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Creating A Light Therapy Home…

We’ve discussed devices you can purchase to make light therapy a part of your life, but what can you do to make light therapy a part of your home?

A home catered towards light sensitive individuals is an interesting concept. How can you make your humble abode a safe haven? What steps can you take? And how far do you want to take it?!

Humans are extremely sensitive to light. This is a discovery that is overlooked every day, in almost every home, almost every workplace, and in almost every doctor’s patient records. Changing the amount of light that is around us each day, altering when we see it, and recognizing how it helps us is the first diagnosis that needs to be made before creating your own light therapy home.

As most people know, light therapy can be used to treat a wide array of conditions, depending on the device being used. Light therapy can treat seasonal affective disorder, depression, acne, wrinkles, scars, chronic pain, wound healing, muscle and joint pain, and so much more. When discussing creating a light therapy friendly home, we are hoping to help you create a home that can lift mood levels, treat seasonal affective disorder, treat or ease the symptoms or depression, and improve your overall well being and happiness. Let’s break it down!

First Step: Windows

lighttherapy-windows

Windows are so important! They help bring sunlight into your home which, believe it or not, can have a serious effect on your well being. Aside from bringing in sunlight, windows also help keep our circadian rhythms, our body’s internal clocks, in check. The more we can see outside, the more we can remind our minds just what time of day it really is. This is helpful for people who work from home, are stay at home parents, are sick or injured, etc.

So what can you do? If you don’t have enough windows, it may be time to break out the sledgehammer! If you do have enough windows, make sure your curtains or shades let in enough light during the day.

Second Step: Lighting

lighttherapy-lighting

Millions of people around the world suffer from seasonal affective disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, insomnia and other similar mental health conditions. Big, bright windows are helpful, but sometimes they are not enough. For example, individuals who suffer from seasonal affective disorder will need to add something besides windows and new curtains to their homes. Seasonal affective disorder occurs in the fall and winter months where the sun sets extremely early and throws off your body’s internal clock.

This is where lighting comes into play! Light therapy devices such as light boxes or lamps can be used on a set schedule each day in order to relieve symptoms from seasonal affective disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, etc., but creating a home that is light therapy friendly 24/7 is equally as important. Why only conduct your treatment once a day when your home could have your back any time of the day?

One of the most important steps in creating a light therapy based home is proper lighting. Warm lighting creates a soothing, relaxing, environment that can make people sensitive to light feel comfortable and safe. Using warm light bulbs in your lamps, avoiding LEDS in ceiling lights, using a timer for the main light fixture in your bedroom are all important steps to take.

Third Step: Colors

lighttherapy-warmcolors

Another factor to consider when creating a light therapy friendly home is colors! You will want to choose warm lighting that interacts well with your window and lighting choices. Warm colors such as whites, beiges, yellows, maroons, etc., are all great examples. They create a comfortable atmosphere, especially when illuminated by large windows and warm lighting!

Products:

Now that you have some broad examples of what to look for when constructing your light therapy friendly home, we think you’re ready for some of our favorite products. Anyone who is sensitive to light will greatly benefit from using these products in any of the rooms in their house! Plus they’re all cost effective and easy to find!

lighttherapy-himalayansaltlamp

Himalayan Salt Lamp
Amazon for $24 – $57

lighttherapy-bistrolights

String Globe Lights
Amazon for $18 – $100

lighttherapy-sheercurtains

Sheer Curtains
Amazon for $8 – $30

lighttherapy-timer

Automatic Light Timer
Amazon for $10 – $20

Top 6 Forms of Light Therapy for SAD

Fall is here and winter is just around the corner! It’s getting to that time of the year where highly sensitive people begin to become affected by the changing of the seasons. We’re talking about the people who need the sun to thrive. The people who enter hibernation when the sun starts to set at 5 pm. We’re talking about victims of seasonal affective disorder, or seasonal depression. This is a condition that affects millions of people each year! Some people don’t even know they suffer from these “winter blues.” But no worries, there is a cure. There are actually 6 of them!

Understanding 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 frequent, affecting more than 3 million US cases each year. It is typically treatable and not a long term condition. The disorder usually 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 MayoClinic.org)

Why Seasonal Affective Disorder Is So Common…

We do not know exactly why SAD occurs and what causes it. However, many studies have been done in attempt to figure it out. Our biological clock (Circadian Rhythm), is the main factor. Due to 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 major 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 in our brains that anticipates the daily onset of darkness. When our light levels are off, for example, when it gets dark at 4 p.m. due to daylight savings, 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 took to their Healthy Living blog to 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 says the condition is 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 says:

“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.”
(HuffingtonPost.com)

Light Therapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder…

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. Thanks to the convenience of new light therapy products, it is now easy and accessible 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.

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 are six forms of light therapy that have been proven effective at treating seasonal affective disorder.

Top 6 Forms of Light Therapy for SAD…

1. Dawn Simulators

Dawn simulators mimic the natural rising of the sun and are the most natural, authentic form of light therapy. There are two different types of dawn simulators. One option simulates the natural representation of dawn for a springtime sunrise. Another option simulates a sigmoidal shaped dawn that can last between 30 minutes to 2 hours. Dawn simulators are highly effective because early morning light signals are much more powerful in regards to our brains that any other light sources throughout the day. Our brains are sensitive to morning light.

Dawn simulators can be a stand alone light source that is a bit like an alarm clock or it can be an attachment that you plug into your bedside lamp.

2. Light Boxes

Light boxes are the most common form of light therapy. They are used in clinical studies and always promote positive results. They are flat screens that emit a full spectrum fluorescent light. The light box typically emits 10,000 lux.

These devices are used on a set schedule. Patients sit in front of them each day at the same time for between 30 to 60 minutes. These devices are easy and you can use them at your own convenience. For example, when you’re reading the newspaper or eating your breakfast each morning.

3. Natural Spectrum Light Bulbs

Natural spectrum light bulbs are simply an addition to a lamp at your home or work. They can be used on a set schedule just like a light box or they can be left on throughout the day, just like a normal lamp. They typically emit at least 10,000 lux and are known to be highly effective. Just like light boxes, these bulbs can adjust your circadian rhythm and boost your mood levels.

4. Bluewave Technology

Blue light, or blue wave technology, is another form of light therapy used to treat seasonal affective disorder. It is used in the form of a light box, just like the option  discussed above, but the light panel or bulbs are slightly different.

The only downside to this option is the blue light is extremely similar to the light that is emitted by technology such as your cellphone or computer. Studies have shown that using a cellphone, computer, tv, etc., before bed can effect your sleep in a negative way. So if you are planning on using blue light therapy, be sure to do your treatment session earlier in the day to avoid any potential sleep issues.

5. Bright Light Sun Visors

A light therapy hat! So fun, right? These personal light therapy boxes are worn as a hat. They are used for a set amount of time each day and can let you keep your light therapy box right on your head for easy convenience throughout the day. This is wonderful if you’re a busy bee!

Be sure to use bright light sun visors with caution and read all of the instructions on the packing first. Keeping a light source so close to your eyes is definitely something that needs to be monitored.

6. Light on a Timer

This form of light therapy for seasonal affective disorder is similar to a dawn simulator except it can be used at any time throughout the day. Also, the change in light is far more abrupt than a simulator. This form of therapy is helpful for people who struggle with getting out of bed in the morning or who often forget to do their light therapy treatment sessions.

Try setting the lights in your room on a timer. With the help of your alarm clock you will definitely wake up in time and have a great, serotonin filled day. Or perhaps the warm light in your office will automatically turn on for one hour each day, mimicking the outdoor light and keeping your circadian rhythm in check.

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Light Therapy & The Earth

What Is Light Therapy?

Light Therapy is the process of using different forms of light to help reduce and/or treat a wide array of conditions and disorders. Dermatologists, doctors, and psychiatrists have been using light therapy on their patients for some time. And now, thanks to the convenience of new light therapy products, you can also use the treatment at home. Light therapy has been safely and effectively changing the medical world one patient at a time.

How It Works…

Depending on the condition and the patient’s state of health, light therapy treatments can vary. For skin conditions and disorders, red, blue, and green light therapy devices are used. The treatments can be applied in many different forms including body wraps, handheld wands, tanning style beds, and masks. These methods are used for chronic pain, acne, wrinkles, cellulite, rosacea, psoriasis, and more. For mental conditions, such as seasonal affective disorder or depression, light therapy lamps and boxes are typically recommended. The high powered LED lights mimic outdoor sunlight to boost energy levels, maintain regular sleep cycles, treat depression, and more. There are also more extensive and intense products being used in doctors’ offices. For example, intravenous light therapy can be used post surgery to reduce inflammation and swelling. And light that is shown on the skin after certain ointments are applied to affected areas can treat many forms of skin cancer.

All of these discoveries and new insights into the world of medicine are groundbreaking and even life changing for some patients. The best part of it all, there’s still so much to learn! We have barely begun to crack the surface of what light therapy can do for us.

Saving The Earth…

Just as light therapy is changing the medical field, it’s also saving the earth. Saving lives and saving the earth! Does it get any better than that?

Light Therapy Options (LTO) is a Connecticut-based company that provides light therapy products to treat and heal a wide array of skin conditions and disorders. This company stands out from the rest due to it’s pride in being eco-friendly.

Light Therapy Options’ products are high powered LED lights that are meant to be applied to affected areas of the skin in specific, accurate wavelengths. The devices themselves aren’t necessarily what makes this company stand out from the pack. There are many similar products on the market that can effectively treat and heal light therapy relying conditions. However, most of the products on the market are made of non-recyclable plastics and have a limited lifespan, along with some other features that can harm our environment.

How It Works…

Light Therapy Options stands out from the crowd for many reasons. The company aims to be as environmentally friendly as possible which is why they created these features for their products…

High Power LED: These use less electricity and reduce treatment times. Other treatments are between 10 and 30 minutes. LTO treatments are between 30 seconds and 3 minutes.

No Replacement Parts: The devices are extremely durable and have been designed to hold up through home use, travel, spa use, and more. They have a 50,000 hour lifespan. To simplify, if you use a device for 3 minutes at a time, it will last for many lifetimes.

Non-Disposable: Because of the insanely long lifespan, these products are non-disposable. LTO claims that you will never need to buy a new device.

Recyclable: Even though these products are made to be non-disposable, accidents can happen or you could run out of uses for the products. In this scenario, the products are recyclable.

No Toxic Gases: Many compact fluorescent bulbs and other light products contain toxic gases. LTO products do not.

Not Battery Operated: LTO devices are powered through a wall socket. No need to throw out batteries!

Combined Product Uses: LTO  makes some devices that work for many different conditions so you to only have to purchase one device, instead of many different ones for all of your conditions.

Why Is This So Important?

It seems that many of us get so caught up in what the earth can do for us, that we forget what we can do for the earth. We only get one earth and we need to treat it like that is the case. Every step we take towards ensuring an environmentally friendly world is a step in the right direction. While Light Therapy Options is the only company currently making eco-friendly light therapy products at such a high level, it’s important to see what we can strive for. If one company can do this, why can’t they all? If you are considering buying a light therapy product, make sure you check and see if Light Therapy Options has what you are looking for!

Are You Sold?

Light Therapy Options has more than 10 products on their site. We have chosen to share a couple of those devices with you to explain in further detail just how wonderful we think this company is!

The Peak 415 Blue Light HP LED Powerhead
$259.00 (on sale!)
LightTherapyOptions.com

The Peak 415 is one of the most popular products on the website. It is available in either 120 volt or 220 volt and includes standard safety goggles to protect your eyes. Different goggle options are available to purchase as well for just a few dollars. The Peak 415 is made with a high power LED power head that is used with your own fixture (stand). It contains 48 HP LED chips and has a peak wavelength of 415 nanometers. It can be used for both personal and professional use and has been rated highly effective for treating acne. The website claims that the 415 nanometer wavelength has been identified as the most effective wavelength against acne causing bacteria without entering the UV range. It is the strongest acne light in their product line!


The Genesis DH Red Light / Near Infrared HP LED Powerhead
$299.00 (on sale!)
LightTherapyOptions.com

The Genesis DH is made with a high power LED head with 120 volt power and includes standard safety goggles. It has a standard sized bulb which means that you can use it with any open faced fixture you choose. The Genesis DH is specifically designed for pain relief, wound care, anti-aging, and much more. The device combines red and near infrared light therapy into one small unit which provides you with the benefits of both light therapy forms for every one of your treatment sessions. The website states that it is most commonly used as a handheld device for pain relief but it has also been proven effective while being used hands free for collagen production, anti-aging, and more. Why not give the 90 day trial period and lifetime warranty a try?

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Color Light Therapy & Why It Should Be Taken Seriously

 

Why is it that we understand the power and importance of light for the world around us, but we don’t appreciate the effect it can have on humans? We understand how light affects the world, the earth, the sea, the depth of the earth that we cannot reach, and just about anything we comprehend globally. But the medical field is yet to fully comprehend or embrace the power that light has over us as humans. Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences spoke at the Internal Year of Light conference in Merida, Mexico in February 2016.. Schlegel discussed the importance of light therapy being cost effective and practical for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Julianne Bien, owner of Spectrahue Light & Sound Inc., is the inventor of the Spectrahue method of color light therapy. She owns a Toronto-based company that sells handheld light therapy tools and educational tools. Bien wrote a piece for Common Ground’s “health and spirit” section of their website. Bien discussed how incredible it is that light therapy is finally being taken seriously. Bien writes, “Health-related uses of light include diagnostics, surgery, psychiatry, psychology, revitalization, rejuvenation and emotional and spiritual makeovers. We have laser-based instruments, LED-based apparatuses, full-spectrum lights and various digital and analogue devices. Where we lag behind is in understanding how, exactly, our bodies respond to light. This is why terms such as chromotherapy, phototherapy and light therapy in general – although ancient in origin – very slowly progress toward full endorsement of the medical establishment.” (commonground.ca)

The world inside of us is just as important as the world around us. Light therapy can help us effectively manage the world inside of us. Conditions such as emotional trauma, autoimmune problems, allergies, metabolic imbalances, seasonal affective disorder, jet lag, sleep and attention deficit disorders have been showing better results with the use of light therapy than other medical options such as medicines and surgeries. Bien claims that there are very good reasons for this, but the medical world hasn’t quite explored it yet.

Back in the 20th century, John Ott, a photo biologist, made an interesting discovery. Ott was assigned to document the effects that pharmaceutical drugs had on living cells. He used an electronic microscope and a special camera to do this. Ott discovered that when he changed the color filters on his camera lens, the cells’ behavior changed as well. Ott claimed that the color changes had even more of an effect on the cells than the drugs had. This is what inspired Julianne Bien’s company. Bien discussed this in her Common Ground article as well by stating:

“On the ‘ground level’ where life in our bodies unfolds, light and colour have more say than chemical compounds which we concoct. Our cells naturally understand the language of light and its messages – which the colours convey through their frequencies – to ignite, burn, sizzle, scorch, smoulder or go off. That’s the same cycle the stars in our universe undergo.

“I’m often asked how colour light therapy really works. It appears esoteric and mystical, bordering on magic. The best analogy I know – one we all know well – is fire.

“Fire is quirky. It is our species’ first tool, process and weapon. It gives off light and heat on demand, echoing our life-giving star in the sky, and we get to wield it at will. If you look closely, it varies in colour, depending on intensity. At first, it’s yellow and orange; green flame tips and blue-ish bursts will tell you it’s sizzling; you’ll want it bright white, though, if you wish to melt metal or bake clay.

“Still, starting and maintaining a fire is tricky, at best. It’s moody. It might flare up in an instant or just smoulder for hours. Sometimes, a trained hand gives up in frustration; another time a fire will light itself up. Too much moisture around it and it won’t even start; too little and it burns itself out.

“So it is with us. We are internal combustion engines, with trillions of tiny burners. Our cells burn up oxygen and produce heat. They use the resulting light as an ultra-fast messaging system. It all works to perfection – from toes to teeth – except when it won’t.

“When an imbalance sets in, our internal flame in an organ dies down. Or it flares up, past all safety limits, causing redness, fever and pain. We don’t know what triggers this any more than we can pinpoint the cause of a wild forest fire or control it.

“Knowing how tiny our internal burners are, it’s easy to see how fine-tuned and delicate any support we give them must also be.” (commonground.ca)

Bien sells handheld color light therapy devices that she believes are even more effective than normal light therapy. Most light therapy devices output a bright light, with a wide surface being covered, in just one direction. Handheld color light therapy illuminators “work off the silent communication between the person sending faint light and the person receiving it”, according to Bien.

The concept of color light therapy is an ancient finding. Records exist from thousands of years ago that show conditions and disorders being effectively cured with color light therapy practices. This form of therapy is harmless and brilliant, but the world seems to have forgotten the importance of this discovery over time. If an equal amount of time and money that is used for chemical drug experiments was used to further research color light therapy, the world would quickly become a much healthier – and brighter – place.

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.

(MayoClinic.org)

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

(GrowingUpEasier.org)

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.

(GrowingUpEasier.org)

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 & Jaundice

 

What Is Jaundice?

Jaundice is a common condition in newborn babies. It affects full term and pre-mature babies and usually occurs during the first week of a baby’s life. The condition is temporary and usually harmless but treatments still must be conducted to cure the condition.

Jaundice occurs when there is a build up of bilirubin in the baby’s blood. Bilirubin is a naturally occurring substance, but of course, too much of anything can be dangerous. This substance is an orange/red pigment in the blood. According to to the University of Michigan’s Children’s Hospital, “Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. It is normal for everyone to have low levels of bilirubin in their blood. As bilirubin begins to build up, it deposits on the fatty tissue under the skin causing the baby’s skin and whites of the baby’s eyes to appear yellow.” (med.umich.edu)

What Causes Jaundice?

There are several causes for Jaundice. The University of Michigan’s Children’s Hospital also discussed this topic in the health and education section of their website. We have borrowed the list of causes from them…

  • Physiological jaundice: This is the most common cause of newborn jaundice and occurs in more than 50% of babies. Because the baby has an immature liver, bilirubin is processed slower. The jaundice first appears at 2 to 3 days of age. It usually disappears by 1 to 2 weeks of age, and the levels of bilirubin are harmless.
  • Breast-feeding jaundice: Breast-feeding jaundice may occur when your baby does not drink enough breast milk. It occurs in 5% to 10% of newborns. The jaundice symptoms are similar to those of physiological jaundice, just more pronounced. The jaundice indicates a need for help with breast-feeding.
  • Breast-milk jaundice: Breast-milk jaundice occurs in 1% to 2% of breast-fed babies. It is caused by a special substance that some mothers produce in their milk. This substance causes your baby’s intestine to absorb more bilirubin back into his body than normal. This type of jaundice starts at 4 to 7 days of age. It may last 3 to 10 weeks. It is not harmful.
  • Blood group incompatibility (Rh or ABO problems): If a baby and mother have different blood types, sometimes the mother produces antibodies that destroy the newborn’s red blood cells. This causes a sudden buildup of bilirubin in the baby’s blood. This serious type of jaundice usually begins during the first 24 hours of life. Rh problems formerly caused the most severe form of jaundice. However, they are now preventable if the mother is given an injection of RhoGAM within 72 hours after delivery. This prevents her from forming antibodies that might endanger other babies she has in the future

Light Therapy & Jaundice…

Phototherapy, which is a form of light therapy, is used to treat Jaundice in newborn babies. Phototherapy is the most common treatment used to reduce the high levels of bilirubin  found in newborn babies.

For this treatment, a baby lies in a bassinet or an incubator, which is an enclosed plastic crib. The baby is exposed to a fluorescent light that is absorbed by the baby’s skin. Throughout this process, the bilirubin in the baby’s blood is changed into another form. This form is easily excreted in the stool and urine. The time frame for the phototherapy treatment ranges depending on the intensity of the Jaundice. Some babies require several days under the phototherapy light. WebMD, a credible website for all things medical, explain the specifics of the treatment:

“During this type of phototherapy:

  • The baby is undressed so that as much of the skin as possible is exposed to the light.
  • The baby’s eyes are covered to protect the nerve layer at the back of the eye (retina) from the bright light.
  • Feeding should continue on a regular schedule. There is no need to stop breast-feeding.
  • The bilirubin level is measured at least once a day.”

(WebMD.com/parenting)

There is also an at-home alternative for phototherapy. A fiber optic blanket or band can be wrapped around the baby and used for treatments. While fiber optic phototherapy has been proven to show results in treating Jaundice, it is not necessarily as effective or as powerful as in-hospital treatment sessions. The at-home treatment take more time to show hospital level results. This is a great option for babies with mild cases of Jaundice or babies who have no other health issues besides Jaundice. It’s important to fully understand everything related to phototherapy and Jaundice before performing treatments at home.

Phototherapy is a highly effective form of light therapy that is gaining more recognition each day. If light can save our baby’s, what else can it do?

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.” (Psychology.org)

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.”

(MyAspergersChild.com)

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?

Get Ready For Summer With Light Therapy!

 

With summer right around the corner, now is the time to get your body in tip top shape! We’re not just talking about a great bikini body, we’re also talking about your mindset! The key to happiness and confidence is a healthy body, inside and out.

Light Therapy is capable of helping people achieve greatness for all aspects of their minds and bodies. With the help of Light Therapy, skin rejuvenation is simple and easy. Regular treatment sessions can cosmetically enhance all parts of your body, not just your face. A body that is capable of being active and energized starts with freedom. Chronic pain, wounds, joint and muscle pain, and more can make you feel trapped inside your body. Light Therapy treatments targeted towards pain relief can free your body and have you ready for summer adventures in no time. Similar to external pain, internal pain and stress can have us feeling trapped as well. Whether it’s depression, insomnia, or another mental condition, Light Therapy is constantly being proven effective in lifting mood and energy levels. Treatments leave patients feeling refreshed and energized, which is necessary to fully take advantage of the best season of the year!

Glowing Skin…

Many factors can contribute to your skin not being on it’s A game. Lack of sleep, a depressed mood, acne, and other skin disorders can all leave you looking tired and in need of sleep. There are two different forms of light therapy that can give you the glowing skin you want and deserve. Fighting insomnia and depression is one of the first steps to having perfect skin. Light therapy boxes and lamps are used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, and insomnia. Spending part of your morning in front of a light therapy box/lamp can help raise energy levels as well as allow you to sleep more. Both of these results can lead to glowing skin.

Acne makes it hard to have glowing skin. Using a light therapy device targeted towards treating acne, such as a red, blue, or green light wand can kill the acne causing bacteria in your pores. Each color light has it’s owns benefits so using all three in your treatment process is going to have the best results and leave you with healthy glowing skin.

No More Wrinkles…

Light therapy can also reduce wrinkles and fine lines which will increase your confidence and have you running for the beach. The same products that are used for treating acne can be used to treat wrinkles and other cosmetic appearances that arise with age. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to look your age, right?
Cellulite Free…

While the cosmetic appearance of your skin doesn’t actually affect your physical health, it can raise your confidence levels and have you ready for summer. The first step to the perfect bikini body is a healthy mind and body. Light therapy is proven to effectively reduce unwanted lines and markings. Red light therapy wands, lamps, and beds can be used to smooth cellulite and stretch marks anywhere on your body. Red light therapy works in a a couple different ways. In one instance, the red light increases circulation by forming new capillaries. These new capillaries speed up the healing process in damaged skin. Red light also stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is a high elasticity protein that repairs damaged skin.

Active Body…

How are you going to feel your best for the summer if you can’t be active? Summer activities require energy and a youthful body. When fighting chronic pain, your body feels low and useless. Red light therapy is being used to treat chronic pain, joint and muscle pain, heal wounds, and more. Red light therapy wands, beds, wraps, and lamps works to treat these forms of pain in the same way it treats cosmetic details. The red light penetrates deep into the skin, all the way through to the tissue and can heal damage that is causing physical pain.

Right Mindset…

While fighting mental conditions and disorders can leave you with glowing skin, as discussed above, it also creates a healthy and long last mindset that will have you summer ready. Light therapy boxes, simulators and lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, insomnia, jet lag and bipolar disorder work by raising seratonin levels and decreasing melatonin levels. Increasing seratonin levels in the brain is proven to effectively lift your mood, leaving you energized and ready for anything. Especially summer!

The best way to experience summer is to feel your best. Treating these 5 categories can result in confidence inside and out and energy for activities. Both of these results are crucial for the best summer ever!