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Hi all! If this is your first Beating the Winter Blues blog post you can find the original post discussing the series here.

And if you click here, you will have access to all the posts in the Beating the Winter Blues series. This includes (and will include) freezer meal prep, light therapy, Bach flower remedies and herbal remedies.

 

Light Therapy Update

My original post on the subject discusses how light therapy works and why it is of benefit to people suffering from winter depression and/or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I have been using my light box for about a month now. Not as consistently as I’d like, but I do my best to use it on a daily basis.

 

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Overall Impression

My personal experience with light therapy has been mixed. My first four sessions produced headaches. Nothing extremely severe, but they were bad enough that they affected me for the rest of the day. After a few weeks I began to feel a bit discouraged. That was until I skipped three sessions in a row (due to circumstances beyond my control). I couldn’t believe how down and depressed I felt! By day three I knew that the light therapy was truly helping my mood. Unfortunately I am back in that situation yet again due to the holiday season. This time I missed four days in a row. By the morning of day four I was depressed and crying at the breaskfast table. It took a lot of coaxing to get me to sit in front of the light today (motivation is one of the first things to go when I’m depressed), but thanks to my husband I did. And I’m so glad I did! Went for a walk this afternoon with my family and even had enough energy and inclination to write this blog post.

 

Pros

  • The light therapy box is small and easy to use (this is the exact light I purchased). From what understand older light therapy boxes are larger and more cumbersome. This particular light can be mounted to a wall as well. Due to its small size I have used it while preparing a meal in my kitchen as it doesn’t take up much counter space!
  • It works. At least it seems to be for me. As mentioned above, I seem to notice the effects more when I miss my sessions rather than when I’ve completed them.
  • Flexibility. You are able to complete your light therapy sessions anytime before 5pm give you lots of time during the day to sit in from of your light. Using light therapy late in the day can contribute and/or cause insomnia.
  • You can do other things (watch tv, work on the computer, read the newspaper etc) while you are in the middle of a session.

 

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Cons

  • Headaches! They decreased in frequency dramatically after the first week but I still get the odd one. And if I have started my day with a potential headache brewing I find I’ve had to skip my light therapy session for that day as it will definitely bring one on in that case.
  • Being tied to the lamp. Unfortunately in order to get the full benefit of the light you really need to be sitting in front of it (slightly off centre is best). The manufacturer suggests being anywhere from 6-24 inches from the light. You shouldn’t stare into it, but the light does need to enter your eyes. Because of this, you can’t really just have the light on while you putter around your house. This passive exposure is unlikely to be enough to battle depression or SAD.
  • The light is bright. Very bright! If you hope to watch TV or work on the computer you might have some trouble due to the brightness. And because the light needs to enter your eye, sunglasses are a no no! Luckily my light has a low and high setting and a comfort lens that helps to block out some of the brightness.
  • This particular con is most likely only related to me. Because I have a toddler (and one with an eye condition to boot) I can only do my light therapy sessions during my son’s naps (which isn’t always the most convenient time). I don’t want to risk him looking into the light when he’s awake (due to his eye condition) and there is no way that he would give me an entire 30-45 minutes to sit in front of a light!

 

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Overall I am happy with my light therapy experience. Although it does have its drawbacks (no therapy is perfect), the cons would stop me from using it in my therapy regime. I will definitely be suggesting light therapy to any of my clients who suffer from seasonal depression.

 

I would love to hear about your light therapy experiences as well! Comment on this post, visit me on facebook or send me an email.