Wear Your Way to Wellness
When we go into a room or are flooded with a certain color, we definitely feel something. I remember my first time experiencing James Turrell's Breathing Light, a piece that envelopes you in light in a room where you loose all sense of depth. I felt so many visceral feelings that changed with the progression of colors. And, every time I experience a James Turrell piece, I always feel a physical reaction from being enveloped in light. Recently, I talked to a colleague about color therapy, mainly pertaining to fashion and the colors we wear depending on the season - lots of blacks for the winter and lots of bright colors for the summer. He told me that they are ways for us to treat ourselves during these seasons when specific organs need an energetic boost from color. So, if you find yourself wearing a certain color a lot, it may mean you're subtly using energetic medicine to heal yourself.
Chinese Medicine and the 5 elements
The foundation of Chinese medicine is the Five Elements. The Five Elements organizes the internal being (organs and mental-emotional states), the being (physical states), and those outside of the being (color, weather, seasons, cardinal directions, planets, and energetics) into 5 distinct energetic spheres that all interact with each other. How does this relate to fashion? Each sphere and their associated organs have corresponding mental-emotional states and physical states that can be nurture and supported with by color. The elements, their corresponding organs, and their associated states and colors are:
• Wood: Liver/gallbladder: Anger/tears, cyan
• Fire: Heart/small intestine: Joy/sweating, red
• Earth: Spleen/stomach: Pensiveness/clear and thin saliva, yellow
• Metal: Lungs/large intestine: Sadness/nasal mucus, white
• Water: Kidneys/bladder: Fear/thick saliva, black/blue
So, if you're wearing lots of black, you could be subtly treating a feeling of fear. Or, if you're wearing lots of cyan, you could be self-medicating an anger that's brewing within you. Chinese medicine goes even deeper than this, and this is just the basics. There's another point in Chinese Medicine about how using too much of a color can negatively impact your wellbeing. If you want to get your mind blown away, talk to a Chinese medicine practitioner about how they view the world and healing.
Ayurvedic Medicine and the 3 doshas
There are 3 constitutions, or in-born states, in Ayurvedic medicine. Much like with the Chinese Five Elements, these constitutions have corresponding elements, mental-emotional states, physical states, and healing colors. The 3 doshas and their qualities are:
• Vata: Air. Vata is light, dry, cold, and agitated.
• Pitta: Fire. Pitta is hot, oily, light, mobile, and liquid.
• Kapha: Water. Kapha is wet, cold, heavy, dull, soft, and firm.
With therapeutic colors in Ayurvedic Medicine, the goal is to balance the doshas to impact mood. Vata would favor warm, calming colors (yellow, orange, and gold). Pitta would favor cool, calming colors (white, blues, greens). Kapha would favor warm, invigorating colors (red, yellow, orange). If you would like to know more about Ayurvedic Medicine, talk to an Ayurvedic practitioner! Their medicine is not only amazing and effective, but it also has a different understanding of the world, which might illuminate points of light within you.
We wear colors to subtly treat ourselves. We may not know about all levels of our being, but colors, and everything else, have energetic connections to them that can tell us more about ourselves and how we can improve our states of being. So, have a gander at your wardrobe right now. Do you see any trends in colors? I'm looking at mine right now, and I'm seeing lots of black and blue, which must mean that I am quietly afraid of something and need an energetic push to feel joy or that I am trying to soothe the ever on-the-go, fiery Pitta within me. What do you think your wardrobe is telling you about yourself?
- Dr. B
Frawley, David. “The Three Doshas.” Ayurvedic Healing: a Comprehensive Guide, Motilal Banarsidass, 2003, pp. 6–13.
Maciocia, Giovanni. “Internal Causes of Disease.” The Foundations of Chinese Medicine E-Book: A Comprehensive Text, 3rd ed., Elsevier, 2015, pp. 251–256.
Yang, Jingduan, and Daniel A. Monti. “Energetics of Humans and Nature.” Clinical Acupuncture and Ancient Chinese Medicine, Oxford University Press, 2017.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.