Light therapy, also called heliotherapy or phototherapy, is not new. In fact, this type of therapy has been around for nearly three thousand years. At the time, light therapy was used to treat skin-related diseases like leucoderma and psoriasis.
More recently, the fields of psychiatry, ethics, and ophthalmology have begun to incorporate light therapy into their treatments. In the 80s, Norman E. Rosenthal coined the term SAD which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. He has done several studies to understand the effects of light on people’s mental health. Alpine light therapy is another form of light therapy that was used in the 1930s.
Today, light treatments are done in the form of exposure to daylight or specific light waves. This can achieve several different positive health outcomes for a person. The most popular types of light therapy are ultraviolet light therapy and infrared light therapy.
What is light therapy used for?
Light therapy can be used to treat many different types of physical and mental problems. For example, light therapy uses polychromatic polarized light sources to treat physical problems like jaundice, eczema, and cancer.
This type of light therapy is also effective in helping to heal wounds and in treating acne. Some retinal problems can also be corrected using light therapy in diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Other skin problems, such as cutaneous lymphoma, can also be effectively treated with light therapy.
Mood and sleep disorders can also be improved with light therapy sessions. For seasonal affective disorder, some prefer to use light therapy rather than traditional antidepressants. This type of therapy can also help manage circadian rhythm disorders and jet lag.
What is the best light therapy lamp in 2022?
Here is our list of the best light therapy lamps available.
The Beurer Infrared Light Therapy Heat Lamp is both a UV blocking light therapy lamp and a heat therapy lamp. As it is infrared light, it is effective in treating pain, colds, skin conditions, and more. The heat also helps improve blood circulation. The lamp measuring 6.5 inches by 15.7 inches is large enough to treat a large body area.
For an optimal angle, you can adjust the inclination of the lamp up to 50 degrees. The product comes with safety glasses. The lamp also has a ventilation system that prevents overheating.
The lamp has a digital display that shows the treatment time, as well as a timer. It also has a ceramic plate that filters red light to provide mid-infrared power from 500 to 2500 nm. The short waves IRA are between 800 nm and 1400 nm and the medium waves IRB are from 1400 nm to 2500 nm. The lamp has a power of 300 watts and is certified for medical use.
- Can treat multiple conditions
- Can treat large parts of the body
- Light therapy and thermotherapy
- Wide spectrum of red light
- Difficult to position to reach certain areas of the body
- Heat tape doesn’t last long
The Day-Light Sky Light Therapy Lamp is a great option for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder at home. This LED lamp has an adjustable arm. So you can easily adjust it to an optimal height and angle using the adjustable knobs. You can also adjust the lamp settings using a switch.
The lamp is made of a high-impact polycarbonate. Its design ensures that it will light up instantly without flickering. The lamp is UL and C-UL certified.
It offers two light settings for high or low light intensity. The high setting is 10,000 LUX with two lights and the low setting is 5,000 LUX with one light. The light also contains two 55 watt compact fluorescent tubes. The temperature is rated at 4,000 Kelvin.
The lamp is suitable for the treatment of mild to severe symptoms.
- Anti-glare and white light that does not hurt the eyes
- Wide illumination field
- Height adjustable with 3 levels
- Slight odor on first use
- Big and takes up space
This therapy lamp from Northern Lights provides full-spectrum illumination and 10,000 LUX of diffused light. Since it’s a floor lamp, you don’t need a stand. It is therefore a flexible light therapy lamp that can be used throughout the house.
The angle of the lamp can easily be adjusted according to your needs. It has a large screen with plenty of small light screens that can reach 10,000 LUX at 12 inches and 5,000 LUX at 20 inches. The lamp does not consume much energy and blocks all UV rays.
The lamp has two fluorescent tubes with full-spectrum lighting and a power of 48 watts. The temperature is 3,500 Kelvin and the lamp can automatically switch between 110 and 270 volts, as well as 50 or 60 Hz.
- Flexible since it is a floor lamp
- More elegant than table models
- Full Spectrum Lighting
- The height of the lamp is not adjustable
- Cannot adjust light intensity
The Verilux HappyLight Therapy Lamp is sleek and provides full-spectrum illumination. The design of the lamp is simple and can easily be placed anywhere in your office space.
This HappyLight lamp offers four brightness levels and three shade choices, including warm, normal and cool. Its brilliant white light emits up to 10,000 LUX of intensity. The lamp has an LED lens that does not consume much power and measures 53 square inches. Plus, it comes with a timer.
The HappyLight light therapy lamp blocks UV rays and blue light. With its sleek and minimalist tablet-like design, this product is a great SAD therapy light that can be placed on your desk.
- Brightness and tint adjustable
- Integrated timer
- Lamp angle not adjustable
Although it is not a light therapy lamp, this Philips morning alarm clock is designed to help you fall asleep and wake up more easily in the morning. This device stimulates the natural sunset, as well as a sunrise in the morning. The goal is for you to fall asleep and wake up naturally and gently. If necessary, you can use the “snooze” button.
In addition to 20 brightness levels, the light also features 5 natural wake-up sounds, as well as FM radio. Operating level, the idea is that the level of brightness and sound gradually increase during your awakening. The light can also be used as a reading lamp.
The alarm clock is easy to use and has an auto-dimming display feature. Just like most of the therapy lights on this list, the Philips wake-up light is also UV-free. Since it is not exactly a light therapy lamp, the light intensity of the lamp is only 300 LUX.
- 20 different brightness levels (without UV)
- Helps you fall asleep and wake up naturally
- Can be used as bedside lamp and clock
- Only 5 alarm sounds or FM radio
- Buttons can be hard to find in the dark
How does light therapy work?
Light therapy is actually exposure to artificial light that is therapeutic. This light can help certain health problems, such as seasonal depression. The idea is to be exposed to this light whose intensity and temperature mimic natural daylight.
Light therapy is primarily used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is more common in northern cities and countries that have fewer hours of sunshine at certain times of the year, such as in winter. Symptoms of SAD are usually a form of depression and social withdrawal. Some people may feel tired or sad without motivation. It is a disorder that is usually self-diagnosed and can be treated with light therapy.
Specifically, light therapy activates chemicals in the brain that affect sleep and mood. It is an excellent treatment for people who want to avoid side effects. Light therapy can also help increase the effectiveness of antidepressants. Light therapy can also be a useful treatment during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or for anyone looking for an alternative to antidepressants.
How to choose the best light therapy lamp
There are many different light therapy lamps available. You will discover different types of price, design, light sources, processing style, and features offered.
The thing you absolutely need to look at first when choosing the best light therapy lamp is the intensity of the light. Make sure your lamp also blocks UV rays.
Another factor to consider is the ability to easily adjust the brightness, height, and angle of the light.
What are the risks associated with light therapy?
Technically, light therapy poses little or no risk. Side effects, if any, will be mild and will not last long. Risks associated with treatment mainly include eye strain and headaches. You may also experience nausea, hyperactivity or restlessness, and other visual disturbances.
In general, these side effects do not last very long. You can always reduce the treatment time or take regular breaks to avoid these side effects. However, you can avoid them by reducing the processing time.
What to know before using a light therapy lamp
You must be careful with light therapy lamps that emit UV light. These rays can damage the eyes and skin. That said, most of these lamps do filter out these UV rays so normally you shouldn’t have a problem. We mention this because it is still important to be aware of what light therapy can involve. People with neuroleptics or systemic lupus erythematosus should take special care.
Also, be careful if you are taking specific medications that increase your sensitivity to the sun. Medications that can increase light sensitivity include antihistamines, certain contraceptives, and anti-inflammatory medications.
If you have eye problems, you may need to avoid light therapy treatment. In any case, if you have light-sensitive eyes or skin, consult your doctor before opting for this type of light therapy.
People with bipolar disorder should also be careful. For these people, light therapy can cause side effects such as euphoria, mania, or restlessness. These people must absolutely consult a doctor before any light therapy treatment.
Does light therapy really work?
The effectiveness of a light therapy session is measured in terms of intensity. The amount of light that the person receives is measured in LUX. The duration of a light therapy session is also very important. A normal session normally lasts twenty to thirty minutes with a 10,000 Lux therapy lamp. If you use a dimmer lamp, you could compensate with a longer session.
The choice of the time of day is also important. Opt for a light therapy session in the morning as soon as you wake up to increase its effectiveness. That said, it is always advisable to consult your doctor in order to have more details on the ideal treatment for you.
Can I use a tanning bed for light therapy?
Tanning beds are not an effective alternative to light therapy lamps and can even be dangerous in the long run. These beds do not block UV rays or filter light so as to protect your skin and eyes. Unless your tanning salon offers a specific light therapy light, tanning beds cannot be used for this type of therapy.