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How do I Choose the Best Light Therapy Lamp?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Choosing the best light therapy lamp can depend on factors such as where you will use it, how often it will be used, and the reason for needing it. Light therapy lamps come in a variety of sizes and lumen outputs, so the best unit for you may depend on whether it will be used in the home, office, or for travel. These lamps also come with a variety of different features, some of which can be very useful if they will be used on a daily basis. If you are attempting to deal with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or similar conditions, you may want to choose a light therapy lamp that effectively simulates full spectrum sunlight. Other conditions can benefit from lamps that offer different wavelengths.

One widespread use of light therapy is to manage SAD. This condition can manifest as a result of the changing quality of light during the winter months, so a light therapy lamp may be an effective treatment. The best lamps for this purpose typically offer a full spectrum that simulates sunlight. You may want to seek out one that blocks ultraviolet (UV) portions of the spectrum, as these can have negative physiological effects.

Some lamps and light boxes offer a feature that will turn them on at a set time each morning. Others build on this feature by slowly increasing the brightness to simulate a natural sunrise. These can also be good if you are attempting to treat certain sleep disorders.

If you will be using your light therapy lamp each morning, automatic timer features are desirable. A smaller portable unit may be a better option if you intend to use light therapy at work or on the road. Some of these lamps will still have intensity settings, built in clocks, and alarms.

Other conditions can require different types of light therapy lamps. Some skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, may benefit from light therapy and will require a particular type of lamp. Ultraviolet radiation in these lamps can suppress immune system responses, which are often the cause of these conditions. This is one case where a light therapy lamp that emits a narrow band of UV radiation would be your best choice. Light emitting diode (LED) lamps that provide visible violet light of a particular wavelength may also be useful in treating acne.

Red light therapy may be used for a variety of purposes, such as pain management, increasing blood flow, and treating sinus diseases. Light therapy using low intensity lasers may also be used in these cases. Healthcare professionals typically administer this type of light therapy.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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