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Does Red Light Therapy Work?

What Is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a specific form of light therapy that uses red LEDs to treat skin and body conditions. Red light therapy has been proven effective in treating acne and aiding in anti-aging. For example, it tightens and firms the skin to rid of wrinkles and fine lines. It also aids in treating severe skin conditions such as Psoriasis, Eczema, Roseacea, sun damage, and more. Aside from skin disorders and conditions, Red Light Therapy can relieve joint and muscle pain. It can even help people struggling with chronic back pain. Yes, you read it correctly. Chronic pain! It doesn’t get much more impressive than that.

Why Would You Need It?

If you want to continue dealing with acne, or you enjoy the aging process happening with your skin, or you enjoy your body aches and chronic pain, red light therapy is definitely not for you. But I’m just going to go out on a limb here and assume you don’t prefer living with these conditions. This is why you need red light therapy in your life.

Red light therapy, like all forms of light therapy, is the natural treatment route. This therapy is safe, non-invasive, chemical free, drug free and inexpensive when done at home. Acne creams, washes, and lotions are inexpensive, filled with chemicals, and hardly ever effective. Skin rejuvenation serums are also expensive and unhealthy and don’t get me started on plastic surgery! No way! And pain killers. If pain killers can be avoided, they probably should be. Pills can upset your stomach, leave you addicted, and come with a whole book full of side affects.

How Does It Work?

Red light therapy works by penetrating the skin with LEDs in the form of many different devices, depending what you’re hoping for as an end result. As for acne, red light therapy devices penetrate deep into the skin to kill acne causing bacteria and bring your skin back to it’s normal health. With skin rejuvenation, the red lights help heal and tighten the skin by repairing damaged skin cells underneath the surface of the skin. The result is reduced fine lines and wrinkles and a healthy, young looking, glow.

When it comes to more serious skin conditions, such as Psoriasis, sun damage, scars, and more, Red Light Therapy treatments penetrate into the skin, helping to cure the damaged skin and stop what exactly is causing the damage.

As for pain relief, red light therapy penetrates deep into the tissue underneath the surface of the skin. From here the light is absorbed by the mitochondria, or the energy of the cells. This increases the metabolism of the collective cells in the body. Healing can then begin in the muscle, skin, bone, and tissue. This speeds up the healing process and helps relieve pain.

But…Does It Actually Work?

This is the common question when it comes to light therapy. Does it actually work? Our answer and the answer of doctors from all different fields of work…yes! Red light therapy actually works. It is still being studied, and the world still does not not know the maximum potential of the treatments, but it has proven more than effective in treating an extremely diverse array of conditions and disorders. Red Light Therapy is a total game changer for the medical world.

Some Quotes!

“Traditional drugs stop the pain but are expensive, have potential side effects and do not heal the cause of the pain. Light therapy has no known negative side effects. Because no drugs are used, light therapy is a natural, noninvasive treatment for pain. Part of the natural spectrum, infrared light is something you are exposed to in a less-concentrated way every day. Light therapy is a cost-effective, natural way to heal the body and eliminate pain.”

-Linda Tenenbaum, LiveStrong.com

“Dermatologists are investigating red light (in the range of 600 – 950nm) therapy to treat acne, rosacea and wrinkles. Red light works theoretically by stimulating the skin’s energy making machine, known as the mitochondria. As such, stimulated mitochondria make older cells behave more like energetic youthful cells – which holds the key to red light’s anti-aging potential.”

-American Academy of DermatologyWhat Is Red Light Therapy?

Sunlight & Our Skin

 

What Is Sunlight?

Sun sun sun! It keeps us warm, gives us perfect tans, it generates electricity, and so much more. We know all these things, but something that most people don’t consider is how the sun can help our skin! This is an area where the sun is not being taken advantage of. But before I get into that, let’s learn a little more about that warm sunshine. Let’s learn the facts.

Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the all mighty and powerful sun. Using more specific terms, the sun gives off infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. For us down on Earth, sunlight is filtered through the atmosphere surrounding the Earth, thus providing us with daylight. This means the sun is present above the horizon. When the sun’s rays are not being by clocked by clouds, which creates diffused light, they shine right on down to us. This creates sunshine, which is an unbeatable combination of radiant heat and bright light.

Too much sun isn’t always a good thing. It’s important to always wear sunscreen, protect your skin from overexposure, and always drink enough water. The sun is more than powerful and can easily affect our bodies.

If you’re like me, you cross your fingers, pray to the weather gods, and hope with everything inside of you that every single day of the year will be sunny. This is because not only is sunlight proven to have positive effects on the brain, it can also gives us that dreamy skin we’ve always wanted. Whether you struggle from a severe skin conditions such as Rosacea or Psoriasis, or you have acne like millions of other people in the world, the sun could be your medicine. If we are smart about how we manage our time with the sun and how it fits into our lives, we can be exposed to a world of skin care benefits. This is so important to know. Our skin is such a big part of us!

Our Skin…

Our skin, which is the outer covering of our body, is the largest organ in our integumentary system. Our skin has many layers of ectodermal tissue. These layers guard and protect our muscles, bones, ligaments, and internal organs. Our skin is sensitive and it is crucial to take care of it if you want to remain healthy on the inside and outside.

There are many things that can affect our skin in negative ways, one of those things being the sun. But if our exposure to the sun is kept under control, we positive effects.

How The Sun Helps…

The sun works in marvelous ways. Being exposed to sunlight on a regular basis while using the proper protection is a step in the right direction when it comes to treating acne and other skin conditions and disorders.

The rays from the sun will not outright cure your acne, but it will work to reduce redness and inflammation on the skin. UV rays in the sunlight have antiseptic effects on bacteria. The sun suppresses the immune system, which isn’t necessarily the best thing for the body, but in doing so, it suppresses the immune cells in the acne. These cells are the ones that create redness on the skin.

A Smarter Option…

Because the sun can be so harsh on our sensitive skin and we can not monitor the strength of it, using light therapy has been proven to be a smarter option for treating acne and other skin conditions. Because too much sun exposure can lower our immune system  harsh sunlight can sometimes make acne worse. Also, sun screen is necessary but it tends to be thick and greasy which isn’t always the best for sensitive skin.

Light therapy, which can be monitored and set on a regular schedule, tends to be extremely effective. The severity of the condition and the medical diagnosis of it determines which light therapy device would be best.

There is a wide array of light therapy devices that can help treat skin conditions. The options range from hand held wands to panels, boxes, beds, and more. Treatments can be done in a doctor’s office but that can get expensive. At-home treatments can be done at your own convenience, have a one time cost, and with the new technology, can be just as effective as a doctor’s device. For example, a hand held red light therapy device is commonly used for treating acne. The intensity of the infrared light bulbs penetrate the skin and kill the acne causing bacteria in the pores. Other forms work similarly but it is important to determine a goal, a schedule, and a budget before experimenting with the all natural treatment. Facing Acne, a website for helping people deal with acne problems posted an article about why they think light therapy is better for the skin than the sun. In the article, the author summarizes which forms of the light treatment do what. The article reads,

  • Sunlight is good for treating acne, but it is specifically the red and blue wavelengths of visible sunlight that make a difference.
  • Red light reaches deep into the skin and activates hemoglobin. Red light treatment cuts off just enough of the blood supply of oil-producing sebaceous glands that pores don’t get quite as oily.
  • Blue light penetrates pores and kills acne bacteria—but not all the pore’s acne bacteria. There are always some acne bacteria in the sebaceous gland that can’t be reached by blue light.
  • When it comes to acne light therapy, more is not necessarily better. Drying or burning the skin by holding the face too close to the lamp does not help.
  • The best way to use blue and red light therapy at home is for helping keep the skin clear between acne treatments.
  • Acne light therapy is always most effective when used as part of a complete skin care system such as Exposed Skin Care.

(FacingAcne.com)

Healthy skin is not only good for our body and physical health; healthy, glowing skin is good for the mind. It raises confidence levels drastically and will help spread good energy. If you’re struggling with skin conditions, give light therapy a chance.

Light Therapy & Bipolar Disorder

 

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is something to be taken seriously. The disorder causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows. The emotional highs are often called mania or hypomania and the lows are called depression. These mood swings can occur once or twice a year or as much as several times a week. When feeling depressed and low, people often lose interest and pleasure in most activities, feel hopeless, and especially sad. When the opposite feeling occurs, people often feel full of energy, as if they’re on a high. For people struggling with severe Bipolar disorder, these mood shifts are very intense and exaggerated and happen frequently.

How Do I Know If I’m Bipolar?

There are many different types of Bipolar disorders and related conditions. The symptoms for these disorders change depending on the person struggling. MayoClinic, a reputable website for all things medical, has a section on Bipolar disorder describing the differences between Bipolar I and Bipolar II, and other related disorders, as well as their symptoms…

  • Bipolar I disorder. You’ve had at least one manic episode. The manic episode may be preceded  or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. Mania symptoms cause significant impairment in your life and may require hospitalization or trigger a break from reality (psychosis).
  • Bipolar II disorder. You’ve had at least one major depressive episode lasting at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode lasting at least four days, but you’ve never had a manic episode. Major depressive episodes or the unpredictable changes in mood and behavior can cause distress or difficulty in areas of your life.
  • Cyclothymic disorder. You’ve had at least two years — or one year in children and teenagers — of numerous periods of hypomania symptoms (less severe than a hypomanic episode) and periods of depressive symptoms (less severe than a major depressive episode). During that time, symptoms occur at least half the time and never go away for more than two months. Symptoms cause significant distress in important areas of your life.
  • Other types. These include, for example, bipolar and related disorders due to another medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis or stroke. Another type is called substance and medication-induced bipolar and related disorder.

Bipolar II disorder is not a milder form of bipolar I disorder, but a separate diagnosis. While the manic episodes of bipolar I disorder can be severe and dangerous, individuals with bipolar II disorder can be depressed for longer periods, which can cause significant impairment.

(From MayoClinic.com)

Is It Common?

There is a myth that Bipolar disorder is a rare condition. This is far from true and we have the number to prove it. The National Institute of Mental Health claims that Bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million American adults each year. This is about 2.6% of the United States population of people 18 years and older. Estimates for children and teens are hard to gather and summarize due to the criteria for the diagnosis. Many children are not diagnosed but it is estimated that at least three quarters of a million American children suffer from Bipolar disorder.  Bipolar disorder is a common condition among Americans. If you’re suffering, you’re most definitely not alone.

Light Therapy and Bipolar Disorder…

Bipolar disorder is a long term condition and although there isn’t an almighty and powerful cure to the disorder, there are treatments available. Medications can be prescribed, but what if there was something better? What if you we could tell you there’s a “light” at the end of the tunnel?

Light therapy is still being studied in regard to treating Bipolar disorder, offering hope for the future. Light therapy is most commonly used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that occurs often during the winter months. The treatment uses artificial light to mimic the outdoor light that is lacking during the season with less daylight. Bright light affects levels of certain brain chemicals. These chemicals, such as seratonin, play a major role in regulating mood. The bright light seems to affect the same brain structures and chemicals that anti-depressants do, which is why Light Therapy is currently in the radar in the Bipolar world.

How It Works…

Studies are being conducted at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) in Pittsburgh, led by Dr. Dorothy Sit,  an assistant professor of psychiatry at WPIC. She has been focusing on light therapy since 2007 because there are little to no drug-free treatments available for Bipolar patients.

Dr. Sit says that her initial experiment on Bipolar disorder in 2007 became the laid groundwork for the case to develop more research. In 2007, fewer than 10 people were evaluated and all of them were women. The next study will include 40 to 60 men and women between the ages of 18 and 65. Dr. Sit is using a top of the line light box and has  high hopes for her studies.

Hmmmm…

“People with bipolar disorder are exquisitely sensitive to morning light, so this profound effect of morning treatment leading to mixed states is very informative and forces us to ask more questions … Did we introduce light too early and disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep patterns?”

-Dr. Sit, 2008.

A Game Changer…

Although it has not been proven yet that light therapy may be a safe and effective way to treat Bipolar disorder, this is definitely a topic that should be taken seriously. If light therapy can treat Seasonal Affective Disorder as well as other forms of depression, why wouldn’t it be able to  help people struggling with Bipolar disorder? If you or anyone you love is currently suffering from Bipolar disorder…keep your eyes on the light! Treatment that doesn’t involve pills may be on its way.

Light Therapy & 3 Key Elements

 

The Three Key Elements… 

Light Therapy can be used for a wide array of conditions and disorders. Each of these forms of treatment requires variations of the 3 key elements of Light Therapy. Duration, timing, and intensity.
The duration of the Light Therapy treatment refers to how long the treatment is conducted and the scheduling of it. This can look like once a week for two months all the way to five days a week for a year depending on the condition. The timing of the Light Therapy treatment refers to how long the treatment is conducted. For example, sitting in front of light box for thirty minutes, or keeping a body wrap around the back for fifteen minutes. The intensity of the Light Therapy treatment refers to the power of the Light Therapy device being used. For example, using a light box with 10,000 lux in order to treat seasonal depression. When these three key elements are scientifically and accurately combined, Light Therapy patients will find themselves on a path to a happier and healthier life.

Choosing The Three Key Elements…

Light Boxes for Depression: 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that occurs each year during the months of fall and winter. The depression occurs due to the lack of sunlight as well as day light savings. These tough months can seriously affect our circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock inside our brains. Normal depression, which can occurs during any of the 12 months of the year, is also very sensitive to light. Using a light box in situation such as this has been proven extremely effective. If someone is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a light box will lift their mood and remind their brain what time of day it is in order to keep mood levels high. If someone is struggling with Depression, a light box can help by effectively elevating the chemicals in the brain that make us feel low.

After much research, the ideal light boxes have been created to fit individual’s lifestyles. Light boxes come in all different shapes and sizes as well as different intensity levels. The method of treatment may vary depending on the severity of the seasonal depression as well as the device being used. The stronger the light, the less time should be spent in front of the light box. Most people use light boxes for a minimum of 30 minutes each morning. A morning treatment can start your day off right and keep your body’s internal clock in check. However, some people don’t have time in the morning and choose to do the treatment at a different time. This is okay too. The more effectively you can fit the treatment into your schedule, the more you will benefit from it. Below is a list of light sources and how much light we receive indoors versus outdoors. Also, note that lux is a standard unit of light flow.

  • Bright moonlight – 1 lux
  • Candle light at 20 cm – 10-15 lux
  • Street light – 10-20 lux
  • Normal living room lighting – 100 lux
  • Office fluorescent light – 300-500 lux
  • Sunlight, 1 hour before sunset – 1000 lux
  • Daylight, cloudy sky – 5000 lux
  • Daylight, clear sky – 10,000-20.000 lux
  • Bright sunlight – 20,000-100,000 lux

Outdoors on a sunny day is 50-100 times brighter than office or room lighting.
(List borrowed from PsychEducation.Org)

With that being said, most light boxes are around 10,000 lux. It’s important to keep cost in mind as well. The higher intensity of the device, the more expensive it is going to be. But if Seasonal Affective Disorder or Depression are controlling your life, is cost necessarily a factor?

Dawn Simulators have also been proven extremely effective in scenarios such Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression and they are noticeably cheaper than light boxes. A Dawn Simulators mimics the sunrise and sunset in your home through a small lamp. A timer must be set and when it’s time for you to start waking up, the simulator will turn on, mimicking the sunrise. This can be left on throughout the day and then slowly shut off as your day winds down. Most people only use the simulator to wake up, sort of acting as an alarm clock. But for people working from home or spending a lot of time in their home during the fall and winter months, it may be effective and helpful to leave the simulator on throughout the day.

Light Boxes For Other Mood Disorders:

Light boxes and dawn simulators, which were described above, are also extremely effective when it comes to mood disorders such as insomnia and jet lag. Seasonal changes, depression, medications, and stress, can all trigger insomnia. And for people that travel a lot for work or pleasure, jet lag can quickly control your life.

Using a Dawn Simulator for both of these conditions can be extremely effective. If you’re struggling with insomnia, a dawn simulator will help you wake up and go to sleep at appropriate times, helping create a proper sleep schedule and breaking insomnia. Also, because insomnia is also a side affect or depression, you could kill two birds with one stone. Using a light box could help too. It could elevate your mood, thus decreasing your stress levels, ultimately letting you fall asleep.

A Dawn Simulator can help fight off jet lag by keeping your body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm in check. The simulator will help remind your brain the time of day and get you back to normal. A light box could definitely be effective too if it is used in the morning. It will not only keep your brain in sync with the day, but it will also put a smile on your face and a glow on your skin.

Light Therapy Devices For Cosmetic Conditions:

Light Therapy devices are commonly used to fight acne, slow down the cosmetic aging process, and even reverse hair loss. Handheld devices are typically used for acne and usually use either red or blue light. The device uses infrared lighting to penetrate into the pores on the skin to kill the bacteria that creates acne. The devices can also reduce the inflammation on the skin. This process can be done at home or in a dermatologists office. However, at home treatments are going to be far less expensive. The devices are typically held to the skin for 10 minutes increments and the light is commonly between 400 and 1,000 nanometers in intensity.

Anti-aging is one of the most popular benefits of Light Therapy. Red light therapy is commonly use for skin rejuvenation. Treatments can reduce wrinkles, minimize fine lines, reduce cellulite markings, and leave you with a young and healthy glow. Handheld devices, similar or the same as the ones use for acne, can help achieve all of these goals. Red light therapy beds are also extremely common. Similar to a tanning bed, the person undergoing the treatment would lay in the bed for a certain amount of time on a set schedule. Typically 15 to 30 minutes one to multiple times a week.

Hair loss is treated with red light therapy as well. Whether the hair loss is due to old age, pattern baldness, stress, or a skin condition, red light is known to help. The patient will either use a handheld device or a light panel and set a schedule for themself. The intensity is the same at the options discussed above. Of course, for all of these things, reading instructions and taking your personal condition into order before beginning treatment will give you the best results.

Light Therapy Devices For Severe Skin Conditions:

Light Therapy can help with more serious conditions, such as Rosacea, Eczema, Athlete’s Foot, Psoriasis, and more. If you are currently taking medication for any of these conditions or similar ones, it may be worth discussing Red Light Therapy with your doctor and finding a better option for your body. The treatments won’t take over your life and can be easily fit into your daily routine.

Red light therapy is used for just about all of these conditions. The same devices discussed above are used for these skin conditions. Blue light therapy is currently being used to treat certain types of skin cancers and it is remarkable. A solution is put onto the skin and then blue light is applied to the cancerous areas. The light penetrates through to the skin, killing the cancerous matter.

As discussed before, depending on the severity and exact circumstance of the condition, the treatments length and intensity levels differ. These treatments, aside from skin cancer, can be done at home or at a doctor’s office.

Light Therapy For Pain:

Red light therapy is commonly used amount athlete’s for pain management. Red light can treat aches and pains, reduce muscle and joint pain, help manage chronic pain, speed up the healing process for a wide array of injuries, and much more. Red light therapy beds, as discussed above, are commonly used for all of these conditions. Body wraps that use red infrared light are used as well and are much easier to fit to your lifestyle.

Starting The Treatment…

As with all major lifestyle changes regarding your health, it is always important to consult with a doctor who knows your history first. The next step is to choose whether to do the treatments at home or in a doctor’s office. If possible, at home treatments are usually the best route. Not only are they far less expensive, it is also easier to manage your time around the treatments if you only have to worry about your own schedule. It’s important to choose the right light therapy device. If it doesn’t fit your needs or schedule, you will never use it!

And lastly, but most importantly, keep an open mind. Light therapy is a natural form of therapy which could lead to doubts. But if your mind is open and you stick to a schedule, light therapy can seriously be life changing. The treatment will not heal you over night, but if you are dedicated, you can witness wonders.

Sunlight & Mental Health

 

What Is Sunlight?

Sunshine! It gives us tans, beach days, blooming flowers, pretty green grass, a need for oversized sun hats, an excuse to go outdoors, and oh so much more. But the most important thing sunshine may contribute to our lives is it’s effect on our mental health. But before I get into that, let’s learn a little more about the sun. Let’s learn the facts.

Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation that is given off by the all mighty and powerful sun. Using more specific terms, the sun gives off infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. For us little people down on Earth, sunlight is filtered through the atmosphere surrounding the Earth, thus providing us with daylight. This means the sun is present above the horizon. When the sun’s rays are not being by clocked by clouds, which creates diffused light, they shine right on down to us. This creates sunshine, which is an unbeatable combination of radiant heat and bright light. Too much sun isn’t always a good thing. It’s important to always wear sunscreen, protect your skin from overexposure, and always drink enough water. The sun is more than powerful and can easily control our bodies.

If you’re like me, you cross your fingers, pray to the weather gods, and hope with everything inside of you that every single day of the year will be sunny. This is because sunlight is known to have positive effects on the brain, can drastically improve your skin, can ease health problems, and most definitely raises energy levels. If we are smart about how we manage our time with the sun and how it fits into our lives, we can be exposed to a world of health benefits. The most important effect the sun can have on our bodies, may be our mental health.

Our Mental Health…

Our mental health is something that shouldn’t be tampered with too much. According to Mental Health, a website dedicated to the study of the human brain, mental health is not only important, it’s also intricate. According to the website,

“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems”

(MentalHealth.gov)

It’s important to remain happy, remain sane, and have a good outlook on life in order to achieve the highest possible quality of life. Our mental health is a sensitive part of us. It can be quite a rollercoaster so it’s smart to always keep your seatbelt on.
Of course, there is an endless list of factors that could have a negative effect on our mental health. We could have family issues, we could be suffering from heartache, we could be struggling with a severe disorder, disease, or condition. The list goes on an on. However, one of the most common reasons why someone’s mental health levels would decrease is due to the weather.
It is incredibly common for people who struggle with Depression, seasonal changes and Seasonal Depression to just shrug it off, but it is taking a toll on their mental health for sure. For example, the way the weather effects us. It’s easily to call feeling down during winter the “winter blues.” Or if you get to work before the sun is up and then get out once the sun has already set, you are not going to stay at the top of your game. This is where Depression can either show up again or appear for the first time. It’s easy to just wait it out, letting yourself hibernate and feel low. But the truth is…our brains love the sun! Our bodies are far more sensitive to sunlight than most people recognize. The winter blues and our not so great daily schedules can take a serious toll on us and they rely on whether or not the sun is out and planning on sticking around.

Light Therapy For Mental Health…

When struggling from Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Seasonal Depression, or seasonal changes, you don’t need to just sit and wait around for things to get better. One form of light therapy was created in order to help treat the conditions we are discussing. A light therapy device can be used to help treat the symptoms associated with these conditions. It doesn’t work in one day, but it’s a step in the right direction.

People struggling with Depression or these seasonal related conditions first choose which form of light therapy prefer according to their lifestyle as well as their symptoms. A light therapy device for this sort of treatment provides a measured amount of light through fluorescent bulbs or panels. The light intensity is typically between 2,500 to 10,000 lux. Depending on the device chosen, which could be a panel, box, lamp, or simulator, the patient would choose a schedule. The treatment is most effective if a set amount of time is scheduled on a regular basis.

Natural Sunlight For Mental Health…

Sunlight does more than just lift our moods, it actually cures depression symptoms. It does this by raising levels of anti-depressants in the brain. Serotonin, which is a mood lifting chemical, is produced at a higher rate on sunny days. While light therapy devices can help raise Seratonin levels as well, nothing beats the real thing.

It may sound funny at first, but treatment for depression and seasonal depression can most certainly be done with natural sunlight. Similar to a light therapy device, setting aside a part of your day on a regular basis is the same concept. Not everyone is lucky enough to live somewhere where they can receive this sunlight throughout the year, but if you are, you should take advantage of it. It’s too good for you not to!

Don’t Forget!

“Adding a little sunshine to your life by getting outside more can relieve anxiety and reduce depression. If you live in higher latitudes with little sunlight, a light box may provide some mood-boosting benefits. From treating skin conditions to strengthening bones, sunlight has other health benefits as well. Because excess sun exposure is linked with increased skin cancer risk, refrain from staying outside too long without sunscreen. If you’re going to be outside longer than 15 minutes or so, you’ll need a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.”   -(HealthLine.com)

“Discovering the environment’s impact on cognitive functioning within the context of seasonal disorders may lead not only to better understanding of the disorders, but also to the development of targeted interventions to enhance everyday functioning and quality of life.”
-Shia Kent, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Sunlight & Vitamin D

What Is Sunlight?

Sunlight, sunshine, the sun, daylight, sun rays, whatever you choose to call it, chances are you know what it is. But let’s dig a little deeper.
Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation that is given off by the all mighty and powerful sun. Using more specific terms, the sun gives off infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. For us little people down on Earth, sunlight is filtered through the atmosphere surrounding the Earth, thus providing us with daylight. This means the sun is present above the horizon. When the sun’s rays are not being by clocked by clouds, which creates diffused light, they shine right on down to us. This creates sunshine, which is an unbeatable combination of radiant heat and bright light.
Too much sun isn’t always a good thing. It’s important to always wear sunscreen, protect your skin from overexposure, and always drink enough water. The sun is more than powerful and can easily control our bodies.
If you’re like me, you cross your fingers, pray to the weather gods, and hope with everything inside of you that every single day of the year will be sunny. This is because sunlight is known to have positive effects on the brain, can drastically improve your skin, can ease health problems, and most definitely raises energy levels. If we are smart about how we manage our time with the sun and how it fits into our lives, we can be exposed to a world of health benefits. For example, Vitamin D, which is crucial for our bodies to remain healthy, is activated within us when we are exposed to sun.

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamins are chemicals that our bodies require in order for them to remain healthy. They help us fight illnesses, keep us strong, help us heal, and keep our insides working well together. Vitamin D, which is most commonly known for helping promote strong and healthy bones, can be created by the sunlight or taken in pill form. It is pretty remarkable that sunlight, when exposed to the skin, can help our bodies create Vitamin D. This is the only vitamin that can make itself. We must get our other vitamins through our foods. Vitamin D doesn’t rely on our diet, instead it relies on our exposure to sunlight.

Why We Need Vitamin D…

Our bodies need and crave Vitamin D in order to keep our bones strong and healthy. The Vitamin D Council, a website dedicated to all things Vitamin D related, took to their blog to explain why Vitamin D is so important. They described,
“Vitamin D is very important for strong bones. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for developing the structure and strength of your bones, and you need vitamin D to absorb these minerals. Even if you eat foods that contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus, without enough vitamin D, you can’t absorb them into your body. Vitamin D is important for general good health, and researchers now are discovering that vitamin D may be important for many other reasons outside of good bone health. Some of the functions of the body that vitamin D helps with include:

  • Immune system, which helps you to fight infection
  • Muscle function
  • Cardiovascular function, for a healthy heart and circulation
  • Respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways
  • Brain development
  • Anti-cancer effects

Doctors are still working to fully understand how vitamin D works within your body and how it affects your overall health.

If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D to keep it healthy, this is called vitamin D deficiency. Severe vitamin D deficiency can sometimes cause a condition called rickets in children and a condition called osteomalacia in adults. Both of these conditions cause soft, thin, and brittle bones. A lack of vitamin D has also been linked to some other conditions such as cancer, asthma, type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and type-I diabetes.” (VitaminDCouncil.org)

Vitamin D Deficiency…

Vitamin D deficiency is far more common than most people would ever think. How can something that is activated by a natural part of our world not being taken advantage of? There are many factors that can come into play when it comes to Vitamin D deficiency. For example, some parts of the world remain dark for extended amounts of time for specific seasons. Some states, such as Seattle, are gloomy and rainy for a high percentage of the year. Some people are scared of too much skin, and some, just simply don’t make or don’t have the time for sun exposure. There are a whole slew of reasons why people could be lacking Vitamin D and the statistics that prove just how many people are struggling will blow your mind.

Healing Therapies, a website dedicated to medical studies, has a blog titled, “Vitamin D: Facts and Statistics.” In this article, the Vitamin D deficiency statistics are laid out.

  • 32% of doctors and medical school students are vitamin-D deficient.
  • 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin-D deficient.
  • 42% of African American women of childbearing age are vitamin-D deficient.
  • 48% of young girls (9-11 years old) are vitamin-D deficient.
  • Up to 60% of all hospital patients are vitamin-D deficient.
  • 76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin-D deficient, causing widespread vitamin-D deficiencies in their unborn children.

(HealingTherapies.Info)

How Does Vitamin D Work?

Okay so now you know what sunlight is, and you know what Vitamin D is, but now you need to know how the two work together to keep us healthy. It’s quite simple…chemical processes!

The Vitamin D process begins with your liver. Whether you are exposing yourself to sunlight to receive Vitamin D or you are taking supplements, your body is going to send the Vitamin D to your liver. Once your body reaches this point, your liver is going to take that Vitamin D and change it into a different substance. This substance is called 25(OH)D. As the Vitamin D Council explains, “When your doctor talks about your vitamin D levels, he means the amount of 25(OH)D you have in your blood.” Hey, thanks liver! From this point, the chemical is sent all over your body and it’s ready to get to action! Our tissues turn it into activated Vitamin D and your body will begin to receive the long slew of health benefits.The Vitamin D Council came to the rescue again to simplify what is definitely not a simple thing. The website explains,

“From here, it gets a little complicated, but you can think of activated vitamin D working in two ways:

Manages calcium in your blood, bones and gut
Helps cells all over your body to communicate properly”

As you can see, Vitamin D deserves to be explained in more than just a few lines. It’s complex, extremely interesting, and majorly beneficial. However, if I were to explain it to you in just a few sentences, I would leave you with this…
Our bodies need vitamin D and the sun can give us it. Why not take advantage of what this world has to offer? Your body will thank you!

Blue Light Therapy For Acne

What Is Blue Light Therapy?

Light Therapy is the process of using sunlight or a form of light that is meant to mimic the benefits of sunlight in order to treat a wide array of conditions. Blue Light Therapy, specifically, is known to treat conditions such as acne, skin cancer, seasonal depression, difficulty with seasonal changes, and a long list of skin conditions. Although Blue Light Therapy has proven effective for all of these conditions, it is most commonly known and used for treating acne.

What Is Acne?

Acne can show up in all different forms and sadly, it can show up all over your body. It is the most common skin condition in the world, affecting more than 50 million Americans. 94% of females struggle with acne. That’s a pretty high percentage, huh?! Acne is caused by hair follicles plugging with oil and dead skin cells. The not to pleasant result appears in the form of pimples, blackheads, bumps, white heads, and other blemishes.
The truth is…no one wants acne. Everyone has to deal with it throughout their life. Some people are lucky, it only shows up during puberty. While others struggle their whole lives. And some people, no matter how healthy they eat, and no matter how often they wash their face, just can’t seem to say goodbye to the blemishes. This is where Blue Light Therapy comes into play.

Blue Light Therapy For Acne…

Blue Light Therapy can be used to help treat acne no matter what age you are and no matter how the skin condition appears on your body. The treatment process has no known side affects. It is drug free, chemical free, non-invasive, and quite simple. Dermatologists are swearing by Blue Light Therapy, claiming that it can help rid of the blemishes we thought we could never get rid of. While treatments can be conducted in a doctor’s office, it can get quite expensive. At home devices are typically recommended because they are a one time cost and can be used every day at your own leisure.

How It Works…

Judith Hellman, M.D., a NYC based dermatologists who practices medical dermatology did a question and answer piece with SkinInc. She specializes in dermatological surgery, laser surgery, and anti-aging skin treatments. In Hellman’s answers for the website, she explains how Blue Light Therapy works and what it’s effects are. Hellman explains,

“Blue light kills the acne-causing bacteria known as Propioni­bacterium acnes, (P. acnes), which can cause inflammation. P. acnes is sensitive to blue light. Using the blue light eliminates the bacteria found in the oil glands in the skin. The added presence of infrared light (heat) in the home device causes the oil glands to shrink in size. The result is less oil in the skin and less bacteria, leading to the resolution of acne in the treated areas.

Eliminating the bacteria from the skin with help from blue light decreases the inflammation associated with red pimples (papules) seen in acne. After a number of treatments, the blemishes disappear and skin regains its normal appearance.” (SkinInc.com)

If Blue Light Therapy treatments are being conducted at home, they are typically performed one to two times each day. Depending on the skin, times will vary. But the treatment will not be more than an hour long, making it so easy to fit into your daily routine. There are a few different forms of Blue Light Therapy so it is important to do your research to decide what device is going to work best for you. Handheld devices are typically simple and portable while lamps and panels take up a bit more space. There are pros and cons to all options so speaking to your Dermatologist and thinking about your routine is important

Important Words…

“My clients have experienced a very significant decrease in the number of acne lesions, both pimples and cysts, with the home device. Not only have they achieved better skin, but there has been a huge improvement in their self-confidence. Since most sufferers are young, the success of the treatment and reduction of their acne also helped their social life and interactions with others, both in a personal and a professional setting. I consider this a very big treatment success beyond just improving the condition itself.”

-Judith Hellman, M.D.

Are You Sold?


$99.00

ReVive Clinical 40 Acne Light Therapy System

Boscovs.com

This handheld device is perfect for practicing at home Blue Light Therapy treatments. The ReVive Clinical 40 Acne Light Therapy System is hand held, portable, and easy to use. Not only is the head detachable so that it can be swapped with other ReVive Light Therapy products, but the head contains 60 415 nanometer LEDs. The LEDs are powerful enough to kill the bacteria in your pores that is causing acne. Thank goodness!
The kit also includes a travel bag and goggles to keep your eyes safe. For just under $100, and being small enough to pack away, this Blue Light Therapy device is perfect for dealing with acne.
Are you sold? I think you’re sold. Blue Light Therapy is sure to surprise you.

Best Books on Light Therapy

Whether you’re interested in Light Therapy, currently practicing the therapy, a doctor wanting to learn more, a student researching the topic for class, or basically anyone with a little light going off in their brain in regards to Light Therapy, there is a book for you. We have taken the liberty to compile our favorite books on Light Therapy in hopes that you’ll give them a chance. So keep on reading…and then read some more!


“Light – Medicine of the Future” by Jacob Liberman, Ph.D

Amazon for $15.76

Jacob Liberman wrote this wonderful book in 1990. While that might make you feel like it’s outdated, aren’t the best books always the classics? Liberman’s book challenges the modern myth and assumption that the sun and it’s rays are harmful. He claims that the sun isn’t actually dangerous, but the products we use in order to avoid it, for example, fluorescent lighting, sunglasses, indoor lifestyles, and sunscreen, are actually more harmful. Liberman also uses his book to explain how Light Therapy can be used in the treatment of various cancers, depression, visual problems, stress, sexual dysfunction, learning disabilities, PMS, our immune systems, and so much more. Liberman successfully integrates scientific research clinic experience, and his own outlook to create a book that’s easy to read and intensely interesting. This book is definitely worth a read.

  

“The Healing Sun” by Richard Hobday, Ph.D.
Amazon for $11.94

Richard Hobday’s, The Healing Sun, is wise and insightful. This book focuses on how the human race has lost touch with the sun. We evolved with the sun and for thousands of years we lived in sync with it’s rays and heat. In the past it was used to help prevent and treat diseases and helped heal us. However, our present day outlook on the sun is negative. Hobday explains that in the past fifty years we have lost this close contact and bond with the sun as well as it’s healing powers. Hobday explains that the sun is crucial to our well being and health but somehow, we have become afraid of it. This book does a wonderful job of explaining why we should bring sunshine back into our every day lives and how we can do so safely and effectively. The sun is pretty incredible and Richard Hobday knows just how to explain that to his readers.

  
“Health and Light – The Extraordinary Study That Shows How Light Affects Your Health and Emotional Well Being” by John N. Ott 
Amazon for $20.00

John Ott is a strong believer in the sun and it’s wonderful powers. Ott was a developer of time lapse photography and he developed his love for the sun through that. Much of Ott’s work was featured in Walt Disney’s nature films. As Ott created these projects, he discovered and began to appreciate what a major role the sun played in helping certain flowers grow. While experimenting, he discovered that exposure to light affects animal and human growth as well. Ott’s research is causing science to revise their opinions about the light and it’s use as therapy. This is why John N. Ott’s book is so important. He is changing the world with his studies and his book is a personal and intense look into that discovery. Health and Light – The Extraordinary Study That Shows How Light Affects Your Health and Emotional Well Being, is the beautiful story of a man who acted on his observations and experiments and then went on to support them with scientific evidence and exploration. Ott is brilliant, observant, and intelligent, just like this book.

  
“Light Therapy: Teach Me Everything I Need To Know About Light Therapy in 30 Minutes” by 30 Minute Reads
Amazon for $7.95

This book is extremely informative and well written. It’s meant to inform you and get it’s point across quickly and effectively. The book touches on all topics of Light Therapy is a very intellectual and scientific fashion. Light Therapy is a very wide and sometimes exhaustive topic so this book separates out the key points. Readers will learn the basic overlay of what Light Therapy is and how Light Therapy can be used. It explains the dynamics of Light Therapy being used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and other conditions as well as the possible side affects. It also explains the factors that influence the success rate of Light Therapy and the different benefits from the treatment. For people looking to dive right into Light Therapy and learn all of the details of the practice, this is the book for you. 

  
“Winter Blues: Everything You Need To Know To Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder” by Norman E. Rosenthal, MD.
Amazon for $14.26

The New York Times called this piece by Norman E. Rosenthal “A landmark book.” Does it get much better than that? Here’s why the New York Times praises this book. Winter Blues: Everything You Need To Know To Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a book that makes people feel like they’re not alone. Millions of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it’s not discussed nearly enough. Most people just push their winter blues aside but Seasonal Affective Disorder is serious and there is a cure. The first step to treatment is buying this book. Dr. Normal E. Rosenthal’s book is intelligent, engaging, full of scientific wisdom, and very compassionate. All of these adjectives have helped make this book a best seller. The book explains how to evaluate your own level of seasonality, how to get the most out of Light Therapy devices and learn about other self-help options. The book also aims to help readers make educated and informed decisions about psychotherapy and anti-depressants. There is also a chapter on meditation practices and their benefits. As Amazon quotes, “picking up this book is the first step to feeling more energized, productive, and alive–all year long.” What are you waiting for?

  
“A Clinicians Guide To Using Light Therapy” by Raymond W. Lam and Edwin M. Tam.

Amazon for $55.27

Raymond W. Lam is Professor and Head of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. He’s also the director of the Mood Disorders Centre of Excellence at UBC Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. Edwin M. Tam is Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and UBC Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. I think it’s safe to say both of these men are highly qualified to write a book about Light Therapy. This brilliant and highly reviewed book is a step by step guide to helping busy health clinicians work Light Therapy into their every day work life. This book helps clinicians and other health professionals better diagnose Seasonal Affective Disorder, educate their patients on the condition, and effectively work the Light Therapy practice into their every day practice. The book includes many additional resources. For example, a list of frequently asked questions and patient educational handouts. This book is highly acclaimed and a must read for busy clinicians looking to step up their game!

“Chronotherapy: Resetting Your Inner Clock To Boost Mood, Alertness, and Quality Sleep” by Michael Terman Ph.D.  And Ian McMahan Ph.D.  
Amazon for $9.95

Sleep disorders and depression are usually a package deal. It’s hard to have one without the other. Chronotherapy: Resetting Your Inner Clock To Boost Mood, Alertness, and Quality Sleep is an enlightened approach to helping treat insomnia, depression, fatigue, and other sleep related problems that affect your every day life. Michael Terman Ph.D. And Ian McMahan Ph.D., wrote this book because they believe that we can embrace the power of Light Therapy to reset our natural internal clock. Both of these doctors have been studying Light Therapy and our circadian rhythms for quite awhile. Their studies and insights are being considered game changers and their research is helping struggling people every day. The book begins with a questionaire that pinpoints the problem areas in our lives. This questionaire helps readers figure out when their natural internal light begins and ends. After this is deciphered, the treatment process can begin. This book helps readers incorporate natural light as well as supplemental light into their lives to battle a wide array of conditions and disorders. Are you reading to start learning? Are you ready to start healing? Are you ready to start sleeping again? This is the book for you.

Light Therapy & Cancer Survivors

  

Did You Know…
that a great deal of cancer survivors are diagnosed with clinical depression? Some survivors struggling with depression have been cancer free for years. Even though the cancer is gone, patients still struggle immensely. Is it going to come back? What happens if I does? What do I do with all of these debt? How do I become myself again? Will I ever be happy again? All of these questions are one hundred percent valid which is why we should never except cancer survivors to constantly be leaping with joy with no other thoughts in their minds. That is just not fair.

Depression…
is a much more than feeling just feel low for a couple days. Everyone has their moments where they feel sad and low, sometimes even depressed. These feelings can be brought about by rejection, loss, drastic lifestyle changes, low self esteem, every day struggles, and more. However, when these feelings don’t fade away as the days go on, and your mood is always as low as the dirt, it is very likely that your sadness has transformed into something far more serious. These are signs of being clinically depressed. Clinic depression is difficult to conquer and therefore should never be ignored. However, when sadness turns into depression, it becomes a condition that is medically treatable.

The Symptoms…
of depression are not necessarily anything that you wouldn’t expect. Imagine your worst day, when you feel so sad and low, helpless and anxious, and then morph that into a lifestyle. This is depression for most people. Web MD, a scholarly website dedicated to helping us understand our bodies, has a section on their website explaining depression and all of the details surrounding the condition. In their section on depression, there is a chapter titled, “How Do I Know If I Have Depression?” The site continues to list signs that point towards depression followed by some important key signs…

• A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
• Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
• Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
• Insomnia (an inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
• Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
• Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
• A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
• Significant weight loss or weight gain

Light Therapy… 
is slowly becoming a total game changer for our world. It is helping treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, skin disorders and conditions, and a whole lot more. Lucky for cancer survivors everywhere, Light Therapy is most definitely helping kick depression’s butt. 

New studies conducted in colleges across the world have shown that Light Therapy can decrease symptoms of depression in cancer survivors. It is also helping to balance the circadian rhythms in their brains. 
According to Psych Central, a very credible website dedicated to the interworkings of our brains, the studies were extremely enlightening. The website explains, 
“For the study, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Northwestern University, University of Iowa, University of California in San Diego, and Reykjavik University in Iceland randomly divided 54 cancer survivors into two groups. Participants were provided with a light box and asked to use it for 30 minutes every morning for four weeks. The boxes either had a bright white light or a dim red light. Depressive symptoms and circadian activity rhythms were measured before, during, and three months after completing the light exposures to determine the effectiveness of the light therapy. The study found that patients exposed to the bright light experienced improvements in depressive symptoms, while those exposed to the dim red light experienced no change in symptoms. “Our findings suggest light therapy, a rather non-invasive therapy, may provide an innovative way to decrease depression among cancer survivors,” said William Redd, Ph.D., a professor of oncological sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and co-author of the study.” (PsychCentral.com)
It is important that whatever treatments occur post cancer for these patients remains non-invasive and very positive. This is why Light Therapy being effective for treating depression is so important to acknowledge. Light Therapy is harm free and can seriously improve the quality of life that cancer survivors are experiencing.

Light Box Therapy & Your Lifestyle

Why Would You Need A Light Therapy Box?

Most people underestimate the power of the sun. Light Therapy helps remind us why sunlight is so crucial to our every day lives. Light Therapy is the process of the using light in all different forms to help treat a diverse array of conditions and disorders. Light Therapy Boxes are typically used in order to treat Seasonal Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, other forms of depression, jet lag, insomnia, unhealthy sleep patterns, BiPolar Disorder, and more. 

It’s easy to assume that a box giving off a source of light is not going to solve your problems, but along with an open mind, Light Therapy Boxes can really help. Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a condition that uses Light Therapy Boxes the most, is more common than most people assume. Seasonal changes can severely affect the brain natural energy levels and the way it reacts to day and night. Before choosing a Light Therapy Box, a diagnosis first needs to be made. What are you struggling with? 

Do you have trouble getting to sleep at night when it’s been dark and dreary all day? 

Is it impossible for you to wake up without the sun? 

Is dealing with being BiPolar taking over your life? 

Do you travel for work and are constantly battling jet lag?

Are you feeling depressed because the sun has been hiding for winter?
Time To Choose A Product…

Before purchasing a Light Therapy Box, it is important to look at your every day life. What product would fit best into your every day schedule? If you decide to try a Light Therapy Box that doesn’t fit into your every day routine, you will never use it. Which means you will never receive the results your body needs. 

It is important to consider the time of your day you would like to use the treatment. What would you be doing during this time? This will help you find a product that lets you continue to perform your activity while undergoing treatment. For example, if you always sit down in your lounge chair to read around 7 o’clock every night, size may not matter too much and you can choose a powerful, self standing Light Therapy Lamp to place next to your chair. If you work at a desk for a period of the day, a desktop Light Therapy Box may fit your lifestyle best. It can be small, portable, and hardly take up any space…allowing you to go about your normal work routine. If the activity that seems best fit to pair with treatment is something like excercising, where you need to be a bit farther than a desktop length away from the Light Therapy Box, that’s okay too. There are some products that have more powerful bulbs, for example, 10,000 Lux, and these will allow you to be farther than 2 feet away from the source of light. For many people, a set up like this may be more convenient. 
There are a few other factors to consider as well…

Are your eyes sensitive to light?

Are you new to Light Therapy?

What has your doctor recommended?

Are you on a budget?

Is portability crucial?

On That Note…

Is it important to take all of these examples into consideration before purchasing a Light Therapy Box. Light Therapy is capable of being magical and changing your life in ways you never thought possible…but if you don’t find a product that works into your lifestyle, you will never be able to experience these effects. 
So go ahead! You’re ready. Start searching!