Therapy Lamps: Light is the Best Medicine

Therapy lamps include all lamps that have medical properties. They can be used to treat SAD and other light-related mood disorders. Some therapy lamps have simple, sleek designs, while others have elegant and luxurious looks that can make your home look livelier. Many therapy lamps are portable, and some units are even hand-held. You can bring them anywhere you want, whether in your bedroom, or your office. Once you feel gloominess closing in, you just switch one on, and you'll feel a lot better within minutes!

How do therapy lamps work?

Therapy lamps are either full-spectrum or non-full-spectrum, with full-spectrum lamps being favored by experts. Remember that “spectrum” is not the same as “brightness.” Both full-spectrum and non-full-spectrum lamps generate very bright light.

  • Full spectrum lamps: Full-spectrum lamps emit all the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, from infrared to near-ultraviolet (UV). They mimic natural light, so sitting under a therapy lamp is almost as good as bathing in the sun's rays.
  • Non-full-spectrum lamps: Non-full-spectrum lamps only emphasize certain parts of the spectrum; for instance, the blue-green portions. While non-full-spectrum lamps help a lot in reducing SAD symptoms, experts still prefer full-spectrum light for treatment. Some lamps also concentrate on a narrower spectrum, such as lamps with blue light. Blue light-emitting diode (LED) lamps have been shown to have significant antidepressant properties.

Choosing the Right Therapy Lamp

The right therapy lamp is one that fits your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time in the office, you should choose a unit that's small enough to fit on your desktop. There are many compact therapy lamps capable of emitting more than 5,000 lux of illumination. That's much brighter than the average 400 lux of indoor light and 3,000 lux of a cloudy day!

Look for units that are pleasing to look at, preferably light, and with easy controls. If the unit comes with batteries, the batteries must be easily replaceable or rechargeable. Some lamps also have a cooling mechanism that prevents overheating. In addition, it's a great idea to choose one that's easily maneuverable, so you can direct the light at the correct angle.

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