Light Therapy or Phototherapy is a form of alternative treatment where the patient is exposed to daylight or to certain wavelengths of light using lasers, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps, light-emitting diodes or bright, full-spectrum light.
These are often controlled using different devices. Light therapy or phototherapy is administered at a particular time of the day and for a specified duration of time. Light therapy is beneficial in treating various skin disorders such as psoriasis, vitiligo, acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, polymorphous light eruption, lichen and eczema. It also helps in sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder, mood disorders, chronic CRSD (circadian rhythmic sleep disorder) and situational CRSD. It helps in treating neonatal jaundice and in healing of the wounds.
Ultraviolet light therapy has been found to be helpful in the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, including mycosis fungoides. Light therapy which is directed at the retina of the eyes is helpful in treating circadian rhythm disorders and seasonal affective disorder. Other medical benefits of light therapy include augmented wound healing, hair growth, increase in blood circulation and blood properties and other sinus-related disorders. Red light therapy and low level laser therapy in the 620–660 nm range is usually used.
A.J. Lewy and his coworkers have published an article in 1980, in a magazine, Science. This article led to a modern era of phototherapy. It was suggested by Lewy that the secretion of the hormone melatonin can be repressed by exposing the patients to artificial, bright light rather than the light of ordinary intensity found indoors.
Light Therapy or Phototherapy Experiments
Many experiments were conducted by professor Mester of Budapest University to ascertain the function of light in the cells of humans and animals. He discovered that the monochromatic light helps in promoting the DNA to use the lipoprotein in the region facilitating the cell to produce collagen, elastin and also to function better.
Light Therapy or Phototherapy Benefits
There have been several benefits found from regular and moderate exposure to sunlight or artificial lights which are similar to sunlight. Such exposure helps in alleviating winter blues and treating other forms of depression, alleviating jet lag, decreasing abnormally lengthy menstrual cycles and can be helpful to treat psoriasis, insomnia, and eating disorders. It also helps in relieving some symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) which is a critical disease involving the immune system.