Light therapy? How does it work in treatment?
In recent years, several technological advancements offer relief and made our daily lives more comfortable. From communication to education to information, technology has made tasks more convenient and reliable.
Read on about light therapy to learn more about its benefits and features.
Understanding Light Therapy
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, bright light therapy, or bright white light therapy, is a therapy used to treat a variety of mental health conditions using light therapy devices such as smaller light boxes and blue light.
How Does Therapy Using Light Help?
Apart from these, technology has also been helpful in terms of medical treatment. For example, technology paved the way for the development of commercially available phototherapy devices for seasonal affective disorder.
Furthermore, the light intensity and light exposure it emits help combat sleep disorders, mood disorders, bipolar depression, nonseasonal depression and seasonal depression, among other things. It is more effective than antidepressant medication alone according to a randomized clinical trial. It is a guaranteed advice that it works!
Seasonal Affective Disorder
As we discuss the sessions here, we will relate it to a condition that has been proven to benefit tremendously from light therapy – seasonal affective disorder.
What is light therapy? How does light therapy work? And is therapy using light harder to find than natural sunlight? The seasonal affective disorder consists of episodes of major depressive disorder and/or restlessness that occur regularly during a particular timing of the year.
Winter depression is the most prevalent form of SAD. It exhibits repeated episodes of specific depression symptoms that occur in the fall or winter.
Symptoms You Should Be Looking Out For
- Craving for energy-rich foods
- Weight Gain
- Social withdrawal
If left untreated, this condition can get complicated. It can lead to serious problems, including school or work problems, substance abuse, self-harm, and other mental disorders. Also, it can generally be remiss during the upcoming spring or summer. So where does light therapy come in? How does it work with SAD?
The specific cause of SAD is unknown. But the reduction of sunlight exposure can end up triggering SAD. Seasonal changes can also lead to circadian rhythm sleep disorders and disrupt the internal body clock.
It can then trigger winter depression which can be caused by a significant drop in both serotonin and melatonin levels.
Bright Light Treatment
Does bright light treatment really help with depression? Specifically, some are more likely to develop SAD than others. Those who have major depression or bipolar disorder are more likely to develop SAD. Having relatives with SAD or another form of depression also increases the risk of acquiring SAD.
According to medical reviews, living far from the equator can increase the risk for SAD due to a significant drop in sunlight exposure or outdoor light.
Does Lights Therapy Have An Effect On Bipolar Disorder?
People who experience SAD need as much natural light therapy exposure as possible, especially early in the morning. However, this may not apply to some areas due to the darker winter months. Thus, the use of this therapy coupled with other primary treatments for SAD can significantly improve your condition.
What Is Light Full-Spectrum Treatment?
Full-spectrum visible light therapy is primarily used for treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Also known as “winter depression,” it occurs typically during this period due to the lack of sunlight.
This session makes use of boxes with full-spectrum lighting, which mimics the wavelengths of natural sun rays. Exposure to this therapy has been said to work well to treat SAD and other types of depression, according to sleep medicine clinics.
How Do You Use Full-Spectrum?
Full-spectrum light therapy is a simple and straightforward process. You simply have to sit or stay near a light box. This box emits light with filtered UV light rays, which duplicates the natural daylight or light during the time of the day. It effectively mimics the visible light spectrum, hence, making the sessions work for winter depression.
The bright light supports by activating retinal cells that have a connection to the brain’s hypothalamus, which is an area that regulates the circadian rhythm. Stimulating the hypothalamus at specific times daily can re-establish a regular circadian rhythm, hence, getting rid of the seasonal symptoms.
Does Full Spectrum Really Work?
Yes, light therapy does but do note that full-spectrum is not a suitable treatment option for everyone. Some people may experience successful results with full-spectrum addressing SAD and other types of depression. However, a mental health professional or a therapist would often combine this treatment with other methods to achieve the best results.
What Are The Best Lamps For SAD?
The best lamp for SAD should have at least 10,000-lux box intensity. It should be able to filter out harmful UV rays to avoid the risk of eye strain or damage and skin damage. Just a reminder that the best way to use the lamp is at least 16 to 24 inches proper distance from the face.
Does This Type Of Session Really Work For Wrinkles?
Various types of sessions address numerous concerns from aging, depression, and other disorders. A specific type called red light therapy (RLT) is used to solve skin disorders or conditions, including wrinkles. As its primary purpose is anti-aging, RLT uses red light with a low wavelength.
Is Therapy Using Light Effective For Acne Treatment?
Usually, three sessions weekly for an estimated span of four to six weeks is a typical recommendation to initiate. Thereafter, the effects might have to be sustained by periodic follow-up therapies, probably around three months.
Is Therapy Using Light Dangerous?
Aside from reported minor side effects like headaches, full-spectrum is generally considered safe. Most wavelengths from full-spectrum lights are not harmful because they can filter out dangerous UV. Thus, it is safe even for kids.
How Long Does It Take For Light Therapy To Work?
Many people starting light therapy usually respond to the treatment within 3 to 5 days. However, some therapy may take longer. The improvements may be delivered in the following week for those who didn’t see or experience any changes within the first week. But still, it can take longer than that.
Does full-spectrum help with vitamin D?
Yes. Some full-spectrum light bulbs can help synthesize vitamin D, particularly those with ultraviolet B (UVB). Full-spectrum light bulbs that generate around 290 and 315 nm UVB help our skin produce vitamin D.
What color is the full-spectrum light?
Full-spectrum lights appear blue or white-colored and simulate natural light to the human eye. These high color-spectrum sources have a CRI of around 80 and 90.
Is LED Full Spectrum?
Not all LED lights are full spectrum; it depends on the manufacturer’s instructions. However, most LED manufacturers produce LEDs with full-spectrum lights in various color temperatures.
Is 5000k Full-Spectrum?
The typical full-spectrum light has a color temperature of 6500k to match the natural daylight color. However, 5000k also meets the standard of full-spectrum lights as it can filter out yellow light from ordinary incandescent light. Some people prefer 5000k full-spectrum lights to the higher 6500k.
Are SAD lights for treatment bad for your open eyes?
No. The recommended boxes for SAD are usually safe for the eyes. These lightboxes can filter out harmful UV rays that are dangerous to the eye and the skin.
Can You Wear Glasses During The Treatment?
While there is no reason you cannot wear glass, it is not recommended for SAD treatment. Wearing glasses or contact lenses may decrease the treatment’s effectiveness in achieving optimal results.
Is Therapy Using Red Light A Hoax?
At present, there is still little research data on RLT as an effective treatment process. Although several studies show its potential applications, there is still a need for extensive clinical studies to determine conclusive evidence of its effectiveness.
Can Full Spectrum Rays Cause Skin Cancer?
No. The full-spectrum light design makes it so that it does not expose cancer-causing UV rays directly to the skin. Thus, you can use full-spectrum lights with confidence for an extended time.
In summary, full-spectrum light therapy is a primary treatment used by medical health care to control seasonal affective disorder, including winter depression. It mimics natural daylight using full boxes that produce blue or white-colored light.
It is a proven approach to treating SAD that works for most people. This treatment works in conjunction with other primary treatments. The recommendation is to use at least 10,000-lux light box intensity that can filter out harmful UV rays.
Light Therapy Notes
Generally considered safe, although full-spectrum lighting therapy can cause minor side effects like headaches. Recommended lighting treatment boxes for SAD filter out damaging UV rays and are safe for your eyes. Light therapy also protects your skin, so you can rest easily.
If you feel moody or haven’t been sleeping well, it may be time to see yourself in a new light, literally. Light helps regulate the natural rhythms of our body and mind, and not getting enough or the right kind of light can impact our health in surprising ways.
Exposure to this condition can intensify with an increase in exposure to light from our gadget screens and pandemic seclusion. Full-spectrum ray treatment may be the solution for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the types of light therapy?
Light therapy encompasses various types, including using light boxes, which are a common method, to address disorders like seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or other affective disorders. Research has explored different approaches to minimize side effects and maximize therapeutic benefits.
What disorder is treated with light therapy?
Light therapy is primarily used to treat seasonal affective disorder SAD. The Light box is the most common device used for this purpose, emitting bright light to alleviate symptoms associated with this condition.
Is there any science behind light therapy?
Yes, there is scientific research supporting the efficacy of light therapy, particularly in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder and other affective disorders. Studies have shown that exposure to bright light can help regulate circadian rhythms and improve mood.
How long should you do light therapy?
The recommended duration for light therapy can vary depending on the specific disorder being treated and the intensity of the light used. Typically, daily sessions of 20-30 minutes in the morning are advised for individuals with SAD or other affective disorders.
What are the benefits of light therapy?
Light therapy offers several benefits, including the alleviation of symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other affective disorders. It can also help regulate circadian rhythms, improve overall mood and mental health, and enhance well-being.
Does light therapy help anxiety?
Light therapy has shown promise in helping to manage anxiety, although its effectiveness may vary from person to person. Research in this area is ongoing, and further studies are needed to fully understand the extent to which light therapy can help with anxiety.
How often should you do light therapy?
How long does bright light therapy take to work?
How does light therapy affect the brain?
Which type of light therapy is best?