Have you ever walked into a business you’ve never been in before and instantly felt comfortable and at ease, like you could spend some time there and be totally okay with it?
On the converse, what about the new businesses you’ve entered where, upon merely opening the door, the environment felt cold and unwelcome, increasing your anxiety and unease before even having the opportunity to speak to someone?
A number of factors contribute to how we feel when we physically enter a business, whether for the first time or the twentieth, but it’s likely that color is contributing to some of your body’s responses in situations like these. This makes understanding the human response to color critical to creating a better patient experience at your chiropractic practice.
Humans and the color response
“Different colors evoke different emotions,” says Harry Wong, DC, clinical director of Full Motion Chiropractic in Belmont, California. Perhaps most importantly, they do it rather quickly, adding to the importance of getting your office’s color schemes right.
For instance, Colorcom shares how Institute for Color Research studies have found that “people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62 percent and 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone.” In other words, the colors you choose in your waiting and treatment rooms will have a major impact on how a patient views you and your chiropractic office, and it will do it in less than two minutes time.
“Colors also have to be complementary,” says Wong, in order to evoke the right response. Color Matters agrees, stating that if your color choices are not harmonious, it will likely leave your patient feeling either disinterested or chaotic. Neither of these is helpful when you’re trying to inspire patients to care more about their spinal health or to relax them enough to have a more effective treatment session.
Color in healthcare environments specifically
It’s that harmonious type of environment that Wong says he has tried to create at Full Motion Chiropractic by using greens (to increase calming and healing) in addition to warm colors like yellow and orange. “I avoid lots of reds,” says Wong, because these colors “tend to be impulsive and energetic and can represent painfulness.”
In a piece published by Healthcare Design Magazine, it’s suggested that the most appealing healthcare environments strike a balance between warm and cool colors. The reason behind this is that warm, neutral colors such as beige create feelings of tranquility whereas cooler colors like blues and blue-greens tend to be calming. Use both of these palettes then and your patients will feel more peaceful and less stressed while in your office.
There’s nothing wrong with adding a splash of color though, as long as long as you stick to your brand and add the brighter colors appropriately says Healthcare Design. This involves placing the brighter color in areas that can be seen by the patients when entering the room, but not positioned right in front of them so as to overwhelm while waiting for treatment. This makes the walls behind waiting room and treatment room chairs a good place to add colors of this type.
Wong takes this approach and has implemented some color to his primarily green, yellow, and orange décor by choosing a chiropractic table that offers “a little bit of mauve.” This adds to the chiropractic environment by making it feel “more comfortable and kind of pretty,” says Wong.
Picking the perfect color(s) for your chiropractic practice
If your goal is to find the perfect color or colors for your chiropractic practice, Wong has one suggestion: “I use the color wheel,” says Wong. “It shows how the colors create a pleasing effect.”
Another option is to go with colors known to relax your patients and make them feel more at ease. In a Fox News report about 8 stress-reducing colors, this means that your options would include shades of lavender, pale grey, cool blue, gray-blue, aqua, pale pink, beige, and pale green.