Light therapy has been an ever-evolving field of research since the early 60s.
Developments in chromotherapy, infrared light therapy, and red light therapy, have paved the way for the next generation of holistic and non-invasive treatments for mental well-being.
In this article, we'll be looking at the effects red light therapy, or photobiomodulation has on mental health.
Does Red Light Help With SAD?
Red light therapy also shows potential for improving the treatment of depression, SAD and mental health.
Seasonal depression affects millions of people worldwide.
The lack of natural light every day is a factor that plays an important role here.
Unfortunately, more and more people no longer spend large parts of their day in natural light, but mainly in front of computer monitors or other electronic devices.
A study found that Americans, spend over 90% of their time indoors on average.
A collection of studies show that natural light is of elementary importance, not only for vitamin D production but also for your internal clock.
Sadly, for many working people it is not possible to spend much time in natural light during the week because of eight to ten-hour working days.
Red light therapy, however, can provide an alternative source of light exposure with similar health benefits, in a targeted, and efficient dosage of time.
You can learn more about red light therapy in this article titled, What does red light therapy do?
What Does Red Light Do To Your Brain?
In 2018, leading researchers in the field of mental health conducted the pilot study "Elated-2".
During this study, near-infrared light therapy for people with severe depression symptoms was tested.
Trans-cranial means the light diodes are placed on the skull and the light penetrates into your brain.
After only 8 weeks of treatment, there was a medium to large-size positive effect size, which is similar to antidepressant medication without the side effects.
This groundbreaking study has fuelled optimism for the broader use of natural light treatments for people suffering from depression.
Does Red Light Therapy Improve Mood?
A 2017 study involved 39 people with both traumatic brain injuries and mild to severe depression symptoms.
Again, the red light had a strong antidepressant effect.
In fact, 36 of 39 study participants showed a clear positive reaction.
For 32 of these people, the improvements were statistically significant and resulted in the complete remission of clinical depression.
The same study also showed that participants who received more frequent and overall more daylight treatments achieved better results than participants who received fewer treatments with light.
Is Red Light Therapy Good For Mental Health?
In the same study, suicidal thoughts were also resolved in most patients.
Researchers found that suicidal thoughts stopped in almost all patients except for two participants.
In follow-up studies, the researchers also concluded that patients remained in a reduced state of depression for up to 55 months after one single treatment.
Even the currently published data is extremely positive.
These results also provide a good basis for further studies.
Summarising the above mental health issues, it is obvious that red light therapy has a wide range of health effects.
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