Sunshine Every Day Keeps the Doctors Away: Light Therapy
Everywhere you turn, new studies have found a new technology to better our health and food that is compromising to it. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but too little Vitamin D may affect how quickly your body ages. With so many turns in the health world, it’s hard to keep up.
But what if curing some illnesses was as easy as soaking up a little sun? An increasingly popular solution known as light therapy has been emerging onto the healthcare scene as a great, natural alternative to expensive hospital stays and medications. The key, however, is moderation: too much sun is never a good thing.
Light therapy, also known as heliotherapy, is simply exposure to daylight or specific wavelengths of light for a specific length of time. The light may be natural sunlight during appropriate seasons, but light-emitting diodes may be substituted in on cloudy days or during the winter season. Periods of light exposure range from ten minutes to forty-five minutes, and can be multiple times per day. While the light needs to have a direct line to your body, doctors advise against looking directly at the light. This is thought to change chemical outputs in your brain, thereby altering your mood and body.
Light therapy is thought to treat a variety of conditions, from mood disorders to skin afflictions, although you don’t have to be sick to enjoy it. Soaking up a little sun also increases your body’s levels of Vitamin D, which is important to your body’s skin growth. Here’s a shortlist:
- Skin disorders, including psoriasis, acne vulgaris, eczema, and neonatal jaundice
- Sleeping disorders, such as delayed sleep phase syndrome and circadian rhythm sleep disorder
- Mood disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder and depression
- Eating disorders, particularly bulimia nervosa
- Minor conditions, such as slow-healing wounds and poor blood circulation
Who Knew the Sun Could Be That Good for You?
The sun has gotten a bad rap lately for causing skin damage which is true when you’re out in the sun unprotected for hours on end. Light therapy, however, is generally performed indoors, out of the direct ray of the sun, and can be focused on the entire body or one specific area.
For the best bang for your buck, dedicate a room to your light therapy. It should be pleasant enough that you are not distracted: a comfortable place to sit, beautiful décor, a relaxing atmosphere. If your house is typically a center of chaos—children, animals, high noise levels—it’s important to invest in a sunroom specifically for your relaxing light therapy.
A sunroom is an indoor room composed of main glass, allowing the sunlight to stream in without overheating the room or doing damage to your skin. Depending on your own personal style, bring in relaxing elements: potted flowers, paintings, or even a water display. By creating the perfect oasis for relaxation and meditation, light therapy will be even more beneficial and enjoyable.
If you think you might be a candidate for light therapy to treat your illness, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor. However, it doesn’t take an illness to enjoy the therapeutic feel of a wonderfully relaxing sunroom, and your health (and sanity!) just may benefit from it!