Red Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months. SAD typically occurs due to the lack of exposure during these months. This seasonal dip is often referred to as "winter blues", as people lacking sunlight having higher levels of depression, lowered immunity and decreased health and wellness.
When near-infrared light from a red light therapy device is shined on a person’s head, those wavelengths are able penetrate the surface of the skin, and reach the brain and affect brain cells directly.
A 2018 research from leading mental health researchers assessed the effects of red light therapy for people with major depression symptoms. The researchers found that red light therapy “demonstrated antidepressant properties with a medium to large effect size in patients with major depressive disorder.”
A 2017 study of 39 people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and mild-to-severe depression symptoms indicated a “robust response” for 36 of 39 patients. For 32 of these patients, improvements in their symptoms were significant enough to indicate a remission from depression.