Health A-Z

Light Therapy

Light therapy
Light therapy

Have you noticed that when fall and winter come along, you feel sadder and more lethargic than usual?

Probably all that you want to do is stay in bed and sleep, avoid everyone and just waste the days away sulking.

In this case you might be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is depression related to shorter days and reduced sunlight exposure during the fall and winter months.

The downside of all this?

  • Reduced creativity and concentration
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in appetite and weight

The Benefits of Light Therapy

Light therapy is not only effective against SAD but it can work wonders for those experiencing:

  • Jet lag
  • Delayed sleep phase disorder
  • Non-seasonal psychiatric disorders

Not only that, but certain light therapies are beneficial for rejuvenating the skin.

Today, however, I will show you how to use light therapy and rip its wonderful benefits.

But I have to warn you though, don’t use light therapy if you’re taking photosensitive medications:

  • Lithium
  • Melatonin
  • certain antibiotics
  • some acne medications (Accutane)

These make your skin more sensitive to light, which may lead to skin changes that look like sunburns or rashes.

So if your doctor cleared you for light therapy, the next step for you is to buy a light box.

Light box

There are two important things you must look out for when buying a light box:

  • For maximum efficiency, it should have a 10.000 flux intensity – The intensity of the light box is recorded in lux, which is a measure of the amount of light you receive. The point of the light box is that it mimics the natural sunlight. If you acquire a weaker light box, you will be required to use it for longer periods of time.
  • It should block 99% of ultraviolet rays  there are certain light boxes which can propagate ultraviolet rays, which are harmful to your body. What you need is something that only provides the full spectrum of bright white light.

How to Use For Best Results

1.Positioning

light-box-seasonal-depression

Because the light box should mimic the outside sunlight, you should place it about two-feet away from your eyes, at eye level or higher, and at an angle to the left or right (at about 2 o’clock or 10 o’clock).

Avoid putting the light directly in front of your eyes.

Instead, position it about 45° to the right or left from your mid-line or eyes.

2.Timing

Light therapy is most effective when it’s done early in the morning, after you first wake up.

However, if you’re running a tight schedule, especially during the mornings, then you can use the light box in the evening.

However, please make sure you stop using it at least 1 hour before bedtime; otherwise it might make you feel too energized for falling asleep.

3.Duration

In the beginning, use the light therapy for 20 to 30 minutes.

This should give you an indication of how much it boosts your mood and energy levels. If it’s not making a difference, then try using it for longer periods (up to 60 minutes each morning or night, depending on your schedule).

4.Consistency

For best results, I recommend you to use the light box daily.

You can leave it on while having coffee or breakfast, checking your emails, reading, watching TV, etc.

You can start using light therapy early in the fall.

This way you won’t feel the SAD symptoms so intensely as before.

You can go back to your old joyous self after only four days of using the light box.

However, you should continue using it until spring arrives – so you can avoid being swept into the winter blues all over again.

So, if you experience the symptoms of SAD, then light therapy might be the one for you.

Make sure you write a comment in the section below and tell me all about the progress that you’ve been making while using the light therapy.

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