Archives For Mental Health

Prepping For Fall And Winter With Light Therapy

In this article, we explore fall and winter uses of light therapy, focusing especially on light therapy for SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

With fall and winter just around the corner, it’s time to start talking about season affective disorder, or seasonal depression, a condition that affects millions of people every year. If you think this condition could be affecting you, it’s time to start prepping for fall and winter now! Let’s get down to it.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder and mild form of depression. Unlike major depression, SAD is temporary. It occurs at the same time each year, usually in the fall and winter months. Some people experience SAD in the opposite months, leaving them to struggle with depression in the spring and summer and not finding happiness again until fall and winter. This form of the depression is much less common. SAD is extremely common with more than 3 million US cases each year. It is usually treatable and not a long term condition. The disorder typically resolves within months.

What Are The Symptoms?

Symptoms for winter and fall seasonal affective disorder may include…

• Irritability
• Tiredness or low energy
• Problems getting along with other people
• Hypersensitivity to rejection
• Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
• Oversleeping
• Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbs
• Weight gain

Symptoms for spring and summer seasonal affective disorder may include…

• Depression
• Trouble sleeping (Insomnia)
• Weight loss
• Poor appetite
• Agitation or anxiety

(Symptoms lists from

Why Does Seasonal Affective Disorder Occur?

We do not know exactly why SAD occurs and what causes it. However, many studies have been done in an attempt to figure it out. Our biological clock (our Circadian Rhythm), is one factor. Because of the increased amount of darkness, and decreased amount of sunlight in the fall and winter months, our body’s internal clock is off. This can lead to feelings of depression. Another factor is our serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter chemical in our brains that affects our moods. When the amount of sunlight that we are exposed to is reduced, our serotonin levels drop, prompting depression. The third reason is our melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone found in our brains that anticipates the daily onset of darkness. When our light levels are off, for examples, when it gets dark at 4 p.m. due to daylight savings time, our brain gets confused and releases melatonin. This tricks our brain and body and messes up our brain waves as well as our energy levels.

The Huffington Post, in its Healthy Living section, discuss “10 Things Everyone Should Know About Seasonal Depression.” Lindsay Holmes, Healthy Living Editor, went in detail explaining how Seasonal Depression should be analyzed and discussed with a doctor. Holmes claims that sometimes Seasonal Depression is a sign of underlying depression. She also defends the condition by stating that it’s not something to joke about and it’s an actual serious illness. For her eighth and ninth reasons on the blog, she explains where the depression seems to be the most prevalent as well as who seems to deal with it the most. Holmes explains:

“It’s more prevalent in northern states. People who live in colder, cloudier climates may be more susceptible to the disorder. Northern states have higher rates of SAD than southern states, according to the University of California, Irvine.

SAD is more common in women. Studies show women have higher rates of depression than men, including SAD, the New York Times reported. However, that doesn’t mean men are immune. Depression doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or any biological factor.”

What Is Light Therapy?

Light therapy is a form of therapy that uses different forms of light to treat a wide array of conditions. Doctors of all sciences have been using light therapy on their patients for years now. Thanks to the convenience of new light therapy products, it is now easy to use light therapy products at home. Light therapy has been helping to cure SAD on ground breaking levels and there is no sign of it stopping.

Light Therapy & Seasonal Affective Disorder…

Most people suffering from SAD don’t do anything to fix the issue. Instead of looking for an answer, they assume it’s normal. They sleep in a little longer, drink more coffee, and wait for spring to poke it’s head out. Some people don’t even know they are struggling with something that is actually medically recognizable. To them, it’s just the winter blues. But by ignoring the fact that they’re suffering, they’re missing out on some months that could be wonderful. With today’s modern technology, there’s no need to avoid the topic anymore. There is actually a cure for SAD.

The Options…

People suffering from SAD have a number of options for treatment when it comes to using light therapy for SAD. One option is a light box which provides a measured amount of light through fluorescent bulbs or panels. The light intensity is typically between 2,500 to 10,000 lux. The amount of light is different depending on what you deem necessary for your treatment. Typically the amount of light would be equal to that of the amount of sunlight you are exposed to on a nice spring day. The light box helps regulate the internal clock in your mind, keeping your brain on track and your energy level high. The light box is typically small to medium sized, easy to carry, and fairly portable, depending on the seriousness of the depression. People undergoing the treatment set aside around 30 minutes a day, sometimes twice a day, and sit 12 to 24 inches away from the light box. You would then carry on with whatever you choose. Reading, knitting, writing, eating, talking on the phone, etc. Be careful not to look directly into the light.

For people who have trouble waking up in the morning, have not seen results with light therapy boxes, or want to combine two methods, dawn/dusk simulators are recommended. The devices have proven effective for people with mild symptoms up to severe symptoms. The dawn/dusk simulator helps mimic the ideal lighting and darkness occurring outdoors. For example, if you have trouble waking up in the morning, the simulator can be set to slowly turn on at 8 a.m., or whatever time you choose. A bright light will appear in your bedroom, typically on a bedside table. The simulator leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Another case would be helping keep your biological clock on time by mimicking light throughout your day and then shutting down at the accurate outdoors time. For people who live in places that stay dark for a significant amount of the time each year, like Alaska in the winter, this simulator is perfect. It will mimic sunlight in your house all day, reminding you that it is day time. Once the time of sunset rolls around, the device will slowly shut off.

Seasonal affective disorder is not rare. It is not a joke, and it could be happening to you. It’s time we stop suffering winter blues and waiting for the fall/winter seasons to end.

It’s time to start adding light therapy into our lives and enjoying fall and winter!

Light Therapy Linked to Dementia and Sleeping Habits

What Is Dementia?

Simply put, dementia is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interferes with normal daily functioning. However, dementia is so much more than a simplified, condensed, one sentence long description. Dementia is chronic and persistent and affects not only the mental process of the victim of the disease, but also anyone else involved. Dementia is a general term and there are many different forms, levels, and stages. For example, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. This is a condition that most people know about. Dementia is an overall term that can describe a long list of symptoms, all of which are more than difficult to deal with.

The Symptoms…

The symptoms for dementia greatly vary but in order to have the condition, the patient must be significantly impaired by at least two of these specific core mental functions…

  • Memory
  • Communication / Language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning / Judgement
  • Visual perception
  • Some of the symptoms for dementia that are not one of the core mental functions are…
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Personality changes
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Due to the fact that dementia is a general term, the symptoms do vary greatly and depending on the exact form, there are different ways patients live and seek treatment.

The Cause…

Dementia is a result of damage to the nerve cells in the brain. This can occur for many different reasons. Depending on the part of the brain that is affected by this nerve damage, people are affected differently. The different forms of dementia are grouped by what they have in common as well as which part of the brain they are located in or affecting. Some forms of dementia are progressive, meaning that they get worse and worse over time, and some are brought about by medications, deficiencies, etc., and can be treated.

Progressive Dementias:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Mixed dementia

Disorders Linked To Dementia:

  • Huntington’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

Dementia Conditions That Are Reversible:

  • Infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Metabolic problems
  • Endocrine abnormalities
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Medication reactions
  • Subdural hematomas
  • Poisoning
  • Brain tumors
  • Anoxia
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus

Light Therapy & Dementia!

Dementia can greatly affect it’s patients sleeping habits and increase their agitation levels. This is the last thing that someone suffering with a life changing condition needs to deal with. That’s why we’re going to talk about light therapy!

Ecumen, which is a senior housing and services provider, conducted a pilot study and came to the conclusion that light therapy can help dementia victims. They found that light therapy can improve nighttime sleeping and reduce agitation levels in their patients that have dementia.

In the study, almost 60% of the participants had fewer episodes of sleep disturbance and 32% had fewer behavioral episodes compared to patients that didn’t partake in the experiment. It’s important to note that antipsychotic medication usage decreased by 11%.

For the experiment, bright light tables were placed in dementia patient’s rooms as well as common rooms where they spend time for group activities. The residents were exposed to the bright lights for about 30 minutes each day during Daylight Savings Time and 1 hour after Daylight Savings Time. The experiment was conducted from April 1st to December 15th at three different Minnesota facilities. One in Chicago, One in Detroit, and one in Grand Rapids.

The company is greatly pleased by their results. Sonya DeSmith, an Ecumen Quality Improvement Nurse, supervised the experiment and then spoke about it in a press release. DeSmith said, “We’re very encouraged by the results. Our sample size was small, but based on the data and the anecdotal observations by our nurses, we plan to promote the therapy across all our sites. We view this as another tool in the tool box of evidence-based, non-drug interventions for residents with dementia.”

Why Is It So Important?

While light therapy isn’t at the stage where it could completely treat individuals struggling with dementia, it is making a difference. And if these patients who are greatly struggling can take two less pills or worry about a few less things, their path to recovery is going to be smoother. Every day is a battle for dementia patients. This study can help dementia patients slowly feel like themselves again without highly sedative drugs and that is so important.

Light Therapy, Chronic Pain, & Mice

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is classified as persistent pain that can last for weeks to years. It’s usually self diagnosable and there is no known cure quite yet, although there are forms of treatment that can help. There are more than 3 million U.S. cases each year, making this a common condition.

Chronic pain is more than physical. It’s also mental and it can quickly take over your life. Constant physical pain can decrease energy and mood levels, leaving victims feeling low and even depressed. The most common form of treatment for chronic pain is medication. Acupuncture, surgery, electrical stimulation, and cognitive behavioral therapy are also forms of treatment. But with medication being the most common treatment for chronic pain, it’s obvious that another option needs to be found. Medicine is not a permanent fix and while it can help you mentally because you are feeling less pain, it’s also harmful in the sense that it is addictive. Solving one mental issue by adding another, addiction, is not a proactive form of treatment. This is why we are going to discuss light therapy.

The Symptoms…

The symptoms for chronic pain do not take rocket science to understand. Acute pain is a painful sensation that typically lets us know of an injury, or a bigger problem. Chronic pain, however, lasts for far too long. If the pain in the patient’s body lasts for more than 12 weeks, it is classified as chronic pain. The primary symptom of chronic pain is constant and persistent pain.

According to WebMD, a credible website dedicated to all things medical, chronic pain has other symptoms, aside from just pain. These symptoms are thought to arise due to the link between the mental state and the physical state during chronic pain. WebMD writes:

The symptoms of chronic pain include:

  • Mild to severe pain that does not go away
  • Pain that may be described as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical
  • Feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness

Pain is not a symptom that exists alone. Other problems associated with pain can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest
  • Weakened immune system
  • Changes in mood including hopelessness, fear, depression, irritability, anxiety, and stress
  • Disability


Common pain areas are in the back, joints, mouth, face, muscles, bones, and neck. The sensory perception of this pain can be classified as pins and needles as well as sensitivity to pain. There are many different types of pain and these can be caused by psychological factors. Each patient has a unique form of chronic pain.

The Cause…

It is common for chronic pain to arise due to an injury. For example a back sprain or a car accident. It can also come from illness. And for others, there is no clear cut cause. This might be the most difficult “cause” to deal with.

No matter what caused the chronic pain to arise, it remains a part of the patient’s body due to either inflammation or dysfunctional nerves. The goal of treatment for chronic pain is to reduce the pain and improve functions so that the patient can live a normal life again.

Covering up the pain with medications (opiates) or using more holistic forms of treatment and not seeing results can ultimately make the situation worse. This is why we are promoting light therapy. This is why everyone should be pushing for light therapy!

Light Therapy & Chronic Pain

Red light therapy has been used to treat pain for awhile now. It can relieve sore muscles, heal wounds, relieve joint pain, and so much more. Infrared red light therapy is changing people’s lives every day. And while most red light therapy products are being advertised for treating chronic pain, the research needs to continue. While hand held devices from Amazon may work for some people, each chronic pain case is different. Some are far more intense than others. This is why light therapy is constantly being experimented with in regards to pain. If a cure for chronic pain is on the horizon, we cannot stop searching.

This is why researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University are taking their experiments so seriously. These researchers have been able to see pain relief in mice using optogenics, a new, extremely specific, non-invasive form of light therapy. During optogenics, a substance is injected into mice that induce them into a certain condition. For this experiment, they were subjected to chronic pain. The goal of optogenics is to treat the mice of this condition.

Tech Times has an April 2016 article about this light therapy experiment. The author, Catherine Cabral-Isabedra, explains:

“Once neurons were subjected to yellow light, the pain response to light and heat was inhibited. The researchers said that pain relief was seen to last for more than 24 hours in mice with 1 hour of inhibition.

Once neurons were subjected to yellow light, the pain response to light and heat was inhibited. The researchers said that pain relief was seen to last for more than 24 hours in mice with 1 hour of inhibition.

Senior author and professor of neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University Philippe Seguela explained that the opsins, which respond to light, can only be expressed if Cre recombinase is present.

“When we transfer these to neurons, we can control their responses simply by illuminating the skin with innocuous yellow light,” said Seguela.

“Opsins can be packaged in viruses and viral expression can be genetically restricted to specific neuronal populations allowing a higher cellular selectivity,” says Seguela. “This will allow chronic pain patients to benefit from a non-invasive and highly precise analgesic method to modulate their pain.”

The study aims to understand the physiology of chronic pain and provide groundwork for alternative pain management.”


Why This Is So Important…

Given that medications, mainly opiates, are the main form of treatment for chronic pain, this recent discovery is groundbreaking. President Barack Obama has recently proposed new rules to manage the growing opioid use in our country. In United States alone, more than 2 million people are dependent upon painkillers. When painkillers are prescribed for chronic pain, the individuals suffering from pain develop a tolerance to the drug. Eventually they take more, and unfortunately for some, they take far too much and end up overdosing. Pain killers kill more than 40 people each day in the U.S. If chronic pain can be one less condition that is prescribed pain killers, we might be able to see an end in sight for this pain killer cemetery.

Optogenics offers great hope as an alternative to traditional painkilling medications. Because of it’s high temporal and spatial control on neuron activity, light therapy might actually win this battle.

Are You Sold?

Tendilite World’s Top Red LED Light Therapy Joint Pain Relief
Amazon for $194.93 (on sale!)

Optogenics light therapy is currently not being used on humans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join the game. Red light therapy is being proven effective for treating a wide array of conditions, including pain. For some individuals, red light therapy has been successful in treating chronic pain, depending on what has caused the condition.

The Tendilite Joint Pain Home Therapy treatment package is FDA cleared, drug free and harm free. It is also highly reviewed and a fair price for the results it offers. The treatment sessions are fast and pain free. Patients simply hold, or have someone else hold, a small red light therapy device up to where the pain is for up to one minute at a time. The light should be shined directly at the joint or disc that is causing pain.

This Tendilite device can reduce pain, promote muscle relaxation, increase blood circulation, reduce swelling and stiffness and activate necessary collagen that is used to rebuild connective tissue.

This device is a small step towards big results. While it may not be what was used in the experiments in Montreal, it is still highly effective for lower grade pain. Give it a shot! And keep your eyes peeled for new light therapy research!



New Light Therapy Mask Is Treating Jet Lag!

What Is Jetlag?

Jet lag, also referred to as desynchronosis or flight fatigue, is a major downside to traveling. When flying to a location with a time zone difference of 3 hours or more, passengers often find themselves feeling all sorts of weird once they land. They’re tired, irritable, confused, and often have trouble sleeping.

Jet lag occurs because our circadian rhythms, or biological clocks, are easily disturbed. Circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock which controls the amount of melatonin and serotonin our brains release. Our circadian rhythm relies on the amount of light our brain senses each day as well as the timing of that light. When taking a long flight to the other side of the country at 12 o’clock in the afternoon, passengers could awake from their plane nap at 10 o’clock at night. Then they’re left wired and all out of sorts. Our bodies don’t understand what time it is, our brain isnwide awake, and there is usually only a slim chance of falling asleep. This is why jet lag occurs. Once our circadian rhythm is disturbed, it’s hard to get back on track.

Aside from feeling fatigue and suffering from insomnia, there are some other physical and emotional symptoms that passengers often face. These include…

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty with concentrating
  • Indigestion issues
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with coordination
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • The feeling of malaise
  • Memory loss
  • Heartbeat irregularities
  • Weak immune system

Anyone can suffer from jet lag – adults, children, babies. While it is not common to need to seek medical attention for jet lag symptoms, the symptoms can leave you out of commission. The recovery process from jet lag depends on the number of time zones crossed during traveling. Typically, passengers tend to recover from jet lag at a rate of one or two time zones per day. To put this into perspective – if you travel through 8 time zones, your body will typically need  5 to 7 days to recover.

The Neuroon Mask…

Traveling is supposed to be fun but it’s hard to have fun when suffering from jet lag. This is where the Neuroon Mask saves the day! A Polish start up company designed the groundbreaking sleep mask with travelers in mind. The mask is meant to shift your body’s internal clock in preparation for long trips.

How It Works…

The Neuroon Mask works by exposing the person wearing the mask to short bursts of light while they are asleep. The company claims that the mask helps reduce the effects of jet lag after traveling to a destination with a time difference of 3 hours or more.

The company decided to create the mask after research from Stanford University in California found that levels of melatonin, a sleep hormone, were greatly altered when patients were exposed to short flashes of light during their sleep. The researchers found that this discovery could be used to alter a person’s sleep schedule and keep their circadian rhythm, or biological clock, in check.

There are biometric sensors built into the Neuroon Mask that can measure the wearer’s heart rate and brainwaves. This records their sleep analytics, sleep architecture, phases of deep/light sleep, REM, and waking. All of these recordings can then be viewed on a smartphone application created specifically for the mask.

Jetlag Blocker…

Perhaps the most interesting and innovative part of the Neuron Mask is it’s “Jetlag Blocker” feature. You can actually enter your destination and the mask will adjust it’s settings and light therapy process to prepare your body’s internal clock for it’s new time zone location. The company recommends starting the light therapy process a few days before traveling. This will increase the chances of beating jet lag.

Why It’s So Important…

Most people brush things such as jet lag aside. They just assume it’s bound to happen. In this case, they either take sleeping medicines, get sick from exhaustion, or just get used to their generally low moods while traveling. This is not the way it should be!

Making light spectrum therapy easy to use is the best way to continually introduce the therapy to the world.

Neuroon Sleep Mask
Available for $299.00

The Neuron Sleep Mask is currently available on the company’s website for a pretty fair price if you tend to put your health first. The price includes the Lucid Dreaming cellular app which works for both Android and IOS. Do you travel a lot for work or just love to take off? Is your body extremely sensitive to time zone changes? Are you ready to try the world’s new innovative discovery? The Neuroon Mask is for you! Let us know how you like it.


50 Most Affordable Sunny Small Towns

Posted May 2016

It’s not unusual to need a constant flow of sunlight in your life. It’s common to feel the effects of rain, cloudy weather, and far too much darkness in your area. For some people, it’s easy enough to just wait out the rainy season, or hibernate for a few months until the winter darkness clears. But for a great deal of people, it’s hard to feel and act your best when those heavy dark clouds are weighing above you. Seasonal Affective Disorder and Seasonal Depression are serious issues and more common than most people have been led to believe. Some people don’t even know they’re struggling with depression or disorder. For them, it’s just a case of the “winter blues.” But if you have a chance to stop these lingering feelings, why wouldn’t you try? It may be time to pack your bags.

We’ve made a list of the Top 50 Most Affordable Sunny Small Towns in the U.S. These towns are almost always sunny. They have small populations and your mortgage is not going to break the bank. Most of these towns aren’t going to show up on the “must see places” list when you’re planning a trip. These towns are off the radar, quiet, and honestly, they’re kind of perfect!

Our list took some time. There were a lot of factors to consider. Yes, there are some affordable cities that see lots of sun each year, but a city is not a small town. And yes, there are some adorable and affordable small towns, but sometimes they rarely see the sun! So we needed to dig a little deeper. First we studied a list made by NerdWallet of the top sunniest cities in the country. This list included a whopping 174 towns. But what stood out was the fact that 10 states were on the list more than the rest of the states. Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Montana all rank higher in annual sunshine percentages than any other states.

Using our list of the top 10 sunniest states in the country, and with data from Sterling’s Best Places, we narrowed down our list and found the three most affordable small towns in each of these 10 states. Doing this gave us 30 towns on our list. To calculate the last 20 states, we included some states that don’t rank quite as high in annual sunshine percentage, but surely deserve some respect. The most affordable small towns in those states rounded off our list to an even 50.

So here you have it. Start with number 50 and work your way down to the towns that really make our hearts flutter. Read it a few times, make a couple pros and cons lists, and start packing those bags – and don’t forget your sunscreen!

50. Enfield, New Hampshire


Sunny days: 200
Population: 4,582
Average home price: $200,000
Enfield is a small town near the border of Vermont. The New England style town is located along a river which connects to the beautiful Mascoma Lake. Enfield is the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors, relax in the sun, and take advantage of all that New England has to offer. There are plenty of year round activities, from swimming and water skiing in the summer to ice skating, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing in the winter.

49. Lebanon, New Hampshire


Sunny days: 200
Population: 13,275
Average home price: $200,000
Lebanon may not have a teeny tiny population but the town still has a quaint New England charm. Nestled in Western New Hampshire, this town sits right on the Connecticut River, making it fun all year round. The town is historic, charming and affordable.

48. Brookfield, Massachusetts


Sunny days: 200
Population: 3,300
Average home price: $175,000
Brookfield is definitely not the most well-known town in Massachusetts but it sure is historic. The town was first settled in 1660 and the buildings and homes will remind you of that. With such a small number of residents, this town is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and it’s a good thing. Bake sales, church groups, plenty of after school activities, and town meetings, make this a near perfect – and affordable — New England town. The commute to Boston is only an hour and fifteen minutes, making this a great place to enjoy Massachusetts.

47. Adams, Massachusetts


Sunny days: 200
Population: 5,344
Average home price: $145,00
Nestled in the Berkshire Mountains, this cozy town is the perfect place to enjoy all that Massachusetts has to offer. It’s an outdoor paradise, from swimming in the nearby lakes and hiking the mountains to skiing in the winter, to enjoying the New England fall colors. Adams is just the right size to feel cozy and right at home.

46. Brimfield, Massachusetts


Sunny days: 200
Population: 3,000
Average home price: $82,000
If you mention Brimfield to someone from Massachusetts they’re going to respond with “antiques!” And that’s very much warranted. Brimfield hosts one of the largest annual antique fairs in the country. It occurs for one week in May, July, and September and it will quite literally blow your mind. The fair started in the ‘50s and is the town’s claim to fame, bringing in thousands of vendors and over 250,000 visitors for each week of the event. Brimfield was founded in 1731, making it one of the oldest towns in New England. It’s quaint, adorable, and a great place to spend time outdoors.

45. Woodstock, Vermont


Sunny days: 160
Population: 3,000
Average home price: $250,000
Woodstock, Vermont could be summed up as “adorable.” Founded in 1761 it has the buildings, houses, churches, and charm to prove it. Everyone is sure to known your name at your favorite breakfast joint. Woodstock is known for its love of art and music so if you decide to live here, be ready for the town center to be filled with an art show every weekend. It’s also a wonderful town for outdoor lovers due to its central Vermont location. There are plenty of lakes, rivers, and parks in the area to get you outside in all seasons.

44. Chester, Vermont


Sunny days: 160
Population: 3,000
Average home price: $175,000
If you’re a fan of antiques, coffee, homemade cheese, genuine people, and sunny weather, Chester, Vermont is the perfect New England town to call home. The picturesque town has a small population and they’ve done a wonderful job of creating a warm and cozy downtown by taking advantage of their historical buildings. This is a great place to walk around, window shop, and get some sun on your face.

43. Idaho City, Idaho


Sunny days: 210
Population: 485
Average home price: $150,000
Idaho City is a quiet town just 36 miles from Boise. Idaho City was founded in 1862 during the Boise Basin gold rush amidst the Civil War. The town is now home to an adorable downtown, quaint farm land, and lots of happy people. Its scenic location makes it a great place to spend time outdoors.

42. New Albany, Mississippi


Sunny days: 218
Population: 8,000
Average home price: $110,000
Located in the rolling hills of Northern Mississippi just an hour south of Memphis, this quaint town is sure to win your heart. New Albany is known for its antique shops, annual festivals, downtown shops and restaurants, and lovely people. The number of residents in New Albany makes for a peaceful and quiet home, but there is still plenty to do out in the sunshine.

41. Holly Springs, Mississippi


Sunny days: 218
Population: 7,558
Average home price: $80,000
Right by the Mississippi Delta, this area was founded in 1836 for cotton plantations. However, the small town is now a center for trade and court sessions. The charming downtown is filled with history and style, making it a great area to stroll on those sunny days. There are also lakes, rivers, and ponds in the area for outdoor activities.

40. Farmville, Virginia


Sunny days: 214
Population: 8,349
Average home price: $164,000
Established in 1798, the town of Farmville is what most people expect when they think of a town in the south with far less than 10,000 residents. Centered in Virginia’s Heartland, Farmville is the hub of economic activity, growth, history and culture in the region. There are outdoor adventures to take part in, a great downtown to explore, and lots of people that you must become friends with. We’re pretty sure you’ll get lots of land for your buck, too. You’re going to need a yard to catch a tan in, aren’t you?

39. Abingdon, Virginia


Sunny days: 214
Population: 8,000
Average home price: $187,000
Abingdon is the county seat of Washington County and is a designated Virginia Historic Landmark. This charming town is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. The Appalachian Trail is nearby, which makes this town a prime location for outdoor lovers. The famous Barter Theater is a great place to experience live music and other live performances. It’s also home to many concerts, events, and festivals each weekend, making it a fun and exciting place to live.

38. Colwich, Kansas


Sunny days: 260
Population: 1,327
Average home price: $160,000
The adorable town of Colwich was founded in 1887. The name was derived from the Colorado and Wichita Railroad, which runs through the state. This historic town is quiet and peaceful, but it is only five miles northwest of Kansas’s largest city, Wichita. Colwich is a great place to enjoy calm Midwestern living while also being able to experience nearby metropolitan life. The weather is ideal here which makes it a wonderful place to hang outdoors and walk about town.

37. Abilene, Kansas


Sunny days: 260
Population: 6,826
Average home price: $114,000
Abilene became home to Dwight D. Eisenhower when his family moved here from Texas in 1892. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidental Museum is located here as well as his burial site. But that’s not all this tiny town has to offer. Abilene is home to a small population of people and you won’t forget that when you’re here. The historic downtown looks like it’s straight out a movie, with horses crossing the streets and kids selling lemonade. Abilene is the kind of town where you spend hours reading a book in the sun in your lawn chair on your front lawn and many neighbors are doing the same.

36. Brunswick, Georgia


Sunny days: 219
Population: 15,813
Average home price: $154,500
Brunswick isn’t as small as some of the other towns on this list, who wouldn’t want to live in this city? It is the major urban and economic center of the state’s lower southeast, and the second largest urban area on Georgia’s coast after Savannah. It contains the Brunswick Old Town Historic District which creates a charm that’s hard to replicate. Not only is Brunswick located on the coast, making it the hub for all outdoor activities, but it’s also only 30 miles north of Florida and 70 miles south of South Carolina. The location is basically ideal and we could rant and rave about the weather forever!

35. Dahlonega, Georgia


Sunny days: 219
Population: 5,242
Average home price: $234,400
Dahlonega was the site of the first major gold rush in the United States in 1828 and the town has only gotten better since then. Dahlonega isn’t necessarily “cheap” but with a population size that will feel like your family, easy access to Atlanta, fun activities, and great weather, the cost of living is definitely affordable and worth it.

34. Grovetown, Georgia


Sunny days: 219
Population: 11,264
Average home price: $126,800
Filled with city parks, a charming downtown, river access, and more, Grovetown is a perfect place to call home. It is small enough to feel cozy, but definitely not small enough to keep you from adventuring, making friends, and enjoying the sunny days. Grovetown has a southern flare you’ll remember and a great cost of living to go along with it.

33. Tuscumbia, Alabama


Sunny days: 218
Population: 8,000
Average home price: $88,000
Founded in 1820, Tuscumbia is a city known for its history. Tuscumbia began as a center for agriculture, commerce and industry. It was home to the first railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains. Tuscumbia has since bloomed into a vibrant city with lots to do. It’s in a prime location with easy access to major southeast cities, highways, and airports– although we don’t know why you would want to leave!

32. Eufaula, Alabama


Sunny days: 218
Population: 13,086
Average home price: $129,300
Located along the Chattahoochee River, this cozy southern town is a picturesque Alabama experience. Eufaula is rich in history, has plenty of outdoor activities to keep your sunny days busy and has a pleasant downtown to explore. It’s also home to the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, a major tourist attraction. Eufala is also home to dozens of beautiful brick and vine covered buildings and mansions which will make your daily walks memorable. Has Alabama won you over yet?

31. Paia, Hawaii

Sunny days: 275
Population: 2,438
Average home price: $600,000
Paia is a beautiful town in Hawaii located on the northern coast of the island Maui. If you’re a fan of warm, sunny weather, no crowds, and no excuse to not go outside, this is the place for you. Now, we all know Hawaii is definitely not an “affordable” state, but it’s definitely a state that everyone has dreamed of living in. We found what seems to be the most affordable town and with its quaint and cozy vibe, Paia really won us over. The town has everything outdoor lovers desire – beautiful beaches, endless warm weather, a world of outdoor activities, a lovely downtown, outdoor markets for homegrown food, and much more.

30. Natchitoches, Louisiana


Sunny days: 219
Population: 18,264
Average home price: $125,900
Natchitoches is the oldest town in Louisiana. It was founded in 1714 as part of French Louisiana and it hasn’t lost any of its culture and diversity. It’s not a teeny town in terms of population size. The people here have done a wonderful job of preserving the city’s history. The beautiful brick lined streets are home to shops, boutiques, delicious food, and more. Natchitoches is the perfect place to call home if you’re in need of some sun.

29. Youngsville, Louisiana


Sunny days: 219
Population: 8,172
Average home price: $182,200
Youngsville is a small city in northern Louisiana. What this town lacks in its number of residents it makes up for in its history, culture, traditions, architecture, and nice people. Youngsville takes a great deal of pride in its family focused community. It has a wonderful school systems and takes care of its younger residents. Although the city has expanded and grown quite a lot since it was founded in the early 19th century, it still has a rural atmosphere and unique farm life, including its well-known sugar cane farms. With lots of room to roam and wonderful weather, this is a great town to spend time outdoors in the sunshine.

28. DeRidder, Louisiana


Sunny days: 219
Population: 10,586
Average home price: $120,400
DeRidderts is located in western Louisiana and slowly gaining lots of popularity. Its colorful downtown shows off its history and culture and serves as a wonderful location to enjoy this sunny state! DeRidder could be the place for you to get outside, experience some culture, and eat some delicious Louisiana food. What are you waiting for?

27. Helena, Montana


Sunny days: 201
Population: 29,596
Average home price: $181,100
Good old, Montana. Does it get any better? Helena, the Capitol city of Montana is not necessarily “small” but it does have a quaint, hometown vibe to it. The downtown is exciting and busy, the food is diverse, and there is always something to do. And because of the mountains close by, it is also a prime location for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, hunting, skiing, and more. There is also a nearby ghost town of Marysville that tends to attract a lot of people.

26. West Yellowstone, Montana


Sunny days: 201
Population: 1,413
Average home price: $210,000
West Yellowstone is a small town with a lot of heart. The town is adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, making it a tourist destination for anyone visiting the park. Settled in 1907, West Yellowstone has an old west, cowboy vibe and it’s pretty remarkable. The downtown is lined with saloon style buildings, stores selling souvenirs, cowboy filled bars, gun stores, old time photo booth shops, and restaurants featuring “road kill” on the menu. The best part is the town’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park, where anyone in their right mind would want to spend every second of their free time!

25. Shelby, Montana


Sunny days: 201
Population: 2,864
Average home price: $150,000
Shelby, which was named in honor of the General Manager of the Montana Central Railway, is a small city in Northern Central Montana. Shelby is only 30 miles south of Canada and 80 miles east of Glacier National Park which gives the residents lots of land to cover for adventures. Montana is a four season state and Shelby is a wonderful place to experience everything that each season has to offer. From swimming in hidden lakes in Glacier National Park to snowboarding down huge mountains in Canada, this is the spot to be.

24. Saluda, North Carolina


Sunny days: 217
Population: 713
Average home price: $197,500
Saluda is made for people who enjoy a slightly slower pace in life. The tiny town has a population of just 713 people and each person works to maintain the enviable community. The beautiful landscape and architecture makes for peaceful downtown walks filled with Victorian houses, great food, fun shops, and so much more. The town is also booming with history. Before the town was founded, it was simply a crossroad for traders and herders. But once the railway was built, the people came. According to the town’s website, by 1896, the town had a post office, a drug store, a doctor, three general stores, one private academy, and three boarding houses. Since the 1960s, Saluda has been growing, making it a wonderful place to live for just about anyone.

23. Hillsborough, North Carolina


Sunny days: 217
Population: 6,114
Average home price: $200,000
Established in 1754, Hillsborough has become a tourist destination for lovers of history, art, food, music, and more. The town is filled with over 100 houses and buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries and has been preserved impeccably. It’s also centrally located in North Carolina, making it a great spot to explore the rest of the state…which you’re definitely going to want to do.

22. Boone, North Carolina


Sunny days: 219
Population: 17,261
Average home price: $200,000
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Boone is something to write home about. This town is known as a mountain college town to anyone in the area, but it is so much more than just that. Boone is a great spot for challenging mountain sports, festivals of all sorts, art galleries, fantastic food, and oh so much more.

21. Wimberley, Texas


Sunny days: 293
Population: 2,639
Average home price: $200,000
Good ol’ sunny Texas! We bet you were waiting for this state to pop up. Wimberley, Texas works for just about everyone. The small town is known for its shopping, theater, delicious food and breweries, site-seeing, and wonderful array outdoor activities. Wimberley is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are plenty of places to go camping and while you’re out you can hike, bike, and swim. Make sure you pack a swimsuit so you can check out all of the local swimming holes!

20. Poteet, Texas


Sunny days: 293
Population: 3,000
Average home price: $100,000
Poteet is more than just the hometown of George Strait, although that is a pretty awesome fun fact to have about your town! This small town is located just south of San Antonio and is the strawberry Capitol of Texas. It may be illegal to live here if you don’t like strawberries. We would double check that one, though. The annual Strawberry Festival pulls in loads of people which only boosts the town’s love for the small red berry. This adorable town has a small population and deserves a country song in its honor.

19. Fredericksburg, Texas


Sunny days: 293
Population: 10,000
Average home price: $188,000
Frederickburg was founded by German settlers in 1846 and the residents have done a great job maintaining this small town’s charm and history. With a quaint downtown filled with historic brick buildings and ice cream shops, this town feels like it’s straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. The air is always warm, the sun is always shining, and there is plenty to explore.

18. Dunedin, Florida


Sunny days: 266
Population: 35,000
Average home price: $152,000
Dunedin isn’t a “small” town, but it’s always sunny, ridiculously beautiful, and strangely affordable! So we had to include it even though it has a population of about 35,000 people. Dunedin is on the western coast of Florida and home to many beautiful and peaceful beaches, including Caladesi Island State Park which is consistently rated one of the best beaches in the world. It’s easy to keep busy in Dunedin – great shopping areas, wonderful foods, lots of outdoor activities, water sports galore, scuba diving, and bird watching!

17. Temple Terrace, Florida


Sunny days: 266
Population: 24,000
Average home price: $133,000
This town may not be remarkably historic, but its beauty sure makes up for that. Located in Northeastern Florida, the town’s streets are lined with cypress and palm trees, making walking to every activity a preference. Similar to Dunedin, Temple Terrace isn’t necessarily “tiny”. But the weather in Florida is just so hard to beat so we had to share it! There’s a massive golf community here, great schools, and lots to explore due to its wonderful location right by Tampa.

16. Venice, Florida


Sunny days: 266
Population: 20,000
Average home price: $170,000
Located on the Western coast of Florida, Venice is the place to be if you love perfect weather, wearing a swimsuit all year round and any water sports. The town includes a nearby island just off the coast called Venice Island. Venice is a palm tree covered dream! When people think of quaint and peaceful parts of Florida, this town has to be what they imagine. Book your flight! Quick!

15. Grover Beach, California


Sunny days: 292
Population: 13,000
Average home price: $374,000
Beginning as just sagebrush and not much else, this beach town has come a long way since it was founded in 1887. Isaac J. Sparks was the first owner of the land that Grover Beach, which had yet to be created, sat on. Before 1887, the sagebrush covered land was a part of El Pizmo Rancho. But Dwight William Grover had his eyes on the land and purchased half of the property from Sparks, and over time, this beautiful land became Grover Beach. The town has since undergone a major transformation, gaining nearly 13,000 residents who have turned it into not only a tourist destination but also a wonderful place to live. The town’s prime California location is an ideal spot for lovers of the beach, warm weather, outdoor activities, and so much more.

14. Ojai, California


Sunny days: 292
Population: 7,461
Average home price: $500,000
It’s remarkable how much character is in this quaint city. Ojai sits in between the hills and mountains of Southern California. This city is filled with wonderful shops, delicious food, lots of outdoor activities, plenty of art galleries, music venues, and more. Ojai has made it a point to keep just about all of its businesses local, aside from the few gas stations in town. Doing so has helped maintain a close knit, home feeling vibe that will make you never want to leave.

13. Grass Valley, California


Sunny days: 265
Population: 12,000
Average home price: $268,700
Grass Valley was said to have been discovered and named because of settlers whose cattle wandered from their campsites across the way over to the “grassy valley” where the grazing was better. About 30 years later, the town was incorporated and hasn’t stopped growing since. Grass Valley is a go-to tourist destination for anyone visiting Northern California as well as a great place to call home. Why would you want to do your antique hunting, delicious dining, extensive hiking, and other activities anywhere else?

12. Burlington, Colorado


Sunny days: 245
Population: 5,000
Average home price: $116,000
Burlington refers to itself as “Colorado’s Backyard.” That’s a pretty fair label for this tiny town. Burlington is a combination of an old western movie, your grandma’s kitchen, and your best friend’s barbeque. The base of the economy is agriculture, with wheat and corn the top crops.. The town takes pride in its ability to give people the chance to live “the simple life.” The people here enjoy fresh air, wide open spaces, and a wonderful, safe community perfect for all ages.

11. Buena Vista, Colorado


Sunny days: 247
Population: 2,600
Average home price: $241,000
The name Buena Vista translates to “Beautiful View” in Spanish and we can’t think of any better way to describe this Colorado town. Buena Vista is located along the Arkansas River and sits in between some remarkable mountain views. Colorado is one of the sunniest states in the country which makes Buena Vista a wonderful location for getting outside. The town is filled with outdoor activities. The residents here as well as the visitors that are constantly pouring in enjoy skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, camping, and just about any outdoor activity you can think of.

10. Silverton, Colorado


Sunny days: 242
Population: 629
Average home price: $170,000
Silverton looks like it’s straight off a postcard. The downtown is lined with colorful buildings, symbolic of the old West, and when you stand in the street, you’re just waiting for a tumbleweed to roll by. Chances are it won’t but it’s still nice to pretend. Since it was established in 1874, Silverton has gained a population of nearly 629 people. I We know what you’re thinking. If this town is so great, where is everyone?! Well, it’s obviously one of the best kept secrets in Colorado!

9. Chimayo, New Mexico


Sunny days: 278
Population: 2,800
Average home price: $100,000
This New Mexico town is so picturesque that when you see photos of it you can’t help but think, “I have definitely seen photos of this before!” Who wouldn’t want to photograph it endlessly? Chimayo’s claim to fame is the El Sanctuario de Chimayo, a giant Adobe style shrine covered in colorful plants and flowers. The town’s history dates back further than 1816 and it is still an unincorporated town. It includes many neighborhood plazas, or placitas, each with its own unique name. The cluster of these plazas are located just miles north of Santa Fe. Is there a better place to sit in the sun and learn about the history of New Mexico?

8. Taos, New Mexico


Sunny days: 278
Population: 5,600
Average home price: $203,000
Taos is the town of your New Mexico dreams. It’s located in northern New Mexico’s high desert and surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s known for its historic Adobe buildings, such as the Taos Pueblo. The Taos Pueblo is a multistory Adobe complex that was occupied by Native Americans for centuries. It’s sure to blow you away. Taos is also a well- known artist colony. The town is filled with art galleries and museums so it’s definitely a go-to spot for lovers of history and art. The residents here, along with the annual visitors, enjoy plenty of outdoor activities. There’s skiing and snowboarding on the nearby mountains, lots of beautiful hiking, and incredible camping. Taos is also only an hour and a half from Santa Fe, making its location even more ideal.

7. Silver City, New Mexico


Sunny days: 278
Population: 10,000
Average home price: $188,000
What once was the location of an Apache campsite in a valley is now a sunny, beautiful city. Silver City was founded in 1878 and has been booming ever since. This small city is full of history. For example, the streets here originally ran north to south and the town was built on the path of normal water runoff. Lots of businesses were built and the residents became accustomed to the heavy summer rain. But one night, in the summer of 1895, the deforestation and unmonitored cattle grazing on the nearby hills left the town exposed. A heavy wall of water rushed through the downtown business district destroying all of Main Street. Businesses on Main Street began using their back doors on Bullard Street as their main entrances and the temporary fix just stuck. To this day, the incorrect odd/even conventions of normal street addresses are a constant reminder of the town’s history and soul. Along with the beautiful views, colorful downtown, thriving arts and music community, and loads of outdoor activities, this place is sure to make you feel right at home.

6. Elko, Nevada


Sunny days: 229
Population: 19,000
Average home price: $230,000
Elko is a city your brain won’t forget. Maybe it’s the views, maybe it’s the people, or maybe it’s the food. Maybe it’s a combination of all of it! Elko is the largest city for over 130 miles in all directions and there are fewer than 19,000 residents. What does this mean? You get the city vibe with the hometown feel. Elko is filled with all of the modern amenities one would need but you’ll still know all of your neighbors, have your favorite coffee shop, and probably have a friend to hike those beautiful mountains in the distance with you, or kayak down the Humboldt River. That’s right. Mountains and a river. Elko straddles the Humboldt River and residents and visitors get to admire the beautiful and majestic Ruby Mountains from just about anywhere in town.

5. Ely, Nevada


Sunny days: 240
Population: 5,000
Average home price: $127,000
Ely was originally a stagecoach station along the Pony Express and Central Overland Route. However, since the mining boom of copper in 1906 and the construction of the railroad running through town, it has blossomed into a wonderful place to live and visit. The town now has a decent sized population. The residents enjoy the quaint downtown, accessible outdoor activities, and beautiful wildlife viewing. Ely is also a popular tourist destination due to the Railroad Museum and the Ghost Train of Old Ely. This train is a steam engine passenger train that takes visitors along the historic tracks from Ely to the Robinson mining district. The historic six-story Hotel Nevada is also located in Ely and attracts many visitors. It’s located in downtown Ely and was opened in 1929 as the tallest building in Nevada. It remained the tallest into the 1940s and was also the state’s first fire-proof building. The hotel is a popular spot for lodging, dining, gaming, and shopping. Not only is Ely brimming with history, it also has a great music and arts community, assuring that your weekend nights will never be boring.

4. Virginia City, Nevada


Sunny days: 240
Population: 814
Average home price: $230,000
This tiny town may have peaked during the silver and gold rush, but it’s still a great place to live. Virginia City was home to 25,000 citizens when silver and gold was buried deep below the streets. Men, women, and families came from all over to live and work in this booming town. Miners pulled millions of dollars from shafts and tunnels below the ground and we’re pretty sure they got it all. Virginia City is also considered the “birth place” of Mark Twain. Samuel Clemens wrote for the Enterprise in town and began using his pen name here. Mark Twain became one of the most recognizable literary names of all time. Virginia City is not only a historic site, but also a quaint and cozy place to call home. There’s a multitude of museums, restaurants, and shops here, making it fun for just about anyone.

3. Cottonwood, Arizona


Sunny days: 264
Population: 11,000
Average home price: $146,000
Not only is Cottonwood the town of your Arizona dreams, it’s also a wonderful location to explore everything else that the sunny state of Arizona has to offer. Along with the other towns in the area, Cottonwood has a rich and lengthy history which you’ll see this as you walk down the streets of old town Cottonwood. The area has been home to Native Americans since the 1870’s and the culture from that time remains. Cottonwood has an exciting and attractive downtown filled with antique shops, art collectors, delicious food, and galleries. It’s also only 30 minutes from breathtaking Sedona, home to some of the best hiking trails in the country!

2. Winslow, Arizona


Sunny days: 276
Population: 9,600
Average home price: $89,300
“Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…” The Eagles and Jackson Browne may have made this small town famous…but we’re pretty sure it would have happened anyway. Winslow is in central Arizona where the weather is ideal, there are dozens of outdoor activities, and so much to explore you could stay here for a lifetime. The downtown is bustling with fun shops, great restaurants, music spots, and more. The historic La Posada Hotel is a sight for sore eyes and attracts tourists annually. On the property is acres of flowers and vegetable gardens, a museum dedicated to the famous painter Tina Mion, and the Turquoise Room, an exquisite martini bar and restaurant. There’s also a famous impact crater, the Meteor Crater. And Standin’ On The Corner Park is a great spot for coffee drinking and book reading.

1. Bisbee, Arizona


Sunny days: 284
Population: 20,000
Average home price: $140,000
Bisbee is a free-spirited, outdoor loving, history-filled, kind and open community full of music and arts. Just like many other small towns in Arizona, Bisbee began as a mining town. It became one of the richest mineral sites in the world after mining in the Mule Mountains was so successful. By the early 1900s, Bisbee had a population of almost 20,000 and became the largest city in between St. Louis and San Francisco. Thanks to this boom, the town gained the most famous ball park in the nation, Warren Ballpark, the state’s first golf course, Turquoise Valley, as well as Copper Queen, the state’s first community library. All of these are still operating and open to the public. The now small city is still just as special as it was in the 1900’s. The town takes a lot of pride in its unique culture and diversity. Bisbee strives to be different and loves that about itself. Aside from the beauty inside the town, it’s surrounded by the magnificent Tombstone Hills, catching your attention every time you step outside. It’s a wonderful location for outdoor activities, sports, and adventures. The downtown is filled with wonderful shops, museums, galleries, fine dining, and a historic charm that’s hard to beat.

Are your bags packed yet? We’re coming with you!


Light Therapy & Huntington’s Disease

What Is Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s Disease is a devastating disease that currently has no cure. It is a complex neurological genetic disorder that causes motor, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. It is caused by a hereditary gene defect that damages specific nerve cells in the brain. This is a progressive disease. The symptoms and damage progressively worsen over time. The disease can affect movement, cognition, which is perception, awareness, thinking and judgement, as well as behavior. The disease ends with a loss of motor and executive function. It is extremely heart wrenching and difficult for anyone involved.

The Symptoms…

The symptoms for Huntington’s Disease vary depending on the person. While each victim ultimately ends up with the same symptoms, the first symptoms to appear can vary. Throughout the course of the disease, some symptoms appear to have a more dominant effect than others. Movement, cognitive, and psychiatric disorders appear in each victim. MayoClinic, a website dedicated to answering all of our medical questions and needs, wrote a piece on Huntington’s Disease. They accurately described the symptoms by writing,

Movement disorders

The movement disorders associated with Huntington’s disease can include both involuntary movements and impairments in voluntary movements:

  • Involuntary jerking or writhing movements (chorea)
  • Muscle problems, such as rigidity or muscle contracture (dystonia)
  • Slow or abnormal eye movements
  • Impaired gait, posture and balance
  • Difficulty with the physical production of speech or swallowing
  • Impairments in voluntary movements — rather than the involuntary movements — may have a greater impact on a person’s ability to work, perform daily activities, communicate and remain independent.

Cognitive disorders

Cognitive impairments often associated with Huntington’s disease include:

  • Difficulty organizing, prioritizing or focusing on tasks
  • Lack of flexibility or the tendency to get stuck on a thought, behavior or action (perseveration)
  • Lack of impulse control that can result in outbursts, acting without thinking and sexual promiscuity
  • Lack of awareness of one’s own behaviors and abilities
  • Slowness in processing thoughts or ”finding” words
  • Difficulty in learning new information

Psychiatric disorders

The most common psychiatric disorder associated with Huntington’s disease is depression. This isn’t simply a reaction to receiving a diagnosis of Huntington’s disease. Instead, depression appears to occur because of injury to the brain and subsequent changes in brain function. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Feelings of irritability, sadness or apathy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

Other common psychiatric disorders include:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, a condition marked by recurrent, intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors
  • Mania, which can cause elevated mood, overactivity, impulsive behavior and inflated self-esteem
  • Bipolar disorder, or alternating episodes of depression and mania

In addition to the above symptoms, weight loss is common in people with Huntington’s disease, especially as the disease progresses.


Light Therapy & Huntington’s Disease…

In recent studies of Huntington’s Disease, scientists have discovered that there are other non-motor symptoms that are associated with the disease. These symptoms are related to sleep and circadian rhythm abnormalities. This is where light therapy comes into play.

While it is still unclear whether the sleep and circadian rhythm abnormalities are caused directly by Huntington’s Disease or they are simply a result of the neurodegenerative disease, this is still an impeccable discovery. Looking at it from the disease victim’s point of view, it doesn’t necessarily matter what is causing the sleep-wake changes. These disturbances affect the quality of life whether someone is struggling with a disease or not. This is why it should be treated in people with Huntington’s Disease. It is important to note that these abnormalities in Huntington’s Disease victims will make their symptoms worse and exaggerated, ultimately leading to a faster decline in health. Why make something that is already bad, even worse, when there is an option to fix it?

With light therapy, it is easy to take the proper steps towards getting a good night’s sleep. It is important to be logical and treat the symptoms that can be prevented.

The Treatment…

Using a light therapy box is the best way to treat sleep disorders in people struggling with Huntington’s Disease. Patients are told to spend thirty minutes to an hour in front of a light box each morning. A standard light box emits 10,000 lux of light at about a 14 inch distance. To understand these forms of measurement better, it’s important to understand how the sun works. On a bright sunny day, brightness levels will range from 10,000 lux (normal) to 100,000 lux (direct sunlight). If patients spend a chunk of their morning in front of a light box, there body’s internal clock will be regulated. Regulating patient’s internal clocks, or their circadian rhythms, will help them feel energized and more productive throughout the day. It will also allow the brain to shut down easier when it’s time for bed, allowing for a full night’s sleep. Once again, light therapy is making the world a better place…saving people one disease at a time.

Light Therapy & Children

When discussing light therapy, children aren’t typically brought up in conversation. It’s easy to assume kids are primarily happy.  Children would seem to have  far less to worry about day-to-day. They can power through just about anything, have endless energy, and they wake up ready for the day. Most of the time….

But kids are sensitive to the world around them, too. In fact, some things may be more difficult for children to deal with because they are not old enough to understand what’s happening. Children can be just as easily affected by the outdoor weather, seasonal changes, jet lag, depression, and skin conditions. Light therapy is equally as important and ground breaking to children as it is to adults.

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that occurs in the fall and winter months as the days become shorter and the nights become longer. When this seasonal change occurs it’s hard to keep our body’s internal clocks or circadian rhythms in check. The change typically results in decreased moods, low energy levels, trouble sleeping, and more. The depression begins to subside in the spring when the days start to become longer again. Anti-depressants prescribed for depression are dangerous for children and not recommended. This is where light therapy comes into play. Drug-free, harm-free, all natural treatment sessions can raise children’s energy levels when they need it the most.

Color light therapy has a wide array of benefits for children as well. This form of light therapy shines different colored lights into children’s eyes to stimulate the brain and enhance it’s functions. Unlike light boxes used for SAD and similar conditions, colored light therapy is medically supervised. Doctors guide their patients through a series of therapies involving many different colors of light. This form of therapy has been proven successful in treating many different conditions and disorders from allergies, to vision improvements, to speech problems, and more.

Growing Up Easier is a website dedicated to helping parents and guardians raise their children in the best way possible. John Downing, PhD, a contributor to the website, wrote a piece about light therapy for children and youth. In his piece, he lists all of the ways that light therapy has helped children:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arithmetic difficulties
  • Arthritis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Hyperactive Disorder
  • Autism
  • Balance problems
  • Behavioral problems
  • Borderline personality structure
  • Brain damage
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Conduct disorder problems
  • Coordination
  • Depression
  • Developmental retardation
  • Digestion problems
  • Disorganization
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Learning differences
  • Learning disabilities
  • Rage
  • Reading difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Short term memory deficiency
  • Speech problems
  • Stress
  • Wandering eye problems


Downing also explains how light therapy can directly affect a child’s lifestyle and well-being in five different categories. Downing has been researching light therapy in children for some time and strongly believes in the treatment’s powerful effects. The website reads…

Body: Light Therapy eliminates physical problems such as fatigue, insomnia, hyperactivity, poor coordination, balance difficulties, autonomic and endocrine imbalances.

Spirit: Light Therapy gives the soul back its light and helps the spirit soar. It takes the innate energy of the child or youth, which the mind sends out into the world, and grounds it more deeply into the soul. It allows the child or youth to control their energy instead of the energy controlling the child.

Mind: Intellectual difficulties are lessened; including poor reading comprehension, pronunciation, concentration, memory, organizational ability, and mathematical ability.

Emotions: Emotional problems are reduced or eliminated; including low self-esteem, depression, fears and anxieties, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Social: When the body, mind and emotions of a child are functioning optimally and the spirit is soaring, social interactions will be appropriately smooth and rewarding.


Light therapy is safe for children and is a wonderful and effective alternative to medication. If your child or someone you know is struggling with any of the disorders or conditions discussed, light therapy might be a good option. Give it a shot!

Light Therapy & Veterans


Veterans struggle more than most people understand. Life after war is a never ending battle. From depression, to sleep disorders, to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to chronic pain, the war is never truly over. All of these conditions can result in a lack of sleep and insomnia, the last thing a suffering veteran needs. However, new help is being found with light therapy. Light therapy is enabling veterans to get the daily sleep they need in order to remain healthy.

Nearly half of returning veterans suffer from chronic pain. Veterans are four times as likely to develop sleep disorders. 19% of veterans have traumatic brain injuries. 31% of veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and 50% of veterans with PTSD do not seek treatment.

These statistics are sad, but true. For decades, doctors have been treating these suffering veterans with medications. But new studies are regularly surfacing whichshows that light therapy, an all natural, drug free, harm-free treatment, can help veterans.

Our world has 24-hour days. For humans, the sun rises, our days begin, the sun sets, our days come to an end. But depending on where you’re located in our world, sometimes it’s difficult for our bodies to understand this schedule, known as our circadian rhythm, our bodies’ natural clock. Our circadian rhythm helps control the release of Melatonin to our brains. Melatonin is essential for a good night’s sleep but difficult to power through if released at a time other than bedtime. This is when we need Serotonin.

King 5 News in Washington recently covered a story on Lisa Smith, a war veteran who has been dealing with sleepless nights for nearly 30 years. Smith claims that she can fall asleep for about 15 minutes each night. She falls into a deep sleep but is woken up after 15 minutes and the rest of the night is spent tossing and turning. Smith explains that this all began when her tour of duty came to an end. While her duty was over, her body’s internal military clock wasn’t. Smith explained to King 5 News, “I’m still getting up early in the morning, 4:30, 5 o’clock in the morning, getting ready as if I’m going to stand in the 6 o’clock formation.” She also developed back pain due to her sleep disorder which is making everything even more difficult.

Smith is currently undergoing light therapy treatments and not only is she sleeping through the night, her chronic pain has also subsided. Smith, along with other patients who are part of a study at Rush University, are spending about an hour a day in front of a light box. This form of light therapy is UV free and drug free, a healthy alternative to sleeping medicine. As soon as Smith wakes up and sits in front of her light box. She reads the paper, eats her breakfast, talks on the phone.

Spending an hour a day in front of a light box helps keep our bodies’ circadian rhythms in check. The light box mimics the outdoor sunlight, creating a sunny day no matter where you are, regardless of the weather or time. When it’s time for bed, Smith says that her body is tired and ready to sleep. She recalls memories of being a little kid and crashing into her bed after a long day outdoors playing with friends. She says the light box creates a very similar feeling.

Light therapy is constantly surprising the world and consistently making it a better place. This medication free treatment is changing the world for veterans. Isn’t it time for you to get on board?

Light Therapy & Autism Spectrum In Children


What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a term used to describe a group of disorders. These disorders include Aspberger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, known as atypical autism. The most commonly occurring form of Autism spectrum disorder is autism. The symptoms that are brought about by ASD are seen early on in childhood which is why it is called a developmental disorder. The word spectrum is used to describe the disorder because the symptoms, severity, and intensity can greatly differ between children. On average, 1 in 160 children will be diagnosed with ASD. Boys outnumber girls 4 to 1. 75% of these children have low intelligence levels while around 10% show high levels of intelligence typically in mathematics and computer sciences. Some children have incredible abilities in fields such as music and memory.

What are the causes?

While there is vivid explanation for the cause of autism spectrum disorder, research is constantly being conducted. According to the Australian Psychological Society, “There is no clear explanation about what causes ASD. However, family studies have shown that genes play a role. For example, if one identical twin has autism then the other has around a 75 per cent chance of also having autism. In non-identical twins, there is a five to eight per cent chance that both twins will have autism. ASD also tends to occur more often than expected among people with certain medical conditions. Researchers are investigating the link between children whose mothers had problems during pregnancy or delivery, as well as the contribution of viral infections, dietary imbalances, and exposure to environmental chemicals.” (

Light Therapy & Autism Spectrum…

Children with autism spectrum disorder do not have easy lives. Consider most people’s daily struggles and then add ASD to it. When the natural ways of the world weigh on their shoulders, life can get tough. Light therapy is known to treat conditions such as seasonal affective disorder, depression, insomnia, chronic pain, skin conditions, and more. When children struggling with these conditions are also battling ASD daily, they need a little help. This is where light therapy comes into play.

My Aspergers Child is a website dedicated to helping parents of children with aspergers and high functioning autism. The website is run by Mark Hutten, M.A., a counseling psychologist, home-based family therapist and online parent coach. Hutten claims that his website is education and counseling for individuals affected by ASD. Hutton wrote a blog about light therapy being used for children and teens on the autism spectrum. Hutton writes,

“Phototherapy (also called “light therapy”), which involves exposure to artificial light, is quickly becoming a popular way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in children on the autism spectrum. SAD is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time each year, usually in the fall or winter. During phototherapy, your child sits near a device called a light box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.

Phototherapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. You may want to try phototherapy on your child for a number of reasons:

  • If the child is on medication for depression, it may allow him or her to take a lower dose of antidepressant
  • It’s a proven treatment for SAD
  • If the child has another condition (e.g., OCD, anxiety, insomnia)
  • If you want to try a treatment method that is safe and has few side effects

Generally, most children with SAD begin treatment with phototherapy in the early fall when it typically becomes cloudy in many regions of the country. Treatment usually continues until spring when outdoor light alone is sufficient to sustain a good mood and higher levels of energy.

If your child typically has fall and winter mood problems, behavioral issues or depression, you may notice symptoms during prolonged periods of cloudy or rainy weather during other seasons. You and your physician can adjust the light treatment based on the timing and duration of your child’s symptoms.

During phototherapy sessions, your child will sit near the light box. Many children use this time to complete homework. To be effective, light from the box must enter the eyes indirectly. Your child can’t get the same effect merely by exposing his or her skin to the light. While the eyes must be open, your child should not look directly at the light, because the bright light can damage the eyes. Be sure to follow your physician’s recommendations as well as the manufacturer’s directions.”


How It Works…

Light therapy treatments are most effective when there is a perfect combination of three key elements. These elements are timing, light intensity, and duration.

Timing is most effective when done in the morning. It is recommended for children to begin their light therapy treatment session as soon as they wake up. Eating breakfast or reading in front of the light box is a good option to keep this a routine. When it comes to intensity, light boxes are measured in lux. Lux is a measure of the light received from the light box from a certain distance. Boxes usually range from between 2,500 lux and 10,000 lux. The distance the child can sit away from the light box depends on the level of lux as well as the session time required. For example, a light box that emits 10,000 lux will probably only require a 30 minute treatment session. A light box that emits 2,500 lux will probably require a session close to two hours. It’s important to consider a child’s energy and patience levels before purchasing a light box. The third key element is timing. It’s important to discuss this element with a doctor. During the beginning stages of treatment, a shorter time frame is typically recommended. For example, 10 minutes. As daily sessions continue, the time frame can lengthen.

Light therapy requires time, routine, and scheduling. It’s important to find a light therapy box that fits complacency into a child or teenager’s lifestyle. While phototherapy/light therapy doesn’t necessarily cure seasonal affective disorder, depression, insomnia, or any other similar conditions, it does ease symptoms, raise energy levels, boost confidence and increase happiness in children. But most importantly, it can improve the quality of life for a children struggling with ASD. Is it time for someone you love to try light therapy?

Light Therapy & Alzheimer’s Disease


What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is quite possibly one of the most heart-wrenching diseases that people all over the world struggle with every day. It is the most common form of dementia, which is a general term for memory loss and other mental abilities which are serious enough to affect people’s daily lives. Sixty to eighty percent of dementia cases are Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. It slowly destroy’s people’s memories along with their crucial mental functions. It most commonly affects people around 65 years old and above. In the most recent years, Alzheimer’s feels as if it is a normal part of the aging process, with more than 3 million U.S. cases being reported each year. Even though most cases begin around the age of 65, Alzheimer’s is not just a disease for the elderly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s and 50s.” (

The Symptoms…

Dementia symptoms gradually become worse as the years go on, meaning that Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. During the early stages, memory loss is mild and not necessarily life changing. However, during the late stages, individuals lose most of their memories, cannot carry on conversations, and have trouble responding to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth most leading cause of death in the United States and most people only live around eight years past the point where their symptoms become recognizable to the people around them.

There are mild, moderate, and severe cases of Alzheimer’s. Depending on the stage of the disease, the symptoms vary. The National Institute of aging explained the symptoms for each stage. We have borrowed their words below…

Mild Alzheimer’s Disease:
As the disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss and other cognitive difficulties. Problems can include:
  • wandering and getting lost
  • trouble handling money and paying bills
  • repeating questions
  • taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
  • losing things or misplacing them in odd places
  • personality and behavior changes

Alzheimer’s disease is often diagnosed at this stage.

Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease:
In this stage, damage occurs in areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought. Symptoms may include:
  • increased memory loss and confusion
  • problems recognizing family and friends
  • inability to learn new things
  • difficulty carrying out multistep tasks such as getting dressed
  • problems coping with new situations
  • hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • impulsive behavior
Severe Alzheimer’s Disease:
People with severe Alzheimer’s cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others for their care. Near the end, the person may be in bed most or all of the time as the body shuts down. Their symptoms often include:
  • inability to communicate
  • weight loss
  • seizures
  • skin infections
  • difficulty swallowing
  • groaning, moaning, or grunting
  • increased sleeping
  • lack of control of bowel and bladder


The Cause…

Alzheimer’s is caused by brain cell death. It is a neurodegenerative disease. This means that there is a progressive brain cell death that happens typically over a slow amount of time. The total brain size actually shrinks, leaving the tissue with progressively fewer connections and nerve cells. It’s quite morbid when you think about it. This disease leaves people feeling helpless and as of right now, there is no cure. But what if there a possible cure on the horizon? What if we could see the light at the end of the tunnel for Alzheimer’s disease?

Can Light Therapy Treat Alzheimer’s Disease?

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been conducting experiments on mice that are leading them to believe that light therapy can actually bring back memories in people suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Although this is currently just a proof of concept, the world of possibilities that can follow are endless. This is notable, important, and life changing.

The scientists at MIT have successfully activated feelings from lost memories among mice with the use of light stimulation therapy that was developed in 2012. These mice are genetically engineered to have early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. This form of therapy is referred to as optogenetics and although it can currently only be performed on mice, these studies show extreme promise for the future.

How It Works…

Fox News’ health department covered this remarkable story on March 18, 2016. They explained how the light therapy process works by stating,

“Study authors put healthy mice and mice with Alzheimer’s into a chamber where they received a foot shock, an experience that caused them to sense fear one hour later when placed in the chamber again. But when the two groups of mice were placed in the chamber a few days later, only the normal mice were fearful, while the Alzheimer’s mice appeared to have forgotten about the experience. However, the memory of the fear was still there among the Alzheimer’s mice; the memory just couldn’t be activated with natural cues.

By using the light therapy they developed in 2012— whereby the relevant engram cells were tagged with a light-sensitive protein then activated with light— the researchers activated those memories.

“Directly activating the cells that we believe are holding the memory gets them to retrieve it,” lead study author Dheeraj Roy, an MIT graduate student, said in the release. “This suggests that it is indeed an access problem to the information, not that they’re unable to learn or store this memory.”

Study authors also identified that the engram cells of the Alzheimer’s mice experienced disrupted signaling from other neurons, which affected the natural cue that should have reactivated their memory.

“If we want to recall a memory, the memory-holding cells have to be reactivated by the correct cue,” Tonegawa said in the release. “If the spine density does not go up during learning process, then later, if you give a natural recall cue, it may not be able to reach the nucleus of the engram cells.”’


A Game Changer…

Conducting optogenics on people at the stage that it is at is far too invasive and it requires extreme precision. However, knowing what we know now and carrying this research into all future Alzheimer’s experiments is a complete game changer. Far too many individuals suffer from this severe, heartbreaking and devastating disease each year. Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel is the first step to success.