Phototherapy is the use of bright white light (spectrum of visible light) for a specific period of time through a clinically certified phototherapy system according to the experts’ instructions. Phototherapy lamps/bulbs imitate sunlight at a high level of brightness which is tolerable and does not produce heat. Visible light passes through the eyes and acts as a signal for the epiphysis so that it stops producing melatonin – the sleep hormone – and thus resynchronizes the circadian rhythm, our biological clock. The exposure to light is the most important factor in regulating circadian rhythm.

Phototherapy & Seasonal Depression:
Also, Phototherapy is a first-line treatment for seasonal depression, which is characterized by fluctuations in emotion that occur not only during the winter months but also during the spring and summer. Even though, Phototherapy has been shown – with studies dating back to the 1980s – to be effective as a treatment for seasonal depression, its exact mechanism of action remains unknown. However, the hypotheses that have been made concern a) the correction of circadian rhythm through exposure to light b) the increase of synaptic serotonin in the midbrain area or a combination of both of the above mechanisms.
The success of Phototherapy in seasonal depression has aroused research interest in its use in other psychiatric conditions. Although the results for the use of Phototherapy in monopolar depression are contradictory in terms of its effectiveness, studies on monopolar depression in specific populations have shown a promising response. Specifically, studies have shown positive results in cases of postpartum depression but also in adolescents aged 14-17 years old with monopolar depression.

Phototherapy & Sleep Disorders:
Phototherapy is recommended to treat certain sleep disorders. Increased exposure to light in the morning can have positive effects in cases of insomnia through the effect of the light on the circadian rhythm. In cases of early awakening, the afternoon exposure to the light may be beneficial. In addition, phototherapy results in Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS), which has to do with the shift of circadian rhythm in the morning hours combined with the inability of awakening in the morning.

Phototherapy & Weight Loss:
Phototherapy has also been studied in obesity and eating disorders. If you are one of those people who wake up at night to eat with the inevitable effects on your weight, then it may be worth trying phototherapy since a number of studies show that it is effective in patients who experience overeating, especially nocturnal overeating. The mechanism behind this action has to do with the production of leptin and ghrelin which are responsible for the feeling of satiety of hunger. At the same time, phototherapy can indirectly offer an effect on emotional overeating, through antidepressant action and reduction of negative emotion.
Depending on the expected therapeutic effect, the patient follows a number of daily morning sessions, lasting 30 to 40 minutes, under the lamp of a certified phototherapy device, the light of which is painless and does not produce heat. The fact that Phototherapy is non-invasive with minimal side effects, makes it a good treatment choice in populations where pharmacotherapy presents limitations.

Phototherapy can be applied at the Smart CNS Center as a solution for all the above cases. Contact us at +30 210 440 1 440 for a more personalized approach.

The scientific team of the Smart CNS Center

#phototherapy #brainanatomy #depression #weightloss #sleepdisorder

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