Light therapy products are used to treat patients suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. The common theory is that the absence of natural sunlight plays a role in how we feel. Since seasonal affective disorder occurs mainly in the fall and winter seasons, this seems to hold true.
Here in New England, we’ve certainly received our share of snow for the winter. It’s pretty to look at when it’s all clean and fresh.
When the flakes start flying, I usually cocoon inside, bake a loaf of Irish Soda bread, do cookies with Lil Moomette or some good old Yankee homemade soup ~ maybe get something going in the slow-cooker so the house will smell warm and inviting. Best not to be out on the roads when it’s a sleet or ice mixture going on too!
However, being inside, with the warm and fuzzy feeling only lasts so long until we start getting on eachother’s nerves.
This past weekend the Hubster and I had dinner with two couples who we used to boat with that we’ve known for years. The snowbird couples are leaving to spend the next several months in Florida.
Being out in the sun makes people happy. It’s not just because the weather gets warm because the temperature could be frigid with the sun beaming down. Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder may shed some light on the subject.
During the latter part of the year, the days are shorter which means fewer hours of light. With the change in seasons comes a change in the weather. Those shorter days are more cloud covered and colder than the former months. Nature goes into hibernation as everything appears to “die” so it can be reborn again in the spring.
Light Therapy Products
With light therapy, the conditions of the sun are mimicked in an attempt to alleviate depression. The therapy works to deliver a light that is as intense as the sunlight. To do that, the light therapy lamp (device used for light therapy) emit a beam of light with an intensity of 10,000 lux. This is the measure of the light intensity as compared to a normal light bulb.
A person utilizing this therapy will sit in close proximity to the light box for anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours. The light hits the body particularly the face without staring directly at the light. Light therapy lamp users reported better moods after only two weeks of the therapy.
There have been no definitive clinical trials conducted with light therapy to measure its effectiveness on seasonal affective disorder. People who utilize it have done so with the advice of medical personnel. Only they can determine if the situation will benefit from the use of a light therapy lamp.
The light box has been used by people suffering from clinical depression. It has indication that their symptoms may lessen with use. People with sleep rhythm problems have benefited from light boxes as well.
Light therapy has other indications besides seasonal affective disorder. It is a treatment for acne and other skin disorders. The artificial ultraviolet light of a light box destroys the bacteria that cause acne and other skin disorders.
The artificial ultraviolet rays don’t damage skin like normal sunlight. The rays are not as strong. For use with patients suffering from seasonal affective disorder, this was a concern of the process. Sitting in front of a light that emits ultraviolet radiation on a daily basis would help the depression at the cost of damaging the skin. Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps that are used for that treatment emit no ultraviolet radiation.
I’ll be adding a light therapy lamp to my Wish List as it’s about as close as I’m going to get to go on a winter vacation this year!
© 2010 Moomettes Magnificents