Light therapy box treatments are used for many things today, not just seasonal affective disorder (SAD)–pregnancy, winter depression, PMS, chronic fatigue, acne, bipolar disorders, sleep disorders, mood disorders, and atopic dermatitis–all beginning with recent studies showing that about 80% of SAD sufferers have high treatment success. Yet research on the light therapy box is still in its infancy stage, with light therapy not 100% accepted by the professional medical field at this time.
Quite a bit has been found out lately about bright light treatments and light therapy research, with the use of the light therapy box a major part in it. The key is the intensity of the light, called the lux, with light therapy box intensity ratings given at a specific distance from the unit as light diminishes with distance. A minimum of 2,500-lux is required for the light therapy box to be effective, but researchers and doctors recommend that a 10,000-lux be used as it is much more powerful, and is considered significantly higher than any standard indoor lighting.
Natural sunlight levels are unpredictable because of the every-changing weather patterns, where a person lives, and the time of year it is. Only on a very bright sunny day can natural sunlight match the 10,000-lux of the light therapy box for their successful treatments. But normally, not every day is sunny and bright on a routine basis, so other options are needed.
To fulfill that need, a variety of the light therapy box products are available to match each person’s individual needs. The best light therapy boxes are metal fixtures that contain white fluorescent light bulbs behind a diffuser. The diffuse is important as it provides two purposes: it helps to spread the light evenly over the unit surface, and it absorbs and filters out harmful UV rays.
The light therapy box also needs to be able to be titled slight forward, which allows flexibility of the unit to allow light to be entered into the eye areas of the individual. This tilting also decreases the brightness of the light, creating less glare and helping the individual to be more comfortable during the treatment. Full spectrum lighting needs to have UV rays filtered out for both eye and skin–even though a critical part of the light therapy box is its intensity–with both UV-A and UV-B rays filtered out, producing less glare and more comfort to the individual.
For those who have side effects, even though they are very small and mild, moving away a few inches from the light source and then gradually over a period from two days to two weeks, move back toward the light in increments until the full dose of 10,000-lux is being received. Another method is to reduce the treatment time to 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes per day, gradually moving that time back up a few minutes a day until the desired time exposure is met.