Dr. med. Angela Stahl - Praxis für Neurologie, Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie Akkupunktur undTraditionelle Chinesiche Medizin (TCM) in Norderstedt bei Hamburg

Glossary

Light therapy

In the winter, many people complain about regularly recurring sensibility disorders such as daytime tiredness and sleepiness, lack of drive and adynamia, depressive moods, a greater need for sleep and an increased hunger for carbodehydrates.

These symptoms indicate the presence of a so-called light deficiency depression, or seasonal depression.

This syndrome was not included in the international classification of illnesses until a few years ago.

There are several characteristics that distinguish the seasonal depression from other forms of depression. Prominent among these are the greater sleep requirement, the increased appetite and the regular recurrence during the dark time of the year.

For that reason, light therapy is an excellent form of treatment for seasonal depressions.

The light source used is normally a fluorescent light that contains the entire spectrum of light, except for the ultraviolet and infrared segment, and is produced by between four and eight 40-watt fluorescent tubes.

Behind the fluorescent tubes there is a reflecting surface, and the light passes through a plastic screen which disseminates it in order to prevent dazzling and to filter out all parts of the light spectrum that damage the eye.

Light therapy is carried out at a distance of approx. 90 cm. The patient should look into the light source several times each minute.

There are different light therapy devices with lux strengths of 2,500, 5,000 and 10,000 lux.

The higher the lux count of a light therapy device, the shorter the light therapy period to be prescribed.

Over the past few years, major international studies have conclusively demonstrated the therapeutic effectiveness of light therapy.

We know about the neuroanatomic and biochemical components that affect the retina and activate specific structures in our brain when light is absorbed.

The therapeutic effectiveness of light therapy is now clearly verifiable, both biochemically and neuroanatomically.

Light therapy is also applied during the treatment of the following disorders:

  • seasonal depression
  • headache syndrome
  • pre-menstrual syndrome
  • sleep disorders

At our surgery we attach great importance to light therapy. The patient looks into a light source specially designed for this purpose for between half an hour and one hour, spread over a period of two weeks, and is also given phytotherapeutic or homeopathic treatment if required.

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