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Some people have adverse responses to changes in the climate. A relatively new phenomenon Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people across the world, causing adverse emotional affects and in the worst cases greatly inhibiting the quality of their lives.

Until recently it was believed that people don’t respond to seasonal changes in the same way that other mammals do. This theory has now been revised and treatments have been designed to help those afflicted with SAD.

Light therapy is one such treatment. The treatment was founded in 1980 by Dr. A.J. Lewy and his co-workers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) observed that high intensity light affects the natural release of melatonin of the pineal gland, conclusive proof that human physiology is influenced by light.

In 1981, Herbert Kern, a depressed engineer approached Dr. Lewy for help. Suffering from recurring depression that manifested at the turn of spring and autumn each year his life was becoming greatly unsettled. Dr. Lewy agreed to treat Mr. Kern’s depression by creating an artificial summer by extending the exposure to light by two hours each and every day.

With the treatment a success the practice of light therapy or phototherapy became the most practiced clinical technique for aiding the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Today light therapy is recognised by the governing bodies of psychiatric medicine as the most potent treatment for SAD. Light therapy is also employed in the treatment of other lesser disorders like the winter blues and cabin fever.

In the early 1990’s Sunnex Biotechnologies approached Dr. Lewy. They proposed that by using a low intensity green light based on the precept that wavelength and the intensity of the light were fundamental aspects of light therapy. Then resulting experiment by Sunnex Biotechnologies deduced that nocturnal melatonin levels are suppressed with this new low intensity light. This led to patient testing with remarkably positive results, and the rest is history.

Today numerous individual studies are conducted and published outlining the positive impact on people’s lives of light therapy. Low light therapy using a lamp that’s with one tenth the brightness of initial light therapy have been found to have equally positive benefits for patients. Blue light therapy research has also been conducted and found to have similar results as those of green lights.

Light therapy has proven to be an effective in the treatment of SAD. Dr. Herbert Kern is truly a pioneer, an innovator and those suffering from SAD own him a debt of gratitude.


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