Did you ever notice how your depression worsens after spending a full day behind closed curtains at home? Have you ever spent half an hour out in the sun and found yourself smiling and whistling a cheerful tune? Well, the inventors of light therapy for depression noticed it too.
There’s no question about it and many studies have confirmed it: Lack of sufficient light has a negative effect on our mental (and physical) health. It is already scientifically proven that bright light therapy can REVERSE seasonal affective disorder in just a few sessions and now more and more studies find that it works wonders with non SAD depression and depression during pregnancy as well. In fact, a few studies found that light therapy is just as effective as antidepressants.
How Does Light Therapy Help With Depression?
Light promotes the brain’s production of the neurochemicals responsible for positive moods. This may explain why people not getting the light they require feel lethargic, less motivated and experience the blues.
Light therapy is just like going outside for an hour a day, but without the risks associated with UV light.
This is great news if you don’t like the side effects of antidepressants, fear the possible drug dependency or they simply don’t work for you.
How to Choose the Right Light Box for Depression Treatment
First of all, I’m happy to report that according to my extensive online research, reading dozens of light box users, most of them swear by it and would not go through a day without it. But there are many light boxes out there. How to choose the right one and the best one?
These are the features you have to look for:
- The light box should be intended for SAD and depression specifically. Not for skin treatment, for example.
- The light box should have 3 LED lights that produce 10,000 lumens each
- The light should be blue. Recent research found that blue light at a certain range is more effective for depression and SAD than white light. But, blue light may cause some damage to your eyes so avoid looking directly at the light source in any light box that you buy.
- UV light filter – Look for a light box that releases as little UV light as possible at high intensity. If you’re not sure, contact the manufacturer for safety information
- Size and extra features – Most people prefer a small to medium light box, it’s important if you don’t have a big place to put it on, or if you want it to fit your desk or nightstand. Keep in mind; most light boxes need to be positioned within 2 feet (61 centimeters) of you. Some light boxes offer more than an Off and On switch – such as timers you can program, adjustable brightness, extended batteries and more.
- Cost – most of light boxes that meet the above criteria cost between 60$ (Naturebright Suntouch, for example, costs 69$ right now) to 500$. Some health insurance companies cover some of the cost of light therapy for SAD, but you will of course have to get a prescription from your doctor.
My Personal Recommendation – The Top 2 Light Boxes for Depression
I have there are 2 light boxes that meet all of the requirements I have listed above and have the best user satisfaction rate online. (I use one of them at home every winter when my SAD pops to say hello). You can see them below, and read many user reviews for them:
Warning: If you suffer from clinical or major depression, it is recommended that you don’t try to treat yourself but consult with a doctor to avoid improper and dangerous use of the device. Also, Persons with eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy and sensitivity to light should not use light therapy because it can exasperate those diseases.