Mood disorders are increasing and reaching epidemic proportions in western societies. Over 25% of Australian adults report high levels of anxiety and/or depression (1). Australia has the second highest consumption of anti-depressants (second to Iceland) and is increasing by 25% per year (2).
Safe and effective methods of treating mood disorders are needed. Anti-depressants are ineffective for two thirds of people (3). Anti-anxiety medication causes undesirable side-effects. They are potentially addictive and produce withdrawal problems (4).
New safer treatments are emerging. Light therapy is one proven method to help depression (5). Acupuncture is another effective treatment for both depression and anxiety (6).
Colour (chromo) therapy has potential benefits for treating mood disorders. Colour affects brain pathways, neuro- endocrine secretions and the limbic brain (7), which controls emotional and mood expression.
Colour therapy is an unresearched field with only a few studies published. One research study by Dr. Mary Ross demonstrated a method using individualized colour irradiation above individuals’ body as effective treatment for depression (8). Colourpuncture (popularized by Peter Mandel) is the practice of irradiating acupuncture points with aspecific colours. Only one research study using colourpuncture could be found. It was shown to be effective in helping a variety of health conditions, including ADD and insomnia (9). Iris-phototherapy is another colour therapy where colour is irradiated close to the iris–pupillary border for short intervals. It was developed by Tony Cocilovo and is based on syntonic optometry, a visual/emotional therapy via eyes. Iris-phototherapy demonstrated empirically to relax the autonomic nerve pathways (10) though there are no research efforts in this field.
This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of colour-puncture and iris-phototherapy for treatment of mood disorders. A secondary objective was to compare the effectiveness between colour-puncture alone to color- puncture combined with iris phototherapy.
Eight people were recruited who self-reported as experiencing mood problems (anxiety and/or depression). The age spanned from 35 to 61 years. There were two males and six females. Exclusion criteria involved being free of history of psychotic episodes, manic depression, current suicidal tendencies or addictions.*
Safe Microwave Technology Usage Guidelines ** protocol was introduced 1 week prior to commencement and continued throughout the following 9 weeks (4 weeks of the study and 4 weeks post-study).
Initial assessments included Mood Questionnaire**, Colour Preference Test**, GDV (electrophotography) images of ten fingertips and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) test using an EM Wave II. These tests were recorded just prior to administering the first therapy session. All assessments were repeated midway through the study (after 2 weeks) and again at the completion of the study (after 4 weeks). The mood questionnaire was repeated as a follow-up 4 weeks after the end of therapy.
Each person received 8 therapy sessions, approximately 30 minutes in duration, twice per week, spaced 2 to3 days apart, over a period of 4 weeks.
The first 4 sessions included iris-phototherapy plus colour-puncture.
Iris-photo-therapy was administered using the Photon Stimulator. Blue light was delivered via fibre optic cable for 30 seconds to both eyes. The fibre cable was positioned 2 cm from the pupillary border. The frequency was set at 8 Hertz. This preceded the colour-puncture.
Colour-puncture was administered using the Photon Stimulator using the following specifications and locations –
|Inner wrist||PC 6||Bilateral||Green||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Navel||REN 8||Single||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Chest||REN 17||Single||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Between Eyebrows||Yintang||Single||Green||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Forehead||ST 8||Bilateral||Green||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Forehead||DU 23||Bilateral||Green||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Apex Scalp||DU 20||Single||Green||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Occipital||Amnian||Bilateral||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Cervical Vert. 7||DU 14||Single||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Kidneys||BL 23||Bilateral||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Auricular||Ear Shenmen||Bilateral||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Auricular||Point Zero||Bilateral||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Auricular||Sympathetic NS||Bilateral||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
|Bilateral||Magenta||60 secs||8 Hz|
The treatments administered in week 3 included the above protocol without the iris-phototherapy.
The treatments administered in week 4 included only auricular points without iris-phototherpy or body acupoints. Auricular points Shenmen and Point Zero were included. A point locator was used to determine electrically imbalanced points of the ear. Two to three of these specific points were irradiated. The administered colour changed according to colour test results. If blue components were low, colours from the blue spectrum were used. If red percentages were low, colours from red spectrum were used. The treatment time per point remained at 60 seconds and frequency at 8 Hertz.
*The exclusion list was breached for one person who had history of psychotic and suicidal episodes. The researcher included this individual as he had been free of these signs for minimum 8 years
** See Sheets on Safe Microwave Technology Usage Guidelines, Mood Questionnaire and Information on Colour Preference Test
Acupuncture points were chosen based on protocols used for treating depression and anxiety from acupuncture references (11, 12) and from the investigator’s own clinical experience.
Microwave technology usage (particularly mobile phone and wifi) restrictions were enforced due to its potential harmful effects on mood, cognitive function and sleep (13). Introduction of restrictions began 1 week prior to the study to eliminate changes in mood being due to changes in exposure to microwave.
The Photon Stimulator was chosen as the therapy device for the following reasons: It emits high quality light (close to natural sunlight) generated from xenon gas globes. It emits pulsed frequencies of light which assists brain entrainment. A frequency of 8 Hertz was chosen as it corresponds to low alpha brain states which induces relaxation. (14)
Colours used by the Photon Stimulator device are based on Dinshah’s colour therapy system. The colours emulate natural colours found in nature. These colours are most suited to our biological systems. (15).
Iris-phototherapy was chosen to be delivered before colour-puncture as it is reported to ‘prime’ the nervous system into receptivity. (16) Blue was chosen for the iris-phototherapy as it has been proposed to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. (15) Activated parasympathetic response delivers relaxation (17). Healing occurs more effectively when parasympathetic response is activated (18).
Colours green and magenta were chosen as they are both neutral and complementary colours. Green has empirically been used as a cerebral, pituitary and physical equilibrator. Magenta has been used effectively as an emotional equilibrator. (15)
The protocol changed at the mid point by eliminating iris-phototherapy. This change gave the advantage of studying colour- puncture alone compared to colour-puncture assisted with iris-phototherapy.
The following graphs demonstrate the Mood Questionnaire findings.
Subject 1 : Female 35 years old (LM)
Subject 2 : Female 57 years old (RM)
Subject 3 : Female 48 years old (MC)
Subject 4 : Female 52 years old (KI)
Subject 5 : Male 61 year old (DC)
Subject 6 : Female 51 year old (JW)
Subject 7 : Female 48 years old (LS)
Subject 8 : Male 58 years old (TS)
- Depression was reduced in 6 individuals, remained the same in 1 and worsened in 1 individual (taken from initial baseline to completion of therapy). The average decrease in depression was a drop in 4.8 points (or 35 %). The range was a decrease of score by 15 points (75%) to an increase by 2 points (5%).
- Anxiety signs were reduced in 7 individuals and worsened in 1 individual. The average decrease in anxiety scores was 4.3 points (or 37.5%). The range was a decrease by 14 points (78 %) to an increase by 1 point (14%).
- Energy levels improved in 6 and decreased in 2 individuals. The average increase in energy scores was 1 point (11 %). The range was an increase by 5 points (67%) to a decrease by 5 points (71 %).
- Nervous tension was reduced in 5 people, remained the same in 1 person and got worse in 2 people. The average change overall for the group was a 2 point (18%) decrease in nervous tension. The range was a decrease of nervous tension score by 10 points (67%) to an increase by 4 points (33%).
- Sleep problems were reduced in 6 people and worsened in 2 people (both males). The average overall change in sleep problems was a 5.2 points (33%) decrease. The range was a 14 point (100%) decrease in sleep problems to a 6 points (67%) increase. Two people returned to a score of 0, indicating there were no sleep problems remaining whatsoever by the end of the study.
- Poor mental clarity (cognitive function problems) decreased in 7 people and increased in 1 person. The average change was 6.5 points (36%) decrease. The range was an increase by 2 points (100%) to a decrease of 16 points (100%).
Results comparing the first half of the study (using iris photo-therapy in combination with colour-puncture) to the second half (colour-puncture alone) showed –
- Depression was reduced in 6 and increased in 2 people for first half (iris phototherapy plus colour puncture) compared to depression was reduced in 5 and increased in 3 for the second half (colour- puncture alone).
- Anxiety was reduced in 7 and increased in 1 people for the first half (iris phototherapy plus colour puncture) compared to anxiety was reduced in 4, remained the same in 2 and increased in 2 people for the second half. (colour-puncture alone).
- Energy levels were improved in 5, remained the same in 1 and decreased in 2 people for the first half (iris phototherapy plus colour puncture) compared to improvements for 3, remaining the same for 1 and decreased for 4 people in the second half (colour-puncture alone).
- Nervous tension decreased for 6, and increased for 2 for the first half (iris phototherapy plus colour puncture) compared to decreases in 3, remaining the same for 3 and increasing for 2 people for the first half (colour-puncture alone).
- Sleep improved for 6, stayed the same for 1 and worsened for 1 for the first half (iris phototherapy plus colour puncture) compared to improving for 5, staying the same for 1 and decreasing for 2 in the second half (colour-puncture alone).
- Mental clarity improved for 7 and remained the same for 1 in the first half (iris phototherapy plus colour puncture) compared to improving in 4, remaining the same in 2 and worsening in 2 people for the second half (colour-puncture alone).
*For results and findings on GDV, HRV and Colour Testing, please see separate report upon request.
It is clear from the findings that there have been general overall improvements in all parameters tested, in particular cognitive function and sleep (being the top two areas affected beneficially), depression, anxiety and finally nervous tension and energy levels (in that order).
Even though the general trend was for improvement, there were two individuals who responded adversely in some measures. Both were males with history of severe psychological conditions (one with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the other with previous psychotic/addictive/bipolar diagnosis). Even though both individuals were managing their conditions reasonably well at the time, this particular form of light therapy induced aggravating effects, particularly for sleep patterns and energy levels for both of them. One individual had a complete change to his diurnal clock, only able to fall asleep at 4 am, requiring to sleep till midday. Both reported feeling worse as a result of the therapy. One returned to a favourable condition by 4 weeks after the end of the therapy, whereas the other continued to deteriorate significantly. The reason for this is not understood. It is possible that due to traumatic histories, they had a hyper-sensitivity to light, and the pineal gland (regulator of serotonin/melatonin levels via light exposure) may have received too much stimulation, causing an imbalance rather than a correction, however this is an unproven hypothesis.
The two individuals who improved most were people with a history of least degree of mood/psychological imbalance. Their improvement continued past the end of the therapy. One of these individuals reached a point of having completely removed all signs of anxiety and depression. The other individual had a significantly large reduction in all her measures by the end of the study.
This may indicate that people with less severe symptoms require less treatment (in this case 8 sessions were sufficient) for lasting effects. Individuals with moderate mood disorder signs may need more than 8 sessions for sustained post-effects. Individuals with history of severe psychological conditions (even if past and no longer current) may be best treated cautiously with minimal light stimulation.
Some of the limitations of the study design include –
- Mixing iris phototherapy with colour-puncture. Having two separate groups receiving different modalities may have shown clearer results.
- Changing the colour-puncture protocol in week 4. Keeping the protocol uniform for weeks 3 and 4 may have given more accurate results.
- Choosing more than one colour for irradiation may also have confused the outcome results.
- The low number of people studied give only a limited view of effects.
- The absence of a control group.
- The study was not blinded so expectations may have influenced results.
In consideration of future studies, I would recommend stricter adherence to exclusion criteria, larger groups of people studied, separate groups (one with iris-phototherapy, another with auricular colour-puncture, another with body acupuncture and another control group where no colour is irradiated). I would also recommend the choice of one colour per person, dependant on an individualized assessment using colour preference test and overall diagnosis.
It can be preliminarily deduced from the findings that –
- Colour puncture combined with iris-phototherapy is beneficial for improving mental function, sleep patterns and energy levels, as well as alleviating anxiety, depression and nervous tension, provided there is no history of severe psychological conditions.
- The most responsive conditions for colour-puncture with iris-phototherapy are anxiety and mental clarity.
- The least responsive condition for this therapy is nervous tension (however more than half the group still responded with lowered tension levels).
Combination of iris-phototherapy with colour-puncture is more effective in helping mood disorders, than colour-puncture alone.
- Iris photo-therapy is most effective for reducing anxiety, nervous tension and benefitting sleep patterns.
- Some individuals can react adversely to this form of therapy.
- People who may respond adversely are people with history of more severe psychological conditions.
- Beneficial effects are more likely to be sustained for people with milder conditions.
The author would like to acknowledge Tony Cocilovo for providing the Photon Stimulator equipment and guidance on its application. I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Mary Ross for her mentorship on research skills throughout the project.
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