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January is SAD Light Therapy Month

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          In February, Healthcare Solutions will be focussing on SADTherapy. We understand that fighting the winter blues may take more than just a positive attitude. We humans are more in tune with our environment than we think. Despite our best efforts to work again natural cycles, the human body reacts to the seasons. Light acts like an essential nutrient and daily exposure can have a major impact on your well-being.
What is SAD?

          SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, or winter depression or winter blues. It is a debilitating, mood disorder with a predictable pattern of reccurence during the fall and winter.

Did you know?

A recent study has show that between 2% and 3% of Canadians exhibits symptoms of SAD every winter; more alarming though, is the discovery that up to 15% of the population suffers from its milder form, the "winter blues."

Are you SAD?

During fall and winter, you may be experiencing:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression or sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Body aches and pains
  • Weight gain
  • Social withdrawal
  • Excess sleeping
  • Cravings for carbohydrates and starchy foods
  • Sluggishness
  • Irritability
  • Reduced libido
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
Can you lighten up?

          Our body has a very distinct 24 hour cycle referred to as the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is a hormone that has great influence on our circadian rhythm. It is a sleep inducing hormone that fluctuates in our bodies, reaching high levels during sleep and tapering off wtih brightlight in the morning. Bright light (the sun) is the conductor that orchestrates the timing of this rhythm. 

          Frequent travellers, teenagers, the elderly and shift workers are prime candidates for circadian disorders.

The bright light therapy works for:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Antepartum Blues
  • PMS
  • Jet Lag
  • Shift Work Adjustment
  • Sleeping irregularities
  • Non-seasonal mood disorders

10,000 Lux

Bright light is usually 10,000 LUX. Lux is a unit used to measure lightintensity. Indoor light levels range from 100 to 700 LUX, while outdoorlight levels on a sunny spring day range from 2,000 to 50,000 (much higher still when looking at the sun).

Treatment Guidelines
  • Begin light therapy sessions shortly after waking up for 20 to 30 minutes each morning or as recommended by your physician.
  • For optimal results, begin your bright light therapy session at approximately the same time each morning and do not skip treatments.
  • Adjust the height for optimal bright light therapy positioning. To ensure that the light is at the appropriate height for you, your eyes should be approximately in the center of the light and the light screen must be tilted at a 15° angle toward you so that the light is projected over you as you receive your treatment.
  • Do not stare directly into the light. You may read, work, eat, etc. while receiving bright light therapy.
  • Fluorescent light tubes deteriorate over time and therefore will emit low light intensity levels. To keep the light effect, it is recommended that the light tubes be replaced after two years of use even if they have not yet burnt out.
Possible Side Effects

          The most common side effects from bright light therapy are eye and/or skin irritation and headaches. These side effects are most prevalent in people with light coloured eyes, blond or red hair, and sensitive skin. These side effects can usually be resolved by gradual introduction of light therapy.

          If you are suffering from any of these side effects, you should stop using the light until eye or skin irritation clears up. Then, start using thelight five minutes a day, increasing gradually to full use over a period of two weeks. Please note that some medications, such as lithium, certain antibiotics, acne creams, chemotherapy drugs, can make you very sensitive to light.

Treatment Products 

Travelite

Travelite

The Travelite is a convenient lamp weighing only 2.5lbs. It is amazingly energy efficient, using only 48 watts of power. Its white acrylic diffusing lens is comfortable for the eyes and filters UV. It comes with a stand that supports it either in a vertical or horizontal position. It works on all household voltages around the world and has a tripod mount, so you can turn it into a floor lamp. This light comes with a free carrying case.

 

 

 

 

 

Daylight Sky

Daylight SkyThe Day-Light Sky is designed to provide optimal bright light therapy treatment for the user. The two-light setting provides 10,000 LUX, while the one-light setting provides convenient task lighting. The white diffusing lens eliminates glare and evenly distributes the light. Two 55-watt light tubes emit a warm light and minimize potentially harmful blue rays. The height adjustable arm allows the light to be positioned at the appropriate height and angle for the user. This is the optimal light positioning recommended by light therapy experts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daylight Classic

Daylight ClassicThe Day Light Classic has a three-light setting providing 10,000 LUX. The white diffusing lens eliminates glare and evenly distributes the light. Three 36-watt light tubes emit a warm light and minimize potentially harmful blue rays. It has a built-in stand located at the back of the unit which can be pulled out and height adjustable legs allowing for light to be positioned at the appropriate height and angle for the user.

  

 

 

 

 

Flamingo Floor Lamp

Flamingo

A stylish floor lamp that can be used next to your desk at the office or as a reading lamp. It uses 48 watts of power, yet it is so efficient that it will lightup the whole room. The Flamingo produces 10,000 LUX at 12 inches and filters UV. The angle of the lamp is completely adjustable, making it very pleasant to use. It will work on all voltages.

 

 

 

 

 

The Litebook

Litebook

The Litebook is the new generation of light therapy. It features a custom lense and diffusion system which, combined with the high performance white LED, produces a uniform field of bright yet soothinglight. It also has a multiple-setting timer (15, 30,45 or 60 minutes) and a long-lasting built-in rechargeable lithium-ION battery with a charge indicator-all of this in a compact, sleek design which fits into your lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

Other Treatments

Besides bright light therapy, some other treatments include:

  • Speaking to your family physician about antidepressant medications.
  • Taking long walks during the daylight hours and getting exercise can make symptoms better. Keep active socially, even if it involves some effort.
  • Talk therapy

Symptoms commonly get better on their own with the change of seasons.