Light is not just for furnishing our homes. It can also serve remedial purposes. The most notable example is ‘light therapy.’
Light therapy is a form of alleviative treatment where patients are exposed to specific wavelengths of artificial light for set number of hours a day. It is used in the treatment of common skin disorders, psychiatric disorders and sleep disorders and has been proven highly effective in most cases.
The therapy itself entails the use of devices called light boxes. As the name suggests these are containers filled with light bulbs or LED Strip Lights and covered by a pane of frosted glass.
The light emitted by the box is directed towards the effected area of skin or shone directly into the retinas, depending on the type of ailment in question.
In the case of skin disorders the light is concentrated on those areas of the body needing attention. For psychiatric disorders light is shone directly into the eyes.
Light therapy has been shown to be particular effective in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD relates to the regulation of two important hormones (mood altering chemicals) produced by the brain’s hypothalmus; melatonin and serotonin.
– Melatonin is a sleep regulating hormone. Production of this hormone is inhibited by light and stimulated in its absence.
– Seratonin is a mood regulating hormone. It is produced under reverse conditions to melatonin.
During the dark winter months when sunlight is in short supply there is a tendency for people to suffer a seratonin defficiency, thereby making them unhappy and despondent. The onset of SAD is marked by symptoms such as saddness, general lack of well being and insomnia. Symptoms recur on an annual basis between mid-autumn and lasting right through until spring.
Light boxes can be used to correct the imbalance of seratonin in the body by shining light directly into the eyes of a patient. The light is UV filtered to avoid damage to the skin or retinas.
Non-seasonal depression and other psychiatric disorders, such as bi-polar depression, can also be alleviated through the use of light therapy.
A study conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration reached the conclusion that “for patients suffering from non-seasonal depression, light therapy offers modest though promising anti-depressive efficiacy.”
The treatment of SAD is particularly important for businesses, particularly offices, as it can retard the performance of employees. Upgrading the lighting system in an office to an improve Colour Rendering Index (CRI) has been proven to increase the happiness and comfort of employees, and therefore raise productivity. Cool White LED Strips have exceptional colour rendering, making colour appear more vibrant and natural beneath their light.