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Acupuncture Today – January, 2011, Vol. 12, Issue 01

Complementary Color Therapy for Organ Dysfunctions

By Darren Starwynn, OMD, LAc

Have you been intrigued by the use of color for healing purposes?

Most of us have been fascinated by colors since early childhood, and color has provided a great deal of the backdrop, substance and texture of our lives ever since.

Each time we choose clothes to wear, decorate our living space, select foods to eat, enjoy the beauty of nature and enjoy any form of visual art we are intimately interacting with color wavelengths of light. Chinese medicine has shown for thousands of years that each of our organs express and is nurtured by specific colors, and the vibratory frequency of each chakra can be visualized as a color or mixture of colors. Research has shown that color selection of walls, lighting and decorations make huge differences in behavior of psychiatric hospital patients.

Color has been used by some innovative researchers and practitioners to expand the effectiveness of acupuncture therapies. Peter Mandel, a German naturopath, originated the system called Colorpuncture, which consists of applying various colors of light through special light pens onto patterns of acupuncture points. This system has many far-reaching mind-body effects. Manaka of Japan taught his students how to apply dots of color to five-element points to balance the Meridian system. I have personally investigated many applications of color light therapy through the acupuncture system and also found many powerful effects.

After many years of such practice and research, I now commonly perform color light acupuncture by applying two complementary colors per session, applying them to two related dysfunctional organs or chakras to bring them into balance. Before describing how to do this therapy, I will first explain a bit about what complementary colors are.

What are complementary colors?

Complementary Color Therapy - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark It is important to first differentiate between the color properties of light and physical pigments (inks and paints). When pigments are mixed, the amount of color that is seen is subtractive. That means, that the more colors you mix together the darker and less colorful of a look you will get. When we played with colors as kids we quickly learned that mixing many colors together ends up producing a not-so-fun brown or gray glop. In contrast, mixing colors of light together is additive. That means that adding many wavelengths of light together will eventually produce white light, one of the brightest forms of light. In this discussion, we are focusing on colors of light and their additive properties.

The three colors of light considered primary are blue, red and green:

As you can see in this diagram, when all three primary colors are mixed together they produce white light, which contains all the colors (as does sunlight). When any two primary colors are mixed together they produce a mixed, or secondary color as follows:

Complementary Color Therapy - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

There are also hues in between each of these, including orange, lemon, and magenta.

In this "light", complementary color sets consist of any primary color of light and the mixture of the other two remaining primary colors. The following chart illustrates this:

Primary Color Remaining Primary Colors Which Produces
Red Green and Blue Cyan
Green Red and Blue Purple
Blue Red and Green Yellow

Mixing any color in the first column with the color in the third column on the same row will produce white light.

In actual practice the complementary colors used in art and for color acupuncture are more based on subtractive color mixing, which uses red, blue and yellow as primary colors:

Primary Color Remaining Primary Colors Which Produces Complementary Color Sets
Red Blue and yellow Green Red and Green
Yellow Red and Blue Violet Yellow and Viole
Blue Red and Yellow Orange Blue and Orange

One way to see complementary colors for yourself is to stare at a bright sample of any primary color (red, yellow or blue) for 30 seconds, then quickly look at a white surface. You will probably see an afterimage of the complement to the color you were staring at, as listed in this chart. This is due to fatiguing of the rods and cones in the retina of the eye that processes the color you were staring at. Until those nerves refresh you see the remaining (complementary) color.

Here is a more complete list of complementary colors as used in color light therapy:

Color Complementary Color 
Red Green or Blue
Green Red
Blue or Indigo Orange
Yellow Violet
Lemon Turquoise
Scarlet Purple
Magenta Green

Mixing the two colors in each row will not always produce white light as in pure color theory, but these combinations have been found to have powerful and reproducible therapeutic balancing effects.

How to use complementary color therapy

There are many ways to use this. The application I use the most often is for balancing the organ and autonomic nervous system. Here is a step by step procedure for doing this:

  1. Use acupuncture/energetic diagnosis to evaluate the excess and deficient organs. My favorite method is alarm point kinesiology. This method of testing and selecting appropriate treatment colors for each imbalanced organ is described in detail in a previous article in this publication entitled "Microcurrent Color Light Mu-Shu Method."

  2. Based on your diagnostic intake and the complaints of the patients, determine which organ is most important to treat – the key imbalance. For examples, that could be kidneys, spleen, liver, etc. Use color challenge muscle testing, as described in the above referenced article, to determine which color has the strongest ability to balance that organ.

  3. Treat that organ using polarized microcurrent probes with color therapy. This is done by placing the positive probe on the front-Mu (alarm) point for that organ, and the negative probe on each Back-shu point in turn for the same organ. If you have equipment that can deliver microcurrent and color light simultaneously (microlight therapy) that is the most effective method. If not, you can apply microcurrent first and then follow that with color light applications.

    For Mu points that are in the midline of the body place the + probe on that and then treat the associated Back-shu points, left first then right. For bilateral Mu points, treat the left sided point with left sided Shu, then repeat with the right sided Mu and Shu for that organ. This is easiest done with patient lying on their side so you can access front and back of the body. Treat about 30 - 60 seconds or more per set of points and ask the patient to relax and breathe deeply into their abdomen as you apply the therapy. It can be combined with consciousness raising activities such as speaking affirmations, toning, chanting and guided imagery.
    For the heart and pericardium use color light only without microcurrent. All the other organs are best treated with polarized microcurrent and color light.

  4. Select a secondary organ that shows imbalanced readings and is related to the first one.

  5. Based on your color selection for treating the Key imbalance, select a complementary color from the last table above and use it to treat the secondary organ in the same way as you treated the first one.

  6. When you are complete with these treatments go back and re-test the test points of the two imbalanced organs. If your color selection was good, you should find that they are strong and balanced immediately. You can also use other diagnostic indicators, such as pulse or abdominal diagnosis, for confirmation.

You can also use this method for treating imbalanced chakras for psycho-emotional treatments.

Benefits of complementary color therapy

The autonomic nervous system regulates most body functions. Most modern people have imbalances of the ANS ranging from subtle to profound due to high stress lifestyles and getting out of step with the natural cycles of the Earth. Complementary color therapy through Mu-Shu points as described above is a powerful balancing root treatment that can be added to increase effectiveness and carry-over benefits of many other therapies. These include:

  • Pain relief and management
  • Pediatric treatments
  • Esthetic facial rejuvenation
  • Emotional healing
  • Addiction release
  • Internal medicine
  • Preventive medicine

Case history

Here is an example from my practice of using complementary color therapy:

Patient is woman, age 63 with main complaint of neck pain after multiple traumas from accidents. She had her gall bladder removed recently. She was also seeking overall energetic balancing for fatigue that had set in after the surgery.

Pulse showed weakness in left middle position (Wood element). Alarm point kinesiology showed weak muscle tests in liver, gall bladder and right kidney. Color challenge testing (see reference above for method) revealed that magenta light strengthened her kidney, and that lemon color balanced her gall bladder test point. Electronic meridian testing showed several left-right imbalances (splits).

Microcurrent and color Mu-Shu therapy was applied to her kidneys and gall bladder, magenta for kidney and lemon for gall bladder. These two colors are not precisely complementary from the chart above, but very close because magenta and green are considered complementary colors and Lemon is a mixture of Green and Yellow.

Extraordinary vessel confluent points were also treated for the Yin Wei and Yang Chaio vessels: Pc 6 (-) to Liv 3 (+) on right side, TW 5 (-) to GB 41 (+) left side using needles and polarized microcurrent. The patient felt more energized and balanced after the treatment, and did not want direct treatment to her neck. She sensed that the body balance treatment would help her neck, and she was averse to being stimulated there directly due to some past negative experiences with electrotherapy.

This example shows how some flexibility is OK with complementary color therapy. In most case the muscle tests will show two colors that are exactly complementary, but as long as the two colors you select have opposite Yin-Yang qualities the treatment can be very effective. Consider adding complementary color root therapies to any kind of treatment to enhance results and longer carry over.

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