Taking Light Therapy

Are you looking for alternative therapies and treatments to help you with your seasonal depression?

Many people suffering with seasonal affective disorder—which is basically a form of depression that occurs in the wintertime—have chosen light therapy to help them, with very positive results. You may want to consider taking light therapy yourself for your own condition.

In the winter, the amount of natural light a person is exposed to on an everyday basis is diminished—which for some people affects their bodies’ internal clocks and rhythms and leads to depression, or seasonal affective disorder. Taking light therapy works then because patients are exposed to a particular type of light that mimics natural light.

Taking light therapy basically involves being exposed to light by sitting in front of a purchased specialty light box, with your eyes fully open, allowing the light (fluorescent bulbs or tubes that block out UV rays) to enter your eyes without looking directly at the light. Its effectiveness depends on the intensity of the light (about 10,000 lux), the duration (most commonly recommended is daily sessions anywhere from half an hour to two hours), and timing (morning is best). However, intensity, duration, and timing can vary from person to person, and your health-care practitioner can help you with this. Patients taking light therapy can experience improvement from within a few days to a few weeks.

Taking light therapy is a standard treatment option for those affected by seasonal affective disorder. Benefits of taking light therapy include the fact that it is safe, very effective, simple, and straightforward to use, and there are generally no significant side effects. Rare side effects, however, could include headache, eye strain, and sleeping difficulties.

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