Light therapy is a form of all natural therapy that is changing lives around the world. During the basic and most common form of light therapy, patients sit near a special lamp that emits bright light for a set amount of time on a daily schedule. This artificial lighting is meant to mimic natural outdoor light with the goal of affecting the body’s internal clock. Our internal clocks, or circadian rhythms, regulate the way our brains react to energy during the daytime, sleep during the nighttime, and when our bodies become hungry. Melatonin, a sleep hormone, is naturally released in our brains at night when our internal clock is off. Serotonin, our mood altering hormone that provides us with energy, is supposed to be consistently being released throughout the day, while our internal clock is on and active. However, due to factors such as work schedules, seasonal changes, mental disorders, sleeping problems, and more, it is very easy for our circadian rhythms to be thrown off. This is where light therapy saves us!
Since our circadian rhythms are greatly influenced by natural every day environmental factors such as the sunrise and sunset, light therapy is a wonderful way to make sure our bodies are releasing melatonin and serotonin at the correct times. Doing so can treat mental disorders such as depression and seasonal affective disorder, increase energy and happiness levels, improve skin conditions, and so much more!
As with any medical practice, there is a long list of myths that follow light therapy around. We’re here to share some myths with you and provide you with the facts. Let’s get down to it.
Myth #1: All Light Therapy Is The Same
While we’ve been noting light therapy for mental conditions in this article, there are many different forms of light therapy. Aside from standard bright light treatments, there are also red, blue, and green light therapy devices. These devices can treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne. They are also wildly successful at rejuvenating the skin, reducing wrinkles and fine lines, and making you feel like your sixteen year old self again! Red light is also used for muscle and joint pain, wound healing, chronic pain, and more. Don’t stop at bright light, all of the colors are wonderful!
Myth #2: Light Therapy Is Only Used For Depression
It’s true, light therapy is most commonly used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and other forms of depression. However, light therapy has endless potential for our mental and emotional well being. It can also treat sleep disorders, dementia, bipolar disorder, jet lag, and more. Assuming that light therapy is only good for one thing is just silly!
Myth #3: So I Just Stare Into A Light Bulb For Hours?
Wrong! It’s easy to assume that light therapy treatments consist of sitting in front of light bulbs and waiting for the magic to happen. But in actuality, treatment sessions typically don’t last longer than 30 minutes a day. The sessions are easy to fit into your daily routine and most devices allow you to do other activities to pass the time or multitask. Try reading a book, knitting, or eating a meal while sitting in front of your light therapy device!
Also, you wouldn’t stare into the light – so take note of that. A light therapy device usually emits light that is 100 times brighter than most indoor lighting, since the treatments are intense and succinct, so you definitely don’t want to be staring into that bulb!
Myth #4: There Are No Side Effects!
It’s always important to talk with a doctor before starting any new medical treatment. Just because light is natural and we can’t necessarily feel treatment sessions when they’re occurring doesn’t mean that they are 100% harmless. Light therapy can have a negative effect on those with sensitive skin and eyes. It can also cause eye straining, headaches, nausea, or irritability. Most of these side effects are mild and short term, however it is still important to monitor the usage of your light therapy device and consider any personal conditions –such as bipolar disorder or a severe skin condition — before beginning treatment – for example
It’s easy to make assumptions about things that are not normal or common. Light therapy is a world changing treatment that deserves all of the praise and credit you can give it! Make no assumptions about light therapy, don’t believe the myths, and know your facts. If you follow these words, you will end up thanking us! We promise.