Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 810876, 7 pages
Research Article

Impact of Colored Light on Cardiorespiratory Coordination

1Integrated Curriculum for Anthroposophic Medicine, University of Witten/Herdecke, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
2Chair for Theory of Medicine, Integrative and Anthroposophic Medicine, University of Witten/Herdecke, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
3Institute for Integrative Medicine, University of Witten/Herdecke, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
4Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, 58313 Herdecke, Germany

Received 26 September 2013; Revised 10 December 2013; Accepted 10 December 2013

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2013 Friedrich Edelhäuser et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Light exposure to the eye can influence different physiological functions, for example, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). By affecting the autonomic nervous system, the SCN may influence the heart rate variability (HRV). Standardized colored light exposure alters HRV but the results are inconsistent. In this study we investigated the effects of nonstandardized red light (approx. 640 nm) and blue (approx. 480 nm) light (approx. 50 lx) on cardiorespiratory coordination and HRV. Methods. 17 healthy subjects (7 males, age: 26.5 ± 6.2 years) were exposed to the following sequence (10 minutes each): daylight-red light-daylight-blue light-daylight. Red and blue lights were created by daylight passing through colored glass panes. Spectral measures of HRV (LF: low frequency, HF: high frequency oscillations, and sympathovagal balance LF/HF) and measures of cardiorespiratory coordination (HRR: heart respiration ratio, PCR: phase coordination ratio) were analyzed. Results. The LF component increased and the HF component decreased after red light. Consequently, LF/HF increased after red light. Furthermore, during red light HRR and PCR confined to 4 : 1, that is, 4 heartbeats during one respiratory cycle. Conclusion. Nonstandardized red and blue lights are able to alter the autonomic control reflected by HRV as well as cardiorespiratory coordination.