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Free light therapy method - thoughts?

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Free light therapy method - thoughts?

Postby pdxtra » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:24 pm

I've never used a light box. But I've stumbled upon something that I was sure wouldn't work, but, to my surprise, did work for me. It's embarrassingly simple. When I wake up, I get out my smartphone, and turn the flashlight on. I then lay face down in my bed, propping up my forehead with the back of my hand, fist or arm. Then I close my eyes and slide the light under my eyes. I adjust the phone, my head and even my eyelids and eyebrows to get the maximum brightness while still being comfortable. The light is diffused across my eyelids, creating a bright, sunny, white light. I stay here for 30 minutes, basically just laying in bed with my eyes closed after waking up, thinking about the day ahead, with happy music playing. When I'm done, I have this spark of energy and happiness that lasts the rest of the day. (It's strongest in the morning, though.) I tried putting the light right up to each closed eye, alternating eyes, but that was too bright and made my eyes feel weird. But the fact that I actually can get too much light this way makes me wonder, could that mean I can also get enough light with just this free setup? I'm considering buying a clinical-standard light box to compare the effects, but I was wondering if anyone who already has a light box could try this method and report whether there are differences in how you respond to it?

Thank you very much!
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Re: Free light therapy method - thoughts?

Postby pdxtra » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:57 pm

I should also add that you should keep your phone plugged in. My flashlight drains the battery even with it plugged in, so unplugged may not last you long at all.

Also, it's possible that different phones have flash LEDs with different brightnesses. I'm using a Moto G 2013. And I'm not sure how this would work with darker skin, if the pigment in your eyelids might block too much light. I'm white.
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Re: Free light therapy method - thoughts?

Postby lostavenue » Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:29 pm

That's really neat that you've found a cheap hack for a light box that basically anyone can use, but there's a couple things to consider:

1) The light coming from your phone's screen or flash light is nowhere near as bright as what you'll get from a light box. A true light box generates 10,000 lux. I don't know how bright your screen or flash light gets, but I'm guessing it doesn't even compare to a real light box, so it may not be as effective. A real light box is only like $50-70 on amazon. It's worth it, I promise.

2) Keep your eyes open!! According to research, the benefit from light exposure therapy comes from light actually entering our eyes, not our eyelids or skin. That's what triggers the release of the happy feel good chemicals in our brain. Obviously with such bright lights, you don't want to stare directly into the light. In the morning, I work on my laptop at my desk and have my light box about 1 1/2 feet away shining into my eyes at an angle. That way the light is still entering my eyes, but doesn't blind me.

Even if you keep using your phone, give #2 a try and let me know if you notice a difference!
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