Seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as 'SAD,' is a real thing that affects many people worldwide. It's estimated that approximately ten million people are impacted each year by the change of seasons in the United States of America alone.
Usually, this happens when the weather transitions from fall to winter. But, believe it or not, SADs can happen in other seasons as well. To escape the winter blues, many people pack up and head to warmer places for the much-needed vitamin D. But, not everyone has that luxury.
Luckily, to help treat SADs, various light devices - light lamps and red light therapy - have been created to treat the problem. But how do you know which one is better? We will examine the benefits and differences between lamps and red light therapy.
A quick overview of SADs
As previously mentioned, SAD, in short, is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months of the year because of the change of seasons.
The condition results from a lack of natural light that we soak up during the summer months from the sun, but that's not all. Another reason why SADs may occur can be due to shorter winter days which affects your body's internal clock and melatonin levels, hence negatively affecting mental health and sleep.
Other research has shown that the lack of light in the winter months can reduce serotonin levels, another chemical that is vital for stabilizing our mood. Overall, light is the key factor here that plays a major role in why 'the winter blues' may occur.
It's clear that the body goes through negative changes without sufficient light. Symptoms of SADs include:
- suicidal thoughts
- feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- lack of concentration
- weight gain
- lack of sleep or oversleeping
- low energy
- general lack of interest
It's important that if this is something you are going through each year, you should find a solution, to prevent symptoms from worsening as the seasons change.
We know you're probably thinking about just turning on more regular lamps around the house, but that isn't the light treatment you need to feed your body.
Red light therapy versus lamps
As we just mentioned, any old lamp or light source you have at home will just simply not cut it to fix SAD. This may sound confusing at first, most people just assume that light is light, but this is not the case.
Light comes in all wavelengths, UV, non-UV, infrared, brightness, etc. All of these factors combine to make the difference when it comes to targeting specific problems in your body or on the skin's surface. So before you go ahead and buy a light lamp, let's compare these two types of light in question a little further.
What are light lamps?
Lamps are usually designed to mimic the light you would find outside. They use up to 10,000 lux of light and a low amount of UV rays to achieve this effect. But they do not come with infrared light thus they don't stimulate the cells and create healthy cell structure as red light therapy would.
Although they are considered to be safe, eye damage and light intensity levels have always been a concern. Health boards do not officially recognize them as effective at tackling SAD, and research is still ongoing.
So remember, if you're thinking about using an ordinary lamp to solve your seasonal depression, it won't work. The special light provided by red light therapy is more than just shining a lightbulb over your head and hoping for the best, so do yourself a favor and try the therapy out to safely solve your winter blues.
What is red light therapy?
Red light therapy is a method where a special device emits red and infrared, low-wavelength light with a combination of heat. This combination is applied to the skin to help fight a variety of issues, from skincare to mental health issues.
The therapy is completely non-invasive and non-pharmacological, allowing you to undergo treatment at home. The light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by cells. The cells are then stimulated and can create more energy, which is used to rejuvenate and heal damaged or aging cells. In turn, a healthy cell structure is established, and the body can heal sufficiently. When the body doesn't get the natural sunlight it needs to function optimally, conditions like SAD can develop.
Which one is better?
Red light therapy has been proven to be effective and the superior light therapy method for fighting SAD. This treatment is natural and non-pharmacological.
It can be done in the comfort of one's home and is completely safe for the user. But most importantly, red light therapy actually works. It naturally helps reduce symptoms and supports a healthy foundation for the body.
Luckily, Kaiyan Medical produces MDSAP-certified and FDA-approved light therapy products and devices for your own at-home treatment or even for your patients. We've worked hard to provide solutions for both patients and healthcare practitioners, catering to various needs. Whether you're looking to private label your own light therapy devices or for home use, contact our team, as we would love to help you through your light therapy journey.