1.Post Natal Depression
Many women suffer from depression during and after their pregnancies, maybe as many as 1 in 10. Studies are being conducted to show whether light therapy is useful in treating these depressed episodes, and early indications show that it is.
It has been proven that the use of light therapy for patients suffering from depression is as effective as it is for those suffering from SAD. A recent trial concluded that the benefits of light therapy were felt after only one week, whereas many medications took up to 8 weeks for the benefits to be felt. Also, using light therapy together with medication has superior results to either treatment on its own.
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by cycles of binge eating and purging. The eating binges often happen twice or more a week, usually in the evening. This is followed by induced vomiting, laxatives, or compulsive exercising to avoid gaining weight. Bulimics report feelings of guilt, self-loathing and feeling out of control. It is more common in women during their teenage or early adult years, about 1 to 3%, but can affect anyone. If bulimia remains untreated, it can cause serious physical and emotional problems.
Dr. Raymond Lam of the University of British Columbia has shown that bulimia also follows a seasonal pattern, with a marked increase of bulimic episodes occurring in winter, peaking in January. In fact, about 1/3rd of bulimics also suffer from SAD, whereas anorexics experience no seasonal change in their symptoms. Dr Lam conducted a study using light therapy for bulimics, and it was found that using 30 minutes of light therapy for 2 weeks cut their binge and purge symptoms by half, whether they were found to be suffering from SAD or not. The depression also showed a marked improvement, the biggest improvement showing in those whose bulimia followed a seasonal pattern.
It was concluded that the frequent and excessive eating in bulimia upsets inner body rhythms, and that light therapy may help to regulate these rhythms, contributing to good mental and physical health.
Jet lag calculator: http://www.britishairways.com/travel/drsleep/public/en_ee
Jet lag occurs when you cross into different time zones with air travel, disrupting the normal sleeping and waking pattern and unbalancing the body clock. This disruption can affect over 50 of the body's rhythms. Jet Lag causes symptoms such as: fatigue, poor concentration, trouble sleeping, irritability, minor depression, altered perception of time and distance, and digestive problems. The symptoms are at their worst in the first two days after crossing three or more time zones, and it takes about one day for each time zone crossed to fully adjust.
It is possible to avoid, or at least minimize the effect of, jet lag with light therapy. For instance, when traveling east you need to move your clock forward. You can achieve this by staying awake and surrounding yourself with light, going out doors or having light therapy. This will help move the body clock forward to more closely match your destination time zone.
People who work nights are two to five times more likely to fall asleep on the job and have accidents. A night worker, even one who has slept reasonably well, is no more alert between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. than a day worker who has slept only 4 hours per night two nights in a row. Late-night sleepiness can impair the judgment of doctors, police, fire fighters, ambulance drivers and airline pilots. The costs of mistakes made due to fatigue are incalculable. In our modern society many different professions have to work irregular hours, but are still expected to perform tasks requiring attention, reasoning, decision-making, and other mental skills. Shift workers who fail to adapt to their schedule often develop chronic fatigue and increased susceptibility to illness.
Effective treatment using light therapy consists of bright light exposure at wake up time, even for only 40 minutes, and complete darkness during the day for four days. The treatment is even more successful if you are able to avoid the early morning sun when coming home from work by wearing dark glasses. This treatment shifts the circadian rhythms, resulting in improved performance and alertness during work hours, and increased ability to sleep during their rest periods.
The use of good full spectrum lighting in school or the workplace, instead of conventional fluorescent lighting, has been proven to improve productivity, academic achievement and reduce rates of absenteeism.
Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disorder, in which patients are mentally confused, often agitated and have severe memory problems.
Recently, 2 recent studies have confirmed that bright-light therapy appear to help Alzheimer's patients sleep better and get less agitated. In the study, researchers from the Manchester Royal Infirmary in Manchester, England, evaluated 47 nursing home residents who all had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or other problems that lead to mental confusion, memory loss and dementia. Half of the patients received bright light therapy, the other half using only a dimmer light, each day for 2 weeks. The treatment group was shown to sleep longer and was less agitated.
It has been recommended that planning daily activities to make good use of daylight can help, such as serving breakfast facing a sunny window, or planning more outdoor activities on sunny days, as well as using light therapy lamps.
8.Pre-Menstrual Syndrome- PMS
Women's menstrual cycle is regulated by light and dark as well as by hormones, and circumstances that upset the body clock, such as changing regular sleeping and waking patterns, jet lag, and shift work, may upset their menstrual cycle. Each month, women report symptoms such as fluid retention, weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness, poor sleep, irritability, blue moods, and other symptoms in the 3 to 5 days before their periods start, and for the first day or two of menstruation. The combination of emotional and physical symptoms is referred to as Premenstrual Syndrome. Light therapy is able to promote strong daily rhythms, and can in this way assist in regulating the menstrual cycle.
9.Sleep Related Problems
1. Early Morning Insomnia
Those suffering from this illness, find that they cannot sleep in the early morning. The best way to treat this sleep disorder is to use light therapy in the evening, before bedtime. You will still go to sleep at the usual time, but it has been found to extend the sleep period by about 1-½ hours.
2. Night-owl Insomnia
Some people suffer from a type of insomnia where they have difficulty in falling asleep until early morning, often resulting in regular use of alcohol or sleeping pills. It is also known as delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), or night-owl insomnia, and usually develops during the teen years. If you restrict bright light in the evening and use light therapy in the morning this can successfully treat this condition, as well as improving alertness in the daytime.
Research has shown that fertility rates are higher at the equator, where daylight hours are longer than in far northern latitudes and that fertility rates are lower among the blind compared to those who have their sight. Women with longer or irregular cycles have higher infertility rates than those with shorter and more regular cycles. About 1 of 25 women in North America have cycles that last 35 days or more, or that vary considerably from cycle to cycle. A cycle that consistently averages about 28 days has been shown to boost a woman's odds of conceiving.
While every woman's physiology is unique and will have different responses to different types of therapy, light has been shown to have significant effects in the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Light therapy for 15-60 minutes every morning during the premenstrual period may help relieve these symptoms.
11.How did this treatment develop? How long has it been in use?
No absolute contra-indication for light therapy is known. We recommend an eye test, which should be carried out by a qualified optician in order to make certain that the patient has no ocular illnesses. In addition, it is necessary for an optician to supervise the light therapy if the patient is simultaneously undergoing medical therapy which increases the sensitivity of the eyes to light.
13.How often will I need to change the bulbs?
It is advisable to change the bulbs every three years, as all fluorescent tubes loose some of their brightness with time, which will weaken the effectiveness of the lamp.
14.Unscrambling the Terminology
-LUX is unit to measure light intensity that actually reaches the target. Lux varies depending upon how far away the target is from the light source and other environmental factors such as wall colour, reflectors, etc.
-KELVIN The colour of light.
Kelvin: A measure of how yellow, blue or white the light from a bulb will look to the human eye. Lower Kelvin rated bulbs will appear more yellowish, while higher Kelvin bulbs appear to be bluer. A bulb with a Kelvin rating between 5000 to 6500 is comparable to mid-day sun. The higher the Kelvin number, the more blue is in the light, and the brighter the light appears.
This can also be expressed in temperature, or how cool or warm the light source appears. Red/orange/yellow colours and light sources from this side of the spectrum are described as warm, with a low colour temperature (incandescent). Colours and light sources toward the blue end with a high colour temperature are referred to as cool (natural daylight).
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