5 Common Light Therapy Mistakes and Misuses
If you struggle with low energy levels, the winter blues, or sleep problems, then chances are you've been recommended to get a light therapy lamp. They're science-backed lamps that produce enough light to mimic the benefits of sunlight exposure, which is key to maintaining health and wellness. Like most, it's natural to be skeptical of light therapy since it sounds too good to be true. While it may not help all conditions, it can serve as a critical piece to improving one's health and wellness.
When I was first introduced to light therapy, it didn't work. However, I later realized that I was using my therapy like a standard lamp. Unsurprisingly, this produced no results. Therapy lamps have a tiny learning curve when it comes to proper use, but once used correctly you can recognize the benefits almost immediately. To ensure you don't run into the same mistakes I did, we've compiled common light therapy lamp mistakes and misuses so you can get the most out of your bright light therapy lamp.
1. Not Sitting Close Enough to Your Therapy Lamp
What makes light therapy an effective form of treatment is the strength of the light. The recommended light therapy lamps are 10,000 LUX, which is the needed light intensity for an effective treatment. The ideal sitting distance is 16" to 24" but will vary based on the size and strength of the lamp.
Most people make the mistake of sitting too far away from their light therapy box. Sitting further away reduces the strength of the light that gets to your eyes. If sitting close to the lamp is uncomfortable for you, try sitting at a comfortable distance for more extended periods. This additional time will make up for the reduced LUX reaching your eyes.
2. Wrong Angle: Not Letting the Light Hit Your eyes
In many product photos and photos of people using their therapy lamp, you'll see them sitting away from their lamp at an angle. Don't do this. For treatment to be most effective, you need to be sitting in front of your lamp with the light positioned over your eye-level at an angle. This angle lets the lights directly in your eyes to regulate your circadian rhythm effectively.
3. Timing: Not Incorporating the Light Enough into Your Daily Routine
It is not uncommon for therapy lamps to take a few treatment sessions to see results; consistency is key. To feel the benefits, you need to continuously use it (we recommend 20 to 30 minutes each day within one hour of waking up). It's always a great practice to incorporate your therapy lamp treatment sessions into your daily routine (such as while you're getting ready for work, eating breakfast, at your desk, etc.).
4. Not changing the light therapy bulb
While light therapy lamps use high-intensity bulbs to emit 10,000 LUX, they share similar characteristics with regular light bulbs. One being is their light intensity becomes weaker with use. As you continue to use your therapy lamp, the bulb will become weaker, which means you won't get the same level of treatment.
It's always best practice to change your light therapy bulb after two years regardless if it's burnt out or not. This ensures that you receive the needed 10,000 LUX for an effective treatment.
While many therapy lamps have transitioned to LED technology, LEDs can still lose brightness over time. However, LEDs last much longer than conventional bulbs, often lasting up to 25,000 hours of use! If your therapy light uses LEDs, we recommend contacting the manufacturer if you have concerns about it dimming.
5. Not Using Other Treatment Methods
Like most treatment methods, light therapy works best when accompanied by other health and wellness practices. Failure to implement other lifestyle changes (such as eating well and getting a good night's sleep) often leads to ineffective light therapy treatments. Try implementing other treatment methods such as yoga, meditation, exercise, and outdoor activities.
Light therapy lamps are a great choice to boost the amount of sunlight you receive. Their ease of use makes them a simple solution to boosting energy, improving sleep, and increasing one's wellness. Like most treatments, they work only if used correctly. To get the most out of your therapy lamp, always remember to sit close, have it at the right angle, use it consistently with ample treatment times, and incorporate other treatment methods.
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