Clinically Proven SAD and green light therapy

Light therapy has a long history of practice, dating back to when the Inca and many others worshipped the sun as a health-bringing deity. Later, Indian medical literature from 1500 BCE, Buddhist literature from 200 CE, and 10th-century Chinese documents all describe a treatment combining herbs with natural sunlight to treat non-pigmented skin areas.

Skip ahead hundreds of years and scientists are still fascinated by the power of light. Research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in May of 2010 showed that by dynamically manipulating the color, duration and pattern of light, new therapies could play an important treatment role for disorders including circadian rhythm sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and dementia.

Green Light 510 Nanometers:

Even more recently, several studies published over the past few years found that green light has some amazing properties, including not exacerbating migraine headaches as much as other colors of light, and potentially easing the photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light) of migraine sufferers.

It’s no surprise that the color green could impact humans in such positive ways. Green creates an atmosphere of serenity and calmness, drawing from its reflection in the natural world. And a large body of evidence has shown that spending time in nature, where green is prevalent, is responsible for many measurable beneficial changes in the body.

For example, according to Time magazine, in one study, Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a forest-therapy expert and researcher at Chiba University in Japan, found that people who spent 40 minutes walking in a cedar forest had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is involved in blood pressure and immune-system function, compared with when they spent 40 minutes walking in a lab. And spending time outside is also good for the heart, and it helps with depression. A large June 2016 study also found that nearly 10% of people with high blood pressure could get their hypertension under control if they spent just 30 minutes or more in a park each week.

Today, green light therapy has a wide variety of potential uses based on early research into its potential contributions to better sleep, pain relief, depression, migraine relief, and skin improvements.

1. Green light therapy for improved sleep
Researchers have found that green light promotes sleep while blue light delays it. In a study conducted by Oxford University, green light produced rapid sleep onset in mice - between 1 and 3 minutes.

2. Green light therapy for pain relief
Research by Mary Heinricher suggests that light has the potential to engage pain-modulating systems such that normally unharmful inputs are perceived as painful. Her experiments documented substantial light intolerance in patients with fibromyalgia, and raised the possibility that this abnormal photosensitivity could be explained by abnormal engagement of pain-facilitating systems by light.

3. Green light therapy for migraines
Dr. Rami Burstein found that a very special narrow band (520nm +/-10) of green light can help people who suffer from migraine by producing smaller electrical signals in the eyes and brain. This precise band of light’s soothing glow can help them get back to their everyday lives, but interestingly any light outside of that band can actually diminish or even negate the effects.

4. Green light therapy for skin
In LED light therapy for skin, green light targets dark circles, pigmentation, broken capillaries and sunspots, and as a result could have an impact on skin pigmentation. It also calms irritated or over-stimulated skin.

6000K Daylight 10000Lux for SAD:

Light therapy is typically administered using a box of fluorescent lights that mimic natural outdoor light. It should have a minimum intensity of 2,500 lux – about the same intensity as a slightly overcast day – to be effective, according to Schwartz.

The box can be placed on a surface near where a person sits or works, such as next to a computer or TV. The light is aimed at the eyes, but the box should not be stared at directly because it can cause eye damage.

“A good light box shines down at your eyes from above, and provides a broad field of illumination allowing for flexible activities,” Terman said.

Light therapy usually works best in the morning, mimicking the sun’s natural cycle. Sessions can vary from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on the light’s intensity, though most people begin with shorter intervals and work their way up.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting light therapy, especially if your eyes or skin are especially sensitive to light.

One of the many functions serotonin regulates is energy. Higher levels of serotonin are associated with higher energy levels. A significant benefit of sunlight can be obtained through bright light therapy as well. We may feel less energetic during the winter months due to low serotonin levels because sunlight is not accessible. SAD lamps produce 10,000 LUX (the amount of light needed to benefit from the sun) to trick our bodies into creating serotonin, thus boosting energy levels.

Another reaction to sunlight is melatonin production. Melatonin aids in regulating our circadian rhythm, known as our sleep-wake cycle. Having an inadequate level of melatonin has been shown to cause many sleep disorders. By sitting in front of a seasonal affective disorder lamp in the morning, we mimic the sun coming up, thus causing our bodies to produce more melatonin.

The human sleep-wake cycle is highly sensitive to light, making it essential to getting quality sleep. A review article on light box therapy for circadian rhythm disorder concluded that circadian rhythm light therapy effectively regulates sleep. The study found that using bright light therapy for sleep disorders at the appropriate time of day can aid in aligning one's sleep-wake cycle with the desired sleep schedule.


Light therapy for depression is by far the most common use of phototherapy lights. A significant reason people develop mood disorders such as seasonal affective disorder is low serotonin levels. Most of the 40 million cells in our brains are impacted by serotonin, including our moods. When we have higher serotonin levels, our moods become more manageable, and we’re less likely to develop related mental conditions. Light box therapy helps boost serotonin, giving us the ability to better manage moods.

A core area affected by dementia is one's circadian rhythm. Patients with dementia often experience a chaotic sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown light therapy for dementia to regulate rest and activity better while enhancing sleep efficiency. However, more research is needed.

While more research is needed, phototherapy in mental health has shown promising results. Using bright light therapy for depression, anxiety, and other mental health impairments can relieve symptoms and lead to a better quality of life.

Another of the many effects of serotonin are more energy. When we have more energy, our productivity spikes alongside our ability to focus. When we have more serotonin levels, we’re happier. Being in a good mood is another productivity booster. When we’re happy, our body continues to produce more serotonin—a domino effect of better health and wellness. Lacking in productivity? Try getting it from the benefits of a therapy light.

There wasn’t much evidence of the effects serotonin has on memory for some time until a breakthrough was made in 2017. A John Hopkins study of the brain showed that those with a declined memory and conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease have a severe decrease in serotonin neurons. This finding leads them to believe that low serotonin levels were a direct cause of memory decline rather than a byproduct. Now they think that by increasing serotonin levels, they can reduce memory decline.

Another effect light therapy has on our bodies is increased melatonin production. While melatonin is primarily known for regulating sleep, it’s been shown to reduce anxiety as well. Numerous studies have been conducted to show the effects of melatonin on reducing anxiety before surgery. Patients who were administered melatonin beforehand showed reduced symptoms of anxiety and stress.



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