Whither Colour Light Therapy?

“My soul is impelled to pray when she looks at you violet shining towards the immeasurable realm of eternity – calmness overcomes me.”  

Therapies incorporating colour and light, together with movement, music and verse, have been practiced in Camphill communities since the late 1940s. These therapies draw on Steiner’s many indications of the profound effects of colour on emotional and psychological development. Today, more and more professions and industries are aware of the influences and applications of colour and light, and they are used consciously in medical and psychological treatments, agriculture and farming, and of course, most conspicuously, in advertising and entertainment.  Despite this, relatively little attention has been paid to the potential consequences of this explosion in the manipulation of light, colour and sound in nearly all learning, working and social environments.  Most significantly, the long-term developmental impact on children of near-constant exposure to intense (and most frequently technologically generated) sensory stimulation is massively under-researched.  This makes the work of therapists and educators who work practically with colour and light, and who have endeavoured to learn from experience about both their healing and harmful properties, all the more vital.  Yet the Colour Light Therapies which have been devised, studied and practiced in Camphill communities over the last 60 years remain almost completely unknown beyond Camphill.  Even more concerning, it would appear that fewer and fewer practitioners remain within the communities themselves to carry on with these innovative programmes. The case of Colour Light Therapy raises questions which most likely can be equally applied to many other specialised therapies and treatments, indeed, to the Camphill way of life as a whole.  Firstly, why has so little been done over these many decades to share insights, methods and results with wider audiences? Secondly, what can now be done to prevent this learning from being lost?  When I say ‘prevent from being lost’ I do not merely mean recorded and archived as notes of historical interest, but engaged with, experimented with and applied to contemporary problems.  Making introductory and other material available cannot on its own attract the necessary amount of attention to healing practices like the Colour Light Therapy, but it is an important first step in inviting interest and inspiring curiosity.  It is in this spirit that Georg Schad has written an Introduction to Colour Light Therapy, now available in Articles and Discussion Papers.  Feedback and comments are very welcome.

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