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  • Light Therapy (What kind of light?)

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    Old 03-14-2005, 04:10 PM   #1
    EoR
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    Lightbulb Light Therapy (What kind of light?)

    I was just wondering for those who use light therapy, what kind of light is it? Where do you find one? How expensive? I have these "sun bulbs" and bulbs that are supposed to simulate daylight, but I don't think that's the light therapy people with depression use. In fact, I find the light from one of the bulbs (the daylight simulation) down right aggravating. I feel like I'm in a dimly lit garage when I use it. I'm trying to overcome depression med free and I think the light therapy could really help. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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    Last edited by EoR; 03-15-2005 at 01:20 PM.

     
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    Old 03-14-2005, 10:18 PM   #2
    NaeNae
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    Re: Light Therapy (What kind of light?)

    I'm curious to know as well. I see ads in magazines about special lights, but they are well over $100. The last time I was at the grocery store I had to get a new 3 way lightbulb for our living room lamp and they had a ton of Sylvania's (what ever happened to GE?) and one was like you said, to simulate daylight and provide some kind of light therapy (they didn't use those words, but that's what they were getting at). I haven't noticed a difference.

    I'm on medication (Lexapro and Wellbuterin), but I suffer from S.A.D. real bad. So I've been thinking of light boxes. I'm sure you can find them all over the net, but I want to hear from real people (people here!) if they help and the best to get.

    Hopefully someone will be able to help us.

     
    Old 03-14-2005, 11:26 PM   #3
    rheanna
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    Re: Light Therapy (What kind of light?)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EoR
    I was just wondering for those who use light therapy, what kind of light is it? Where do you find one? How expensive? I have these "sun bulbs" and bulbs that are supposed to simulate daylight, but I don't think that's the light therapy people with depression use. In fact, I find the light from one of the bulbs down right aggrivating. I'm trying to overcome depression med free and I think the light therapy could really help. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

    -EoR-
    EoR,

    From what I've read, the ability to simulate daylight wavelengths is important, but not as important as the QUANTITY of light. This means at one foot (30 cm) away from the light you're getting A LOT (I'm not a math genius so the exact mathematics escapes me) and at two feet away it's actually A LOT LESS then half as much. Light is measured in units called lux which is how much light is present at a given distance from the source, and the quantity of light drops off by the inverse square of something something linear distance something. Ahem. It's obvious I'm not mathematically gifted. So you need to sit (or stand if you're doing exercises which I did for a while) pretty close to the light source to get any benefit from it, but it can be off to the side and you don't have to look directly at it for the effects to enter your eyes.

    Some people are concerned with damage to their eyes, especially when the wavelengths contain too much blue. If the light source is covered by a diffuser screen, then your eyes are not in danger from the light source. I've heard different numbers on how much lux you need to have an effect, but somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000 seems to be in the ballpark. If you buy flourescent light fixtures from the hardware store, the length is an indicator of the amount of light it puts out. (Total length counts -- several shorter ones = fewer longer ones.)

    The fact that you have to be pretty close to get the maximum effects means that the light bulbs have to be a cool variety like flourescents, not a hot variety like old-fashined light bulbs or halogens. I've burned my skin by being too close to halogen lights, so my DH made me a set-up with flourescent light fixtures from the hardware store. This can be a lot cheaper than the official SAD ones, but you have to have some engineering skills to come up with a way to attach the lights to a table or floor stand.

    My DH got two fixtures (complete with diffusers, ready to be installed onto a ceiling for its original purpose!), each with two flourescent lights 22-23 inches (56-58 cm) long -- so 4 flourescents total. We use ordinary flourescents, not the more expensive daylight simulators and they seem to work fine. He attached the fixtures to a long narrow wooden framed artist's canvas. I set it up on an easel or prop it up beside me on the couch and bask. It takes somewhere between 15 minutes and an hour before suddenly the heavenly glow turns irritating and I know I've tanked up enough. It really helps. I had SAD every winter in "sunny" California and now that we're in the frozen tundra north of Germany I REALLY have a problem in winter. We don't actually get a lot of snow up here in the north, but when we do my mood lifts -- the snow reflects A LOT of light.

    Other people feel more comfortable buying the "official" light therapy boxes. I would suggest that you read up on SAD and light therapy from reputable medical sources before you spend much time with the websites and advertisements from particular brands. Each will of course declare that it's the best, but knowing something about lux and types of light will give you some knowledge to compare the brands. And think about where you would be using it for up to an hour per day, so you can decide if you want a desktop model or one that can be set up on a stand next to the couch.

    Time of day: it's recommended to use the light therapy in the morning to get rid of the sleepy-time melatonin, but if you're not a morning person, sessions in the evening also work. It's like exercise -- the "experts" say we "should" be exercising in the middle of the afternoon in order to get a "real" benefit from it -- but people in school or with jobs are not in a position to take their breaks just anytime they choose, so they do their exercise when they get a chance. Anytime is fine.

    Good luck on finding a non-medical way to balance your life.

    --Rheanna

     
    Old 03-15-2005, 06:34 AM   #4
    summergirl05
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    Re: Light Therapy (What kind of light?)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EoR
    I was just wondering for those who use light therapy, what kind of light is it? Where do you find one? How expensive? I have these "sun bulbs" and bulbs that are supposed to simulate daylight, but I don't think that's the light therapy people with depression use. In fact, I find the light from one of the bulbs down right aggrivating. I'm trying to overcome depression med free and I think the light therapy could really help. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

    -EoR-
    EOR, my husband started using light therapy last week and I have already noticed a big difference with part of what I am dealing with. He seems to be a much happier person, doesn't do anything for the affectionate side that I really miss. But he would wake up and go to bed with serious irritability issues. Always wanting to be left alone and we have 3 kids. To make a long story short, it has really really helped in that since. The light we use is called a golite p1. I don't know if I can put the company name who makes it. But I do swear by it. My husband uses it 25 minutes a day and it has helped him tremendously. Your eyes have to be the distance of the number of inches they say you have to be in. The light is off to an angle so your not looking at it. I wish you luck and if I can put the company name, let me know. I know that we bought this light from the store for a much cheaper price then the web site. Good Luck and God Bless. Lv Summer

     
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