The idea that our perception of colour is both a marker of disease and the key to our recovery is known as 'chromotherapy', and it has been practised since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Ayurvedic medicine also recognizes a similar model, and assigns different colours to the body's energy centres, or 'chakras'.
Over the past 20 years, Russian physicist Igor Grakov, of the University of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, Russia, has brought chromotherapy right up to date by merging the ancient healing method with recent findings in neuroscience. The result is the so-called Virtual Scanning (VS) technology, a diagnostic and healing system based on light and our interpretation of colours. It claims to be able to assess the health of more than 30 internal organs, and to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, including dyslexia, migraine, epilepsy and diabetes.
However, as with so many novel healing modalities, VS has suffered problems and setbacks in becoming accepted, especially by the medical orthodoxy. Its beginnings were promising. Following his initial work in the 1980s, Grakov's VS technology was evaluated by St Petersburg University and quickly adopted in Russia where, at its peak, more than 500 practitioners were trained in its use.
However, Russia's medical authorities withdrew regulatory approval until clinical studies could prove its effectiveness. Today, only 50 practitioners in Russia use it, and then only to combat the effects of ageing and to enhance sports performance. In Europe and the UK, where there is currently just a handful of practitioners, the CE mark of safety has not been renewed. This means that, at this time, the technology cannot be legally used in Europe.
Yet, despite these setbacks, VS continues to be championed by Montague Healthcare, a company based in Nottingham, UK, and run by Dr Elena Ewing and her husband Graham. They are working hard to obtain enough funding to promote the technology and to have it accepted-at least as a cost-effective diagnostic tool-by the UK's National Health Service.
Elena, who is Russian, introduced Graham to the technology in 2003. His first encounter was with an elderly man who had dysarthria, a condition that had prevented him from speaking for five years. "I told him that we couldn't assist him. Nevertheless, he wished to try Virtual Scanning therapy. Six days later, he phoned up to speak to Elena!"
By then, Russian practitioners had amassed hundreds of equally impressive case studies across a range of chronic conditions, including an epileptic who had been an invalid since the age of five. After 21 days of VS therapy,
all epileptic episodes had stopped and the patient was able to stop all medication.
The Ewings were soon adding more case successes:
o a 10-year-old girl whose dyslexia was showing "clear and dis-tinctive improvement" after three weeks, according to her mother;
o a 59-year-old woman who had suffered from severe migraines from the age of 11 but, after several VS sessions, was migraine-free, while her general health and demeanour also improved; and
o a near-alcoholic man in his late 40s, whose depression was so severe that he would lie in bed for days but who, after two VS sessions, started taking an active and positive interest in life again.
When VS was available in the UK, a typical course of treatment-including an initial evaluation plus several follow-up sessions-cost around lb300. For the evaluation, the patient is shown a coloured image for around 15 seconds. A filter is then placed over the image, and the patient asked to use a PC mouse to reintroduce colours until the initial coloured image is restored.
The amount of time taken by the patient to do this and the final result provide the VS software with the necessary data to build up a health profile, and to pinpoint any deficiencies and organ damage. Based on this diagnosis, the patient is then given a personalized CD that includes images and colour challenges that the patient has to study and complete for around 20 minutes once or twice a day. The Ewings expect to see results after three to four months.
How it works
In simple terms, VS is an energy therapy that is also a form of biofeedback. Using light and colours, it 're-educates' the body back to health. "Dr Grakov established the significance of electromagnetic radiation-of colour and EEG frequency-on the body. Proteins release light which influences our perception of colour, and these reactions are regulated by our physiological systems, such as pH, temperature, mineral and hormone levels, and other cofactors," says Graham.
Although the Ewings encourage lifestyle changes such as a better diet, Graham says that VS is a self-contained healing system. "If people are deficient in a mineral, say, then giving them the mineral won't make much difference because the deficiency is the result of a processing and absorption problem," he says.
The most impressive feature of VS is that it can often detect the underlying problem that may not have been apparent even to doctors who may have already examined the patient, say the Ewings. Graham gives the example of a woman who had been complaining of duodenal problems, even though her doctor had been unable to detect anything wrong. A VS session indicated that she probably had a duodenal ulcer. She returned to her doctor, who again gave her a clean bill of health. A week later, she was admitted to hospital with a perforated duodenal ulcer.
Sceptics raise the same argu-ments against chromotherapy as they do for most alternative therapies-that it's nothing more than a placebo. However, this standpoint is out of step with modern physics-and quantum physics in particular-which tells us that energy and matter are merely different expressions of the same thing. As Samina Azeemi, a physics professor at the University of Balochistan in Pakistan, says in his explanation of chromotherapy, ". . . [L]ight is electromagnetic radiation, which is the fluctuation of electric and magnetic fields in nature. More simply, light is energy, and the phenomenon of colour is a product of the interaction of energy and matter" (Evid Based Complement Altern Med, 2005; 2: 481-8).
It's also a stretch to credit the placebo effect where patients don't even realize that they have a health problem or may even not necessarily believe the findings of the initial VS screening.
Nevertheless, the Ewings remain optimistic that VS will one day play an integral part of the world's medical systems as an accurate diagnostic tool and as a comple-mentary therapy. They are hoping to reintroduce VS in the UK in 2011, while perhaps setting the cost of a typical therapeutic session and follow-up at around lb150.
As Graham says, "VS tells us so much about disease and the body that it's just too good to give up on."
Montague Healthcare, 6 Vine Farm Close, Cotgrave, Nottingham NG12 3TU; tel: 0115 989 9618; www. montaguehealthcare.co.uk
VOL. 21 NO. 10