Light Therapy

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by gapsych, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    About three months ago I bought a blue spectrum therapy light. My doctor had recommended this for resetting my circadian rhythms.

    After the first week, I noticed a lift in my mood which I did not expect. By week two it was starting to help me get up in the morning. Relatively speaking, that is. I felt a bit more energy.

    Then the light malfunctioned and I had to send it back. I received my new one only last week as I had procrastinated sending the other one back.

    Once again, I have started feeling better as far as any depression but resetting my sleep cycle has only just started.

    Now this could certainly be the placebo effect but I was not expecting the positive lift in my mood. I did not feel that depressed.

    Years ago I rented the lights at the medical supply store. They were the full spectrum and the light box was huge!! I am not sure that you can still rent them.

    If I remember correctly, I did not use them long as I was getting headaches from the bright light, so did not notice any difference.

    However this one is tiny, comes with its own little case and it was only $150 which would usually be a lot for me but I got some money over the winter holidays. It is blue light spectrum which is suppose to be the light that is the most effective and has not caused any headaches.

    I have not seen a reduction in my flares as of yet and it will be interesting to see if this effects my pain level if it helps with my sleep.

    As usual we all differ in our response to treatments but wanted to pass on my experience.

  2. shari1677

    shari1677 New Member

    I had heard something about light therapy years ago for depression. I did not know it would work with fibromyalgia. Please keep us posted!
  3. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I actually have been using it (along with going tanning) to help with the circadian rhythm and depression.....each of these seems to make a difference alone, the tanning more so, though, but when put together they definitely have helped me a lot.....both have also helped with energy and the tanning has helped with pain.....I can't do the light box very long, though, or I do get a headache and start to feel like I just consumed a ton of caffeine (jittery).....also I noticed that I started getting dandruff from the light box....I have never heard of this happening, but I never had it until I used the light .... when I stop with the light, the dandruff goes soon as I start back with it, the dandruff is back
  4. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Shari, While I don't know if the light therapy will directly help my fibromyalgia, I am hoping that it will effect the quality of my sleep. The quality of my sleep makes a difference in my pain levels and energy.

    Aunt Tammie, this may sound weird, but do you use sunscreen in the tanning bed? I had read that the light from a tanning booth is not the most efficient kind of light that will help depression and the light is suppose to come through the eyes.

    With my little light, you are supposed to place it to the side. So far, no headaches.

    However, I know what you are saying. When I would use a tanning booth,long time ago, the warmth seemed to go clear down to my bones which felt so good.

    Take care.

  5. ChuckNBerkeley

    ChuckNBerkeley New Member

    "Now this could certainly be the placebo effect but I was not expecting the positive lift in my mood. I did not feel that depressed."

    Serotonin is effected by "light box" therapy.

    Blue light is most effective except, perhaps, in the elderly where "yellowing" of the eye(?) (I am starting to experience it in my left eye) blocks some of the blue. In which case green (which is really on the blue side of green) &/or red (the "red" is actually yellowish-greenish) light will do the job.

    White light INCLUDES blue, green, yellow, red, etc, etc, etc.
  6. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    It doesn't sound weird - I have heard that question quite a bit actually. I don't use sunscreen, because it blocks the vit D, and because sunscreen contains so many chemicals that are really not healthy. I don't go for the full 20 or 30 minutes that most places allow, though, so that I can try to protect my skin some that way.

    I am not sure exactly why the tanning helps with the depression, because I have read similar things to what you have. I definitely do NOT let the tanning light get in my eyes because that can cause some really serious eye damage, but when I use the light box I make sure it IS getting in my eyes. Still I do notice a big difference with depression even when tanning alone (and not using the light box) and blocking the "sun" from getting in my eyes....maybe it's the vit D, maybe it's the improvement with pain and the improvement with sleep, maybe it's just how relaxing and good the whole thing feels....maybe it's a combo of all those that also helps with the depression....I don't know.
  7. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Yes, serotonin is definitely effected by the light box therapy just as some people become depressed during times of shorter duration of sunshine, SAD.

    I thought I would get a lift in mood, I just did not expect it so soon. I'm not complaining!! Time will tell if it continues.

    I had no idea about the yellowing of the eye blocking some of the blue light spectrum. Very interesting and wonder what implications this might have for the older population.

    In some countries where they have close to 24 hours of sunlight, there is a condition where people can become somewhat manic from all the sunshine throughout the day. I can't remember what this is called, but all this is absolutely fascinating, eh?

  8. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I know what you mean. It is hard to sort out what all is going on. I have some information why they are saying you now do not have to be looking remotely directly at the light.

    I am too foggy to explain it but will post this when I find it. It has something to do with finding a third receptor for light in your peripheral vision.

    Take care.


  9. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    New Discoveries

    The Circadian clock is not just a rhythmic sensitivity, it is actually located in a physical place in the body, centered in a group of cells in the hypothalamus. How are these cells stimulated? Our understanding of this is very recent.

    Roughly 3 years ago, scientists discovered a new type of receptor in the eye that directly stimulates our circadian rhythms. We have long known about 2 types of light receptors in our eye’s retina called cones and rods. These cones and rods are stimulated by light, which sets off an electrical response and stimulates the brain. They help us see both image and color.

    The latest discovery has to do with a third type of photoreceptor in the eye. This photoreceptor works differently than the eye’s cones and rods. It measures overall brightness or darkness, for example, telling our brain whether it is daytime or nighttime. It is this receptor that stimulates our body clock.

    Here is the original study I found which explains this photoreceptor in more detail.


    Sam M. Berman PHD Senior Scientist Emeritus Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, CA 94720

    Abstract: For more than the last 100 years many architects and lighting

    practitioners have found that their sense of brightness of spaces often does

    not tally with light meter values. Areas lit by lighting with white light

    having more of a bluish tint often appear brighter than the same areas lit by

    lighting with more of an orange or reddish tint even though a light meter may

    indicate the opposite, (e.g. compare 5000K fluorescent with HPS). The very

    recent discovery of a previously unknown photoreceptor in the eye relatively

    more sensitive to blue wavelengths and whose responses are not included in the

    standard calibration of light meters can provide the mechanism for an

    objective explanation of the seemingly paradoxical brightness perceptions.

    Incorporation of this new discovery into lighting practice can lead to

    lighting that provides better vision along with energy savings.

    [This Message was Edited on 04/07/2009]
  10. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    that's interesting - thanks for posting
  11. ChuckNBerkeley

    ChuckNBerkeley New Member

    I had forgotten about Melanopsin. The blue cone response peaks at about 420 which is violet-blue. Melanopsin peaks at 485. Blue.

    I worked for Sam at the LBNL Lighting lab till I retired in '93. He was studying this: "Abstract: For more than the last 100 years many architects and lighting practitioners have found that their sense of brightness of spaces often does not tally with light meter values." in the '80s.
  12. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I am guessing that you meant to say vitamin D, rather than B....if so, yes, tanning beds work the same way that the sun does in getting the body to produce Vit D (this is NOT done thru the eyes, but through the skin via UV)....the light boxes do not help with VitD, but they do help with depression (this IS done thru the eyes and is not UV)
  13. gapsych

    gapsych New Member