Light therapy is also known as phototherapy or heliotherapy. In this therapy, one is exposed to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light using polychromatic polarized light, lasers, light-emitting diodes, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps or very bright, full-spectrum light. The light is given for a decided amount of time and, in some cases, during a specific time of day.
The major use of this treatment is for the treatment of skin disorders, chiefly psoriasis, acne vulgaris, eczema and neonatal jaundice. When light is showered on the retina of the eyes it is mainly to treat circadian rhythm disorders such as delayed sleep phase disorder and is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder. There are some evidences that link light therapy to psychiatric treatment.
The therapeutic process of illumination has been proven to have several known physiological effects, though the exact mechanisms are still unclear. Our blood contains a light sensitive hormone called melatonin. Blood levels of melatonin are rapidly reduced by light exposure. A person’s body clock controls the daily rhythms of body temperature, hormone secretion, and sleep patterns. The amount of light given shifts or delays these processes as they are controlled by melatonin. These physiological time shifts are the basis of the therapeutic response. Light may also amplify the day-night difference in these rhythms.
Light bulbs and units are one of the only ways through which this therapy is administered. They come in various sizes and colors. Depending on the type of light that has to be given, different units are designed.
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