Light therapy is likely to become an integral part of our lives in the next decade. Most people know that light boxes are used to treat Seasonal Depression yet few realize the same equipment is fast becoming an effective and “natural” way to treat close to twenty medical disorders.
Scientific Explanation-How it Works
First, remember that light is potent medicine. In simple terms, after light hits our eyes, it travels through the brain to a specific area causing biological changes that impact how we think, feel, and function. In technical terms, after bright light hits our eyes it travels along the retinohypothalamic tracts to the suprachasmatic nucleus located in the hypothalamus. From there, it moves to the pineal gland. This complex process triggers hormonal and neurochemical changes that alter core body temperature, melatonin secretion, and serotonin and related neurotransmitter levels
.These biological changes ultimately result in fairly rapid changes in our body clock and circadian rhythm. This body clock coordinates “circadian” rhythms we experience through the day, including the cycle of waking and sleeping, changes in blood pressure and heart rate, and most other bodily systems.These biological changes ultimately result in fairly rapid changes in our circadian rhythm that affects how we think, feel, and function. This complex process triggers hormonal and neurochemical changes that alter core body temperature, melatonin secretion, and serotonin and related neurotransmitter levels.
Light Therapy and Mainstream Medicine
The Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Psychiatry and other respected medical journals increasingly publish research that demonstrates light therapy is a standard and effective medical treatment for a broad range of medical conditions.
Light therapy is effective in treating nearly 20 medical conditions. The effectiveness and importance of light therapy is supported by 25 years of research conducted at prestigious medical institutions, NASA, and the U.S. military.
Light therapy works faster, is as effective, and has fewer side effects than antidepressants. Light therapy is a practical, natural, safe, affordable, and dependable way to regain and maintain your health. Medical research has shown that light therapy offers relief to people affected by a growing number of health concerns including:
* Depression, ‘minor’ depression, anxiety
* Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Winter Blues
* Sleep Disorders-teenage, adult, elderly sleep problems
*Pregnancy related depression
* Trouble waking up, afternoon tiredness, low energy, poor concentration
* Jet Lag, Shift Work related difficulties
* Immune System Disorders
* Alzheimer’s/Dementia related problems
* PMS, Menopause
* Bulimia, Weight Gain, Over-eating, Carbohydrate cravings
Light therapy offers a solid alternative to medication for many groups of people including:
* Children and teens since evidence of connection between antidepressants and increased risk of suicide
* Women who want to avoid medications during pregnancy or while nursing
* People who prefer a “natural” alternative
* People who don’t get enough sunlight
* People who can’t tolerate the side effects of medication
* People who suffer from jet lag or shift work related problems
* Teenagers and adults with sleep problems
Light Therapy as Antidote to 21st Century Living
Human beings require sunlight and oxygen to maintain health. People in the 21st century don’t get enough sunlight and our air is increasingly polluted. Light therapy equipment provides ‘sunlight’. It is difficult for many people to view sunlight much less light therapy equipment as a type of medicine. And light therapy isn’t a placebo when people don’t think it is good for anything. We need light just like we need oxygen. . Light therapy equipment are likely to be found in most homes over time.
Light therapy is no fad. The development of light therapy equipment has important historical significance. Light, both natural and artificial, has been prescribed throughout the ages for healing purposes. Light played an integral role in the healing systems of the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, and Greeks.
Light therapy offers people a way to minimize the negative health effects associated with living in our modern ‘indoor’ society. Human beings synchronized their biological rhythms to the rhythms in nature for 40,000 years prior to the invention of the light bulb. Before this invention most aspects of our lives, including our own biological rhythms, were connected to the rhythms of nature.
The Dark Side of the Light Bulb Invention
The invention of the light bulb made it possible for people to disconnect our biological rhythms from the rhythms of nature resulting in the ‘diseases of civilization’. Most people don’t get enough sunlight-causing innumerable health problems. Fortunately, medical researchers have invented equipment that mimics sunlight. We now have a “medicine” to minimize the negative health consequences of detaching our biological rhythms from nature’s rhythms.
Future research will document the benefits of light therapy for even more health conditions. Light therapy equipment is becoming a health “product” as common as dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and water purifiers.
It always takes people a while to accept new developments. However, given the nature and growing health benefits associated with light therapy people will do their own research on light therapy so related health benefits can be passed along to family, friends, and loved ones.