Brighten Up
Light therapy is being used to improve moods and bolster wellness
Life / 14 Feb 2013
Light treatments have long been used to manage depression, particularly that caused by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but a few new gadgets aim to apply the same therapeutic principles to more general use. In an artificially and excessively lit world, these thoughtful applications of light may improve peoples’ overall mood and health by helping them recover their natural circadian rhythms.
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Valkee
: The Valkee bright light headset makes the treatment of SAD (or general glumness) as effortless as popping in a pair of ear buds. Traditional light therapy treatments typically require the subject to sit in front of a light therapy box, which bathes them in simulated sunlight. Valkee, however, directs this bright light through the ear canal to the light-sensitive portions of the brain, via light-emitting ear buds connected to a portable headset. Six to twelve minutes of daily, on-the-go use is purported to increase energy and prevent moodiness, with effects rivaling a 30-minute to two-hour session in front of a traditional light box.
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Rise and Shine
: Despite the advancement of smart watch technology, traditional timepieces are decidedly outré. More than half of young consumers now use their phones as morning alarms. But the Rise & Shine Sleep System may offer an incentive to go analog. This audio-visual alarm clock simulates the light of the rising or setting sun to correct users’ circadian rhythms and lull them into deeper sleep. In the morning, the alarm’s slowly brightening light guides a staged wake-up. At night, the same process happens in reverse. A selection of soundscapes augments the experience, allowing urbanites anywhere to imagine that they’re deep in nature.
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Stay Well
: For an extra $30 a night, guests at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas can opt into one of the hotel’s new Stay Well rooms, which are dedicated to improving the traveler’s health and, in turn, boosting their happiness. Along with Vitamin C-infused showers, aromatherapy, and air purification, the rooms feature a variety of light therapy options. Lighting in the rooms was designed to improve inhabitants’ internal clocks, with a special emphasis on LED night lighting that won’t suppress melatonin release. Guests can also partake in wake-up sessions, a series of blue-hued light blasts that helps reverse the effects of jetlag.
©The Intelligence Group