Light therapy, or phototherapy which is also known scientifically as heliotherapy, is referred to as exposure to light sources both natural and artificial that range within a particular wavelength of light.
For years, blue light therapy bulbs and units have been used to correct and assist in sleep disorders, treating acne and moods generally felt during winter time blues. Unfortunately, blue light units have been shown over time to damage the retina of the eye, creating difficulty in vision which could even lead to blindness in people who do not wear eye protection such as in a clinical office. At home lamps are where most risks are experienced.
Blue light on the visible light spectrum ranges roughly between 450 and 500 nanometers.
To solve the health risks associated with using light therapy with blue bulbs, new research has been done on the benefit of using green light bulbs instead that doesn't cause degeneration within the eye but delivers the same health benefits.
Many units that emit green light for therapies are done in office settings such as Dermatilogical clinics that treat skin disorders such as Acne. However, there are many less-expensive units that can be purchased for in home use that yield positive results as well, including units that promote balanced sleep cycles.
As described in previous articles I wrote on electromagnetic energies and infrared energies, and how they affect moods, sleep cycles, and the Pineal Gland, in this article we're highlighting exclusively how green light in the visible light spectrum enhances circadian rythims and overall sense of well being.
Green light on the visible light spectrum ranges roughly between 500 and 550 nanometers.
The production of the hormone Melatonin which is produced by the Pineal Gland, is inhibited by light and is photosensitive through cells in the Retina. Because the Retina is photosensitive, it explains why the Retina is damaged if a particular wavelength of light is used too intensely or for too long, such as described above with blue light. In addition, it has also been suggested in clinical studies that blue light wavelengths damage the cones in melatonin production.
When exposure to particular wavelengths of light are removed from the Retina, Melatonin production changes which initiates wakefulness. This is what regulates sleep cycles. Shifting from light to dark, and dark to light controls Melatonin production. So for people who suffer from sleep deprivation due to climate and geographical locations that range both in northern and southern hemispheres, sleep disorders related to medication or illnesses, or work conditions such as midnight shifts will experience an interruption in other biological systems. If this mismatched cycle continues for a long enough period of time, it can compromise healthy moods, the circulatory system, stress management, problem solving skills, cognitive function and more. Using green light therapies especially in the morning hours for at least 20 minutes can stimulate the shift in Melatonin levels and gently wake the person.
So, using green light therapy in the office, home and even in sessions of meditation can stimulate and regulate Melatonin production for those who suffer from Melatonin disruption. It's important to note however that just regular incandescent light bulbs don't produce the amount of LUX which is known as the unit of luminous emittance, or lumimous flux per unit of area. Light therapy often uses light boxes that emit at least 10,000 LUX's of light that can be stationed in indirect locations of the room so that close direct exposure is limitted.
Many light boxes use now an LED form of light for this form of therapy. However, with LED light, there has also been research done in which it has been shown that Flourescent light waves penetrate the body and can cause adverse reactions and responses to the overall health and well being. A solution provided that can skirt around the exposure to UV lighting through Flourescent bulbs is to use it in conjunction with a diffusing screen that filters out UV rays.
Some people who are considered "photosensitive" might also have adverse reactions to exposure to light therapy units so it's best to position the unit according to the directions listed for each device that keeps a safe distance from the eyes and skin. There are also medications and herbs that can cause photosensitivity to the skin or eyes such as St. Johns Wart. Always read labels carefully if you are taking prescription medications and even over the counter (OTC) medications that create photosensitivity.
Do Your Research
As with any product or healing modality, it is best to research what works best for you. Not all therapies produce equal results. Light therapy in conjunction with other forms of natural sensory stimulation that enhance balanced cycles of Melatonin production such as meditation, visualizations and working with quartz crystals that produce their own Piezoelectric effect help to create an overall sense of well being and positive moods.