Using Light Therapy for Depression

September 27, 2009

Depression is one of the few disorders that can be treated successfully, and it responds well to it. But to find out which type of treatment works best is difficult, especially one that is new to the market such as light therapy for depression. But there are many medical conditions similar to depression, and medications can cause the symptoms of depression–fatigue, loss of pleasure, or sadness. And for a fact depression will not leave until the actual problem is not only identified but treated correctly.

Conventional methods for treating depression include psychotherapy, electroconvulsive or ECT therapy, and antidepressant drugs. The medical field recognizes that treatments for depression can vary, depending on its severity and its cause. Both holistic practitioners and traditional medical physicians agree that for extremely serious depressions, light therapy for depression should be considered as a complementary treatment as compared to the conventional ones.

These complementary conditions considered acceptable for light therapy for depression would be seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorders, not major or chronic depressions such as manic depression or manor depressive disorders. But there are several other conditions, including the light therapy for depression of SAD, that accept light therapy as an excellent treatment–early morning insomnia, productivity enhancement, night-owl insomnia, jet lag, late-shift drowsiness, bulimia, lupus, nonseasonal depression, or even prolonged menstrual cycles.

A lot of the early research on light therapy for depression has been inadequately funded, which has led to its lack of research at the very beginning. Also the studies had lots of flaws in its design problems, which caused them to be weak in their quality.

But research in Canada has completed one of the most recent studies that says light therapy for depression is just as effective of a treatment as medications, and is considered to be the safest treatment for bipolar depression. And not only is it effective, it is cheaper than traditional medication and treatments, in addition to being much safer with fewer side effects. Almost all of antidepressant treatments, except lithium, have the ability to make the condition of bipolar disorder much worse than without them, forcing an increase of subtle “manic side” symptoms.

When applying light therapy for depression treatments for winter depression or season affective disorder, light therapy originally started out with early morning treatments. But recent results have demonstrated how light therapy treats depression is still unknown, and is very much unestablished in its results. Recent studies have shown us that research in light therapy may occur in the evenings or other times with just as good of results.

Theories on Light Therapy Safety

May 7, 2009

Light therapy uses ultraviolet and other types of light to treat a wide range of illnesses and medical and emotional problems. Almost anything from skin problems to emotional distress and depression can be at least helped by light therapy. But as with most medical and alternative therapies, there are some disadvantages to light therapy.

It is widely known and acknowledged by the medical community that ultraviolet light is damaging to the skin. It breaks down vitamins A and C in the skin, and can damage the skin’s collagen. Some genetic damage has also been seen with extended exposure to UV. Blue light is also used in some light therapy; unfortunately, blue light can cause breaks in cellular DNA. While the cells can usually repair themselves, research has shown that cancer can easily develop in damaged cells like those injured by blue light exposure.

LED Light Therapy

March 17, 2009

The Beginning of LED Light Therapy with NASA

The LED Light Therapy goes back to early scientific experiments by NASA that originated with LEDs, or the Light Emitting Diodes. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in the state of Alabama, in addition to Quantum Devices, Inc., of Wisconsin, had taken specific plants that were placed aboard the Space Shuttle, exposing them in space to near-infrared light produced by LEDs.

The purpose of using the LEDs was because they increased the energy that was produced in the energy compartments of each plant cell, causing the cells to grow much faster. Everybody on Earth benefited from NASA’s new scientific find for faster-growing plants–farmers especially as their crops could be grown faster, bringing about a quicker harvest, faster processing, and bringing in more money for a faster turn-about-time. From this moment on, LED Light Therapy took on an entire new meaning.

While NASA was working on the growing rate of the plants in space with the LEDs, Quantum Devices scientists overheard discussions among physicians in regard to laser therapy for their patients. Apparently, laser lights for people accelerated cell growth and healing, but had some pretty serious drawbacks in its use. Surrounding tissue areas had became overheated when the lasers were used, the lasers were said to be huge and expensive to operate, they were limited in color wavelength, and on the average they were not very reliable.

When NASA and Quantum Devices joined forces, the resulting LED Light Therapy had many advantages over the older methods. LEDs did not heat the tissues, as did the older lasers, because they used a longer wavelength that was near-infrared light that helped to penetrate deeper into the tissues. In other words, the redder the light is the longer the wavelength, which means it can penetrate the body tissues deeper. This made it a perfect treatment for crush injuries, badly burned victims, cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatment complications–all areas where large body areas are involved.

When LED light is used to activate the light-sensitive chemotherapy drugs to destroy cancer, the nickname Photo Dynamic Therapy was given to it, or PDT. In addition, the stimulation of normal cell chemicals uses LED Light Therapy without any drugs to heal and regenerate human tissues. How this works is that LED Light Therapy reacts with parts of certain cells that are called cytochromes, that respond to light and color in order to cause their energy levels to raise.

The new LED Light Therapy medical treatment has begun to help people who have had no hope of treatment with their diseases, by regenerating tissue, muscle, brain and bone. The most exciting thing is the original experiments by NASA with their LED Light Therapy that began in space are now being used for muscle and bone atrophy in astronauts.

Light Therapy

January 28, 2009

Light therapy is a rather complicated alternative medicinal field in itself, and is considered a vibrational medicine that uses acupuncture points, meridians, chakras, reflex zones, and many other areas to alter unbalanced frequencies in the body.

Based on scientific principles, light therapy can also be considered a form of energy medicine in addition to the vibrational medicine. It pulsates to a particular frequency that can be restored through resonant vibration, in order to achieve balance in the system. This balance is constantly seeking to reassert itself from an unbalanced state, through its own wisdom and intelligent form whenever light therapy is brought into play.

The body’s systems when it goes through some sort of crisis or trauma can not correct itself on its own, at least whenever a psychotic registration occurs. What consist in the makeup of the system of the body are the physical, the mental, the spiritual, and the emotional levels–all of which can be influenced by the application of light therapy. And since light therapy consists of vibration and resonance, the different areas of the body’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects have the ability to resonant to the many different vibrational frequencies.

In light therapy, the five physical senses are stimulated by vibration and resonance. This stimulation occurs with touch, color, light, sound, aroma, sacred geometry, and the use of crystals and gems. Receiving this stimulation can occur as an individual unit or as a total process, creating a balance in the system’s physical aspect. When an imbalance begins to occur, the body becomes deficient or completely overwhelmed by any amount of the senses–one or as a group.

By realizing that the body requires a balanced stimulus effecting the body, the senses can be approached on a steady and regular basis by utilizing the senses through processes–such as light therapy. Only then can healthy restoration begin to occur with deep changes toward a balanced system in the body.

Light therapy is important, as our bodies require light on a daily basis. The full spectrum of light influences the entire body to maintain its health, in a world where society is continuously blocking this light by staying indoors or deflecting the many forms of the light spectrum through the use of sun screen, sunglasses, or contacts. Seeing as light enters our body 90% of the time through the eyes, the skin, and the chakras, it is important to receive this light spectrum in order to stimulate the endocrine system, the immune system, and the body’s organs. As little as two hours of indirect sunlight offer the visible light spectrum, infrared, and ultraviolet light for a marked emotional well being and healthy body.

The Power of Intense Pulse Light Therapy

November 4, 2008

One of the latest procedures for light therapy is the Intense Pulse Light Therapy, also known as photo laser, computer controlled light therapy, light laser and many more. Pioneered by Dr. Patrick Bitter Jr., this new light therapy emits high intensity pulses of light to penetrate the human skin for skin disorders. This new light therapy is used for the removal of facial wrinkles, old age or “liver” spots, freckles, tattoos, hair removal, and many other skin disorders. The Intense Pulse Light Therapy especially is used by those who cannot stand the traditional lasers.

The procedure of the light therapy may begin with a topical anesthetic application, where once the numbing has taken effect in the treatment area, an application of a cold and soothing gel will be applied and then a pyramid or glass prism is placed over the gel and area. A non-aggressive pulse, or intense flash of light, will then be flashed through the prism toward the treatment area in order to keep the skin undamaged for further treatments.

Different types of machines are designed for different levels of repairs and penetration for the Intense Pulse Light Therapy:

• PhotoDerm VL - light pulses are directed at the spider and varicose veins, in addition to vascular birth marks. What is targeted is the blood’s hemoglobin for vascular lesions.
• PhotoDerm PL - light pulses are directed at the age spots, freckles, different types of discoloration, and flat pigmented birthmarks. The targeted area is the melanin in the epidermis for pigmented lesions.
• PhotoDerm HR an EpiLight - light pulses are directed at the melanin in the hair shaft, traveling to the follicle, heating and destroying it for hair removal.

Not everyone can be treated with Intense Pulse Light Therapy, especially insulin-dependent diabetics, due to the risk of wound-healing and infection problems. Also, anyone who uses blood thinners should have them discontinued before treatment, such as Coumadin, Heparin, aspirin, or 10-days discontinued usage before treatments, such as any herbal remedies that are anti-coagulant–garlic, ginger, cayenne, papaya, gingko, gingko biloba, Vitamin E, or selenium.

There are always risks with anything that is medical whether or not it is natural or traditional medicine, even if it is just slight. With Intense Pulse Light Therapy, blistering or slight bleeding may be possible. Also, lightening or darkening of certain areas due to the treatments may occur, and if so it may be between three to 12 months before any type of normal skin tone will appear. In very, very rare occurrences, scarring may occur.

Bright Light Therapy

October 16, 2008

The Body’s Acceptance of Bright Light Therapy

More than 15 medical agencies doing research on Bright Light Therapy have shown success with light therapy in patients, with improvement in about a week or so. Bright Light Therapy has shown the medical fields that therapeutic levels of illumination have now recognized physiological effects on the human body.

According to blood tests the hormone melatonin, known to be exceptionally high at certain times of the day, are rapidly reduced by levels of light exposure. This has demonstrated that Bright Light Therapy affects the daily rhythms of body temperature, hormone secretion, and sleep patterns. To sum it up, it refers to a treatment used for individuals who suffer from circadian rhythm sleep disorders, with a normal circadian referring to a cycle of approximately 24 hours which makes one feel sleepy or alert at daily regular times. A circadian rhythm sleep disorder causes this natural sleep patter to overlap into a person’s regular awake activities–work or school.
Where all of this originates from is because scientifically, the body’s clock is located in the body’s brain, is a junction where the nerves travel to the eyes called the SCN. It is this clock that controls the “circadian rhythms” of the body, in turn controlling the body rhythms.

Bright Light Therapy when balancing the body’s rhythms sets the internal clock by its exposure to bright light, similar to sunlight. A goal for combination therapy includes a healthy sleep pattern and an internal clock that works at the right time. The purpose of the Bright Light Therapy is to reset the body’s clock that is not working, but is considered only part of the treatment plan. The other part of the treatment plan is to include a doctor who knows what he or she is doing and specializes in sleep disorders. At this time, there are four basic groups of products for light therapy:

1. The Light Box
2. The Desk Lamp
3. The Light Visor
4. The Dawn Simulator

Another disorder that Bright Light Therapy is good for is the depressive phase of bipolar. Women with bipolar disorder were examined by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Previously the women had used Bright Light Therapy treatments in the morning or at midday on a daily basis for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45 minutes for a period of two weeks. Six of the women had significant improvement, with several recovering 100% from the symptoms of the bipolar depression. The ones with the highest rates of success were in the midday light range, with a few responding to the early morning light.

Evolution of the Light Therapy Lamps

October 10, 2008

All kinds of lamps have been around a long time before Light Therapy Lamps were ever developed, with the first lamp being invented around 70,000 BC. A natural object was used–such as a hollow rock or shell–and then loosely layered with moss, then it was filled with animal fat and ignited for the first lamp for humanity. Quickly become popular with people, mankind began immediately imitating these natural shapes with metal lamps, man-made pottery, and alabaster, with wick being added at a later date to control its burning rate.

In actual reality, the original levels of developing mankind recognized the healing power of solar radiation itself in regard to their health, especially in regard to its full spectrum lighting before the Light Therapy Lamps were ever around. The effects of the sun’s light and how it influenced the human body–body control, central nervous system, and the hormone balance–will influence the body’s productivity and how it can concentrate.

The skin is the largest organ of the body, and this is the main focus of the Light Therapy Lamps, fulfilling in turn many other bodily functions. It reflects the soul of the body, reacting to the slightest change in regard to hormonal influences, internal stress, and to the surrounding environment.

There are several styles of Light Therapy Lamps, which require different ways to use them properly. One of the most popular lamps, the “NatureBright Inspirtal 3 in 1 LED Light Therapy Lamp,” has been proven to be twice as effective as the conventional light therapy products on today’s market. No UV rays and blue lights are used, which prevents vision problems such as macular degeneration. An individual can use it while sleeping, and it is perfect for those who can spare 30 minutes of light therapy before they go to work in the morning. And the best thing is there is a combination of 10,000-lux bright light therapy and dawn simulation technology. The Light Therapy Lamp serves as a bright-light therapy device, a digital alarm clock with a programmable dawn simulator, and a glare-free beside reading lamp.

The best location for a Light Therapy Lamp is to sit about 20-inches from the light itself, but this is a general rule for optimal light therapy results. Rotate the lamp head allowing it to cover the face area, as 90% of the rays need to enter the eyes. Keep the eyes wide open but do not look directly into the light. If a slight sensitivity begins to develop, adjust the intensity or brightness, and then the duration settings. Everyone has a different sensitive to the morning light, so some will need less and some will need more.

SAD Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorders

September 28, 2008

In institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, SAD light therapy is considered a standard form of treatment for seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Also referred to as a more serious form of “winter depression”, affected individuals suffer depression, lethargy, fatigue, and many other symptoms when shorter days and longer nights begin to raise their ugly heads in the fall and winter.

SAD has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, in the DSM-IV as an official subtype of major depressive episode. Approximately 75% of those involved are women, with the most common age of onset being the thirties. A psychiatrist by the name of Norman Rosenthal in 1984 had published a paper SAD light therapy, with research still going on today in regard to it. From that moment in time in the early 1980s, SAD light therapy–also been called bright light therapy or phototherapy–and over the years has been associated with the disorder SAD.

SAD light therapy requires about 30 minutes a day of daily light treatments–with the light treatments working best in the mornings with some using it in the evenings. The amount of light and when it is to be used depends a lot on the individual and the type of light box. A 10,000-lux light therapy box requires only 30 minutes a day of light treatment as a SAD light therapy, with the initial treatments requiring full spectrum lighting. More recent studies show that regular fluorescent bulbs can work as well, with UV or ultraviolet lighting needing to be filtered out as it damages the eyes and skin. But people still prefer the full spectrum minus the UV, as it is the closest to natural lighting available for SAD light therapy.

There are three key elements combined in SAD light therapy: intensity, duration, and timing. As many people know, light therapy is best used early in the morning as compared to using it in the evenings, as it has been known to disrupt sleep or cause insomnia. How long of a duration may range from 30 minutes to two hours, with initial doses as low as 15 minutes and working up. The intensity is a little more complicated, as the lux of the light box varies. The term “lux” refers to the measurement of light received at a specific distance from a particular light source, with the average light therapy box running between 2,500-lux and the typical 10,000-lux. To put this into more clear terminology, the average living room in the evening is about 400-lux, and the bright sunny day runs about 100,000-lux.

Light Relief Therapy

September 10, 2008

Carry Around “Light Relief” Therapy

Light Relief is a natural pain relief device that offers light relief therapy to emit infrared spectrum energy, providing topical heating to get the body going again. The infrared pain relief is for maintaining of the body’s tissue temperature, in addition to the elevation of the tissue. Muscle pain, join paint, stiffness, and any other area that offers problems with personal comfort will find relief with Light Relief Therapy. Radiation and X-rays are not used with this alternative procedure, allowing a silent treatment that provides very gentle and soothing warmth to the body and areas being treated.

When used as instructed by the manufacturer, the FDA has designated it to be safe and effective for temporary relief of the body and aids in muscle relaxation. The body’s range of motions will be increased temporarily due to the relaxation and pain relief, brought upon by the Light Relief Therapy application, which provides a temporarily increase in the body’s blood circulation. The more the unit is used, the more the pain will leave the area and the muscles will continue to relax and become more flexible over time.

The Light Relief Therapy unit contains 59 colored and infrared light emitting diodes, or LEDs, which consist of a total of 24 infrared, 31 red, and four blue, which provide to each and every painful body area a gentle stream of soothing energy. Heat buttons are on the unit, which can be turned off and on depending on the body’s acceptance of the energy massage. There are four frequency settings–start, low, medium and high. For best results, the Light Relief Therapy unit should be applied directly on the targeted skin area for instantaneous relief in a safe and gentle manner.

Many people consider purchasing more than one unit in order to apply them to different body targets at once, or to keep one at home and the other one at the office. And for those who did purchase this item, within fifteen minutes they stated they felt instantaneous relief upon treating the injured muscles with the high frequency function of the Light Relief Therapy.

When ordering the Light Relief Therapy product, a two-year warranty will cover the product, with a travel bag, a Light Relief body band, a Light Relief Guide, adjustable handles free strap, and a Light Relief Battery Operated Unit. Fitting into the palm of the hand, it is durable, lightweight and portable. Made of the highest quality standards, this little unit can fit into the palm of the hand while being flexible of the entire body.

Light Therapy Box

August 15, 2008

Effective Treatments with the Light Therapy Box

Light therapy box treatments are used for many things today, not just seasonal affective disorder (SAD)–pregnancy, winter depression, PMS, chronic fatigue, acne, bipolar disorders, sleep disorders, mood disorders, and atopic dermatitis–all beginning with recent studies showing that about 80% of SAD sufferers have high treatment success. Yet research on the light therapy box is still in its infancy stage, with light therapy not 100% accepted by the professional medical field at this time.

Quite a bit has been found out lately about bright light treatments and light therapy research, with the use of the light therapy box a major part in it. The key is the intensity of the light, called the lux, with light therapy box intensity ratings given at a specific distance from the unit as light diminishes with distance. A minimum of 2,500-lux is required for the light therapy box to be effective, but researchers and doctors recommend that a 10,000-lux be used as it is much more powerful, and is considered significantly higher than any standard indoor lighting.

Natural sunlight levels are unpredictable because of the every-changing weather patterns, where a person lives, and the time of year it is. Only on a very bright sunny day can natural sunlight match the 10,000-lux of the light therapy box for their successful treatments. But normally, not every day is sunny and bright on a routine basis, so other options are needed.

To fulfill that need, a variety of the light therapy box products are available to match each person’s individual needs. The best light therapy boxes are metal fixtures that contain white fluorescent light bulbs behind a diffuser. The diffuse is important as it provides two purposes: it helps to spread the light evenly over the unit surface, and it absorbs and filters out harmful UV rays.

The light therapy box also needs to be able to be titled slight forward, which allows flexibility of the unit to allow light to be entered into the eye areas of the individual. This tilting also decreases the brightness of the light, creating less glare and helping the individual to be more comfortable during the treatment.  Full spectrum lighting needs to have UV rays filtered out for both eye and skin–even though a critical part of the light therapy box is its intensity–with both UV-A and UV-B rays filtered out, producing less glare and more comfort to the individual.

For those who have side effects, even though they are very small and mild, moving away a few inches from the light source and then gradually over a period from two days to two weeks, move back toward the light in increments until the full dose of 10,000-lux is being received. Another method is to reduce the treatment time to 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes per day, gradually moving that time back up a few minutes a day until the desired time exposure is met.

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