Finding the best light therapy lamp in the market can be an overwhelming task for anyone. This is especially so if you just began delving into light therapy lamps and don’t know exactly where to start. It’s easy to get lost with the amount of information you have to take in. With the number of products in the market right now, you might find it difficult to find the best light therapy lamp that will suit you perfectly. So I’ve made this buyer’s guide to make your decisions and choices easy for you.
Before we get started, let’s cover the basics first.
What’s A Light Therapy Lamp?
If you’re someone who experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder or commonly known as SAD, a light therapy lamp (can also be called a light box) is an effective medical device that can help relieve those symptoms of depression. If you’re unfamiliar with light therapy, it’s a type of treatment done by light therapy lamps to mimic natural sunlight. This works by triggering hormones in your body called serotonin and melatonin. Essentially, these hormones aid in boosting your mood and regulating your sleeping patterns. They do so by responding to our exposure to light and darkness.
Usually, light therapy is needed during the winter months when our exposure to sunlight is very limited. So having a light therapy lamp will come in handy in helping ease those SAD symptoms and keep our winter blues away.
Should I Buy A Light Therapy Lamp?
Before you go to head on and get yourself a light therapy lamp, it’s important that you discuss this with your doctor first. While generally safe, light therapy lamps are still medical devices after all. Moreover, SAD is something that should be officially diagnosed by a professional. It will be best if you use these devices under the advice and recommendation of your health care provider.
If you feel like you are exhibiting symptoms of SAD, please contact your doctor so they can give you a full and thorough examination. They will also be able to better identify other underlying causes if there are any. Timing and usage should be reviewed by your doctor. Sudden or prolonged exposure to light therapy without proper adjustment can lead to induced bouts of mania and other health problems.
If you’re already diagnosed with SAD, then it’s time to move to the next part of our guide.
What Do I Look For In A Light Therapy Lamp?
Now that the basics are settled, let’s talk about the things you will need to consider when choosing the best light therapy lamp for you.
Type Of Light
Figuring out what type of light you are looking for in a light box is probably one of the most important to consider. With numerous products to choose from, they also offer different kinds of light catered for a specific need.
LUX is the measure of light intensity. In most light therapy lamps you’ll find in the market, the standard is 10,000 LUX. This is claimed to be the perfect amount to replicate natural sunlight. Because of this, SAD lamps are found effective by experts and researchers. Light therapy lamps producing this level of light intensity are great when you’re trying to compensate for the lack of exposure to sunlight.
Though keep in mind some devices can still vary in light intensity and still be just as effective. For example, a smaller light therapy lamp producing lesser light intensity can still give you the same relieving and positive effects a larger device can.
Blue Light And Full Spectrum Therapy Lights
Aside from varying light intensities, there is also an option for blue light. According to a study, blue light effectively improves one’s mood than the typical bright, white light we get in most light boxes. So if you’re prioritizing boosting your mood, getting a light therapy lamp with blue light is a great option. However, blue light can be harmful to the eyes. So some experts would rather recommend a full spectrum light. They have little traces of blue light in them but are overall a lot safer.
Glare Free And Flicker Free
Another thing to take note of is if the light therapy lamp you’re choosing is glare-free and flicker-free. This is important for people who are sensitive to light. Flickering lights can sometimes be a pain and even cause headaches. So to get the best light therapy sessions, invest in a light box that includes glare control and flicker elimination technology.
Fluorescent Bulbs vs. LED Lights
You may also want to check if you would prefer LED lights or fluorescent bulbs. The former tends to require regular changes as the light diminishes and loses intensity over time. On the other hand, LED lights are much preferred due to their longevity and efficiency.
Shape And Design
When it comes to shapes and design, light therapy lamps offer a wide range in the market. From round, circular shapes to rectangular or square, or any shape you could think of. There is even one shaped like a pentagon! You’re sure to never run out of unique designs for a light therapy lamp.
The design and build you’d like your light therapy lamp to have will depend a lot on what you have in mind for it. If you’re planning to take it with you on your travels, something more compact, light, and portable will suit you. You can also consider one with a detachable or convertible stand. Other options can be light therapy glasses. There are a few brands that manufacture these like Lucimed. They are the company that produced the Luminette 3. Light therapy glasses are great for people who are constantly on the go. So if you fit in that criteria, light therapy glasses would be a wise choice.
If you only plan on putting your light therapy lamp in one place like the living room or on top of a desk, then the standard light boxes will be just fine. Do take note that a lot of these light boxes are heavy and big in size. So make sure you have enough room or space for them.
There are also light therapy lamps in the form of a floor lamp which I personally find quite nice. You can easily carry them around your house and let them stand on any part of the room while you do your thing.
Overall, it’s only a matter of preference which you’ll choose to invest in when deciding on a light therapy lamp.
SAD lamps can be quite pricy. There are definitely cheaper and more affordable options for sure but either way, you’d still want to get the most bang out of your buck when investing in such a device.
The main reason we choose to get a light therapy device is to help us feel better and boost our overall wellbeing. If that’s something our light boxes can’t give us then it’s a complete waste of money. Not to mention the amount of time we spend sitting in front of such lights only to not feel a single improvement.
So before going straight ahead for the cheaper option, make sure that they are still worth every penny and ticks all the boxes in our criteria.
For Who And What Is It For Specifically?
In case you’re unaware, some light therapy lamps are not made for people with SAD. There are light therapy lamps that specifically cater to people with skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and so much more. While some lamps are more effective in fixing a person’s circadian rhythm or irregular sleep patterns. If you get one of these kinds of light therapy lamps, it might not work in improving your symptoms of SAD. So it’s important to know which kind of light box you’re getting!
I would highly advise seeking your health care professional’s recommendations regarding which light therapy lamp will suit you the best. This is also to prevent any future problems you might encounter when using a light therapy lamp and get the best outcome possible.
Every SAD lamp in the market has some unique feature that makes them stand out from other competitors. Here are some features you might want to consider:
- Adjustability. If you are someone who likes to move around and constantly change positions, you ought to get a lamp that you can adjust without a hassle. There are tons of lamps in the market that has an adjustable neck or an adjustable head. Some you can even attach to a stand so the light is higher than your eyes. With this feature, you’ll be able to freely move your light around depending on your comfort level.
- Timer. Some light boxes offer an automatic timer. This means the devices turn off by themselves once the session is over. This helps a lot if you don’t want to manually time your light therapy sessions. It also prevents you from overexposing yourself which may lead to health problems if done repeatedly.
- Light Settings. Another feature to mention is that some light therapy lamps give you different light setting options. Usually, this means you can either use the maximum 10,000 LUX for your light therapy session or you can opt for a lower light setting. This is perfect for more casual situations where you don’t need that much light.
Overall, a light therapy lamp has many benefits and anyone using them properly will surely get the results they want. Whether it be a boost in energy or their mood, regulating their sleep patterns, or treating symptoms of SAD, a light therapy lamp is quite beneficial to have around. They’re an invasive treatment and produce little to no side effects.
If my guide has helped you finally invest in a light therapy lamp, let me know in the comments below. I’d like to know your thoughts!
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