Volume one: [ Light as a reflection of God, spirit and consciousness || We are deficient in light despite spending so much time in it || Starved of darkness || Colour light therapy ]
Volume two : [ The specific colours and their beneficial uses || Red, Near infrared and Infrared light benefits || Orange and Yellow light benefits || Green light benefits || Blue light benefits || Is blue light bad || Violet light benefits || Ultra violet light benefits ]
I red somewhere that feeling blue can make some people green with envy. I thought to myself on reflection that surely, that’s all wrong.., before then realising with a smile that actually, it’s all white.
Just a bit of light humour there.
Oops, did it again.
When white light is shone through a prism of glass or water droplets in the sky, the colours of the rainbow are produced.., Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. But in fact the three primary colours in the first sentence of this article (Red, Green and Blue) are all that is needed to make the white light we see.
[Actually to be precise the three primary colours are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. These give the widest range of colours when combined and printers tend to have those 3 colours plus black as toner cartridges. Painters consider the three primary colours to be Red, Yellow and Blue for mixing purposes. Red, Green and Blue (RGB) is more commonly associated with technology hence it is the most commonly referred to. For example, RGB LED’s are what are used to give a variable colour pallet in lighting.
It is generally also accepted that the colour receptive cones and rods in our eyes are this RGB format. Potentially when Isaac Newton shined white light through a prism and named the resulting colours as we now know them.., he may have intended our representation of blue to actually be what we call Cyan (very light blue) and what we consider a blue colour to actually be referred to as Indigo (a name which very rarely gets used).]
The different colours of the visible and invisible light spectrum have a wavelength usually measured in nanometres (nm) and are a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that also contains x-rays, radar, television, radio and microwaves.
Although opinion is varied as to whether the other forms of electromagnetic ‘radiation’ (because that is what light is) like radio waves can effect us in any lasting way.., the fact that they are forms of photonic energy travelling at the speed of light just like the more discussed visible light energy, suggest that an effect is likely.
Whether this effect is positive or negative or lasting is beyond the scope of this article.
How the eyes see colour
The human eye has a combination of red, green and blue colour receptors, or cone cells that can perceive the visible spectrum of light between 380nm and 780nm approximately. Yellow light (560-590nm approx) looks yellow because it stimulates both red and green colour receptor cells/cones which results in the perception of yellow.
When you look at an object that is the colour red.., it is red because all the parts of the light spectrum are absorbed by that objects surface except red. IE: Red photons of light are reflected off the surface that then stimulate the red cone cells in your eye, while all other colours are absorbed.
A white surface reflects all the colours, and a black surface absorbs all the colours. If you shone a pure blue light onto a pure yellow object.., because the yellow object can only reflect yellow and absorbs all other colours.., the object would actually appear black because nothing is reflected at all.
Light as a reflection of God, spirit and consciousness
The ability to produce light in place of darkness was a major tuning point for humanity and is fundamental to our ability to live a life beyond the ‘dark ages’.
More than that though.., light, and in particular the sun, has been revered as God-like and worshipped as the Devine (For example RA the Egyptian god) by many cultures as far back as history or legend can take us.
In modern times, ‘love and light’ is a phrase that gets used a lot in spiritual circles and sayings like ‘I’ve seen the light’ are often used as a means to convey understanding, evolution and wisdom. The word ‘luminary’ is sometimes used to convey a person as a leader in their field of influence again hinting at light (lumen, luminous etc) being at the forefront of importance in our society.
Spiritually evolved people are often referred to as enLIGHTened and drawings or representations of deities and godlike beings often have a glow of light emanating from them especially around the head. So light and spirit have been partners in discussion and ritual for millennia.
Are we missing something obvious with all this?
Light in the brain
Science shows that maybe we are missing something, and this is where it gets really interesting.
Huge amounts of information can be sent and received with light. Fibre-optics in communication and internet services are an example of this.
Recent scientific research shows that in fact consciousness in the brain (and by extension the body also) could well be linked to the presence of photons of light called biophotons. And these biophotons are within the visible range of the light spectrum from Near Infrared to Violet.
Neurons (brain cells), in humans have the ability to produce these biophotons at a rate of over a billion per second. Pretty impressive when you compare that to a rat that can only produce one biophoton per neuron per minute.
Could it be that the more light produced in the brain.., the more conscious the person or animal is?
And the potential implications of this get even better. For this biophoton communication to be effective there must be a form of coherence taking place in optical communication channels that in the words of the scientists, could be considered quantum entanglement.
And what is quantum entanglement? This is what quantum physics has proved as being the connection of more than one photon to another in a way that is not subject to time or space. IE: If one of two photons that are entangled is manipulated in some way.., the other instantly will be effected in the same way even if that other photon is on the other side of the universe.
Light as communication between living things
So taking this to the extreme, are they saying that maybe (assuming the big bang theory being the start of all light and energy) that we ARE in fact all connected intimately and instantly and that what effects one person does in some subtle way effect everyone else?
Whew.., what a thought. A stretch on the ability of science so far admittedly but an interesting thought none the less.
And guess what. Many experiments with cells (human and animal) or animals show a type of biophotic signalling communication known as bystander biophotons. These bystander biophotons show communication from one organism to another even when energetically shielded from each other. With no more than proximity to each other, this weak biophoton energy from a purposely treated organism can and does transfer cellular information to another organism, creating the same or stronger effect in the organism that was untreated. What they have proven again and again is that there is invisible inter-organism communication with light energy.
So not only do scientists have evidence of light being a means of communication within the brain (and body).., but also between brains.
With light being the fastest and most efficient medium of information transfer known to us and knowing that our DNA itself creates these biophotons.., the implications of this hypothesis are huge. Is it possible that we are connected to spirit, higher consciousness and ‘all that is’ through this biophoton light and that the more enLIGHTened we become the more awareness we have of this connection?
We are deficient in light despite spending so much time in it
It should be no surprise, that external light in various forms can have an effect on us.
People heal quicker when they have exposure to sunlight. The challenge is getting enough of it in the form that nature intended. Changes in the atmosphere with pollution and reduction of ozone layers mean that some wavelengths of light are getting to us more and some are getting to us less.
Couple that with the trend towards spending more and more time indoors under artificial lighting and most people see little natural light in their lives compared to our ancestors.
From regulating our sleep/wake cycles and levels of alertness or fatigue, to healing wounds and promoting positive feelings.., light has a lot to offer. And it goes without saying that without our sun, all life on earth would perish in a very short period of time.
Too much sun or not enough
Most public health messages focus on the dangers of too much sun exposure.
It’s common knowledge that light can either be beneficial or detrimental to our health.
The danger however, is labelling something as good or bad instead of quantifying the reasons why and the thresholds. IE: For example – Too much sun and you get sunburnt.., too little and your body will not produce enough vitamin D requiring supplementation.
At least 1,000 different genes controlling virtually everything in the body are thought to be regulated by vitamin D including calcium metabolism and neuromuscular and immune system functioning. Interestingly, although an over exposure to UV radiation from sunlight can lead to skin cancer.., research has shown that UNDER exposure or too little sunlight actually makes people more prone to many other cancers, Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, MS and even arthritis and asthma.
Supplementing with Vit D has been shown to reduce this risk significantly in those people who live in area’s of low sunlight exposure. Bacterial and viral infections like influenza and bronchitis are more seasonal than consistent.., supporting the role of sun exposure and/or Vitamin D in disease resistance and immunity boosting. Research into all of these connections confirms these hypotheses.
Studies also show, that sun exposure increases the amount of natural opiates in the bloodstream called Endorphins.., or what I like to call En-Dolphins (haha). No wonder we feel better in the sun. 🙂
With most lighting now heading toward being LEDs, the limitations of artificial light as well as the potential benefits are being realised.
The irony is that although most of us are lacking in sunlight exposure.., we are also starved of darkness! We are genetically conditioned to respond to sunrise and sunset.
Starved of darkness
“Now hang on a minute”.., I hear you think.
You just pointed out how we are lacking in light and now you’re saying we are lacking in darkness too?
Well yes.., and no article on light would be complete without discussing the absence of it.
Light pollution is a real thing and has long lasting effects on nature, animals and humans. In the ‘better sleep series’ I talked about TOTAL darkness being the goal of any sleep environment.
Our and our animal friends immune systems grow weak without total darkness. Melatonin.., which requires darkness to be produced, is a key ingredient in immune function for fighting diseases including cancer.
Darkness exposure and therefore Melatonin production, is about more than getting our circadian rhythm (body clock) sleep/wake cycles in the correct balance for deep restorative sleep and alertness during the day.
In this study, mice with a condition called amblyopia which impairs vision (and occurs in about 4% of people) was reversed by a ‘light fast’ of 10 days total darkness. The cells of the eye seemed to reset themselves. Of note was that even a small amount of light introduced during the study cancelled the positive benefit. Ongoing studies with human babies show promise for this effect also.
And here, another animal experiment comparing the effectiveness of one of the most common drugs for tackling breast cancer Tamoxifen.., found that any environment other than total darkness reduced it’s effectiveness. Even what would amount to light coming under a door in a hospital was enough to negatively effect the treatment.
Human trials are ongoing and the suggestion from this research is that even if you have insomnia and can’t sleep.., getting 8 hours of complete darkness could be a powerful way to enhance your health either naturally or with the aid of medication.
The scientists suggest that potentially using a Melatonin supplement may also be of benefit.
So what does this mean for you? A dark bedroom! Simple. This means no light coming in from outside and no light in your bedroom. Not even standby lights from technology if you can avoid it.
The colour temperature of LED’s
LED lights are by nature a blue enriched type of white light.., meaning that there is a peak in the light spectrum in the range of blue. Most standard LEDs also struggle to produce much of the red end of the light spectrum compared to other light sources such as halogens.
As discussed in the better sleep series, choosing a warm white bulb as opposed to cool white will give you a greater concentration per watt (typically measured in lumens) of the red end and less concentration of the blue peak. This ‘colour temperature’ is measured in Kelvin, so choose a bulb that has a low Kelvin value of 2500 -3500k for the benefits discussed in those articles.
High CRI (colour render index) LED bulbs are also available although this is simply a measure of how accurately colours will look under such an LED and not the same as, nor a replacement for, the warm versus cool white colour temperatures.
Nothing is added to an LEDs light spectrum to change it’s colour temperature, CRI value or visible colour. Rather something is taken away to make what is left more prominent. For example, a warm white LED or a red coloured LED has a phosphor coating put on the standard LED to stop all but the desired wavelengths getting through. This means such an LED is less efficient and requires more power to get the same brightness or intensity.
Colour light therapy
So sunlight aside, lets explore the therapeutic use of light to see what it might have to offer in the world of artificial lighting.
With the ease at which LED’s can be made to give any wavelength of the light spectrum we want, and with the efficiency and low cost of them.., options for using a specific wavelength to get a specific result open up a world of exploration.
Some colours have less physical impact but all have an emotional impact. For example although Orange and Yellow light do get some mention as having healing benefit.., they are mild in effect compared to colours like Red. Psychological effect is different.
Colour psychology states the following common effects of the various colours of the rainbow..,
Red tends to elicit excitement and arousal or aggression.
Orange tends to elicit socialisation, friendliness and enthusiasm.
Yellow tends to elicit warmth, happiness and attention.
Green tends to elicit renewal and growth.
Blue tends to elicit calmness and peace or sadness – ‘feeling blue’.
[Indigo is technically not really a colour that is separated for discussion]
Violet/purple tends to elicit feelings of power, authority and magic.
These are all just the most common approximations though and open to personal perception and experience.
Pink and other derivatives of these colours have their own effects psychologically also (pink elicting a tendency toward love, kindness and nurturing in this case).
Chromotherapy, Heliotherapy and Photobiomodulation (all terms for light therapy) have been used almost as far back as the history of medicine from ancient Egypt and Greece to India and China. The range of disease’s treated and physical and mental enhancements sought and/or gained through the use of light is vast.
Experiments have even been conducted (with positive results) using light to enhance sporting and cognitive performance.
Light is energy, and the phenomenon of colour is a product of the interaction of energy and matter. The basic premise of Chromotherapy is similar to what Einstein says about the universe.
Einstein’s approach to the human body is not to treat it as a combination of chemical parts.., but rather as a total, complete system operating in harmony with the electromagnetic/energy system of the universe.
The key therefore to understanding Chromotherapy and vibrational healing lies in energy fields that form complex relationships with other fields.
According to the belief and practice of Chromotherapy.., the body is surrounded by, emersed in, and composed of light and colours that effect health conditions.
The body exists from colours.., the body is effected by colours, and colours are responsible for the correct or incorrect working of various systems that function in the body. The purpose of this article is not to debate that but rather offer it as a potential way to think of light.
Most therapeutic use of coloured light in modern times is done either with low level lasers or LED’s. In fact technically, LED lights ARE low level lasers.
In some cases pulsing such light is found to give better results than a constant source although this is less common. Choosing the wavelength of light used for such pulsing gives a level of control as to the target of the light due to the different levels of penetration of different wavelengths. See the diagram in volume two for the approximate penetration depths.
Pulsed white light has it’s own benefits of course like with stroboscopic brainwave entrainment. The subject of which is covered extensively on this website.
Now that we have an understanding of what light is and some of it’s effects psychologically, lets turn our attention to more specific physiological effects…
Now read volume two, where I break down white light into it’s colours and look at each one in relation to it’s beneficial uses for health and healing.