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How To Use Light Therapy

Personal Style And Needs

How to Use Light Therapy
  • Think about what activity you would like to do while using the lamp and purchase one that will accommodate that purpose. For example, light boxes have been

has been found to be helpful for people who bipolar disorder, you should consult with a doctor prior to introducing it daily. A medical professional who is familiar with your physical and mental health history will be able to help you figure out if light therapy is a good option for you.

Health Considerations For Light Therapy

“While light therapy seems almost trivial, it can cause problems,” Laje says.

For example, people with bipolar disorder could become manic and should only use light therapy under the direction of their doctor, he says. That’s why it’s always important to talk to your doctor and seek their guidance before starting a light therapy regimen.

Light therapy, alone, may work for some people, but sometimes others may also need anti-depressants or counseling, Laje says. If your depression symptoms are not improving or are worsening under your treatment plan, immediately reach out to your doctor.

Because the lamps used in light therapy do not put out UV rays, there is no cancer risk, Laje says.

How Does Light Therapy Work

So we’ve spoken about its uses, but how exactly does light therapy work? We’ve briefly touched on the effects light therapy has on the body, i.e., how it affects mood, hormones, sleep, etc. Now let’s learn how it causes these effects.

It all starts with blue light

What do we mean by blue light? Well, it may be helpful to see a diagram of the full electromagnetic spectrum and the visible light spectrum that lies within.

To understand how light affects us, it’s important to understand that all electromagnetic energy – visible light or other – has a wavelength and corresponding energy.

As reflected above, as we move up the spectrum, wavelengths get shorter and more energetic. It’s precisely the higher part of the visible light spectrum – blue light – that noontime sunlight is comprised mostly of.

10,000 lux: bright blue light

Blue light on its own may be full of energy, but to trigger a significant biological responses in our body, we need a lot of it it must be bright enough for our body and eyes to pick up on.

In terms of brightness: what exactly do we need? You undoubtedly have already seen the answer everywhere: 10,000 lux. Lux, pronounced , is a unit of illumination. The higher the lux, the brighter the light source. For reference, daylight on an overcast day at around noon is around 1200 lux.

Our eyes: a window to the soul and our master clock

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Who Gets Genital Herpes

Anyone can get genital herpes through contact with sores or people with HSV infections. It is a very common condition, affecting roughly 15% of the United States teen and adult population. Genital herpes spreads most among people who have multiple sexual partners and dont practice safe sex.

Women are more likely to get genital herpes than are men. The virus is sexually transmitted more easily from men to women than from women to men.

How To Do Light Therapy At Home

Bright Light Therapy

Before you start light therapy, its a good idea to talk with a doctor or mental health professional. Light therapy may interact with other treatments youre currently taking, such as medications.

Once youve had a doctors sign off, you can start by reading the instructions provided by the light box manufacturer.

A light with lower intensity may require longer exposure time meaning youll have to sit in front of the box longer. The instructions can also help you identify specific risks and hazards for the brand of the light.

To use a light therapy lamp with 10,000 lux intensity, follow these steps:

  • Place the lamp on a counter, desk, or other surface.
  • Sit or stand at the correct distance from the lamp according to the manufacturers instructions.
  • Keep your eyes open and do not sleep during light therapy sessions.
  • Do not stare directly at the light box or lamp.
  • Start with 30 minutes of exposure per day.
  • Schedule light therapy sessions as soon as possible after waking up, between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
  • You can adjust this schedule and the duration of sessions according to how you feel. You can also try passing the time in front of the light box with an activity like reading a book or working, as long as youre still facing the light.

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    How Long Does It Take For Light Therapy To Work

    The time it takes for light therapy to work depends on a variety of factors such as sleep schedule and time, eating habits, the amount of caffeine intake, physical activity, and prexisting conditions. Light therapy can take as little as 2-3 days or even 2-3 weeks. It’s always best to accompany light therapy with a healthy diet, physical activity, and a healthy amount of sleep. When light therapy does work, you’ll feel more energy, sleep better, and have an improved mental well-being.

    What To Look For In A Therapy Lamp

    Produces 10,000 LUX

    One of the essential SAD light specifications is the amount of light it produces at a given surface, known as LUX. The most effective therapy lamp produces 10,000 LUX. Going higher than 10,000 LUX has no added benefits.

    Large Surface Area

    Lamps with a larger surface area produce more LUX from a further distance. If you have a more substantial case of SAD, a smaller therapy lamp may not produce enough LUX to see benefits. However, if a smaller light is preferred, longer treatment sessions can be used to suffice.

    UV Filtration

    Therapy lamps do produce ultra-violet radiation, which can damage your skin and eyes. For this reason, its vital to select a therapy lamp that has a UV filter.


    A key area to consider is where youll be placing your lamp. While more effective for SAD, clinical-grade lights tend to be large and not ideal for compact spaces. Wellness lamps might require more prolonged treatment sessions but are typically better for small spaces.

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    How Does Red Light Therapy Work

    With red light therapy, you expose your skin to a lamp, device, or laser with a red light. A part of your cells called mitochondria, sometimes called the âpower generatorsâ of your cells, soak it up and make more energy. Some experts think this helps cells repair themselves and become healthier. This spurs healing in skin and muscle tissue.

    Red light therapy uses very low levels of heat and doesnât hurt or burn the skin. Itâs not the same type of light used in tanning booths, and it doesnât expose your skin to damaging UV rays.

    Treatments For Genital Herpes

    How to Use the HappyLight Touch LED Light Therapy Lamp

    There is no cure for genital herpes or HSV-2. Many people use creams, medications, home remedies, and light therapy to lessen pain and manage outbreaks. Those with less severe outbreaks often choose to let the blisters heal on their own and go away. Light therapy is showing early success limiting pain and reducing viral load in initial peer-reviewed clinical research, summarized below.

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    Side Effects Of Light Therapy

    It’s rare for people using light therapy to have side effects. However, some people may experience:

    • agitation or irritability
    • sleeping problems
    • changes to your sight, including blurred vision

    These side effects are usually mild and short-lived, but you should visit a GP if you experience any particularly troublesome side effects while using light therapy.

    Mood And Sleep Related

    Seasonal affective disorder

    The effectiveness of light therapy for treating seasonal affective disorder may be linked to the fact that light therapy makes up for lost sunlight exposure and resets the body’s internal clock. Studies show that light therapy helps reduce the debilitating and depressive behaviors of SAD, such as excessive sleepiness and fatigue, with results lasting for at least 1 month. Light therapy is preferred over antidepressants in the treatment of SAD because it is a relatively safe and easy therapy. Two methods of light therapy, bright light and dawn simulation, have similar success rates in the treatment of SAD.

    It is possible that response to light therapy for SAD could be season dependent. Morning therapy has provided the best results because light in the early morning aids in regulating the circadian rhythm. People affected by SAD have low levels of energy and have difficulty concentrating. They usually have a change in appetite and experience trouble sleeping.

    A Cochrane review conducted in 2019 states the evidence that light therapy’s effectiveness as a treatment for the prevention of seasonal affective disorder is limited, although the risk of adverse effects are minimal. Therefore, the decision to use light therapy should be based on a person’s preference of treatment.

    Non-seasonal depression

    Chronic circadian rhythm sleep disorders

    Circadian rhythm sleep disorders and jet lag

    Sleep disorder in Parkinson’s disease

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    The Safety Of Red Light Therapy

    There are a few harmful myths about red light therapy that its important to debunk. The first is that the light can burn your skin, but the low levels of heat produced in LED light therapy are not nearly high enough to cause any damage to skin.

    Another myth is that red light therapy uses the same type of light found in a tanning booth, but thats also not true. Sun lamps and tanning booths use ultraviolet radiation, the same type emitted by the sun. These rays damage skin, cause premature aging, and increase risk of skin cancer. Red light therapy does not expose skin to any UV rays and does not cause any damage.

    Size And Treatment Area

    Psych News Alert: Light Therapy for Bipolar Depression Poses Minimal ...

    These are critical components to consider when choosing the best red light therapy device.

    The Problem with Using Smaller Lights

    Typically, smaller lights of less than 12 present logistical challenges as well as issues of convenience.

    Most small handheld devices and red lights sold online for anti-aging benefits and skin rejuvenation offer about 10mW/cm2, if not less. And they generally only treat a 5-10 square inch area at a time.

    Since it can only treat a small portion of your body at once, you have to ask yourself if youre willing to spend 30-60 minute sessions at a time, holding a device in various positions to achieve adequate coverage for the most therapeutic benefit.

    Likely, the answer is no. Youll quickly grow tired of using the device you will have invested in equipment you wont use regularly.

    The Benefit of Using Larger Lights

    Conversely, a larger light will cover more area in a faster amount of time, which is far more convenient.

    If you get a device with a high power output that also treats a larger area at once, youre more likely to use it, getting a greater benefit.

    Look for a high powered device that delivers close to 100mW/cm2 because the device will still deliver effective doses even from between 6 and 24 away.

    In most cases, purchasing a large light panel over a small, hand held device is preferable, especially since most people who purchase smaller ones never end up using them.

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    Types Of Bright Light Therapy Devices

    • Light Box: These are some of the most popular styles of bright light therapy. They’re typically in a compact size and point upward from an angled position. These types of light therapy devices are more compact which make them much more portable and easier to use in tight spaces. However, it should be noted they do not produce light therapy from a downward angle. This makes them less desirable for those with more severe conditions.
    • Desk Lamp: These are very similar to light boxes. The key differentiator is these style of light therapy lamps shine downward from an upward position and are typically larger in size. This is a doctor recommended feature and is more suitable for those with severe conditions.
    • Light Visor: This is a more portable version of bright light therapy. Light visors have the appearance of a tennis visor and have LEDs attached underneath the visor. This shines light directly into your eyes from an upward angle.
    • Dawn Simulator: These have built-in technology which gets brighter and dimmer to simulate the sun rising and setting.

    How Long Does It Take For Light Therapy To Work For Depression

    Many people experience some benefits from light therapy within a few days.

    Symptoms of depression should improve in about 2 weeks. If they do not, you can increase your time in front of a 10,000 lux lamp to 60 minutes per day. If this does not work, you can reach out to a doctor for advice.

    If you find that light therapy works for you, you may want to make changes to the routine. For example, you can reduce the time in front of the lamp to 15 minutes, or schedule it at a different time of day.

    You can also take a break from light therapy for a day or two. However, most people with MDD with seasonal patterns continue to use light therapy regularly over the winter to prevent symptoms from returning.

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    The Value For Money Is:

    One of the sayings goes, you get what you pay for.. Buying something for the lowest price is almost never a good idea. Therefore, buying an expensive product with no real value isnt a good choice at all. The key to evaluating the value of your ointment for genital herpes is to evaluate what youre getting for your money.

    Also Check: How To Prevent Genital Herpes From Coming Back

    Risks And Side Effects

    Where and How To Use Red Light Therapy

    Overall, the American Academy of Dermatology deems this procedure safe. Since LEDs dont contain UV rays, this is considered a safer form of light therapy that wont cause long-term damage to your skin. The procedure is also noninvasive and has few risks.

    Your provider may recommend LED light therapy if you have darker or sensitive skin. Unlike more invasive procedures such as laser therapy, LEDs dont burn your skin. They also dont cause any pain.

    However, there may still be risks associated with LED light therapy.

    If you currently use Accutane for acne, be advised that this powerful drug derived from vitamin A increases your skins sensitivity to light and may cause scarring in some instances.

    Do not use LED light therapy if youre using anything on your skin that makes you sensitive to sunlight.

    You also might consider avoiding this treatment if you currently have an active rash. Talk with your doctor if you have psoriasis. Red light therapy could help but only if you use it in conjunction with your regularly prescribed treatments.

    Side effects from LED light therapy are rare and were not noted . Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms post-treatment:

    • increased inflammation

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    How To Use A Light Therapy Lamp

    As far as how to use a light therapy lamp, you’ll need to consult with your doctor or psychiatrist for their guidance on light treatment. Light therapy isn’t suited for all kinds of mental health issues — for instance, many doctors recommend that people with bipolar disorder avoid it. Light therapy can also irritate your eyes or skin if you have certain medical conditions or are taking some prescription medications.

    There are, however, some general guidelines you can follow:

    • Position a light therapy lamp about 12 to 18 inches from your face.
    • Use the lamp for 30 minutes in the early morning, ideally shortly after you wake up.
    • Don’t stare directly at the light.
    • Go about other activities while using it, as long as your eyes stay within 12 to 18 inches of the lamp.

    Some people experience headaches, jitters or insomnia with light therapy, so that’s something to look out for.

    Read more:

    The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

    My Experience With Light Therapy

    If you think Im crazy, Im at peace with that. The truth is: I talk to my happy light. I say things like, Hello, Happy Light and, I love you, Happy Light. Light therapy, and energy lamps like the one I love, are used to treat seasonal depression , insomnia, jet lag and low-energy due to decreased exposure to sun.

    Despite potential criticism from naysayers of talking to inanimate objects, the fact that I feel so happy in the midst of what would otherwise be the low-energy-winter-blues is evidence that something is working, quite well.

    I use my light therapy energy lamp from whenever I wake up in the morning until my 16-year-old daughter comes in to borrow it at 7 am. She sits at her desk in front of it while she gets ready for school, until we leave at 7:35.

    Ill often take a second turn with mine around noon, or whenever I can squeeze it in before 2 pm .

    After witnessing the startling results, I promptly sent one as a gift to my closest friend across the country, who had also been visited by the darkness of November. And she quickly bought a second one for her husband and daughter.

    They work.

    If you suffer from any change in your energy level or mood in the fall/winter, Im here to say that after thinking about buying one for over a year, I could not be happier with this purchase.

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    What Does It Treat

    Researchers have known about red light therapy for a while. But there arenât a lot of studies on it, and they donât know if itâs better than other types of treatment used to help you heal. Red light therapy may help with:

    • Dementia. In one small study, people with dementia who got regular near-infrared light therapy on their heads and through their noses for 12 weeks had better memories, slept better, and were angry less often.
    • Dental pain. In another small study, people with temporomandibular dysfunction syndrome had less pain, clicking, and jaw tenderness after red light therapy.
    • Hair loss. One study found that men and women with androgenetic alopecia who used an at-home RLT device for 24 weeks grew thicker hair. People in the study who used a fake RLT device didnât get the same results.
    • Osteoarthritis. One study found red and infrared light therapy cut osteoarthritis-related pain by more than 50%.
    • Tendinitis. A very small study of 7 people suggests RLT lessens inflammation and pain in people with Achilles tendinitis.
    • Wrinkles and other signs of skin aging and skin damage. Research shows RLT may smooth your skin and help with wrinkles. RLT also helps with acne scars, burns, and signs of UV sun damage.


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