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Practical Application - Light Therapy

Good day! This post is an addition to last week. It seemed like some practical ways to draw benefit from the use of Light Therapy needed to be offered. So I will get right to it. We know that treatment for SAD, using Light Therapy, helps to increase Serotonin levels, thereby decreasing secretion of Melatonin to then increase release of Dopamine and also Norepinephrine. And working together, those neurotransmitters help the body restore normal circadian rhythm function. This, in itself, is quite amazing!


Once it has been established that Light Therapy would benefit you, the next thing to do is to source and purchase a Light Therapy Box (although today the design resembles a current day I-pad). There are many sizes and designs and price points. Find one that you like and fits your budget. The one I purchased to try has three light settings and four timer options. I am going to take information from Dr. Rosenthal's book again to say that we all differ in severity of symptoms, as well as the duration each season. So, I want to avoid giving you a directive on specific time length treatment here. I would like to say that it is suggested to be most effective first thing in the morning, offering optimum benefit for the day. And, from what I have read, 30 minutes is average but noted in the book, Winter Blues, 20-90 minutes each day is offered as the range of time essential. Be sure you sit in such a way that you receive the correct amount of light on your eyes BUT not looking straight into it; and 1-3 feet away will be effective.


One thing worth mentioning here is a few words gleaned from articles written by the Mayo Clinic and the NIMH. Light Therapy Boxes (including the one I have) today have light settings: Warm, White and Blue. Although warm light works (this is the one I preferred because it is softer and perhaps it felt right because my symptoms are not severe like they were before light boxes were available), white light is better but low-level blue light is superior. This was also substantiated by an article by the SAD.co.uk.


Another variable will be the length of time you start to feel the benefits of this type of therapy. Most people feel the effects within 2-4 days of starting treatment. But, by 2 weeks almost everyone undergoing treatment, who responds to it, will benefit.


The plan for next week was to continue with the question about "what to do if Light Therapy doesn't work for me?" BUT I found some interesting facts about light I want to share as well as getting set up in the morning to start your therapy.


Thank you so much for reading. This has been so enlightening (no pun intended) and it has caused me to have more compassion for people who suffer with SAD. I was there in the 1980's with no options. But, I am so excited to educate myself to stand in the gap for the next person...Jeanine