Light Therapy: Why, When, and How to Use It

Musings from 20th Street

A message from our friends at Groom+Style
Light Therapy:
Why, When, and How to Use It

We’re on a mission to introduce people to light therapy! 
Not getting enough or the right kind of light can impact our health significantly, which is where exposing ourselves to light can truly help. It can help treat insomnia, ADHD, and even depression. Not many people are aware of this, which is exactly why we decided to create this beginner’s guide.
    At each wavelength, light can offer different benefits to our bodies. You might find that you feel more relaxed and have a brighter mood when you walk into strong sunlight. This is because exposure to white light wavelengths can help to stabilize the circadian rhythm and improve your mood, while the sun’s warmth helps to relieve stress and muscular pain. These are some of the basic benefits of phototherapy, also known as light therapy.
    One of the most common uses of light therapy is to treat the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder which often causes feelings of depression from overcast skies or during the winter months (when the sun sets early). SAD also disrupts our circadian rhythm, making it harder to get to sleep and wake up each day.
    However, the benefits of light therapy aren’t limited to treating SAD. Other forms of phototherapy, such as LED light therapy, can treat both medical and cosmetic skin problems. Additionally, UV light therapy is used to treat skin disorders and infrared lights are able to treat chronic stress and muscular pain.
    In this article, we’ll walk you through the different uses of phototherapy and the different waves of light, so that you can determine if light therapy is for you, as well as find a light therapy routine that helps to enhance your life.
What Is Light Therapy?
Phototherapy is generally categorized into two groups via the two ways that our body absorbs light:
  1. Through our eyes — Bright light therapy relies on absorbing bright light through the eyes in order to treat the mind and mood. The benefits of bright light therapy include alleviating symptoms of mood disorders (particularly depression) and balancing the circadian rhythm that helps us to wake up feeling fresh in the morning and to sleep soundly at night.
  2. Through our skin — Phototherapy that is absorbed through the skin is used to treat skin problems, as well as bodily aches and pains. The longer the wavelength, with infrared wavelength being the longest, the deeper the waves will be able to move into our body’s tissue and energize the cells to promote healing.
A session of light therapy usually involves sitting or working near a light therapy box or lamp. Some forms of therapy may take place in other environments, such as in a spa or during a medical procedure.
A Short History of Light Therapy
    In antiquity, what we now call light therapy was used as a medicine to balance the four humors. It’s likely that light stimulation (or the lack thereof) was already found, via observation, to be something that can alter moods.
    Centuries down the line, mental health experts have been able to recognize that sunshine and electric light from high-frequency parts of the visible spectrum can help with skin and sleep disorders, as well as improve someone’s emotional well-being.
    Around the turn of the century, Niels Ryberg Finsen began developing light therapy treatments, and he received the Nobel Prize for his work, using artificial light sources for what would later become known today as bright light therapy. The term for SAD was coined in the 1980s by Normal E. Rosenthal of the National Institute of mental Health.
    Over time, as the research progressed, we learned more about the effects of UV radiation on the skin and were able to refine bright light treatments to filter out UV light.
    In 2005, a group of Japanese scientists found that when mice are exposed to bright lights, they release a wave of hormones called glucocorticoids from the adrenal glands. These hormones are responsible for regulating important bodily processes, including metabolic and stress responses, inflammation, and immunity response. The intensity of the light determines the extent of the hormonal response. This is a step toward understanding how light therapy works.
What Are the Benefits?
    Light therapy is non-invasive and safe. It can increase the effectiveness of other forms of treatment, including antidepressants, and positive results can even lead to a reduction in medication use. A consistent light therapy regimen can help to alleviate symptoms of:
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Non-Seasonal Mood Disorders
  • Psoriasis and other Skin Disorders
  • Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
  • Stress
  • Chronic Pain
  • Acne and Breakouts
  • Signs of Aging, such as Lines and Wrinkles
Additionally, ongoing studies are looking into the promising prospect effects light therapy can have on dementia.
    Side effects of light therapy tend to be mild and brief. At the same time, it’s important to speak to your doctor before introducing light therapy into your routine, as people with some conditions might be adversely affected. Some side effects might include:
  • Eyestrain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of Irritability or Agitation
  • Mania, Euphoria, or Hyperactivity Associated with Bipolar Disorder
    Side effects may subside within a few days of beginning your phototherapy sessions. The majority of light boxes are designed to be safe and effective. However, they are not approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it’s important to pay attention to what light therapy box you’re purchasing. It is particularly important that your lamp filters Ultraviolet A (UVA) waves.
Ways to mitigate symptoms:
  • Reducing treatment or session duration
  • Taking breaks during long sessions
  • Changing the time of day that you use light therapy
Consult your doctor if:
  • You have a condition that makes your skin sensitive to light.
  • You take medications that increase your sensitivity to light, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or St. John’s Wort.
  • Your eyes are vulnerable to light damage.
Ultraviolet (UV) Light
    UV light falls into two categories, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).
  • Often used for indoor tanning, which is not a form of light therapy, UVA waves can damage the skin and cause cancer.
  • On the other hand, UVB waves are not harmful and are instead used in some UV light therapy products to treat skin conditions and even some forms of skin cancer.
    Boxes and lights used for any light therapy to treat SAD (that is not UVB treatment for skin conditions) particularly those used for mood or sleep disorders, should filter out as much UV light as possible. Some boxes may not filter out all, or even most, of the UV light – so it is important to find a product that filters more than 90 percent of UV light.
How Bright Is Phototherapy?
    The intensity of phototherapy is often measured in lux. Lux measure the perceptible intensity of light, equal to one lumen per square meter. Below are a few comparisons:
  • .05 Lux – The light of a full moon at night
  • 50 Lux – The light of a well-lit residential room
  • 80 Lux – The light of a well-lit commercial or business office or hallway
  • 3,500 Lux – The light of an overcast day
  • 10,000 Lux – The light of full daylight, and the ideal output of bright light therapy
  • 32,000+ Lux – Direct Sunlight
    The costs of phototherapy vary dramatically depending on individual use and needs. Considering that light therapy relies on frequent sessions and consistency, most people will find it more cost-effective to purchase their own light therapy equipment.
    Most people can practice light therapy on their own, either at work or at home. However, the cost of a light therapy box is rarely covered by insurance. At the same time, you will want to purchase a high quality box in order to make sure that your sessions are both safe and effective. In this case, it’s important to do your research beforehand to get the appropriate equipment for your personal treatment.
    A bright light therapy lamp typically costs around $50, while some models will cost $150 or more. Less expensive boxes are available, but not with the features of the high-end products. Fortunately, the majority of light therapy boxes use long-lasting, low energy impact LED bulbs. You should also make sure that you aren’t sacrificing UV filters when purchasing a cheaper light box.
    For those who find that light therapy helps them to sleep better at night, remain more clearly awake during the day, control depressive symptoms, feel better about their skin and body, and feel less pain, the benefits of light therapy outweigh the cost. Positive mental health can improve your life in almost every way.
Who Can Benefit from Light Therapy?
    You can benefit from light therapy if you have any of the following problems:
Skin Conditions
    LED light therapy and UV light therapy both target skin conditions, such as chronic or cystic acne or psoriasis. Skin conditions that are treatable with light therapy include:
  • Psoriasis and eczema
  • Difficult to heal wounds
  • Scarring and stretch marks
  • Cystic acne
  • Symptoms of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles
Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
    Sleep disorders are normally characterized by abnormal (early or delayed) bedtimes, an irregular waking time, waking up throughout the night, or non-24-hour sleep patterns.
    In many cases, sleep disorders are seasonal, since the cycles of sunlight control our internal circadian clock. This means that less exposure to natural light can disrupt that rhythm, causing sleep problems. Sleep disorders plague 50-70 million American adults.
    Additionally, natural light facilitates the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for helping us feel sleepy at night and awake in the morning. Since melatonin production is increased throughout the fall and winter as the days become shorter and light is typically more scarce, it’s more common to feel groggy throughout the day.
    Light therapy right after waking up can help individuals to feel more awake in the morning.
    Additionally, it’s been found that bright light therapy can help someone quickly recover from jet lag.
Mood Disorders
    Many mood disorders and depressive symptoms stem from a deficiency in serotonin, which is then exacerbated by a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D, created by skin when exposed to sunlight, aids the body in absorbing nutrients, including calcium and magnesium. The less Vitamin D that’s synthesized, the more likely serotonin levels are going to drop.
    Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to control and regulate the mood. Negative mood changes frequently result from having low serotonin resources or using them too quickly. Exposure to natural light waves triggers the brain chemicals that allow serotonin to release, thus helping to regulate moods.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    SAD is most frequently experienced by children, teens, and younger adults. However, the symptoms are not limited to this age group. Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men. Individuals are more likely to experience SAD if their family has a history of clinical depression or mood disorders. Additionally, those who live further from the equator or in places where there are more prominent seasonal changes are more susceptible to SAD.
    The majority of individuals who experience SAD experience their depressive symptoms through the fall and winter months. Some individuals, however, experience SAD during the spring and summer seasons. Light therapy is most effective for those who experience SAD due to decreased light levels in the fall and winter.
Non-Seasonal Depression
    Those who have been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder often experience intensified symptoms during specific seasons. Studies have found that a combination of wake therapy, which requires the individual to stay awake for a prolonged period of time in a controlled environment, followed by bright light therapy, had a positive effect on patients with depression. Furthermore, light therapy has proven to be a helpful aid in treating the depression of individuals with other illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis.
    Nonetheless, those with non-seasonal depression should consult their mental health care provider before using bright light therapy, since studies on which subgroups most benefit from bright light therapy for non-seasonal depressive symptoms have been mostly inconclusive and vary from trial to trial.
    In rare cases, light therapy may trigger mania or manic symptoms in individuals with bipolar disorder, so it’s important to consult your doctor before beginning light therapy.
What Makes Bright Light Therapy Effective?
There are three factors that influence how effective light therapy is for the individual. These include:
  • Intensity – Most light boxes will state their intensity in lux. To alleviate SAD, the recommended lux setting is to use a 10,000 lux light box at a distance of about 16-24 inches (41-61 centimeters) from the face. At lower intensities, boxes will emit 2,500 to 3,500 lux which simulates the sky on an overcast day.
  • Duration – Light therapy sessions are typically around twenty to thirty minutes long. However, lower intensity boxes may require longer sessions. In this case, look up the manufacturer’s guidelines and professional medical suggestions. In general, it’s best to start with a shorter or standard session and gradually increase the amount of time exposed to the light. Many light therapy lamps will feature timers that allow you to standardize your session.
  • Timing – Most people find light therapy to be most effective early in the morning, right after waking.
Types of Light Therapy Lamps
    Different light therapy lamps will use different wavelengths to target healing throughout the body.
    It’s generally not recommended to put brighter bulbs into your existing light fixtures. This is because most light fixtures aren’t electrically designed to become bright enough for true light therapy.
    Another major consideration for purchasing a therapy light is the style. Light boxes come in different shapes and sizes, some will look like lamps while others will be rectangular, looking like windows. It’s up to you to consider what will fit best into your routine, schedule, and  ideal location.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Light Therapy for Skincare
    LED light therapy, particularly that involving red and blue wave light, is able to help with common skin concerns. In fact, LED light therapy was originally used as a skin treatment by U.S. Navy SEALs to treat wounds and regenerate muscles. Using LED light therapy, the navy found their return-to-service rate sped up by 41 percent. LED phototherapy is absorbed through the skin. The non-thermal, UV-free, narrow band LED light targets skin conditions, such as:
  • Sensitive skin
  • Acne prone skin and hormonal breakouts
  • Sun damage
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis
  • Open wound healing and residual scarring
    A session of professional LED light therapy can range from about $25 to $85, depending on where you are. Light therapy may be combined with other treatments, such as a facial or acupuncture. When combined with other offers or treatments, many spas and aestheticians will decrease the cost of the light therapy, making it accessible for trials.
Home LED light therapy implements can start around $100 and will increase in price as you look for higher-quality and more efficient equipment. Depending on per visit costs in your area, this startup cost can be well worth it, since it allows light therapy to become a consistent part of your skincare routine.
    Light therapy can improve your skin over time. This means that most uses of light therapy for the skin will require multiple sessions to experience and maintain full improvement results.
At home masks and light therapy wands are available to increase the convenience of light therapy treatments. However, professionals warn that the results of home treatments may not be as dramatic per application. This is because home devices will often use lower frequencies that aren’t as effective. While professional treatments may be weekly, it’s best to do at home treatments more frequently to maintain results.
Where Should It Be Placed?
    LED treatments can be placed directly on the skin. Always use home devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    LED light therapy can target any part of the surface skin. It’s most commonly used for cosmetic purposes on the face, neck, and chest, since these areas incur damage from being exposed to the elements and show signs of aging.
How Often Should You Use It?
    Professional LED phototherapy generally takes place over the course of a month or two, broken down into individual sessions. Each session  will often last around 20 minutes. These sessions are then spaced out by a week to allow time for the skin cells to regenerate. The effects of LED phototherapy are gradual and require consistency.
After a treatment course is finished, it’s common to see signs of aging again. This happens as your skin cells turn over. At this point, it’s recommended to return for single session maintenance treatments every few months.
At home devices can be incorporated into a daily skincare routine. The use of at home LED light therapy devices can be combined with other skin care practices, such as moisturizing, massaging, and face masks.
Types of LED lights
Red LED Light
    Red lights have the longest wavelength of the light spectrum, making it effective in treating skin problems such as promoting healing, preventing cold sores, relieving pain and inflammation, and even helping to ease stiffness from arthritis. Red light therapy uses red low-level wavelengths to treat wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, psoriasis, and persistent wounds.
    Red light therapy strengthens the cell’s mitochondria, allowing it to produce more energy, so that it can function more efficiently, as well as repair damage and rejuvenate. At the same time, red light increases the skin’s natural hydration levels, reduces redness and inflammation, and shrinks pore size. It is also capable of regulating oil production and improving circulation.
    This type of light therapy has shown to be a promising treatment for skin conditions (excluding acne) and additional research is being conducted to determine whether it is effective in treating other conditions. 
    There’s a lot to learn about how it works and its potential long term effects, so it’s best to take these claims with a grain of salt until more conclusive evidence presents itself.
Blue LED Light
    Blue LED light, when applied to the skin, has antibacterial properties which treat acne, reduce oil production, and prevent future breakouts. It also provides an alternative to traditional UV lights when it comes to treating eczema and psoriasis.
    The most common use of blue light LED therapy in a medical setting is to treat sun damage. In specialized circumstances, it can also be used for medical purposes to treat precancerous skin lesions or prevent skin cancer which hasn’t spread to other parts of the body. In practice, the light alone does not eliminate the cancer cells. Instead it activates and intensifies the effect of specialized drugs.
Light Boxes for Mood Therapy
    The majority of light therapy lamps used to alleviate mood disorders are in the form of light boxes. Light boxes are effective for alleviating symptoms of SAD and balancing the circadian rhythm. These boxes use pure white light to imitate the noontime sun.
    The light from light boxes is absorbed through the eyes. This means that light boxes are not effective if used when sleeping or in a different room.
    Most light therapy boxes are designed to emit bright white natural spectrum light to mimic a bright day outdoors. Light boxes that are not made to specifically treat mood disorders, such as SAD, may not help depression. Most clinical studies use cool-white fluorescent or LED bulbs for successful light therapy.
    Effective light boxes should have an intensity of 10,000 lux. Lower settings, such as 7,500 and 3,500 lux, can also help treat symptoms. While lower frequency light boxes will likely require longer sessions, they can be good for using a light box while working on other activities.
How To Use It:
    Light boxes are most often used during the fall and winter, when the days are darker and there is less sunlight available. The most effective use of light boxes is first thing in the morning. This can both give a dose of Vitamin D that improves moods and help to balance the circadian rhythm.
    Light box use is often fitted into a morning routine along with other activities that promote mental health such as reading, writing, or even exercise such as stretching or yoga.
How Often To Use It?
    Light boxes should be used daily, since consistency is the key to effective light therapy that promotes positive moods and healthy sleep cycles. Sessions are often 20-30 minutes when using a light at full intensity. When using a light at lower intensity, sessions can last one hour to 90 minutes. It is important, however, to not overdo it and remain aware of any side effects you might experience.
Where to Put It:
    These lamps are commonly used in spaces that don’t have access to natural sunlight, such as darker or sedentary work spaces where individuals might spend the majority of their time.
    The box should be located about 16 to 24 inches (41 to 61 centimeters) from the face. It’s important to not look directly into the light therapy box, since this could damage the eyes. To keep the light from shining directly into your eyes, position the box about 45 degrees to the left or right of your eyes. To allow the light to mimic natural sunlight, you should position the lamp at eye level or higher.
    The efficiency of a light therapy box depends on the amount of lux it can put out, with 10,000 lux being the standard. Additionally, light therapy boxes should filter out the majority of UV light. The best will filter out 99 to 100 percent of UV waves.
    At-home light therapy lamps will start at around $25 and can go up to around $90. While these do have positive health benefits, they are not usually covered by most health insurance plans.
    If choosing between a more expensive and less expensive lamp, make sure to take the level of UV filtering into consideration, to protect your body from UV damage and the potential risk of carcinogens.
    Higher-end lamps will offer a wider range of settings, including a wider variety of light intensities, more sophisticated timers, and automatic shut-off options.
Natural Spectrum Light Bulbs
    Sometimes referred to as full spectrum fluorescent lighting (FSFL), these lights mimic the full electromagnetic spectrum of light. They come in a variety of sizes, intensities, and forms.
    Unfortunately, while FSFL can introduce a beautiful natural light atmosphere into the home, no studies have shown them to have a dramatic effect on human behavior or health. Since it requires a light emission of at least 1000 lux to treat SAD and other mood disorders, natural spectrum light bulbs tend to fall behind.
    On the positive side, natural spectrum lights offer a pleasant lighting experience that can allow better visual acuity and less tiredness throughout the home. For those without clinical depression, a full spectrum light can offer a boost when it comes to atmosphere.
How To Use It:
    Use natural spectrum light bulbs to improve the quality of light in your home or work environment. Do not use them for clinical therapeutic purposes.
Where to Put It:
    Full spectrum fluorescent lighting is available to fit into just about any light fixture, giving the appearance of natural light throughout a space.
    Natural spectrum light fixtures are not effective for therapeutic treatment. However, the lights can offer a quality of life improvement for those who are dissatisfied with the atmosphere and lighting of their indoor environments.
    Natural spectrum light bulbs can be low cost, since they will generally fit into your existing light fixtures. Additionally, fluorescent lights offer energy efficiency benefits.
Bluewave Technology
    Bluewave Light Therapy works as a color therapy treatment for SAD. Blue light has the highest amount of energy of the visible spectrum, meaning it offers us a large amount of perceptible energy, similar to white light, for symptoms of SAD. Traditionally we would absorb blue light from the sun, but more recent years we receive blue light from electronics, including computer screens, smartphones, tablets, and TVs.
    You’ve probably heard that the blue light that’s emitted from electronic screens is bad for your eyes. The blue light can disrupt our sleep and wake up cycles by energizing the brain and disrupting melatonin production when used too late in the evening.
    Nonetheless, when absorbed at the right time, blue light can perform well for light therapy used to help the body wake up in the morning and take in light through the eyes. Studies have found that narrow-spectrum blue light is equally as effective in treating SAD symptoms as the more traditional white light.
    Exposure to blue light should be limited to earlier in the day. This is because the wrong forms of blue light, when absorbed late at night, suppress the distribution of melatonin and distort circadian rhythms.
    Bluewave Therapy is a form of chromo therapy (color therapy) that uses color to influence our well being, by decreasing stress, lowering blood pressure and exerting a calming effect. It works by using visible light in the blue wavelength to re-balance the body and bring overall harmony. Furthermore, the blue wavelength stimulates the body receptors in the eyes faster than full spectrum light therapy.
How To Use It:
    Use the bluewave light therapy boxes in the morning just after waking or during the day. This can take the place of traditional bright light therapy.
    Do not, however, use bluewave light therapy in the evening or before bed. If used later in the day, blue light can cause over-stimulation and interrupt the circadian rhythm.
How Often To Use It:
    Blue wave light therapy sessions should be fifteen to thirty minutes daily. It can be used during the fall and wintertime in order to alleviate symptoms of SAD or in situations where someone is exposed to limited amounts of sunlight.
Where to Put It:
    Place the bluewave light therapy box twenty to thirty inches from the face. It can easily be set on a desk space, table top, or beside a chair.
    Blue lights have been proven to be as efficient for offering positive results for mood and sleeping disorders as the more traditional bright light therapy using white light. Just as with white light boxes, the ideal output is 10,000 lux for optimal efficiency.
    Medical level bluewave technology, however, has proven to require only 10% of the traditional 10,000 lux required by natural spectrum light for the same level of effectiveness. This can also cut down treatment time. Ultimately, once this technology hits the home market, bluewave technology will be considered twice as effective as white light therapy.
While there are no joint studies yet available, many choose bluewave for its ability to influence both skin care and mood therapy at the same time.
    Bluewave light therapy boxes tend to be much more expensive than white light therapy boxes, beginning at around $250. This is because bluewave technology is considered to be medical equipment.
Infrared Light Therapy
    Similar to red-light LED therapy for the skin, Infrared light therapy is the most deeply absorbed wavelength. It creates non-UV damaging heat when absorbed by the skin and body.
    It can increase cell permeability and absorption. This means that it’s capable of smoothing lines and wrinkles, improving skin elasticity, and reducing pain and inflammation. Infrared technology is among the best for accelerating wound healing and healing cystic acne. It also also a powerful tool for stress relief.
    Additionally, infrared technology has been used medically to effectively treat acute or chronic body aches and pains, including lower back pain. This is because infrared light penetrates below the skin to aid in healing without damaging the skin.
How To Use It:
    Infrared light should be directed at the targeted area for 20 minute sessions. The wavelength warms the muscles inside the body. Even though infrared light doesn’t contain UV rays that could cause burning, it’s important to remain aware of overheating the body or becoming uncomfortable.
How Often To Use It:
    Infrared light therapy can be used daily for chronic pain.
Where to Put It:
    Most infrared light therapy lamps are attached to clamp lights that allow you to direct the light to the part of the body where stress is stored or that feels pain. The light should be ten to twelve inches from the body.
    Infrared light is often used in chiropractic treatments, since it is able to reduce stress throughout the body and relieve chronic aches and pains. At home, this light therapy is best used for the purpose of deep muscle relaxation.
    When it comes to cosmetic treatments, near infrared light therapy does not show increased efficacy over other red light LED treatments.
    Home equipment often does not have the strength to produce the most efficient results. These lamps are often used in chiropractic offices, massage salons, or infrared saunas where the specialized equipment can offer extra power.
    Infrared Light Therapy continues to be a medical procedure as opposed to an at home service. They can be found at massage parlors and infrared saunas, starting at around $20 for a 20 minute session.
    Many infrared lamps that can be purchased at home are very expensive and less effective than professional lamps. We recommend, for at home use, purchasing a Near Infrared Bulb that can be used in a standing or clamp light. These can cost $20 to $50.
UV Light Therapy
    Ultraviolet (UV) light therapy is used as a treatment for skin conditions, such as psoriasis as well as some forms of skin cancer.
    UV light therapy should not be confused with indoor tanning, which emit Ultraviolet A (UVA) light. UVA light raises the risk of melanoma by 58 percent and does not provide the kind of light that treats skin problems. Instead UV light therapy uses ultraviolet B (UVB), which penetrates the skin and slows the growth of diseased or affected skin cells.
    UVB therapy helps to treat psoriasis and eczema by reducing itching, calming inflammation, increasing the vitamin D production, and fighting bacteria in the skin.
How To Use It:
    Use UVB light therapy only according to a doctor’s instructions.
    It’s important to check regularly for sun damage throughout use. Most eligible individuals will begin their treatment in a clinical situation, and then move it home to keep up with consistency. UVB treatment is only recommended via doctor’s instructions, and home UVB equipment requires a medical prescription.
    If you experience tightness or dryness from you light therapy treatment, it can be helpful to moisturize or use moisturizer oil before treatment.
How Often To Use It:
    Whether you’re getting UVB treatment from a phototherapy clinic or using it at home, it must follow a consistent schedule in order to see positive results. UVB therapy should be absorbed in daily exposure. Your doctor will recommend the ideal duration.
    Home UVB therapy is effective for treating skin diseases, such as psoriasis, since it requires specialized medical-grade equipment. About 70 percent of people with eczema find that UV light therapy is able to relieve their symptoms. In some cases, phototherapy is able to put the eczema into remission and prevent flare ups long after the treatment stage.
Many insurance companies will cover the cost of UVB therapy equipment if you have a doctor’s prescription.
How to Prepare for Light Therapy
    One way to track the effectiveness of your therapy is to monitor and track your mood. This might mean keeping a daily mood tracker. Which can be as simple as using a daily emoji to express your mood. Many people will notice a trend of improved moods within one or two weeks.
    Tracking your mood will help with the consistency of your light therapy use. Additionally, tracking will help prepare you for reporting results to your care provider or light therapy professional, so that they can advise you in a way that helps to fine-tune your experience.
    Whether you’re looking for a therapist or aesthetician for mood or sleep disorders or to help with skin care, it’s always important to find a professional who allows you to feel comfortable and safe.
Finding a Light Therapy Provider for Mood or Sleep Disorders
Begin by talking to your medical professionals, including doctors and mental health professional, about whether light therapy is a good option for you and your symptoms. This consultation will let you know whether you should take any special precautions.
    Familiarize yourself with the varieties of light therapy and light boxes in order to find a product that is safe and effective.
    For most people, the effects of light therapy aren’t immediate. Instead, light therapy requires time and consistency. It should be undergone as a routine or schedule and not simply a standalone procedure. At the same time, it’s important not to overdo it.
Finding a Dermatologist or Aesthetician for Light Therapy
    Ask your doctor for a recommendation or referral to a qualified dermatologist to talk about light therapy. Dermatologists are medical professionals who can recommend treatment for skin disorders, diseases, other medically based problems. Many dermatologists will also provide recommendations for cosmetic procedures.
    ​However, to get the most out of cosmetic phototherapy, such as LED red and blue light therapy, it can be helpful to hire an aesthetician. These services are available at phototherapy spas and massage parlours.
    Light therapy is an emerging field with a wide range of applications, from treating mood disorders, to cosmetic skincare, to healing wounds, and treating deeper medical concerns. One of the best aspects of light therapy is its ability to offer non-invasive, low-impact treatment with few side effects.
    The effects of light therapy can greatly increase individual quality of life and replace more invasive medical treatments and drugs. If you think that you could benefit from light therapy, we recommend discussing it with your doctor or dermatologist.

Respectfully submitted by:
*Licensed Psychologist
*Certified  Psychoanalyst
*Stone Carrier Medicine Woman, Native American Traditional Organization

Light Therapy is Like a Vitamin For Your Brain

A Message From Robin Sheridan of HomeoLux:

Scientists know that the brain has immune cells called microglia whose job it is to clear away waste and toxins from the brain. They also know that the normal rhythm of brain waves is 40Hz. When naturally occurring proteins build up, brain rhythm is disrupted, causing dementia.

Research has shown that flickering lights at 40Hz mimicked healthy brain rhythm, and brains responded with a greatly increased number of microglia.

The lights seem to rejuvenate the brains’ natural function, enabling the ability to clear out the toxins that can lead to cognitive impairment.

Learn more about the benefits of light therapy on cognitive health HERE.

Happy Body, Happy Planet

What are we doing to our bodies and the planet? 21 incredible thinkers from 6 continents offer answers in a free online summit, hosted by Prof. Johanna Sophia.

Dates: Sept. 3—9, 2020.


To sign up, click HERE.

The Return of Dr. T!

For those of you who are new to Musings, Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren is a friend and regular speaker at La Casa.

With an in-person appearance currently impossible, he is holding some talks via Zoom.

On Sept. 5 at 7pm:

Advanced Stool, Urine, and Hormone Tests For Vital Health and Improved Appearance — A Brief Introduction’

For more details and registration, click HERE.

On Sept. 9 at 8pm: 

Don’t Degenerate, Regenerate!’ will detail the six keys to vibrant longevity. He will also include a Q&A about the different lab tests Ecopolitan offers, including the COVID-19 test.

More details can be found HERE.


Dr. T will also be holding a skin clinic in New York on Sept. 11, 2020.

Sign up details can be found HERE.

Book Your Room at La Casa de Vida,

Puerto Rico Now!

Our stunning La Casa de Vida, in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico continues to get better and better. We’ve been welcoming guests into our rainforest cottage, and our yurt, and our brand new dome home. We offer gorgeous scenery, fresh food gardens, as well as many wellness treatments.

Based on our many online reviews, all have had fantastic times!

““Wow this yurt completely surpassed my expectations. It is larger than it appears in the photos. Plenty of space to spread out. We did not have any problems with mosquitoes or bugs in the yurt. We had everything we needed and the place was very clean. Not far from the kioskos in Luquillo for a bite to eat. Wish we could have stayed here longer, but would definitely stay here again in the future!”

                -Alana, Yurt Guest

“I give this place 5 stars on everything! A couple of my friends and I got to share this magical space and had a great time. We even put together a yoga class in the beautiful rooftop and other guests joined. It is truly a magical spot, the only thing we didn’t like is we only stayed for 1 night! Host is very accommodating and available, with adorable kids and cats on the property! Very safe space! So appreciated for this stay and will recommend this to everyone reading this review and all my friends in San Juan looking to get away from the city.”


“Lovely house filled with lovely people. The room has great ventilation (practically half of the walls are vented windows) and is connected to the house by a sliding glass door with privacy curtains. The door goes to a small living room, which joins a kitchen area and other rooms. Though the room is connected to the house/living room, we didn’t hear anyone in the house and we felt we had privacy. I did wake up a few times because of wind and rain, but you’re in the rainforest, so just one of those things where ya gotta suck it up. The bed was super comfy. The shower outside was refreshing (no hot water, but that is the norm). On the roof is a deck where you can do yoga/take in the views of the mountain and ocean (and stars at night!).”

-Papaya Room Guest 

“Amazing place to stay, great host and environment. It is so refreshing to stay in most of La Casa’s rooms, great view to El Yunque and beautiful weather.”



You can make a reservation via Airbnb by clicking HERE.


Introduce someone to our services for a discount on your next visit!

Call 212.673.CASA (2272) for more information on our New Referral Program! 

Find out more by clicking HERE


“Life-style trumps genes” is one of the most important lessons on health that I want to impart. My mother and sister were both dead of cancer long before they reached the age that I am currently (72). Pictures above are of me on my 72nd birthday, two months ago. I am healthy, have no diseases, live an active lifestyle (swim, run, do yoga), and am a 50-year vegetarian. Yet, according to genetic predictions, I should probably be dead. Statistical estimates are that I have a 16 times higher chance of getting cancer than someone without my genetic history. Rather than dying, I thrive in my lifestyle, my age, and my infinite curiosity. CURIOSITY is the CURE.

My mother was my first inspiration/lesson about the reversibility of cancer.

I created La Casa Spa and Wellness Center long before holistic medicine was widely known. My mother and I spent the 1970s seeking alternative cancer therapies because she had been diagnosed with breast cancer mestaticized to terminal bone cancer. Following sound principles of holistic health, my mother was able to reverse her cancer condition entirely, moving from her wheelchair to joyfully playing tennis again.

After my father died, my mother’s cancer came roaring back with a vengeance. I understand the resurgance of my mother’s illness to be entirely related to the loss of her one-and-only-beloved.

These experiences — of my mother getting sick, my mother fully reversing terminal cancer, and my mother’s cancer coming back after the biggest emotional loss of her life — inspired me to specialize in my psychoanalytic practice to work with cancer patients, and to fulfill the need for a holistic healing center. La Casa started as a destination holistic center in the rain forest jungle  of Puerto Rico, and then in the urban jungle of NYC. I invite my readers, and all others, to partake of the restorative and profoundly cleansing therapies that have brought La Casa world-wide recognition. A personal note: there is not a single therapy offered at both La Casas that I have not incorportated into my own lifestyle.

Legal Disclaimer
Information provided is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. No health claims for these products or therapies have been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor has the FDA nor any other medical authority approved these products pr therapies to diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. Since every person is unique, we highly recommend you to consult with your licensed health care practitioner about the use of products or therapies discussed here as it relates to your particular situation.