Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Light Therapy, and Its Great Benefits!

Do you feel slightly more depressed during the Winter? Have you tried light therapy at home?
It may sound silly, but we tried here. It really works, and is so inexpensive! Check out what experts and newspapers are saying:

"Patients generally sit in front of the light box, which can be as small as 9 by 11 inches and 5 inches deep, with the bright light emanating from the square surface, in the morning. “With the natural dawn being later in winter, the body rhythms drift late,” Dr. Lewy said. “If you can fix the drift, you can fix the depression. Light therapy may even help with major nonseasonal depression, experts say, and withsleep disorders. And because it has few side effects, researchers are studying whether light therapy can help with depression during pregnancy and be used to treat elderly people with dementia. It is also being investigated for the treatment of bulimia nervosa, severepremenstrual syndrome and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder. The American Psychiatric Association considers bright-light therapy an effective low-risk treatment for both S.A.D. and nonseasonal major depressive disorder. No one knows exactly how light treatment works, but most experts seem to agree that the body has a master biological clock that responds to or is “set” by natural light fluctuations. “Light does more than just enable us to see,” said Dr. Norman Rosenthal, author of the landmark book “Winter Blues,” who was among the first to identify and describe S.A.D. Light also has an effect on hormones, the body’s chemical messengers, affecting the brain’s hypothalamus, which is involved in regulating mood, energy and appetite. “The hormone melatonin, which is secreted at night, can be suppressed by light,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “Studies have also shown that light influences serotonin and epinephrinepathways in the brain, the same neurotransmitter systems known to be affected in people with general depression.” But while part of the appeal of light therapy is that it can be self-prescribed, using a light box is not as simple as it may appear. "
Experts recommend consulting with a knowledgeable health care provider before starting treatment to rule out other medical conditions and to help with monitoring and adjusting bright-light exposure. 
Source: NYTimes.com 

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