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Benefits of Light Therapy
Technology makes things easier and more accessible which has led to us having a sedentary way of living. We now move less because tasks such as getting food and buying things can easily be done with one tap of a finger. As an effect, we go out less often and don’t get enough sunlight. Luckily, technology has created a way to solve this problem–light therapy.
Why do we need sunlight?
It may come as a surprise to you but we need sunlight more than we think we do. Too much of anything is bad, but so is too little.
Sunlight is responsible for keeping our body sane. It serves as our body clock and regulates our body’s rhythm. This is why when you sleep during the day and stay awake at night, you feel less energized compared to the other way around which is the usual routine. Not getting the right dose of sunlight breaks that rhythm and may cause bad effects.
Back in the day when artificial light was not accessible, people had to rely on natural sources of light. The body automatically knows that when it is bright, it is time to work, and when it is dark, it is time to rest. The body follows its natural sleeping cycle. It is now difficult to do that at present because artificial light is more accessible.
Exposure to sunlight is also seen to reduce blood pressure. A right dose of ultraviolet A will lower your blood pressure and constant exposure will reduce your risk of getting a heart attack. This is according to a study published in the European Heart Journal. A well-regulated blood pressure and healthy heart will lead to longer years to live.
You may not know this but sunlight brings us happiness. When we get exposed to sunlight, our happy hormone serotonin shoots up making us naturally happy. This is also how winter blues came to be. During winter season, there are shorter days and longer nights. People get less exposure to sunlight. This affects our body in a way that it makes us feel a bit gloomy. The lack of Vitamin D from sunlight also weakens our immune system.
Sunlight also makes our skin brighter, better, and glowing. The right amount will give us better-looking skin. Just make sure that you don’t expose yourself too much because staying under the sun for too long can harm your skin.
What is light therapy?
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is a non-invasive procedure that brings a lot of benefits to the body. By non-invasive, we mean that you do not have to worry about getting pricked by needles or going under the knife.
As its name suggests, you get therapeutic benefits through the exposure of light. The main element in this therapy is light. People are exposed to light that mimics that of natural sources such as the sun. While natural sunlight is still the best and most advisable, light therapy with artificial means serve as an alternative. This gives the body the same benefits as going under the sun and getting a dose of sunlight.
How does it work?
As mentioned earlier, light therapy recreates the natural light setup. By doing so, the body thinks it is getting sunlight and in effect, reaps all the positive effects that sunlight exposure brings.
There are a lot of way to get light therapy. Traditionally, people make use of a light box or prepare a light setup where people sit or work while being exposed to light. Nowadays, there are a lot of light therapy products such as light therapy masks which brings the same effects but uses a different approach.
Light therapy, however, is not just a matter of merely standing or sitting under artificial light or wearing a mask with lights. There are certain instances and conditions for light therapy to be effective and efficient.
To begin with, your light box or device must emit a minimum intensity of 2,500 lux. Lamps emitting 10,000 lux would be better because this figure is advised by clinicians. It is 20 times stronger than the usual indoor lighting. With 2,500 lux, you have to get more exposure and your sessions lasts longer. Sessions for light therapy using 10,000 lux are comparably shorter. It is best to ask advice from experts or clinicians before getting into light therapy to make the most out of it.
The goal of light therapy is to mimic natural light. While having that amount emitted, it must also block ultraviolet rays. Too much of that becomes harmful to the body.
When using a light box, make sure that it does not directly hit your eyes. Your eyes can only handle so much light that letting your artificial light face you directly may cause eye strains and headaches. Keep your lamps at a certain angle, preferably around 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock. Also, keep it 2 feet away from your eyes.
Consistency is key to get the best results. One to two sessions is definitely not enough and the benefits may last for only a period of time. It is best to be consistent with your sessions for the benefits to keep coming.
Benefits of light therapy
Light therapy offers a lot of benefits, most of which are the ones you get with natural sunlight. If you do not have the time to go out and get sunlight, you can opt for light therapy because it gives you the same results. Here are some benefits which may make you want to get light therapy:
It makes you happier.
As said earlier, light therapy will increase serotonin. An increase of your happy hormone will make you naturally happy and more energized.
It fixes your sleeping schedule.
While light therapy does not literally arrange your sleeping schedules for you, it restores the balance of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for letting your body know that it is time to sleep. Light therapy will give you better sleeping patterns.
It helps you in weight loss.
Our body absorbs light and as a response, our cells do their tasks better, especially when the light absorbed is in the right level and amount. This aids in our body’s process of breaking down and converting stored energy. It helps our body get rid of fat resulting to weight loss. Results may vary. It is best to pair light therapy with a healthy diet and exercise.
It makes your skin healthier and helps you with skin problems.
There are a lot of ways to make your skin more beautiful such as microdermabrasion and paraffin wax treatments. Light therapy is also one. Blue light therapy, to be specific, gets rid of acne-causing bacteria and helps you with your breakouts. Red light therapy will smoothen out fine lines and wrinkles in your face. If you are worried about your stretchmarks, which are completely normal, light therapy can help you flatten and lighten them.
It helps with depression.
Light therapy has been used in treating seasonal and nonseasonal depression. Clinical studies show that bright light serve as antidepressants.
It is important that we get the right amount of sunlight for our body to function efficiently. When unable to do so, we can opt for light therapy. Light therapy can easily be done in the convenience of your own home. You reap the same benefits of sunlight exposure as long as you ensure that you are doing it right and keeping it consistent.