Colour Therapy and the Tibb Modality

Dr Linda Mayer and Professor Rashid Bhikha

The physiological, psychological and social impact of colours influences a person’s health and well-being, from the positive stimulating effects of warm colours, to the mental relaxation and soothing effects of cool colours.

‘All forms of matter are really light waves in motion.’ – Albert Einstein

Colour therapy, also known as chromotherapy, has been used for healing for many centuries, dating back from ancient Egypt. The theory behind chromotherapy lies in the fact that all matter, which includes cells, organs, tissues and atoms, is composed of energy, each vibrating at their own specific frequency. A deviation from the respective frequency is believed to cause either depletion or an excess of the ideal frequency, resulting in disease.

Every colour has a specific frequency, and when it is applied to the body, photons (quanta of light and electromagnetic radiation) are sent along meridian pathways, via the nervous and endocrine systems, to add energy to depleted areas.


Tibb is a holistic system of healthcare, and its roots trace back to Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine’. Tibb addresses all aspects of a person’s well-being and includes the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions, which emphasises the individual in the quest for optimal health. Tibb acknowledges the unique self (or temperament), and the lifestyle factors (food, breathing, sleep, emotions, activity and elimination) that influence a person.

The link between temperaments, qualities and colours in Tibb are reflected in the physical, mental and behavioural characteristics that make up each individual (temperament). There are four temperaments, with corresponding qualities of a mixture of heat, moisture, coldness and dryness. Each person has a combination of all four types of temperaments, with a dominant and sub-dominant one, namely: Sanguinous (hot and moist), Phlegmatic (cold and moist), Melancholic (cold and dry), and Bilious (hot and dry). Colours which exert opposite effects will balance the qualities, thereby preventing burnout or depletion of energy, depending on their stimulating or calming effects.

The internal organs also reflect the colours and state of health that show on the surface of the body, for example: in the pigment of faeces, urine, menstrual blood, vaginal discharge, tongue coating, lips, eyes, phlegm, etc. The complexion of a person also reflects the physical constitution, namely: the Sanguinous temperament has a reddish or shiny complexion; the Phlegmatic temperament has a whitish or pale one; the Melancholic temperament has a greyish and pallid complexion; and the Bilious temperament has a yellowish and ruddy one.


Protocols which can be applied include: breathing exercises, visualisations, affirmations and meditation. Clothing, wall colouring and décor can also change the mood and ambience of an environment and instil confidence, calmness and passion, or exert other stimulating or relaxing qualities. Other forms of therapies include the use of coloured globes, colourpuncture (colour pigments which are radiated through an ‘acu-light’ pen), as well as exercises for emotional states, gem stones, coloured spectacles and glass, coloured silks and cloths, painting with colour, and aromatherapy oils. Other therapies, such as Reiki, Pranic Healing or Chakra Balancing, also utilise the energy frequencies of colour in their healing paradigms.


This practice incorporates water, either as a drink with spring water, which is charged with filters of various colours, or as a bath which has coloured lights. Solarised blue water is an excellent tonic for laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx. Aura-Soma uses coloured water to heal physical and emotional symptoms and to promote psychological change. (See our February issue for an article on Aura-Soma).

Ultraviolet light therapy

Also known as phototherapy, this is commonly used to treat psoriasis. Ultraviolet light is an extremely effective disinfectant, with the ability to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the air and on surfaces.

Virtual scanning

This incorporates the use of coloured light to facilitate health assessment and therapy, which identifies organ pathology and brain compensation.


The warmer colours of red (hot and moist) and yellow (hot and dry), and orange (dry and hot) are associated with the Sanguinous and Bilious temperaments respectively, which are extrovert, positive and energetic. The stimulating effects of red (blood is red) and yellow cause blood vessel dilation and enhance metabolism, circulation, respiration, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature; for instance, the face may appear to be flushed and warm in a fever or when blushing.

Health benefits

As heat dilates the blood vessels by increasing circulation, the warm colours are ideal for sluggish or dormant conditions, such as constipation, sluggish bowel, osteoporosis, arthritis, backache and muscle cramps; they relax muscles, loosen tension and soothe pain. The warm colours may be used over areas of the body which require improvement in muscular tone, especially post-surgery, or during convalescence, to improve circulation. However, in acute arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, the heat of the inflammatory response would be aggravated by the heat of warm colours; alternatively they would respond better to the cooling and soothing properties of blue, but too much coldness will cause cramping.

It is useful to include red in advertisements, media and entertainment, as it is eye catching and gives a sense of action. The connotation with love and passion would therefore include red colours in gifts, cards, roses and seductive clothing.

The association of yellow with the Bilious temperament reflects the promotion of empowerment and increases confidence, vitality and energy. Yellow also helps to strengthen the nerves and improve concentration, and is useful for lethargy, tiredness and depression.

Because of the stimulating qualities of red, yellow and orange, too much of these colours will be overpowering, causing exhaustion, anxiety, stress, agitation and aggression. Red, yellow and orange colours should not be used too much in the bedroom as these colours can interfere with sleep.


The cooler colours of blue (cold and moist) and violet/purple (cold and dry) are associated with the Phlegmatic and Melancholic temperaments respectively, which are introvert, negative and less energetic.

Due to its qualities of coldness, blue decreases blood flow, heart rate and blood pressure, which helps to conserve energy during rest. It also regulates the basic functions of the body such as digestion and urination. This means that all colours in the bluish spectrum, from blue/green to blue and violet, normally have a sedating, digestion-activating, sleep-inducing effect.

Blue represents depth, stability, reliability, efficiency, and sincerity. It is peaceful, calming, soothing, patient, cool-minded, loyal and honest. Dark blue is the colour of truth and moderation, and is considered to be the best colour to wear for a job interview, as it inspires confidence.

Health benefits

Blue can be used for any condition of a hot, thermal nature, as it promotes coolness. The inflammatory response after an injury, resulting in a hot, red and swollen skin, will benefit from the colour of blue, due to its cold and moist properties. Ice causes contraction of the circulation which reduces inflammation. The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities of blue will aid in all inflammatory conditions, and reduce heat and swelling, such as hyperacidity, gastric, peptic and duodenal ulcers, bleeding nose, anaemia, hyperactivity, mania, stress, anxiety and agitation.

Purple/violet is used for spiritually-related problems, as it connects one to one’s spiritual self, and it brings guidance and wisdom, as well as purifying one’s thoughts and inner strength. It is used for meditation in order to heighten psychic awareness and connection with the higher self. It can be used in conditions associated with hot and moist qualities of red, because of its opposite qualities of coldness and dryness, such as allergic asthma, skin allergies, athlete’s foot, hypertension, and acute arthritis. As purple has a connotation to mourning, it should be avoided under those circumstances, and too much of it may lead to an increase in pessimism and introversion.

Violet and blue suppress the appetite, and while these colours may be beneficial for people who wish to lose weight, due to their unappealing associations with food, they should be avoided if losing weight is not the intention.

The colour green is associated with balance. Green is calming, relaxing and soothing, and it is associated with peace, harmony and calmness, nature, the outdoors and spring. It is believed to have antiseptic, germicide and antibacterial properties, and it may facilitate the healing of broken bones and the repair of tissues in the body.

The colour of food additives, restaurant décor, placemats and the colour of the walls influence one’s appetite and desire for food. Restaurateurs who integrate relaxing and calming colours into their milieu and menu will enhance customer satisfaction.


Despite the benefits of the therapeutic effects of colour, caution, however, needs to be exercised as they also have drawbacks. Any excess or deficiency of the qualities in relation to the temperament of an individual will lead to physical, emotional, mental and social imbalances.

Always consult a medical practitioner for any health concerns, as the application of colour to aid in conditions is not a substitute to diagnosis or treatment of health problems.


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Colour Therapy and the Tibb Modality

Dr Linda Mayer
About The Author
- D NAT MED, CNP, CFMP, MASC (P TH), SACD (ADV.PSYCH), NLP, ADVANCED PRANIC HEALING, REIKI MASTER. She is registered as a clinical nurse practitioner, midwife, with Psychiatry and Community Health (SANC), certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (FMU), Doctor Medicina Naturalis (WONMP), and a Senior Ambassador for Health and Peace (International Academy of Lymphology). She is currently working in the field of geriatrics and as a psychiatric nursing consultant for a long term care facility. She is an author for the South African Journal of Natural Medicine and is on this publication’s expert’s panel.