Light Therapy: How it works & Helps


Brinly Johnson, Editor

Light therapy or phototherapy, is a fairly new fad of treating certain illnesses through exposing yourself to an artificial light source for a certain amount of time a day. Light therapy is a treatment primarily for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Major Depressive Disorder, and skin conditions such as Psoriasis. Light therapy was discovered in 1903 by a Faorese physician, Niels Ryberg. He created an artificial light source to treat Lupus. This treatment brought great success upon patients, earning the physician the Nobel Prize Award in 1903. 

Light therapy is a pretty simple treatment process for patients. It includes sitting in front of a form of artificial light for a specified amount of time. The light is commonly used to mimic the sunlight that the patient is deficient of. Each light has different measures of lux (unit of illumination) depending on the intended use. Light therapy is regularly used to treat depressive disorders with the HappyLight. The HappyLight is the brand name for a sunlight mimicking lamp you use right when you wake up for thirty minutes every day. It has been proven to improve biological clocks, energy levels, and bring an increase in content moods. 

An additional form of light therapy is red light. Red light is commonly used to treat skin conditions. The patient can place the red light facing the patch of skin that is irritated and allow the light waves to penetrate the skin. The Red light then feeds the bodies Mitochondria, which produces Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or energy.  Red light therapy has shown that it can also treat other conditions such as thyroid malfunctions. Red light tools are available either through a dermatologist or through most retailers

There are many pros to using light therapy. The therapy is non-invasive, safe, and convenient for patients. You do not need a prescription or a doctor’s recommendation to use the therapy. All that is needed is the purchase of a light therapy instrument, and you can begin treatment. Though it is considered safe among most, some may experience mild side effects such as headaches, eye stain, and in some cases, insomnia. Misuse of the light therapy tools can inflict skin blistering, altered pigmentation, and skin erythema. 

The light therapy rebirth is thanks to social media. Light therapy, specifically red light therapy, is used to treat acne. Many social media influencers promote the therapy and thank it for changing the way their skin looks and feels. The HappyLight has also become popular among the mental health community for decreasing the symptoms you may feel when struggling with mental illness. The resurgence in popularity has resulted in many of the popular light therapy tools being consistently sold out. 

Light therapy is seriously changing the way we treat health issues. It is an easy and accessible way to treat health conditions. It allows those who do not have a doctor easily reachable to manage their symptoms and find peace within themselves. The newfound popularity of light therapy has finally made it trendy to take care of yourself without the struggle it used to cause.