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Red Light Therapy: A Natural Way to Help with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter, especially during the holidays.

Seasonal effective disorder is a type of depression that occurs and ends around the same time every year. Seasonal affective disorder, for many, occurs in the fall and winter with the arrival of cold weather. If you’ve felt down around this time of year, you’re not alone. On average about 5% of the U.S. population, roughly 16.4 million people, suffer from seasonal affective disorder every year.[1]

Why is it that people feel depressed in the fall and winter? A major factor is the lack of exposure to natural light. Exposure to natural light plays a big part in our mood. Light is an essential ingredient for human health, but is often overlooked as being a key contributor to our health and well-being.[2]

So how can you increase your exposure to natural light and ultimately help with seasonal affective disorder? Our answer is red light therapy!

Red light therapy is a simple, non-invasive treatment that delivers concentrated natural light to your skin and cells. Red light therapy has been clinically-proven to help significantly reduce the effects of seasonal affective disorder with just two 10-minute sessions each week over the course of 8 weeks.

How exactly does red light therapy work to cure seasonal affective disorder?

Red light therapy enhances your cellular function by stimulating the mitochondria in your cells to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) cellular energy, which powers everything humans do. ATP is commonly referred to the “energy currency of life.”[3]

When the red light or near infrared (NIR) light from a clinical light therapy device shines on a person’s head, those wavelengths go deeper than the surface of the skin to reach the brain and affect brain cells directly. NIR light can also stimulate melatonin production, which can also help with depression symptoms.[4]

Proven clinical research to help with depression

Numerous clinical trials show positive results for treating seasonal affective disorder and depression with red light therapy including:

- A 2017 study of 39 people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and mild-to-severe depression symptoms indicated a “robust response” for 36 of 39 patients. For 32 of these patients, improvements were significant enough to indicate a remission from depression.

- 2018 research from leading mental health researchers assessed the effects of red light therapy for people with major depression symptoms. The researchers concluded that light therapy demonstrated antidepressant properties with a medium to large effect size in patients with major depressive disorder.

- A 2020 study conducted by Joovv confirmed results similar to the 2018 research that NIR light demonstrated antidepressant properties with a medium to large effect size in patients with major depressive disorder. [5]

- Dr. Marc Schoen of UCLA Medical School has over 25 years of experience treating mental health disorders and said, “In tandem with psychotherapy, using red light therapy appears to catapult patients out of an acute depressive state faster than any other modality.”[6]

photo of somebody standing between two panels to get red light therapy

If you've never done red light therapy and you're wondering what an appointment would be like, it's very simple. There are 2 whole body panels that you stand or sit between for 10 minutes and when the time is up, you're done! We offer your first red light therapy session for an introductory rate of only $25.

Choose a path of treatment for seasonal affective disorder that’s natural and safe for your body. Book your appointment to try red light therapy and be sure to share this post with a friend who could also benefit from red light therapy!


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