Bright Light Therapy

October 16, 2008 · Print This Article

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.

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