Starting out as large, expensive boxes, therapy lights have come a long way. Historically used for seasonal depression due to diminishing sunlight in winter, they generally improve mood, boost energy, and reduce anxiety for all. Ranging from compact to floor lamp, therapy lights are about to become your new best friend.
How Therapy Lights Work
Therapy lights simulate sunlight boosting production of Vitamin D. Natural sunlight is a mixture of three bands of ultraviolet (UV) light – A, B, and C. Therapy lights use UVB light, filtering out harmful UVA rays. UVB rays penetrate deeper into the skin and are responsible for valuable Vitamin D production. In contrast, tanning beds use mostly UVA rays, cooking the top layer of melanin in the skin. Many people try tanning in the winter to boost mood but studies show this is not only ineffective but increases the chance of skin cancer.
How effective are therapy lights, really?
A recent study by Northwestern University found that bright light therapy used at midday for six weeks showed a remarkable improvement in depression and bipolar symptoms. More than 68% of participants achieved a normal level of mood. They also experienced an increase in daily functioning allowing them to go back to work and complete tasks around the house.
Applications Beyond Depression
Research suggestions therapy lights may help with a wide variety of medical issues. Recent discovery has found the following conditions could benefit:
Using a therapy light correctly
To get the maximum benefit from a therapy light, it is recommended you work up to consistently using it 20-30 minutes a day. Position the light at eye level or above and approximately two feet away (mimicking natural sunlight). Keep it slightly turned and do not look directly into it to minimize eye strain. A therapy light emitting 10,000 lux is important to feel results.
Stylish and unique, this therapy lamp from the Circadian Optics Designer Series blends into the decor of the room. Standing a mere 15.8” tall with a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright, it gets the job done with a mighty 10,000 lux brightness. Don’t worry if it’s too bright for you – it has multiple settings for dimming.
As the Cadillac of therapy lights, this one surely multitasks. Not only is it a therapy light that simulates sunlight, it also acts as an alarm clock and background sounds maker. The RelaxBreathe guide is practically a guided meditation, gently lulling you to sleep. Using the Smart Touch Display, you can wake gradually to a variety of soothing sounds. One other characteristic separates it from the pack. Most therapy light emit a strong white light where the Phillips stays closer to the real thing with both a sunrise and sunset simulation with bright yellow, warm orange, soft red.
On a side note, researching this article, I ran across a brand that clearly had “Char” in its name. It made me giggle. Seems ironic to name a sunlight simulating lamp after the detrimental effects of the sun!
Also published on Medium.