Along with the winter delights, the coldest season can also bring very serious depression since the lack of daylight causes bad mood, apathy, fatigue and general languor.
The ancient peoples like the Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Romans and the Inca understood the sun had healing powers for certain diseases. Appreciating the importance of light for life and health, many peoples worshiped gods of sun. Without light, there would be no survival, and no health.
Today, the Danish scientist Niels Ryberg Finsen is considered the father of modern phototherapy. In 1903 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his achievements in phototherapy. Light therapy is an excellent way of treating seasonal depression, which most often occurs during autumn and winter.
It has been proven that light therapy can alleviate depression and sleep disorders, reduce the need for anti-depressants and insomnia medication. Besides seasonal depression, light therapy has proven to be a great way of mitigating various conditions such as bad mood, various sleep disorders and chronic depression. Phototherapy can also be used as a treatment for skin diseases such as psoriasis, but in such cases a special lamp is used that emits filtered UV light so as not to damage the eyes or skin.
Results are achieved quickly with this type of therapy, within 2-4 days. Sleep rhythm disorders, as well as mood disorders can be caused by degenerative or vascular diseases, such as dementia, but can also be the result of a lack of exposure to light since it is light that influences the production of serotonin and brings our biological clock in balance, balancing our mood and regulating our sleep patterns. The formula is simple: more light stimulates energy, activity, better mood, motivation and concentration.
The recommended dosage of light is 5,000 lux for 45 minutes to one hour a day or 10,000 lux for 10 minutes to half an hour every morning. For comparison, in the summer, sun light amounts to about 100,000 lux, and the average indoor lighting to about 300-500 lux.
The patient sits about 40 cm (16 inches) away from the lamp or light box, at an angle, daily, depending on the severity of the mood disorder. It is recommended that the patient not look directly into the light source, but to read or do something, for instance have breakfast. The treatment usually starts in the fall when the days are shorter, and is completed in the spring.