Scientific research has shown bright light therapy to be helpful for the treatment of depression, insomnia, jet-lag, and bulimia. Although the exact mechanisms for its effects are still not completely known, it is believed that the bright light stimulates photosensitive cells in the retina which transmit electrical impulses along the optic nerve to the hypothalamus and pineal gland in the brain. These regions of the brain are related to the production of melatonin and serotonin, chemicals which help regulate our wakefulness and mood.
Bright light therapy can be combined with medication and psychotherapies. Although the side-effect profile of light therapy is relatively favorable (there tend to be fewer side-effects than medications), it requires more time and effort on a daily basis than medications.
Bright Light Therapy Evaluation
This evaluation is designed to assess whether a person is a good candidate for bright light therapy. The provider also explains how to correctly use bright light therapy devices, reviews the known potential risks, and discusses ways to detect and deal with unwanted side-effects if they emerge.
This evaluation helps persons determine how to use bright light therapy to “phase shift” or change their circadian rhythms to more quickly adapt to a new time zone. In some cases, this can be done remotely via telephone or email.