By Guest Writer Lynda Lee Abdo
Color is a powerful tool that can be used to motivate us emotionally. Artists and designers know this well and are trained in the skilful use of color. Marketers also know what colours trigger us in deciding what products to buy. But color can also help heal our bodies –although few of us fully understand how this can be achieved. The secret is in nature, and the ancient Chinese observed many of these secrets throughout the generations.
In traditional Feng Shui practice, the 5-elements are used to alter the “chi” of a home, and color is used when the application of the actual element is not practical. The 5-elements of water, wood, fire, earth, and metal are also associated with a color that has a similar, but a subtler effect.
Scientifically, when we look at a specific color, we are observing the color wavelength that is being reflected back to our eye from the object we are viewing. If we look at a green tree, the tree is absorbing all color wavelengths EXCEPT the color green; and our body absorbs this electro-magnetic vibration. Our skin also recognizes the different wavelengths and responds accordingly. For example, NASA discovered that red light helps our skin to build collagen, healing open wounds faster. Estheticians use colored lights to heal the skin in different ways, such as ultraviolet to kill surface bacteria or to create vitamin D. Different colors are used in psychology as well to affect mood, or analyze the subconscious mind. In working with color, it is important to understand that color is light energy. The different colors vibrate at measurable rates; and each color stimulates us in very special ways.
We are naturally drawn to certain colors for a reason, but may not consciously realize why. All of us have favorites, and we love certain shades while avoiding others! In addition to our subjective responses, human beings collectively have a more universal response—but we need to look closely at how we’ve evolved to respond to color. The key to deciphering the innate power of the rainbow (the visible spectrum) is to turn towards the natural world. So let’s take a look at our favorite colors…
RED is the slowest wavelength, with violet being the fastest. Red is a color we don’t ignore easily. Our primal reaction to red makes sense, since it is the color of blood — and if we see blood, we pay close attention since it might be a life or death situation. Our reaction to red has evolved over millions of years; and seeing red elevates the heart rate and blood pressure. It also stimulates breathing, appetite, and our sense of smell. Red is a favorite color used in restaurants, and a very sexy color used effectively in advertising. It is often recommended as a bedroom color for newlyweds to boost sexual desire. It is considered an “active” or yang color that attracts attention better than any other hue. Red cars get more tickets not only because the driver is amped up — but also because policemen seldom miss a red car. Shades of red (or any color that has 50% red) are considered to be “fire” colors in Feng Shui and this includes: oranges, pinks, purples, burgundies, and maroons.
ORANGE is a gentler version of red, with shades of solar yellow. It is often considered a color of fruition since many of our favorite foods are orange. This is the chakra color associated with the womb, feminine energy, nurturing, pregnancy, and creativity.
YELLOW is a warm color associated with the Sun, and solar plexus. It stimulates a sense of optimism and hope. We greet the sun every morning as we start our daily routines. It also is a “yang” (active-masculine) color; but the softer, sandy shades of yellow are considered to be an earth color when used in Feng Shui. Earth tones, tan, and browns have a stabilizing effect on us, like terra firma beneath our feet. Shades of soft yellow and beige are some of the most popular colors used in houses, bringing a gentle vibrancy and warmth to a home.
GREEN is associated with plants, growth, vitality, and wealth, and is considered a “wood” color in Feng Shui. Studies show that it is a hue that can actually increase intelligence and strengthen the immune system. To our primal brain, green colors indicate that we are close to water, and thus plants and food are close by — and this realization gives our minds a rest. When food is plentiful, we pay less attention to survival and spend more time networking, and bonding. It has been proven in classroom studies that schoolchildren perform better on academic tests when they can see green expanses (either grass, trees, or even a green chalkboard) as it helps their brains to focus. The color green also holds promise to help allergies (raises histamine levels), and calms restless or hyperactive children. Some research even suggests that viewing green colors long-term can increase our longevity.
BLUE is a peaceful color. Men almost universally like blue, considered a “water” color in Feng Shui. There is another primal reason for this behavior. Men traditionally protected the tribe, and patrolled the borders of their living area –always checking the horizon for trouble. A light blue color signals clear skies and calm waters, so no storms were coming; and that meant the male protectors of the tribe could relax. Viewing blue not only reduces inflammation, but also releases up to eleven neurotransmitters in the brain that relax the body. It is a tranquil color for most people, and a favorite for meditation or relaxation.
VIOLET is used as a “fire” color in Feng Shui, because of the red it contains. In metaphysics and chakra healing, it is a color associated with the imagination, spirituality, royalty, and transformation. It became associated with the wealthy and privileged because the dye was made from a crustacean ink; and was very expensive to produce.
BLACK is another “water” color in Feng Shui, since deep waters do not allow much light to penetrate. Dark colors in general tend to make a room seem smaller, more intimate, or even mysterious. Too much black however can depress our spirits, so it should be used conservatively in interior design, or in personal clothing.
WHITE is considered a “metal” color in Feng Shui, an element that is used a great deal in this current time period. White is a neutral shade often associated with purity, and works well with most other colors. White and lighter colors expand a space and make a room look larger; and pastel colors will generally elevate our mood. Lighter colors should always be used for ceilings, with the darker shades for the walls or floor. If one uses the darkest colors for the ceiling, it will feel ominous, like there is a storm cloud overhead.
So pay attention to your favorite colors. Notice what colors you are drawn to, and see if your favorites change. Are you attracted to blues because you need more relaxation? Are you drawn to reds because life seems a little drab? Pay attention to the colors you like, for there is meaning in what attracts you. Our world is rich in color, and it is a fun form of energy to work with that can profoundly change your life for the better.
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© 2017 Lynda lee Abdo
Note: The Qi Factory introduces guest writer Lynda Lee Abdo from Los Angeles, who is a highly valued and knowledgeable college in the field of Xuan Kong Feng Shui, 8 Mansions, Zi Wei Dou Shu, Western Astrology and an expert on (precious) stones. Lynda has a BA in fine arts, cum laude, from California State University, Northridge. She has studied with Master Larry Sang at the American Feng Shui Institute, in Monterey CA (10 yrs.+).