Light therapy is the use of natural or artificial light to treat various ailments,
but primarily depressive and sleep disorders. While exposure to the full-spectrum
wavelength of natural sunlight is considered the best form of light therapy,
it is not always possible for many people to get outdoors. Therefore, light
therapists often recommend treatment with simulated sunlight from light boxes.
The form of light therapy most commonly used today is known as bright-light
therapy. It requires that you sit near a special light box fitted with high-intensity
light bulbs, which may provide either full-spectrum or white light. This type
of light therapy has been proven to be particularly useful in treating seasonal
affective disorder (SAD), also known as the "winter blues," a form
of depression that occurs as the amount of daylight wanes with the change of
seasons. It has also been shown to be effective for some sleep disorders. Studies
have also shown light therapy to effective in the depression associated with
PMS, chronic anxiety and panic attacks, severe jet lag, and eating disorders
such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.