January 23, 2011


When we learned about seasonal affective disorder (yes, SAD) in our introductory psych class last semester, our instructor mentioned the use of light therapy as a method of counteracting the effects of minimal sunlight exposure on the pineal gland.  There are special lights that have been made that you sit in front of for 15-20 minutes every day to get your dose of light that is equivalent to sunlight, thereby elevating your mood and satisfying your body's need for the proper amount of light.

Fast forward a month or so: I get a catalog [why does the spell-check refuse to recognize "catalogue"? "Catalog" looks naked, or incomplete.] that has, as one of its items, a full-spectrum lamp to treat SAD!  How exciting.  But unfortunately, it's $200 for a giant rectangle that sits on your desk or something.

Anyway, $200 is a lot of money.  So here's my idea: wouldn't it make more sense if they invented a fluorescent (or even incandescent) light bulb that could screw into your regular lamp so that you could just buy the light bulb?  Then you wouldn't have this weird rectangle o' light on your table, you could have the benefits of light therapy anywhere, and you could even get companies or hospitals to install them and keep their workers happy and healthy.

I just went and looked at light boxes.  I can't really tell why you would need the boxy-thing, and some websites will at least sell replacement bulbs for that...but it looks like there's a certain distance you have to sit in order for the intensity to be the appropriate magnitude and thus have therapeutic effect.  Darn.  Well, either way, it seems like it would be nice if there would be some sort of public place you could go (or maybe, like a tanning salon!) that would have light therapy-beds or booths instead of tanning booths.

Needless to say, I don't think I'm getting enough outside/sun time.

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