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Light therapy: an effective, natural antidepressant

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Light therapy: an effective, natural antidepressant
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Light therapy is an alternative therapy which involves exposing yourself to specific wave lengths of artificial white light every day that imitate the effects of sunlight.  According to a study this alternative therapy is just as effective as antidepressants in helping to overcome different types of depression.  

Light therapy: effective and natural anti-depressant

According to the results of a study published in the journal Jama Psychiatry, light therapy is an effective treatment for combating depression and seasonal depression.

Researchers from the University of Vancouver carried our a clinical trial on 122 patients suffering from depression aged between 19 and 60 which they separated into four groups:

  • First group:  received 20 mg of fluoxetine, an anti depressant (Prozac)
  • Second group: followed a programme of 30 minutes of light therapy per day with a 10000 lux lamp.
  • Third group:  received the both the above treatments combined.
  • Fourth group:  underwent placebo treatments.

According to the lead author of the study, Doctor Raymond Lam, “Light therapy used on its own or combined with fluoxetine is an effective and well tolerated treatment for adults suffering from major, non seasonal depression.  However the treatment that combined the two treatments together had more constant effects.”

A summery of the results after the 8 week study

  • 76% of the patients that received the two treatments (light therapy and antidepressants) showed a clear improvement of their symptoms.
  • 59% of the patients that received the two treatments said that their depression symptoms disappeared.
  • 50% of the patients that under went light therapy and a placebo anti depressant showed improvements to their symptoms.
  • 29% of the patients treated with the Prozac drug and who were exposed to a placebo lamp showed an improvement in the symptoms.

According to the results of this study the best way to overcome depression is by following a treatment that involves both antidepressant medication and light therapy sessions.

Before you try and practice light therapy session on your own at home you should always consult your doctor for their advice.  Generally the first few sessions are carried out a doctor, psychiatrist, neurologist or a naturopathist.


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