Before explaining light therapy in detail, it is important to remember its origins. The first therapeutic uses of light date back to the end of the twentieth century, which a Danish researcher, Niels Ryberg Finsen, showed that light stimulates the immune defenses and enables the fight against infections (tuberculosis, etc.).
We had to wait nearly 80 years for the therapeutic use of light reached a level of significance. Indeed, Norman Rosenthal, a South African doctor living in Washington, discovered at his expense that he felt quite depressed at the arrival of autumn. With his colleagues from the National Institute of Mental Health, he then began to carry out research on the subject and showed for the first time that it was possible to treat this seasonal effect through exposure to artificial light. Light therapy was born!
Patience was required until 2005 for light therapy to be officially recognized by the American Psychiatry Association as a treatment of first order against seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder.
Afterwards, the field of application of light therapy was strongly increased, with the discovery in 2002 of pigment cells and the effect of light on the biological clock’s imbalances. Each year, new studies come to light, highlighting the positive effects of light in other indications such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, brain injuries, tobacco or alcohol withdrawal, etc.
Light therapy is therefore not a craze but really a scientific reality which in the future will find its place in each therapist’s tool box.
Discover what role light plays on the body
with Roland Pec - sleep specialist and chrono-therapist