In winter, a light therapy lamp can help counter the effects of reduced daylight hours. Here is some interesting information.
Light therapy—have you considered it?
If you are mildly affected by the winter blues or seasonal depression, a light therapy lamp could be beneficial to you. Light therapy, or phototherapy, is a non-medicinal treatment known for its effectiveness in countering the effects of winter light deprivation, including seasonal depression.
To benefit from light therapy, you must be exposed daily to artificial light that replicates the effects of sunrays. It is generally recommended to be exposed to the light of a specially designed lamp for at least 30 minutes a day, depending on the specific light intensity of the lamp. Results are generally felt within the first week, but four weeks of treatment are usually needed to achieve an optimal response.
It is recommended to start treatment when daylight hours decrease in the fall and continue until spring. We encourage you to discuss the benefits of purchasing a light therapy lamp with your healthcare professional.
For additional information, read the following text: The benefits of light therapy.
Making the right choice
If you are considering to purchase a light therapy lamp, here are some tips:
- Since the cost is quite high (often $200 or more), take the time to shop around and inquire about the features of different models.
- The intensity of the devices on the market varies from 2,500 to 10,000 lux. The higher the amount of lux, the shorter the treatment time (for instance, 30 minutes with a lamp that emits 10,000 lux, and 60 minutes if it emits 5,000 lux). Choose accordingly.
- Choose a model that suits your lifestyle—floor stand, tabletop, desktop, portable, etc.
- Ensure that the light field is large enough that you are not confined to a small space during exposure. This will allow you to go about your daily activities (reading, working, watching television, eating, etc.) while your face basks in the light.
- Inquire if your medical insurance covers the cost of a light therapy lamp. In many cases, a doctor's prescription is needed.
You can purchase a light therapy lamp at the pharmacy. Ask your pharmacist to help you make the best choice, and take the opportunity to ask for advice on how to maintain your health in winter.
For additional information about the effects of winter light deprivation, read the following text: Seasonal depression and winter blues.