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Colour Boosting for Cancer Patients

by Sue Shattock(more info)

listed in light and colour, originally published in issue 60 - January 2001

For everyone involved in the cancer journey whether carer or cared for, taking the time to absorb the energy of colour can help provide a simple but much needed boost anytime and anywhere.

The first new year of the new century is on the horizon. It is an exciting time of challenge, change and excitement; it is also a time where at least one in three of us will be touched by an experience of cancer. For some it will be a personal encounter and for others it will be a family member or a loved one who will need support and care through difficult times. For everyone involved in the cancer journey whether carer or cared for, taking the time to absorb the energy of colour can help provide a simple but much needed boost anytime and anywhere.

Wavelengths of Light

The energies of colour and light as therapeutic tools have been used and written about for many centuries. It is important to understand that working with colour is simply working with white light. In the 17th century the scientist Isaac Newton was able to demonstrate how dense molecules bend white light when he shone a beam of light through a prism where it broke up into the colours of the rainbow. So in essence, the spectrum of rainbow of colours that we see around us are all different aspects of white light and that each colour has its own personality or signature which provides a key to its energy boosting qualities. In physics colours are measured as different vibrations or wavelengths and therefore it seems to make sense that individual colours have different and distinct properties and qualities. Red has been measured to have the longest and warmest wavelength of all the colours whilst at the other end of the spectrum violet has the shortest and coolest. This scientific fact demonstrates that, even at a very basic level, colours have the ability to affect us in a variety of ways even if it is only to warm us up or cool things down.

Colour is a Language

The energies of colour can be found everywhere and in everything that surrounds us. Its gifts are so common that perhaps it is not surprising that often we fail to appreciate its importance in our busy lives and only come to understand its potential when we slow down or are slowed down enough to notice. The inspirational colours of the sunrise and sunset, the carpet of bluebells or the first daffodil, an azure sea in a travel brochure or a bright silken scarf that catches our eye in a shop window. Sometimes it can take an experience such as cancer, for us as individuals to begin to appreciate and become aware of the simple healing available to us on a day-to-day basis and how it can support us in times of need.

Colour is an integral part of our lives and reflects its beauty from the clothes we wear to the food that we eat. Even our thoughts and emotions are tinged with colour, each having its own perceived attributes and qualities. Why do we feel blue, green with envy, in the pink? It is a forgotten language that has been around since the beginning of time.

The Importance of Balance

In ancient wisdom systems the energy stations or chakra centres of the body correspond to the rainbow with the red energy band beginning at the base of the spine and the violet at the crown with all the colours of the spectrum in between. If we are feeling out of sorts for any reason it is often because one or other of these energy centres are out of balance and it is helpful to reintroduce these colours in any number of ways. Through flowers and food, through clothing and decoration, a good balance of colour can have a wonderfully uplifting and supportive effect for people with cancer from diagnosis through treatment to recovery and beyond. In fact, once experienced, the positive power of colour will never be forgotten.

Take Time to Experience

For example, it might be helpful to introduce some of the following qualities of colour into your life through food, flowers, clothes, imagination, decoration, music, self-expression, painting, sensual oils or whatever takes your fancy:

  • Pink: Unconditional love; all is well; creativity and creation.
  • Red: Grounding and energy; strength to be well; fire and fun.
  • Orange: Putting yourself back together again; bliss and blessings.
  • Yellow: Sunshine, light and joy, with laughter being the best medicine.
  • Green: Space; decision making; taking heart and flowing with life.
  • Blue: Calming after the storm; peace beyond understanding.
  • Violet: Transforming thoughts into positive affirmations; inspiration.
  • Magenta: Dynamic love; caring for the carer; healing love from above.

 

Just Imagine

One of the easiest ways to boost energy and to experience the healing quality of colour and light in its purest form is by using imagination. To imagine the colour, to imagine that light being absorbed by the body can be a powerful tool in self-healing. In Italy there is a famous proverb 'Dove il sole non entra il dottore', which translates as 'Where the sun does not enter the doctor does'. So absorbing the sunshine, drinking in its wonderful energy and light for a few moments every day is essential to maintain health and well-being.

Even in the most stressful of situations where going outside is not possible, the imagination makes that golden sunset in a clear blue sky available to us at any time and anywhere.

In fact, asking inside what colour is needed to help the body feel better and then imagining yourself filling up with that loving energy can be very beneficial as a self-help technique. Just going for a walk, taking time-out to surround yourself with all the healing colours of nature is extremely uplifting but often ends up at the bottom of a never ending 'to do' list and classed as unimportant. Taking the time to change old habits and introduce a new positive way of living is a very necessary stage in any healing process.

Delight in Light

Sometimes it is helpful to bring the benefits of sunshine into the home or hospital environment by using full spectrum lighting as a simple but effective way of absorbing all the colours of the rainbow on a day-to-day basis. A lightbox or even a bulb of full spectrum daylight can provide a much needed boost through the dark days and can help lift depression and improve mood.

Aura-Soma Colour

Aura-Soma® Colour

Absorbing colour is "So simple, it's simply amazing", said Vicky Wall who created the beautiful Aura-Soma coloured equilibrium oils, which are just one of the many complementary ways that patients can support themselves with the energies of colour and light whilst going through their conventional cancer treatments.

The name Aura-Soma actually means 'light made manifest in living energies' and it is these energies that were conceived in meditation by a remarkable woman called Vicky Wall. Born the seventh child of a seventh child Vicky had an ability to see coloured auras from childhood and when she lost her sight in later life this ability became much stronger.

The aura is the living energy field that surrounds the body. When all the colours around us shine bright, then it is likely that we are feeling well and happy. Sometimes our energy is low, our colours lacking, and it is then, when we are feeling off-colour, that we need to take action to restore balance. When a body has cancer, various forms of colour therapy can be helpful as a complement to whatever course of conventional treatment is decided upon.

Aura-Soma provides a non-intrusive and self-selective way to introduce colour into our lives. The contents of the jewel-coloured equilibrium bottles can be massaged and absorbed through the skin to restore and re-energize the aura or magnetic field. Just to look at the wonderful array of brightly coloured bottles is a powerful tonic and the fragrance of the coloured pomanders can protect and uplift through the darkest of moments. Kept in a pocket or bag, these pomander blends of 49 herbs and essences are a very positive self-help tool – colourful smelling salts that are designed quite literally to lighten the atmosphere.

Flower Power

Colour is just one of the natural and complementary forms of energy boosting, and it is important to practise in order to maintain balance in this busy world. For cancer patients and their families it is even more essential to maintain and support energy levels through all stages of their cancer journey. Enjoying an aromatherapy massage could be considered one way of absorbing the healing colours of plants and flowers into the body, another might be to use flower essences such as the Bach Remedies, The Australian Bush Flower Essences or the Aura-Soma Colour Essences.

The Rescue Remedy from Bach is particularly helpful for use in any emergency situation. Easily available from health shops or chemists, it is designed to calm and reassure.

Take a few drops in water and/or apply to the wrist and temples before and after any stressful situations.

Food for Thought

The phrase you are what you eat invites us to examine and make lifestyle decisions on a day-to-day basis. Food provides a rainbow of colour choices that can help boost energy and maintain optimum levels of health. Many fresh organic vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts contain helpful vitamins and minerals to support the immune system through the rigours of treatment and recovery. Diet in relation to cancer is a huge subject and because everyone is different, it seems sensible to get professional advice from a nutritionist or centre that has experience of working with cancer prevention and patient care.

Ways Forward

One of the more dynamic colours associated with cancer is the colour magenta – a strong dynamic bright pink/violet colour that contains all the colours of the rainbow. It symbolizes the energy and self-love required to awaken a cancer patient into action. However, it is important to bear in mind that colour is a uniquely individual perception and that patients have the freedom to choose their healing colours. When a patient or family member is ready, they might be inspired to take a more active and positive role in their own recovery process. This can happen at any time and can be important; so to have access to the appropriate information, whether it is about a qualified colour practitioner or an experienced complementary therapist, seems logical.

New Approaches to Cancer

Just one of the avenues of guidance available in this area is the charity New Approaches to Cancer. Started over 30 years ago by two doctors and two healers, it provides a nationwide information service free of charge to cancer patients and their families. Working in co-operation with conventional cancer treatment, it can recommend experienced holistic and complementary practitioners, support groups and local clinics in any area. At New Approaches to Cancer the energy of colour and light is one of the many self-help techniques being used on a daily basis, not only to support patients and their families through the rigours of treatment but also to provide tools for carers to keep themselves balanced and well.

The Real Power of Colour

Often we forget that we live in a most wonderful world full of energy and life, surrounded by the inspiration that can help us cope with the stresses and strains of everyday living. Little things, like green trees and fields of golden wheat, can uplift and sustain the spirit through the most difficult of times. We can all be uplifted and supported just by taking the time to absorb the energy and essence of the colours that surround us and to remember that the real power of colour is the power of love.

Case Study 1

Julie was a single mother in her early thirties. She came to me after she had found a lump in her breast which had been diagnosed as malignant. She had agreed to surgery, which was to take place the following week, but felt she also wanted to try a complementary treatment to aid her recuperation after the general anaesthetic.

On the first session, which was prior to her operation, I administered turquoise light, using a colour therapy torch, to the whole chest area and particularly the thymus gland and heart. In the chakra system, the turquoise wave-length is linked to the immune system. It is also been found to stimulate the thymus gland to produce T-helper cells, which play an active role in the body's defence system.

After her operation, I concentrated on working with blue light over the wound, in order to encourage healing and the formation of scar tissue. A few weeks later Julie reported that her medical consultant had been amazed with the speed at which her wound healed, and with so little scarring.

He had compared Julie's case with another patient who had a similar sized lump removed during the same week.

Julie returned for several more colour therapy treatments which took the form of art therapy. It was important for Julie to discover the emotional aspects of her illness.

Through the art therapy, Julie discovered that she needed to resolve certain feelings she had towards her mother.

Three years later Julie has been given a clean bill of health and says she is positive that her illness will not recur.

Case Study 2

Mary came to me in a very distressed state, during the advanced stages of ovarian cancer. She had undergone radiation therapy, with little effect. The size of the cancerous cyst was too large to remove, and the prognosis was poor. It was clear that Mary's cancer was life-threatening.

As Mary was extremely frightened and alone (her daughter was her only relative, lived abroad).

I decided the best way to proceed was to teach her some colour breathing techniques using the colour blue, in order to calm her down and help with pain control. I instructed Mary how to use this technique at times when she was fearful and in pain. Once Mary was calm, we discussed her religious faith and the power of prayer. We also talked about the spiritual nature of colour and ways that divine light can bring comfort and peace.

On her second visit, I took Mary through a colour visualisation, because there have been many documented cases of spontaneous recovery from cancer. In the visualisation Mary focused her attention on the diseased cells and the colour she intuitively related to her illness. She was then asked to focus on the colour of health (in her case deep pink).She was led to imagine the colour of the cancerous cells changing to the colour of health, until she felt that her whole body was glowing clear bright pink.

During this session, Mary told me that she had used colour breathing, and that this had allowed her to come to terms with her illness, and that she was taking comfort from her spiritual beliefs.

Mary was taken into hospital several days later, but I was unable to visit her. Later, I was contacted by her friend, Tara, to say that she had passed away. Tara was convinced that the colour breathing had eased the pain and that the visualisations had aided the dying process.

Further Information

New Approaches to Cancer!: Freephone 0800 3892662; Aura-Soma Products: 01507 533 581; Full Spectrum Lighting: 01494 448727. Aura-Soma® is a registered trademark.

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About Sue Shattock

After taking up Yoga in 1989, Sue Shattock met Dottie Hook who introduced her to the Aura-Soma colour healing oils and their creator Vicky Wall. She trained with both Vicky Wall and Mike Booth in Lincolnshire and has now been working with the oils for over eleven years and is a fully qualified Aura-Soma teacher and practitioner. In her association with Dottie, she has been taught many different aspects of self-healing. She practises Aura-Soma at the Hale clinic in London, is a registered practitioner of the metamorphic technique and a supporter and helper for the charity 'New Approaches to Cancer'. Sue Shattock can be contacted on tel: 07774 681557 or at the Hale Clinic on 0207 631 0156.

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