancient Egypt, the sun at its zenith was seen as the embodiment of the god Ra, whilst the rising sun was attributed to Horus and the setting sun to Osiris. The ancient Greeks related the sun to Apollo, whilst the Incas depicted it in human form with a radiant disc of gold for the face. The sun god of the Maya was Ahau Kin. In Hinduism the sun is "The Vivifier" and for Christians it symbolises God the Father, ruler and sustainer of the universe. Can they all be wrong?

In ancient Egypt, every aspect of health or illness was associated with a deity. Thoth became a patron god both to physicians and scribes and the use of colour in healing was attributed to him. The healers used colour through plants and herbs, salves and dyes alongside coloured minerals and metals such as copper, carbon and antimony. Incantations were also used to drive out demons and supplications made to the gods to protect patients from harmful spirits. The Egyptians had individual healing rooms built into their lavishly decorated temples. These rooms were constructed in such a way that when the sun entered them, its rays were dissipated into the colours of the spectrum. Those coming for healing were "colour diagnosed" and then put into the room which radiated the prescribed colour.

India is a country that has always been and still is alive with colour. Hinduism is one of the oldest living religions, having evolved over a period of 4,000 years. Hindus believe that all the gods they worship affect health and illness. The Vedas is a collection of ancient hymns and prayers, containing spells and incantations to combat disease, injuries, fertility and insanity. Treatment included the use of minerals and gemstones, which were believed to be a concentration of the seven cosmic rays.

Classical Chinese medicine was based primarily on works ascribed to three legendary emperors, the third of which, the Yellow Emperor Yi Hsiung, compiled the great medical compendium, the Nei Ching. According to this, there were five methods of treatment: cure the spirit, nourish the body, give medication, treat the whole body and use acupuncture and moxibustion. Colour was used in the form of herbs, minerals and salves.

Colour was used alongside sound in ancient Greece. The Pythagoreans worked with the science of numbers and established scientific theories of sound and musical octaves which they used alongside colour in their healing methods. Colour and sound have a great affinity with each other. Both are vibrational energy and each spectral colour with its varying shades and hues can be intimately linked to a specific sound. Added to this, the Pythagoreans taught the importance of diet, exercise and meditation.

Alongside the use of colour, treatment by sunlight (heliotherapy) was a common practice among the Greeks and Romans who, it has been suggested, were the first to write down both its theory and practice. Herodotus is purported to be the father of this treatment. The Greek city of Heliopolis was famous for its temples which were designed to refract sunlight into the spectral colours in similar ways to both the Atlantean and Egyptian temples before them.

During the first five centuries of the Christian era medical practices involving colour, chants and worship of various gods were deemed pagan. Due to this, much of the Greek and Roman writings on holistic medical practices were lost.

Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, treatment with sunlight was reintroduced by Jakob Lorber in his book The Healing Power of Sunlight (first published in 1851 in German). The "Father of Photobiology", the Danish physician Niels Ryberg Finsen, was the first to develop light treatment scientifically. In 1892 he started treating skin tuberculosis (lupus vulgaris) using artificial light produced by the carbon arc.


So, as we have seen, colours have been used throughout human history for their healing properties. Various schemes were in vogue in different cultures but there can be no doubt that colours influence our lives all the time. We should therefore take note of the colours that we are surrounded with.

Traditionally, people would spend most of their days outside, where the colours of Nature would dominate their lives. Seasonal variations also mean that the influence of weather, sunlight, rain and snow, wind and temperature are emphasized by the surrounding colours. We notice the vibrant colours in the summer, the yellows, oranges and browns in the autumn, the greys and dark browns in the winter, and the greens and yellows in the spring. Why is all this? And how can we begin to comprehend the harmony we see around us?

Colour is essential to health. We need all the colours to be able to balance our own energy field and to this effect we have natural tendencies towards certain colours. Choosing colours carefully when decorating your home or office, or when putting on clothes will make a huge difference in the way your system will function. For example, reds will stir up your emotions (as it does the bull's when faced with a red cloth!), while blue colours cool and calm your emotions. Blue painted walls in mental hospitals helps to calm the patients down. But grass-green and rose are more useful in cardiac units.

Ancient teachings help us to understand the properties of each of the seven basic natural colours.

  • Red: This colour has heating properties. It stimulates the formation of red blood cells, creates heat in the body and stimulates circulation. It energises the nerve tissue and bone marrow.
  • Orange: This colour, like red, is warming and has healing energy. It helps the spiritual seeker to renounce the world (orange robes of monks in the East), yet it also gives energy and strength to the sexual organs. It generally relieves congestion.
  • Yellow: This colour stimulates understanding and intelligence. In spiritual terms, yellow is connected with the complete death of the ego.
  • Green: This colour has a calming effect upon the mind and creates freshness. It brings energy to the heart region and soothes the emotions.
  • Yellow-Green: The properties of this colour reflects both the green and the yellow. It has a calming effect upon the mind.
  • Blue: It has a calming cooling effect on the body and the mind. It helps to correct liver disorders.
  • Purple (violet): This colour brings an awakening of awareness. It creates lightness in the body and it opens the doors of perception.

All colours used should be harmonious in nature, not excessively bright, loud, flashy or artificial. The body can be bathed in light of a particular colour, or exposed to more of that colour through clothes, environment, etc. Herbs work largely through the green ray, which possesses the greatest force of healing and harmonising (which it can't do when you take it in pill form). Gems are a concentrated form of specific frequency rays, captured within crystals. If gelatinous paper of any of the seven colours is wrapped around a jar of water and placed in the sunlight for four hours, the water will become infused with the vibrations of the colour. This water may then be taken internally with beneficial results.

Colours and the way they influence our lives have now developed into a separate and sometimes complicated healing form. Colour Therapy is becoming more and more popular, but yet again we see an increasing tendency to more and more artificial means of producing the variety of colours. This combined with more and more colours becoming specific in their alleged functions, I find this typical for a culture driven by commercialism and the unending quest for purity.

There is an enormous benefit in knowing the way colours influence our lives. Taking note of the things we can change, like the colour schemes we surround ourselves with, will help us tremendously in establishing and maintaining a balance in our lives. At that level there is no need for us to be very specific, as the body and mind already know what to do and how to do it. There is no need for us to tell them!

Enjoy natural light and natural colours. Make them part of your every day living.

Because you're worth it.

April 2004


Patrick Quanten has been a general practitioner since 1983. The combination of medical insight and extensive studies of Complementary Therapies have opened new perspectives on health care, all of which came to fruition when it blended with Yogic and Ayurvedic principles. Patrick gave up his medical licence in November 2001.
Patrick also holds qualifications in Ayurvedic Medicine, Homeopathy, Reiki, Ozon Therapy and Thai Massage. He is an expert on Ear Candling and he is also well-read in the field of other hard sciences. His life's work involves finding similarities between the Ancient Knowledge and modern Western science.

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