Bringing the sunshine indoors. That is how some people describe the benefits of therapy lights. Scientists believe that simulated bright light has an effect on chemicals in your brain and your skin and can be used to help some conditions. There are many different types of therapy lights so I’m going to described some of them and the disorders they can be used with:
Light boxes (Phototherapy or bright light therapy)
Many therapists have realised that sitting close to a simulated sunlight box can alleviate symptoms for some complaints. The intensity of the light should be at least 2,500 lux and exposure every day is required. Remember that a medical practitioner must prescribe the strength and type of light used in addition to the duration of the exposure.
SAD Lights – Seasonal Affected Disorder Lights
Seasonal Affective Disorder in its mildest form is sometimes known as ‘Winter Blues’. You don’t have to be a genius to know that we all feel a lot better during the long sunny summer days. We appear to have more energy too. You lose some of that enthusiasm when winter comes when there aren’t as many daylight hours. Some people get what they call ‘winter blues’ which makes them feel lethargic and ill and gives them a tendency to overeat. For others this becomes bad enough it to interfere with their lives and can cause a lot of upset. It can also change your behaviour.
The symptoms often begin at the start of the winter season and start to get better in March and April when spring arrives. It may not be necessary for you to use light SAD therapy daily during winter and advice from a trained professional is advised.
Jetlag and Sleep Disorders
Where the circadian rhythms or the brain’s body clock has been affected by periods of sleep deprivation or extended night or day. If you fly over time zones it can have this effect. The light box can emulate the difference between waking hours and sleep or nighttime and can help you to re-adjust your body and brain into rhythm quickly.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
There are lots of research papers on Alzheimer’s Disease and many of them talk about the damage that occurs to the part of the brain that deals with the circadian rhythms. Damaged nerve pathways together with poor eyesight as you get older can lead to indoor levels of light not being enough to tell the difference between day and night time. There have been experiments to determine how using therapy lights and light boxes can help and they have found that they can help to maintain the rest and activity cycles of Alzheimer sufferers’ for longer.
The technology that is used in tanning beds can also be used to help relieve problems with vitiligo, patches of psoriasis, pale scars and stretch marks. For best effect the light should be focussed onto the affected patch without exposing the surrounding normal skin. This type of light will damage normal skin so you must always take appropriate action to avoid over exposure.
Coloured-light or Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
These types of therapy lights use filtered floodlights to bathe the skin in light of different colors. Different color filters have proven better for different disorders:
Blue: Destroys the bacteria that can cause acne.
Green: Used to treat irregularities in skin pigment like liver spots and age spots,
Yellow: For the treatment of vascular conditions such as thread veins and rosacea.
Combination green and yellow: This light reduces wrinkles and fine lines.
Red: Can be good for headaches and, when directed at one area, for the relief of arthritic pain.
Low-Level Laser (Ruby and KTP) Therapy
Laser treatment has been developed to help shrink patches of discoloured skin like moles or birthmarks. The pigment (melanin) in the skin absorbs the laser light, which causes darker areas to break up and help it to look more normal.
The above two systems of therapy lights can be combined and used to remove areas where the person believes they have too much hair.
The information in this article is not advice. If you wish to try any of these treatments or equipments you should always first contact your medical practitioner.