Light Therapy

By Sarah Wylde

If you are looking for a non-invasive treatment to help deal with your Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, and more, you may want to give light therapy a try. If you are wondering what it is, how it works, if there are any risks, and what light therapy is used for, continue reading below.

Before choosing this form of therapy, talk to your health care provider to make sure it is the right choice for your treatment as there are multiple options available.

Light therapy is also known as phototherapy and heliotherapy. What it does is with the exposure to an artificial light that mimics natural sunlight under a controlled condition. The light is in a box with a diffusing screen that can be set on a desk where you can sit in front of it. Do not use ultraviolet light, heat lamps, or tanning lamps for light therapy. It is said to reset your biological clock, or our circadian rhythms, that balance out our sleep and wakening.

When you begin light therapy, it is important to remember that it takes time, you could start to feel better within a week. Even if you do not notice a change right away, keep using it when you are supposed to. Sessions can vary between 10 and 60 mins in length, and it can be used daily, so it is important to stick to your schedule. The light that is in the diffusing screen box is generally between 2,500 and 10,000 lux, which is stronger than indoor lighting but not as strong as the sunlight. When using it, the box should be within two feet from you and eye-level height or higher for good exposure.

What it is used for:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Adjusting to shifting work where you are working overnights
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, and more

This form of treatment is generally safe. Any side effect is mild. Some of the side effects could be headache, nausea, sweating, and eyestrain. That is why it is essential to speak with your health care provider when you are considering light therapy.

With our overall health, self-care is something that everyone should be practicing. With busy lifestyles, that is one thing that we need to make time for.

Until next time!

Sarah Wylde