Using Color Therapy for Headaches and Migraines

According to historians, humans have been using color for at least 100,000 years. Cave drawings estimated to be around 20,000 years old are decorated in colorants ancient people made from nature.

Historically, people used colors to understand the world around them, but as human civilizations have evolved to use colors more, we have also grown in our understanding of how the brain reacts to certain colors.

While this may seem like an obscure branch of pseudoscience, consider the following:

  • Students of marketing and advertising schools study color psychology and how to increase sales through marketing and branding using specific colors.
  • Red and yellow are known to increase hunger. Nearly every fast-food logo contains the colors red or yellow and many contain both colors. In a similar line of thinking, feng shui advocates for kitchens to be shades of gray, green, blue, and earth tones, and to remove red and yellow objects from your eating and food preparation spaces as these colors cause you to overeat.
  • The visiting team’s locker room at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is infamously painted completely pink as a psychological measure meant to calm the other team and make them easier to beat. The locker room was converted to be fully pink in 1979 when psychology graduate Coach Hayden Fry ordered the new decor. 
  • Green has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate in viewers who are exposed to the color.

In fact, practitioners of color therapy use different forms of colors to impact mental and physical health and even treat medical conditions. 


What is Color Therapy?

Color therapy is a branch of alternative medicine which is based on the use of colors. Color therapy can take many forms, including changing the décor in your home, carrying an object or wearing clothing or jewelry of a certain color, or shining a specific color of light at the patient.



Therapeutic Colors for Headaches and Migraines

Various colors are associated with different results depending on the person. Some people find warm colors to be energizing and healing, while other people find them stressful and alarming. If your headaches cause you to feel warm and irritable, blue might be the right color to provide a calming and cooling sensation. Green is widely regarded as the most universal color for health and healing.


Red therapy is said to increase circulation and energy and is used to treat constipation and malaise. Some color therapists claim that red therapy is less effective for people with red hair color, reddish skin tones or people who blush or sunburn easily.


Yellow is believed to cleanse the bloodstream and liver as well as stimulate the nervous system. It is believed to combat anxiety and depression related to chronic migraines and headaches. 


Blue colors are cooling and calming. Blue therapy is believed to be most effective for headaches when directed at the face, eyes, and head. However, some people find that blue color therapy directed at the liver produces relief from headaches. Indeed, the liver is connected to migraines and headaches. This connection is due to the link between changes in blood vessels and the liver’s ability to metabolize serotonin. 


Green is also soothing and cooling and is considered by color therapy practitioners to be a master healing color. Green is believed to help encourage the body to eliminate toxins which may cause headaches, migraines, and other health conditions. It is believed to stabilize emotions and rebuild tissues. Green is associated with energy, hope, nature, and life.

Green has been found to be the most widely effective color for headaches and migraines, although different colors affect people differently. If you have not tried color therapy before, green is usually the best color to try first.



Different Methods: What Products are Available

Colored Light

Similar to light therapy, you can purchase devices which emit a color light to act as a form of color therapy. Many small handheld devices can emit different colors, allowing you to use the right color for whatever symptoms you are experiencing. This is also an excellent choice if you do not yet know which colors work best for you. Look for something that emits green, red, and blue rays, as those are the most commonly used colors for headaches and migraines. Some holistic or alternative healers offer color therapies using a large colored light emitter and may be able to assist you in finding the right color based on your specific condition. 

Crystals, Gemstones, and Jewelry

Ancient people as well as modern-day practitioners of alternative healing tend to use colored crystals and semi-precious gemstones. In ancient times, they were often worn or carried as a talisman for protection and health. Once you identify a healing color, you might consider finding a gemstone or crystal bead of that color to wear on a bracelet or necklace.




A simple way to make sure you can look at a certain color wherever you go is to wear that color. If you find that a certain color helps to keep headaches at bay, consider adding that color to your wardrobe or purchasing a piece of clothing in that color that you can wear often, such as a blue sweater to keep at your office desk or a red winter coat.

Colored Décor

If you find the right color to soothe and reduce headache and migraine symptoms, you may consider repainting or redecorating a room of your home in that color. If green soothes headache symptoms, consider painting your bedroom a light green, or replace your bedding with green sheets and pillows. When you experience a headache or migraine, allow yourself some quiet time surrounded by the desired color to ease your symptoms. 


Colored Foods

Many cultures practice the art of eating specific foods based on their colors. Traditional Chinese medicine, as well as many other traditional cultures including Persian, Iranian, Arabic, Greek, Roman, and some Latin-heritage groups, describe practices of eating foods which are hot and cold. This does not refer to the temperature at which the food is served, instead it is believed that foods create either a heating and drying or a cooling and moistening within the body. Many red colored-foods are considered hot while many blue and green foods are considered to be cooling.

These ancient practices are linked with the practice of using foods for color therapy. Many practitioners of color therapy prescribe eating foods of a certain color. Although there is not much scientific data available regarding color therapy through foods, you can experiment with eating foods of the color that you find most soothing for headaches and migraines. Many types of produce are brightly colored and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which support a healthy lifestyle regardless.


Why Use Color Therapy

There are virtually no adverse side effects from using color therapies. If you find that a color is hurting instead of helping, you may gain insight into something that triggers your headaches. If you experience an adverse reaction from using color therapy, remove the color from your treatment and avoid the color when you are experiencing a headache. Any negative reactions to a particular color should be mild and go away rather quickly once the color is removed.


The Takeaway

The science and psychology of color has long been used and studied by people across the world. Alternative healers use colors to improve health and even to treat medical conditions. While we know much about the psychology of colors, we still have much to learn about using colors as a treatment. Despite this, practitioners of color therapy use colors in a variety of ways and many people claim to benefit from the healing powers of color. 



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