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Bright Light Therapy

There are many people with depression who routinely have worsening mood during the late fall and early winter months, when the hours of daylight drop in comparison to the rest of the year. This effect become more severe in the far northern latitudes, but is also seen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bright Light Therapy, or “Phototherapy” is usually done at home with a special “full spectrum” light device. Ordinary house lights are ineffective. You may also heard of low intensity “blue light” devices for this type of treatment, but medical studies have not yet established blue light devices as an effective treatment yet.

Light-Therapy involves full-spectrum lamp exposure of 10,000 lux ( a measure of light intensity) for about 30 minutes, letting it shine on your face from a distance of about 3 feet or so. You should not stare at the light, but you can move your eyes across and past the light about once every minute. It is easiest to use it in the course of your normal morning activities such as reading the paper or eating breakfast. A 2,500 lux device would be expected to take at least 2 hours to match the effect of a 10,000 lux device. Doubling the distance from lamp reduces the light intensity to only 1/4 of the strength.

Union City Bright Light Therapy Clinic

Patients treated in the Hayward / Union City Kaiser Permanente Department of Psychiatry can be referred by their psychiatrist for light therapy in our clinic, provided Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Patients are provided with a timer to measure the exposure time.

If you wish, you may buy a medical Light-Therapy lamp of your own:

  • Sun Box Purchase 1-800-548-3968
  • Light Energy Company 1-800-544-4826
  • Alaska Northern Light 1-800-880-6953
  • Northernlight Technologies 1-800-263-0066

Follow the link which includes more detailed information on Bright Light Therapy: Questions and Answers about Bright Light Therapy