Principles and Practice of Naturopathy (1925): Chapter 7

E.W. Cordingley, A.M., Ph.D.
September 15, 2004

In this chapter will be considered photo-therap [sic] (light therapy), chrome-therapy (color-therapy), and Rythmo-therapy (vibration). I characterize these methods as Quasi-Electrical Methods to differentiate them from the electrical modalities in which the actual current passes through a part of the body. These methods are electrical simply because electricity is the force usually used to generate the light or drive the motor in the appliances that are used for these methods. Of course, the light could be generated by gas, oil or some other combustible material, and there are vibrators on the market that are air-operated, but. the most common appliances are electrically operated, since electricity. is usually the most accessible and convenient generating power.


While attending a post-graduate course in Chicago several years ago, Dr. Denton N. Higbe, whom I regard as a leading authority on drugless healing, held up a small therapeutic lamp equipped with a 200-watt carbon-filament bulb, and remarked, “If I was just entering practice and could choose but one article of equipment this is what I would select. The cost of the therapeutic lamp in question was but a fraction of the cost of several other articles of equipment that were in the room when the doctor made the statement, but, after years of experience with nearly every kind of appliances, Dr. Higbe had come to the conclusion that he could get more definite therapeutic effects from a “heat lamp” than he could from almost anyone other appliance.

I do not want to disparage the many excellent equipages for electrical and quasi-electrical applications. Many of them will accomplish more than a lamp will in some cases, but what 1 do want to impress upon the reader is the fact that a therapeutic lamp has the universal application that many other appliances do not have, Heat is of value in nearly every disease, and the advantage of a therapeutic lamp over hot water bottles, hot bricks, and other such articles is that it is always ready for use, and the heat delivered by a lamp is radiant heat, and radiant heat penetrates the tissues more than any other. The heat from such a lamp will relieve pain at practically any local area to which it is applied, while if it is applied at a single nerve center a hyperemia can be quickly produced in the tissue or organ supplied from that spinal area.

Photo-therapy is a subject that I do not need to deal with in detail, because the technic of its application is self-evident. As an adjunct treatment its possibilities should not be overlooked.


Chromo-therapy is a method of treatment of disease by the use of radiant colors. Dr. George Starr White is the leading exponent of this system.

Any ordinary therapeutic lamp of about 50 candle-power may be used in Chromo-therapy, with a color screen placed in front of it. This color screen can be made of glass, as many of them are, but Dr. White is partial to the use of silk cloth for the screens. The silk is mounted on a wire frame, this frame being made to fit over the reflector of the lamp.

The color rays must be applied directly to the skin, and not through clothing, and the colors must be pure and not intermingled with other colors.

The therapeutic action of colors thus applied has been found to be as follows:

RED has a stimulating effect on blood and nerves. It is indicated in tuberculosis, anemia, physical exhaustion, paralysis, and all debilitated conditions.

CONTRAINDICATED in inflammatory, feverish or excitable conditions.

YELLOW AND ORANGE are nerve stimulants. They are valuable in constipation, impaired digestion, and pelvic disorders in women.

CONTRAINDICATED where there is an over-excited system.

REDDISH-ORANGE is valuable in cancer and other malignant growths.

GREEN is quieting and soothing upon the nerves and body generally. It must be a true green and have no tendency toward yellow.

BLUE AND VIOLET are nervines, astringent, fegrifuges, and sedatives. They soothe the nerve and vascular systems, and are good where there is inflammation or nervousness. Indicated in sciatica, hemorrhage, cerebro-spinal conditions, neuralgia and rheumatism.


Rythmo-therapy is the use of vibration in the treatment of disease. Vibration is of value in some painful conditions and has proved particularly useful in lumbago. The technic employed in lumbago is to apply moderate vibration to the muscles in the lumbar region of the spine for from three to five minutes at a treatment, changing the position of the patient frequently during treatment so as to better break down the muscle spasm.

Mild vibration to the stomach and bowels is often of benefit in “sour” stomach and constipation, but care must be taken not to treat the viscera too vigorously by this method, as injury may result.

It is also a good auxiliary method of treatment in many other troubles, the technic for which will readily suggest itself.

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This page was posted on September 15, 2004.