Light therapy uses a lamp, often in a light box that emits light in high doses to help treat various types of depression, insomnia and sometimes even jet lag. This type of light therapy should not be confused with UV Light therapy, a more concentrated UV ray used to help treat various skin conditions such as Psoriasis and acne.
UV Light, if used in high doses, and on the wrong type of condition, can cause serious skin inflammation and in some cases internal problems. You should always talk to your doctor before undergoing any type of light therapy.
Uses of Light Therapy:
Did you know there are many uses for the light therapy box, in addition to Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD)? Some of these uses are listed below:
You wake up early and rush to get ready for work. You sit in the car and drive through heavy traffic to get to work. You arrive already stressed and tired. Once at work you sit at your desk all day. You drink too much coffee to stay awake. The air in the office is stale. You feel sleepy and irritable.
You leave the office at the end of the day for the long commute through more busy traffic and many other stressed, tired drivers, all anxious to get home. Too tired to cook, you get take-out, or eat out. You barely have a chance to unwind and then you must fall back into bed. You wake up the next morning having had a bad night, only to have to repeat the routine all over again.
Does any of this sound familiar? Does your health suffer as a result? Of course it does. Even sitting on a daily basis for long periods affects our posture and can cause aches and pains we would not have with a more active lifestyle.
What You Can Do To Keep Healthy When You Think You Are Too Busy
Even though you might think you do not have the time, the truth is there is a lot you can do to maintain health and wellness, even in the crazy busy lives we lead these days.
With winter coming on, many people are afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) commonly called the “winter blues”. Thought to be caused by a decrease in the hours of sunlight, typical symptoms of this mood disorder include a lack of energy, sleeping more, overeating, depression and a general overall lethargic feeling. If you are one that suffers from SAD, you have to take control of it or it will take control of you. Otherwise all the hard work you put into looking and feeling good across the other three seasons will be for naught with a gain in weight as a result. Exercising works at beating the winter blues for these reasons…
Increased blood flow
When exercising, your heart rate increases thus pumping more blood throughout your circulatory system. More blood over a given time means more oxygen going into the cells and more wastes coming out.
Any exercise increases the rate at which your body burns calories, but cardio training tends to burn more than strength training. Because people afflicted with SAD tend to crave carbohydrates more in the winter, it is important to do exercises that give you the most calories burn per minute of exercise. However be sure to include at least a couple days per week (but not in a row) of strength training for toning and definition.
Increased oxygen to the brain
Exercising not only increases blood flow to your muscles, but also to the brain. As a result of the additional oxygen, brain function increases making you more alert and cognitive.
You’ve likely heard it more times than you can remember- laughter is the best medicine. This is true in many respects, as laughter can bring about meaningful neurochemical and physiological changes that can benefit the body. In particular, laughter can improve brain health, and help manage many “silent” disorders, not easily observed by medical practitioners, or society as a whole.
Interested in knowing what a little more laughter can do for your health? Then read on below and find out!
What could be more important than the health and well-being of your brain? From conception to grave, we are worried about our mental performance. Except for that middle bit where we are preoccupied with making money, working, and taking care of our families instead of ourselves, but there are simple, easy ways you can care for your brain health.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is a big deal and can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life and your health. Stress is known to fatigue and seriously degrade the brain and its functions. Stress has an immediate and negative effect on things like concentration, short-term memory storage, and decision-making, but the effects aren’t just short term. Chronically stressed people show slower response time, less brain mass and slower plasticity than there less stressed counterparts.
Many people do not take mental health seriously, doing even less to ensure that they maintain an optimal mental state. It would be safe to assume that as much as 75% of men are not comfortable discussing their emotions, and thus sweep symptoms of depression under the carpet.
Is this ideal? No, far from, as all this does is compound a possibly simple issue, and deprives you of help you could have been receiving.
With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of developing depression, even though it may also have a genetic link. Regardless, by limiting your external risk factors, you can limit your chance of developing it.
Let’s explore what you can do today:
The term depression is used to refer to a mood disorder that causes you to constantly feel loss of interest and sadness. It is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. This mood disorder can be very dangerous, as it often causes a number of physical and emotional problems. It is also one of the leading causes of suicide.
Those suffering from clinical depression can’t think, feel, and behave properly, which has a huge negative effect on their life. In most cases, patients suffering from depression have trouble performing normal day-to-day activities. This mood disorder is also linked to a lack of motivation for living and can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Considering that physical health is often dictated by mental health, it would be privy to take nurturing the latter seriously. There are a myriad of means by which this can be achieved, but hiking/being in nature, meditation, yoga, nutrition, and listening to music are the focus here. Each offer well-documented and researched benefits that are advantageous to brain stimulation.
Hiking is an excellent means by which our brains are given a chance to thrive. The combination of a serenely scenic and calming environment allows the mind to cognitively realign itself. Being out in nature has a documented, physiological effect on the neurological functioning of the brain.
A recent study conducted by Stanford University explores the beneficial ramifications of being in nature, even in small doses. Unfortunately, opportunities for many to experience a walk in nature for any period of time have grown fewer and farther between with the ever expanding of the urban sprawl.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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