Light therapy to the rescue

Light therapy to the rescue


Are you thinking of buying a light therapy lamp to literally brighten up your mornings and counter the effects of seasonal affective disorder, or more commonly winter seasonal depression? Follow the guide to better understand how light therapy can help you on a daily basis and to choose the right lamp for you. 

It is proven, light therapy is a natural and effective way to fight seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD, like any standard depression, are mood swings, fatigue, loss of interest in activities, etc. 

« What's What's special about SAD is that people have more appetite and this depression naturally resolves in the spring,” explains Marie-Pier Lavoie, a psychologist specializing in the treatment of seasonal depression.

Among the many and still unknown causes of SAD is a certain sensitivity to reduced brightness.

Intense white light

It is This is where light therapy comes in! It was in the 1980s that light therapy lamps appeared, created specifically to treat SAD. In 40 years, many scientific studies have been done on the subject, and manufacturers in the industry can thus base themselves on concrete results. 

“The recommended light intensity is 10,000 lux and the light must be white,” notes Marie-Pier Lavoie. Bluish lights such as LEDs should be avoided, as in the long term this could have a detrimental impact on the cells of the retina. 

Daily treatment

When should treatment be started and stopped? “ Ideally, before the onset of symptoms, in mid-September or when the holidays are over, notes Marie-Pier Lavoie, and this until spring, at the time change. ” 

The daily session must last 30 minutes and the lamp must be placed between 30 and 50 cm from the face. Since the therapeutic effect of light passes through the eyes, it is essential to keep your eyes open, without looking directly at the lamp.

It is recommended to use the lamp in the morning, as soon as you get up. ” It can also be during lunch or when you have just arrived at work,” says Marie-Pier Lavoie. 

Fast results

The larger the lamp, the more positive the effects will be, because the effect of light therapy passes through the eyes. Indeed, bright light, of 10 000 lux, will inhibit the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and synchronize our biological clock. Studies also show that it will increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with happiness and an appetite stabilizer. 

“If you stop using it for a few days, the onset of symptoms is going to be quick. Likewise, the encouraging results are quite quick. After a week of treatment, people realize whether or not it works for them. » 

Are there any negative effects if we abuse this bright light? “Mostly restlessness and insomnia! Like you've had too much coffee. 

Marie-Pier Lavoie concludes that even if light therapy is a scientifically recognized and effective treatment to fight against seasonal depression, we must not forget physical activity and a healthy diet to feel good all year round.    


What are some convenient places to place your light, so that light therapy treatment becomes part of a morning routine? Marie-Pier Lavoie notes that her customers mainly use their lamp in three places: 

  • on the dining room or kitchen table, where eats breakfast.
  • on the desk, whether at home or at work.
  • close to an exercise machine, such as a treadmill or stationary bike.

For more information on TAS:

4 lamps to get you through the winter

Here are four lamps, three that offer all the benefits of light therapy and one that simulates dawn, so that the long winter months rhyme with good humor and restful sleep! 

Carex Day-Light Sky Light

The Carex Day-Light Sky Light lamp is acclaimed by Marie-Pier Lavoie for its large size and therefore its large field of luminosity. It offers two settings: one at 10 000 lux to benefit from all the benefits of light therapy, and another, lower, to use it the rest of the day as a desk lamp.< strong>$199.99 

Beurer TL30

This lamp from Beurer offers a nice lighting surface – 20.1 x 11.9 cm – while being very compact. Its tablet format allows you to take it to the office, on a trip… or leave it on the dining room table. A single button for a single setting at 10 000 lux. Easy and convenient. $79.99 

TheraLite Aura Qi

< p>With the TheraLite Aura Qi, you can benefit from all the benefits of light therapy, recharge your cell phone and know the time and ambient temperature! It has 4 light settings, going up to 10 000 lux. $94.99 

Bloom Philips Hue

< p>The Philips Hue Bloom lamp is not a light therapy lamp, as it does not offer an intensity of 10 000 lux, but rather a dawn simulator. “It helps for people who have difficulty getting up in the fall or winter when it is still dark outside. It’s an interesting addition,” notes Marie-Pier Lavoie. Use with Philips Hue app and bridge for full functionality. $99.99