Light boxes come in many shapes and forms. They can also sport a lot of different features and because there are so many manufacturers and models to choose from it can be a little overwhelming. In this article we’re going to break down the most important things to take into consideration when attempting to pick out a light box. Keep these key factors in mind when shopping around and you should get the exact one that you need for you.
Light therapy boxes create artificial light that replicates sun light. However, not all models are alike, so below are things to consider when buying a light box.
The intensity of light is measured using something called LUX. This is in accordance to how the human eye perceives the brightness of light. As an example, 50 lux is about the average intensity of home lighting and 350 lux is roughly the amount that you would expect in an office setting.
Sunlight coming down directly is quite intense and can be measured on a scale of up to 100,000 lux outdoors. Light boxes typically come in these ranges of LUX – 2,500, 8,000 and 10,000.
Some light boxes allow you to adjust the setting and can put out all 3 intensities, allowing you to choose which one you desire. The more lux that you are exposing your eyes to, the shorter the session that you will need to have with the therapy box, whereas the lower the lux the longer you should sit with the light therapy box for treatment.
As a result, try to find a model that allows you to choose between these 3 intensities. This will allow you to have more control over your light therapy sessions.
Here’s A General Rule Of Thumb
Although your doctor may be very specific about the amount of time that you use light therapy and may even offer you helpful suggestions about what you should be doing during the process.
Built In Timer
This isn’t the most important feature that a light box should have, but choosing one that has a built in timer can be very helpful. This allows you to accurately keep track of how much time you spent using a SAD light without having to worry about timing yourself.
If you are going to use one and relay information back to your doctor, being able to accurately keep track of how much time you’re spending with a light box can be productive information for your physician.
AVOID UV Light
Ultra violet light is not an appropriate treatment solution for jet lag, depression or pains. Make sure that you read carefully and choose a therapy lamp that clearly states that it’s technology filters out UV light. This kind of light can be very harmful.
When you get sunburned, it’s true that the place of concern will heal, but it does long term damage to your skin’s DNA. UV radiation is a very serious thing. Luckily, most light therapy boxes are designed to filter out UV rays.
Choosing The Right Size
Models can come in different sizes, but going too small could be a waste of your time. Obviously you don’t want something to big or bulky, but choosing a light box that has a good amount of surface area can mean better exposure to light for your eyes.
Many people mistakenly assume that light therapy works by entering the skin. That’s not how it works. The light must enter through the retinas of your eyes which is relayed and fed to your brain. The subsequent benefits are increasing serotonin while depleting melatonin, which makes you lethargic, moody and sleepy.
You never want to look directly at the source of light, but rather face it and look past it. Choosing a model that has a decent sized surface area can mean better exposure for your retinas.
Full Spectrum Light
Although choosing a light box model that produces full spectrum light is purely optional, if you find a unit that looks promising and it offers full spectrum light – all the better.
Full spectrum means that the wavelength in the light ranges from infrared to near-ultra violet. Although despite popular belief, this isn’t necessary. In fact, research has been conducted by the National Lighting Product Information Program no real, necessary benefits to full spectrum light.
You will naturally consider price as all consumers do, but keep in mind some of the basic features outlined in this guide that a light box should have. Options for controlling intensity, making sure that UV is filtered out and insuring that the unit has a decent sized surface area are important.
If ever in doubt, read the real reviews left by consumers who have bought a specific model and see what they have to say. You typically can’t go wrong with this kind of feedback.