What is light therapy?

In a number of articles, we were stressing out how important sleep is and how dangerous overexposure to blue light is…this time, however, we are going to present to you the so-called light therapy.

It will surprise you with its methods and the reasons “why”!

Eager to learn more? Letโ€™s go!

Introduction

Light therapy or also called phototherapy.

It includes exposure to daylight or to light at specific wavelengths of light using polychromatic polarized light, lasers, light-emitting diodes, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps or very bright, full-spectrum light.

Doctors expose patients to the light for a certain amount of time and sometimes, at a set time of the day.

What do we use light therapy for?

We use light therapy in order to treat the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and a few other conditions by exposure to artificial light.

Phototherapy affects brain chemicals which are responsible for the regulation of mood and sleep. In turn, this eases SAD symptoms.

The experiment from Japan

Japanese scientists have run an experiment in order to determine how bright light affects the body.

They did not get a full picture of it but cleared out some of the unclarities.

Atsushi Ishida and his teamwork at Kobe Universityโ€™s medical school in the field of brain science.

The scientists started by exposing mice to bright light.

They noticed the mice experienced a wave of glucocorticoid hormones.

The latter are linked to processes in the body such as metabolism, response to stress, inflammation, and immunity.

The team of Ishida did a couple of different tests on the mice.

However, they did not do the experiment on humans.

This could be actually quite easy – hormone levels after exposure to light should be checked.

Nevertheless, the findings can serve as an explanation of the effectiveness of light therapy in treating SAD or other types of depression.

Conditions

After a short look at the experiment of the Japanese scientists, here are the conditions in which we use light therapy:

  • SAD

It is believed that light therapy is effective in cases of SAD because it resets the bodyโ€™s biological clock.

Symptoms like depressive behavior, fatigue and sleepiness are eased and the results last for up to 1 month.

The light therapy is definitely a better option than antidepressants since it is mostly safe and easy.

  • Non – seasonal depression

Even though a review from 2015 concluded that serious methodological flaws occurred in studies previously conducted.

These studies originally proved the positive impact of light therapy on patients with non-seasonal depression.

Therefore it is still being used in such cases.

  • Sleep disorders and jet lag

Here are included circadian rhythm sleeping disorders, chronic circadian rhythm sleeping disorders, and sleep disorders in Parkinsonโ€™s and Alzheimerโ€™s diseases.

  • Adjusting to a nighttime work schedule

  • Dementia.

In addition to the previous ones, we also use phototherapy as a treatment for skin conditions.

This kind of light therapy is different though.

The lamp for it emits ultraviolet light (UV).

If you don’t filter the light, the treatment is not suitable for other disorders because it can harm the eyes and the skin.

If you do not have a skin condition, you should be very careful about what kind of lamp you choose.

Of course, in case you do it yourself. Make sure that the lamp emits as little UV light as possible.

This way it would be safest!

Talking about safety, we should say that light therapy is safe in general.

Although it is not impossible side effects to occur, they will most likely be mild and wonโ€™t last long.

Some of them might be:

-Eyestrain
-Headache
-Nausea
-Irritability
-Agitation linked to bipolar disorder.

Side effects will probably occur at the beginning of light therapy.

They should go away on their own in a few days.

Yet, you can try to regulate them. How?

Move further from your lightbox, take regular breaks during prolonged sessions or change the time of the day you use it.

If you have any other concerns or would like to hear more advice on the topic, talk to your doctor.

Nevertheless, always have a health professional guide you while you are under light therapy!

Light therapy lamps

We are going to show you which are the best light therapy lamps in 2019 in the categories overall, budget and SAD.

We would like to note that you should consult with your doctor before buying any light therapy lamp!

  • Best overall: Circadian Optics Lumine Light Therapy Lamp

The design of this lamp is very simple and modern.

You can fit it everywhere in your home. In addition to that, it is very easy to use – with a quick one-touch!

There are 3 levels that you can adjust for greatest efficacy.

Furthermore, the Circadian Optics Lumine Lamp is free of UV rays and the LED bulbs last about 50,000 hours.

So you should not really worry about anything!

  • Best budget: Verilux HappyLight

This lamp is a very compact option in terms of not only size but budget as well.

It is portable and safe, tested to the highest standards.

The UV rays are being again filtered to protect both your eyes and your skin.

Moreover, you can use the lamp daily and sit in front of it for a bit longer.

  • Best for SAD: Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp

The Carex Day-Light Classic Light Therapy Lamp is a clinically proven product that will help you combat the symptoms of the unpleasant SAD.

It filters out 99,3% of UV light.

The light is projected downwards as to how health professionals recommend.

The lamp is long-lasting, height-adjustable and includes 2 light settings.

Aside from SAD, The Carex Day-Light Classic Light Therapy Lamp can ease symptoms of shift adjustment, jet lag, circadian sleep disorders, and Winter Blues as well.

If you have low energy, you can use it while exercising or in the morning to energize you!

If you would like to check out more options, click on source 3 from the sources list after the article!

Red light therapy

As opposed to the previous two kinds of light therapy we have described, the red light therapy uses waves in the red and infrared spectrum.

It is important to mention that red and infrared light is 100% safe for skin and you should not worry about the risk of cancer, sunburn or tanning!

It can help you if you have to deal with inflammation healing, tissue regeneration, brain recovery, or relief painful side effects from cancer.ย 

So, how it works? Simply put, the (infra)red wave goes straight to the cell, which is deep inside the body.

It enhances the molecule ATP, responsible for carrying energy within cells.

This way every cell gets a little bit of a nitro, making it do its job better. Almost every system in your body can be affected by such a boost

Numerous studies have been conducted in order to find if red light therapy actually has health benefits.

It turns out that it does! The red light therapy has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for a number of conditions, including:

  • Inflammation
  • Hair and skin
  • Soft-tissue damage – like sprains and strains
  • Pain relief – the results on the effectiveness of red light therapy are so straightforward, that FDA declared it as a treatment of minor pains and arthritis.
  • Wound healing
  • Muscle repair – a study from 2018 found red light therapy effective in reducing knee muscle fatigue, both before and after exercise.
  • Circulation – The circulation in the body gets increased, providing more oxygen and nutrients for internal healing.
  • Weight loss
  • Cellulite

There are also no known side effects of red light therapy.

Your body can only get a little tired after usage if you are new to it.ย 

Of course, you can have red light therapy at home since its popularity has been going up in the past few years.

The forms vary and it depends on what you prefer – whether be it masks, handheld devices, bulbs, and even full red light beds.

However, before buying any of the following, better consult with a dermatologist or other professional who can help you get the best option, depending on your condition.ย 

Light therapy at home

While briefly describing our top 3 light therapy lamps, it has become clear that you can treat yourself at home.

All of the listed devices are perfect for at-home use.

You can take the portable ones with you wherever you go – at the office or when youโ€™re off on vacation.

They are small and therefore very convenient.

Still, we would like to remind you to always consult with your doctor, before buying any light therapy lamp.

Even though every one of the suggested lamps is of high quality, it is really important to have a professional opinion in mind.

Especially if you want to treat a skin condition.

In this case, you should be very careful about what you are exposing your skin too, in order not to irritate it more.

After you know which device is the best one for your condition, go grab it and you surely wonโ€™t regret the money you have spent on it!

You will notice the improvements in a short period of time.

Just make sure not to overuse the device and to follow the therapy as recommended!

Well, we at IRIS are looking very serious at the skincare. This is why our software blocks the blue light to it can protect your skin from aging.ย 

Conclusion

Light therapy is used to treat depressive behavior and sleep disorders, as well as skin conditions.

Most likely, light therapy influences parts of the brain which are responsible for mood and sleep.

Science does not give us any certain pieces of evidence up to this point but we rather believe in the efficacy in phototherapy.

People suffering from the disorders that the therapy can treat, give positive feedback most of the time.

However, as we mentioned more than once in the article, we highly recommend talking to your doctor about possible solutions for your problem before making a decision on your own!

Author: Iliana Stoyanova

 

 

 

 

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