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Light therapy with therapy lamps: benefits, treatment and experiences

This winter is particularly hard: Not only are the darkness and cold a problem, but also lockdown and home office. People like me who are already prone to SAD (seasonal or winter depression) now suffer from listlessness and a bad mood. But since I received a light therapy lamp * for Christmas, I’ve been feeling much better. And my productivity in the home office has increased again since then.

What is light therapy and how does it work?

Light therapy is a possible treatment for seasonally dependent depression. It is only suitable for people with mild to moderate symptoms and under no circumstances should it be performed without medical supervision, as it cannot replace a visit to the therapist. So if you’re having the winter blues, you should speak to your psychologist beforehand.

As part of light therapy, those affected take a so-called light shower. Special lights are used for this, which are significantly brighter than regular lamps *. As a rule of thumb, lights with 10,000 lux are best. The so-called therapy light is placed on the table at a distance of around 80 centimeters so that it illuminates the patient. For example, I put my therapy light on my desk while I check emails in the home office in the morning or read the latest headlines of the day (which has not really helped to improve the mood recently). A treatment takes about 30 minutes, depending on the needs and recommendations of the treating psychologist.

What does light therapy bring?

And what’s the point? The light ensures that the happiness hormone serotonin is released, which increases the mood all by itself. At the same time, the formation of the sleep hormone melatonin decreases when exposed to light. This makes you feel less limp and listless, which is particularly helpful in the dark winter months.

I am not the only one who can confirm that light therapy actually has a positive influence on mood and motivation. Various researchers have already established this. The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) was able to demonstrate a positive benefit of light therapy. The health experts came to this conclusion after examining 21 scientific studies on light therapy with a total of 1,441 participants.

My experience with light therapy

Therapy light from Solmore – 29.99 euros at Amazon *

My SAD manifests itself only in very mild symptoms: general lack of drive, lack of motivation and slight (but reasonable) melancholy. That’s why I didn’t go to a psychologist and started the therapy on my own. I used the Solmore * light therapy lamp that was given to me for Christmas. It has 10,000 lux and can be dimmed in ten percent steps. It is also equipped with a timer that ranges from ten to 60 minutes. We recommend slowly approaching the right combination of brightness and duration and then using the memory function to save the settings.

The therapy light also has a holder, which makes the device stable. I usually place it a little at an angle so that it lights up without dazzling me. I vary the length of the application depending on my mood and needs.

Conclusion: does light therapy really help?

The therapy light from Solmore * has actually helped me so far. Since using it, I feel less tired and sluggish in the morning. I also have the feeling that I can concentrate better in the home office and that I don’t get distracted as quickly. However, it is difficult for me to assess whether my mood has improved, as external factors such as lockdown and coronavirus continue to depress my mood and I cannot compare it to a “normal” winter. Nevertheless, I can only recommend light therapy, as it cannot cause any damage under any circumstances. The Mainz University Medical Center also confirms that there are no serious risks or side effects associated with light therapy. However, people with eye diseases should speak to their ophthalmologist beforehand.

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