There are good reasons to maximize your light therapy sessions. Although most people take sun light for granted, it actually plays an important role in each person's daily life. The body uses sun light to regulate many processes, one of which is regulating the body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm. An inadequate supply of light could cause serious disturbances in the body and result in circadian rhythm disorder. Signs of such disorder include sleep disturbances, jet lag and body temperature problems.
If a person cannot receive an adequate amount of natural sunlight, bright light therapy sessions could help restore the natural rhythm. The treatment involves sitting in front of a light box for a specified length of time. Lux, a unit of measurement, measures the light emitted from the light box. The lux is an important factor when determining the duration of each session. Although many health care professionals, both conventional and holistic, attest to the effectiveness of bright light therapy, it’s important to consider certain factors in order to maximize the results of your bright light therapy sessions.
Tip #1 - Contact your health care provider if you feel that you might benefit from light therapy. Consider the three factors involved in order for this type of therapy to work. Such factors are intensity, duration and the timing of the therapy session. Your health care provider can provide guidance regarding the intensity and duration of each session, depending on your health needs. Your doctor can also provide information regarding the type of light box you need and where to obtain it. Many health food stores carry light boxes.
Tip #2 - Schedule time for your light therapy sessions. Generally, daily sessions is required to benefit the most from light therapy. Such sessions can range anywhere from 30 minutes up to two hours. Your doctor may start you with 15-minute sessions and gradually increase them to longer periods.
Tip #3 - Have your light therapy in the morning. Having these sessions in the evening can interfere with your sleep. In contrast, having the therapy in the morning could lead to increased energy to help you get through the day. Individuals on light therapy, often report feeling more energetic, and mental clarity after having a light therapy session. Researchers believe that light therapy affects brain chemicals associated with mood.
Tip #4 - Don’t discontinue your therapy, even if you start to feel better. Stopping too soon could cause your symptoms to return. You may notice positive results within days if the right therapy is used. However, in some cases, it may take two or more weeks of therapy before seeing results.
Tip #5 - Side effects associated with light therapy. Although light therapy is generally safe, some persons might experience some short-lasting side effect when they start light therapy. Symptoms include dry mouth, hyperactivity, irritability, headache, sleep problems and nausea. According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms often disappear within a few days of starting bright light therapy. Reducing the session’s duration, sitting farther away from the light box or changing the time of the day that you have the light therapy session could help you manage the side effects. If side effects persist or worsen, Mayo Clinic recommends talking to your physician.
Light therapy is not new. Doctors have been using it since the 1980s. Researchers have learned that inadequate exposure to light can worsen conditions such as depression, cancer, hyperactivity, hair loss, and fatigue. If you choose to have light therapy, avoid looking directly at the light, as it may cause retinal damage, as well as photophobia.
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