Light Therapy: The Future of Therapies
There are times when you start feeling blue or grim at the end of a monotonous day. Or it can happen that you didn’t even do anything, but you are feeling sad and depressed just by staying idle at home. Specially you can feel really unmotivated and lethargic during the time of late fall and winter. The desire of just staying home and lying down on your couch while doing something insignificant or doing nothing can hit hard. And all these feelings of sadness and tiredness during that time can be caused by seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
Serotonin is the hormone that is the reason behind your cheerfulness, but during this period it can go for hibernation as more transporter protein gets produced due to the lack of sunlight. Melatonin, that causes the sleepiness and feeling of tiredness, also gets produced in bigger quantities for this. So, for this kind of seasonal depression, ‘Light Therapy’ or ‘Phototherapy’ can be a very effective form of treatment. And not only lifting up mood and energy, Light Therapy can help you to take proper care of your skin too.
Overview of Light Therapy
When you take the light therapy, you sit down or work near a device called the light therapy box, or simply lightbox. The lightbox radiates a very bright and strong light that can mimic the natural outdoor light, sunlight. Light therapy is thought to affect important brain chemicals that are linked to your mood and sleep.
And thus it helps to reduce the transporter protein and melatonin level production in your body and helps serotonin to do its work. Then your mood gets lifted up and you get more energy as a result. Apart from helping you with your SAD syndromes, using light therapy may also help you with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions.
What Does Light Therapy Do?
You have already heard that sitting under a small panel of red lightscan improve your athletic performance and recovery that includes faster muscle recovery and joint repair, improving sleep and skin quality. These red lights are one of dozens of at-home versions of what’s known as light therapy, or phototherapy, a technology based on the idea that light can change us on a cellular level.
Different kinds of light, from invisible, near infrared light through the visible light spectrum (specially red, blue, yellow) are used by the lightboxes. But they stop just before the ultraviolet rays, as they are harmful for the human body. The effects of the red and near infrared light have been most studied amongst these lights. The red light is mostly used to treat skin conditions, whereas near infrared light can penetrate much deeper and work its way through skin and bones and into the brain even. Blue light is thought to be good at treating different infections specially and is often used for acne. The effects of other lights such as green and yellow are less understood as of yet, but yellow might reduce photoaging and green might improve hyperpigmentation.
How Light Therapy Started
The idea of using sunlight or visible colored light to cure diseases is actually an old concept, something humans have thought of again and again across the centuries. In the late 1800s, European doctors began to recommend heliotherapy, which is related to light therapy, for various illnesses including tuberculosis. It was thought that sunlight could destroy the bacteria that cause this disease. However, the modern study of light therapy began in the 1960s, but it got a significant boost in the late 1980s, as then NASA scientists started experimenting with light-emitting diodes, or in other words LEDs, to stimulate plant growth.
Reasons to Take Light Therapy
There are actually many ways that you can get benefited by using Light Therapy. Here are many conditions for which light therapy can provide you significant and lasting benefits. And even though there might be other other choices you have which you can take instead of light therapy, light therapy surely can provide you a better service than most of them. At first let’s look at the conditions for which you can get benefited by taking bright light therapy.
- We have already discussed about SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder and how light therapy can help with the problems one can face. This therapy can uplift your mood and energy.
- Other types of depression that are not seasonal. Light therapy can also help you with those.
- If you have sleep disorders, light therapy can help you with that.
- Light therapy is good at curing jet lag.
- If you need to adjust to your night time work schedule, Light therapy can be helpful with that.
- Light Therapy can also help with Dementia.
- Skin diseases such as psoriasis can be cured with light therapy, but that is a bit different from above therapies, this light emits UV rays unlike others.
The benefits of red light therapy in the treatment of medical health conditions are becoming well documented - see Red Light Therapy for the Head, Brain & Mental Health.
And now we will see why you will go for light therapy instead of other solutions to cure the aforementioned things.
- Most doctors recommend it for SAD or similar conditions these days.
- It is a treatment that is safe and has few side effects.
- Light therapy can increase the effectiveness of antidepressant medications or mental health counseling.
- Avoiding antidepressant medications is needed during pregnancy or the breast-feeding period, you can easily take light therapy even then.
- Taking the light therapy might allow you to take a lower dose of antidepressant medication.
So, from the whole discussion you can see that light therapy has brought a revolution in the sector of therapies. Most of us suffered from some of the conditions mentioned above, and we lacked proper help with those. There are other ways, but light therapy provides you with an easy and comfortable solution. You can take it without difficulties and you won’t have to worry about many side effects. The cost is one time too. So you should start thinking about taking the therapy if you haven’t started yet.
About the author:
Tasnim Abedeen Razu is a Content Executive at PlatinumLED Therapy Lights. With a knack for health and fitness, he tries to learn new information on athletes every day and share with his readers. He is also a Marketing Major Student at the University of Dhaka.
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