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La luminothérapie



At the beginning of the 1980's in the United States Professor Rosenthal discovered the benefits of light therapy lamps (also called a photo therapy apparatus). At first they were used in cases of seasonal depression also called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Light therapy is today practised in a number of hospitals a number of pathologies, but mostly with trouble linked to the upset of the biological clock (troubles de rythmes circadiens) like insomnia and generally trouble sleeping.

Light therapy reveals its effectiveness in numerous cases, and helps to quickly find energy when a lower morale lets us feel the changes in the seasons.

Light therapy lamps and seasonal depression or SAD. The principal symptoms of winter season depression start to show at the end of summer when the days start to grow short and become dull as there is less light it is the seasonal change that affects a number of people.

In a number of cases it is Winter Blues which we all suffer from in one way or another, it is a simpler version of winter depression, and this in no way stops us from continuing with our daily lives.

In the cases of SAD people will suffer from a depressive state, tiredness and will have a tendancy to isolate themselves socially. Also noticing a significant rise in their appetite with a tendancy to gain weight or even bulemia due to sweet foods, gloomy humour a tendancy of insomnia and an excessive need of sleep, loss of concentration and motivation with a loss of interest and a loss of out put. The people suffering from seasonal depression do not automatically show symptoms, this is why it is important to contact a doctor for a check up. The signes of this depression disappear with the arrival of beautiful days and sunlight.


Light therapy consists of facing a light therapy lamp which transmits light to the eyes. The intensity of the light should be between 2500 and 10 000 lux (light units). It is the retina via the neurotransmittors that inhibit the melatonin, a sleep hormone which is at the root of the problems linked to a loss of light. This homone is normally secreted at night for us to sleep. The fact that this sleeping drug is naturally blocked during the day helps us to find out natural energy.


First you have to remember that light therapy lamps used as treatment in hospitals and at home respond in the same way as any normal medecine. This is why you should verify that the lamps have an agreed EU license.

The origin of light therapy lamps are reserved for medical use (by a GP or at the hospital). Today light therapy lamps may be used at home, at the office in response to normal usage.

The power will be the first factor in the choice of a lamp, of course the more powerful the lamp the more the use will be a greater comfort.

Each session should be done in the morning. The user must place the lamp at eye height or just underneath the eyes. It is not necessary to look at the lamp but it is important that the retina swims in the light coming from the light therapy.

The length of the session must be between 30 minutes and 2 hours (30 minutes at 10 000 lux or 2500 lux for 2 hours).

The effects on the morale can be felt quite quickly, from the first couple of days, but may take 10 days for others.

There are very little indications against light therapy but it is important to consult a doctor when the person suffers with their eyes or is taking photosensitive medication.

Mots clés : psychologie - santé -