As a healing principle, colour therapy has been around for eons, but it was only in the early 1900s that it finally gained some status, thanks to work by Hindu scientist Dinshah P Ghadiali. Though there are many different interpretations used by spas, therapists and healers around the world, Dubai’s Spa Dunya uses techniques similar to that of aromatherapy. Using everything from bath salts to sprays, each devoted to addressing the needs of different colours and all made from natural, organic essential oils, the spa deals with everything from recurring pain to detoxification. They are even studying the effect of colour therapy on helping those battling addiction.
When I arrive at the spa one blistering Ramadan afternoon for my first taste of colour therapy, it’s straight into a consultation, where I’m asked to choose four hues from a chart. I go with green, violet, orange and indigo, completely unaware of their associations: I’ve deliberately done no prior research, a self-imposed step to prevent my own social desirability bias skewing the outcome.
‘The first colour represents your present need, which is changeable, and green stands for freshness. You need to be outdoors, to be able to breathe, which is natural in this heat,’ explains Karima Nanji at Spa Dunya. ‘Your next colours are your body’s deepest needs. Violet stands for balance: you need to feel grounded,’ she explains, asking if I’m moving or experiencing big change in my life. When I agree, she nods. ‘You need balance and grounding – you’re unsettled,’ she explains. ‘Violet also has a connection to the family. Perhaps you’re missing that connection?’
Nanji explains that my third colour, orange, stands for creativity. ‘You need to feel creative and have more ideas to help you get your balance back,’ she explains. Significantly (or perhaps naturally, given the rather messy picture we’ve just painted), my final colour, indigo – which allegedly represents where I would like to be – stands for clarity. ‘You want to get your intuition and your clarity back, to de-stress, and be calm again.’
Each colour not only has an emotional connection, but a physical one, in the sense that each correlates to a particular chakra. For those unfamiliar with yoga, Hinduism or Buddhism, these are the seven energy centres located at various points along the spine.
Next up comes the spa treatment: a face reflexology session using essential oils composed to match the needs of each particular colour, each containing specific combinations of different plants, flowers and herbs. This is where the method at Spa Dunya marries with that of aromatherapy.
First, to ready my body for the treatment, I have the sprays for silver (repair) and white (purify) spritzed onto my palms, which I’m instructed to rub together to dry before inhaling the scent. I feel quite lightheaded, though I’m unsure whether this is the desired effect. After a quick change, I’m in the treatment room having oil rubbed into my back, shoulders and, finally, face.
The reflexology itself is intense – I don’t think I’ve had someone’s fingers hooked under my eye sockets, or had my jaw held in a vice-like grip since graduating from the playground. It’s a strange sensation, and though I’m uncertain as to whether the colour-relevant oils have had any impact on my wellbeing, it’s difficult to tell when there’s no time to meditate in the relaxation room – I immediately rush back to the office.
Without a doubt, the treatment would prove most effective when you have time on your hands to do it properly, and not under circumstances where you’re heading straight back to confront some of your original stressors immediately afterwards. If nothing else, though, I come away a little wiser, and a lot more determined to make sure the next shirt I buy is green, in the hope that every little helps.
Colour therapy prices vary; face reflexology is Dhs395 for 60 minutes. Spa Dunya Colour Experience, Shams 1, JBR (04 439 3669).
Make a colour change today and see whether you can improve your mood simply by thinking twice about your hues of choice.
White: Great for encouraging detoxification. Swap your patterned bedclothes for white covers to wake up feeling more refreshed.
Red: Surround yourself with scarlet to energise yourself if you’re feeling lethargic. Light a red candle at home or wear a red top to work.
Yellow: The colour of joy. Wear a yellow shirt (or underwear, if you’re not feeling bold enough) to help lift your spirits.