Light Therapy

Written by Liza Hartung
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If you have never heard of light therapy and you experience the not so fun "winter blues," then listen up. The winter blues are when people go through varying degrees of depression based on the amount of sunlight in the day. Since there is less sunlight during winter because of the earth's position and because of daylight savings time ending, this is the most popular time for depression.

Light therapy uses fiber-optics to carry the energy waves produced by differnt colors of light. Each vibration of energy wave has a differnt effect on the body and it's organs. The best form of this therapy is said to be full exposure to the light spectrum of the sun. Meaning, natural light is the best way to go. However, not everyone can get outside for that long. Some people that can get outside may not want to because it can get a little chilly in the winter.

When you can't make it out of doors, you see a practitioner. This can be a physician, physical therapist, psychiatrist or anyone who has been properly trained. Several health spas offer this therapy. The most popular form is called Bright Light Therapy. You sit near a box that contains high-intensity white light. It is possible for individuals to own their own box and perform their own therapy as long as they are taught by someone who has been professionally trained.

Benefits of Light Therapy

People with SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, have noted a significant improvement in mood after just a week of daily sessions. People with chronic anxiety, panic attacks, jet lag and eating disorders have also reported positive effects. The therapy causes a decrease in melatonin, a chemical in the brain that encourages sleep. It also increases serotonin, a chemical that elevates mood.

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