Light therapy, also called phototherapy, is a treatment that uses an artificial sunlight lamp to simulate the natural light that may be lacking at certain times of the year, like the dead of winter. Sunlight lamps provide a more concentrated dose of UV rays and can provide benefits to your mental and physical health. Depression and skin conditions are treated with phototherapy. Premature babies may also benefit from exposure to sunlight lamps.
Sunlight lamps can be a noninvasive, nonchemical method to treating a variety of mood disorders, including SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, and PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. The exposure to the light stops your body from releasing melatonin, which might enhance your mood and give you more energy. Phototherapy does not always cure mental depression but can improve your symptoms enough so that you can function more effectively in your day-to-day life.
Improved Skin Condition
If you have a skin disease such as psoriasis or eczema, light therapy may improve your condition significantly. Light therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for psoriasis, an autoimmune condition in which your skin cells shed too quickly, leaving you with raised, thick, scaly lesions on the surface of your skin. Phototherapy may also be recommended for some types of eczema, an inflammation of the skin that can be caused by allergies, contact with irritants or unknown factors. The National Psoriasis Foundation explains that people who have psoriasis benefit from a combination of medications and UV exposure, because the light slows down the production of skin cells.
Lowered Risk of Neurological Damage
Some types of neurological damage may be slowed or prevented through the use of artificial sunlight lamps. Methods of Healing, an online resource for alternative and natural medical treatment, explains that some people with Parkinson's disease may benefit from phototherapy. University of Texas Medical School researchers report that babies who are born prematurely may gain the most from light therapy, as light helps decrease high bilirubin levels that are not uncommon with preemies. Very high bilirubin levels may lead to brain damage. The university's study also showed that neurological impairments of micropreemies dropped as much as 14 percent when sunlight lamps were introduced during the babies' first day of life.