Light, colour and SAD syndrome


The concept of light as a therapeutic agent against depression and other psychiatric ailments dates to many years. Environmental light was considered to be important for one's welfare, along with proper nutrition, fresh air and sufficient rest. The use of light baths was commonplace in Europe early this century and books were devoted to the subject. Since the mid-1980s, "phototherapy" -- light therapy has regained scientific scrutiny and it involves exposing the eyes to light containing only a little ultraviolet light in patients suffering from specific conditions.

Phototherapy has been reported to be effective for patients with recurrent winter depressions, know generally as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) syndromes.  The replication of positive results worldwide has led to a general acceptance of light therapy as a viable treatment for the condition. What is now undergoing scrutiny is the development of an optimum protocol (intensity of light, nature of light -- full spectrum or not , duration, timing -- morning rather than evening, administration -- eyes only or skin also). No long term adverse effects of phototherapy have been reported, when properly administered. There are some reports of irritability, eye strain, headaches or insomnia, which can all be redressed with modification of treatment.

SAD syndrome affects about 12 million people in North America who become clinically or dangerously depressed with the coming of winter. SAD can induce lack of focus or goals, inability to "pick oneself together". Other SAD syndromes include anxiety, irritability, inability to tolerate stress, withdrawing from others.  Studies show that fewer cases of SAD occur as one approaches the Equator: 15 - 20 % of Canada's population with only 1.5% in Florida or Mexico. Overall, up to 75% of Canadians are adversely affected in one way or another by the seasonal lack of sunlight.

The core of the SAD syndrome lies in the cyclic production of melatonin in the pineal gland. The body's timing mechanism, or biological clock, is linked to the absorption by this gland of light in the night/day cycle of no and varying availability of sunlight. The light energy is received by the gland in the form of generalized electromagnetic energy. Research shows that the melatonin hormone can inhibit the growth of several cancer cells and proper secretion enhances immunity. Melatonin is produced during darkness. Changes in its secretion -- as can occur in variations of availability of light or the presence of above-average electromagnetic field pollution -- affect the production of still other hormones (many of which affect emotional behaviour).  Changes in secretion also alter the proliferation of cancer cells.

Another aspect of sunlight is the presence of ultraviolet. Two research teams, one at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the other at the University of Sydney in Australia were surprised to learn that there was a much higher correlation between the incidence of malignant melanomas (skin cancer) in office workers than those occupationally and regularly exposed to sunlight. In fact, exposure to fluorescent light was associated with a relatively high risk to melanoma.  The findings were regressively analyzed without challenging these two studies by two others conducted by two departments of the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

The nature of body intake of sunlight is dependent upon multi-frequency interaction. Dr. John Nash Ott, the world's foremost photobiologist, describes this interaction as, "absorption and reflection frequency characteristics, including the frequency harmonics of all matter or forces interacting between two or more substances or forces) will influence the overall electric potential of the combined mass."  In simple terms, when the level of sunlight is properly administered, that is, sunbathing, healthy affect arise supporting growth and well-being.  However, if one suffers overexposure -- such as when the tissue becomes red, or is under drug medication, or has a very unusual diet, adverse effects can be anticipated.

This also means that "sun-blocker" chemicals, which are unstable when exposed to sunlight actually can promote skin cancer.

Limit exposure to sunlight not more than one hour per day in sunbathing, with 15 minutes per side. Exposure time in higher altitudes may be even shorter due to the intensity. Skiing at 10,000 feet above sea level may double the rate as compared to sunbathing on the beaches. Avoid potentially hazardous ointments advertised to protect you. Investigate first.

Remember, the benefic effects can be obtained even in the shade -- provided that the full spectrum is penetrating the eyes -- without being blocked by glasses, unless they permit the penetration of the full spectrum of visible light.

Light and sun radiation affect body cells the same way that sunlight effects photovoltaic cells used to convert to electrical energy. Dr. James Yehl, specialist in environmental medicine, suggests that the body does not utilize proteins, carbohydrates for their calorific value, but instead converts the electrical, light energy from food to electrical radiation which generates life. It appears that life has electrical properties since every body function can be reduced to an electrical wave signature, as EEG, EKG, etc..  In fact, he states that electromagnetic wave forces (mode, amplitude and frequency) affect the electrical dimensions of all living cells in such a manner as to either support health and life or adversely influence pathological disorder.  The life essence of the human cell structure appears to be most affected within a band of frequency from near infra-red through visible to the shortest waves of UV-C -- the full spectrum of light. Each cell can be considered as a wet-cell battery.

Dr. Ott has developed over the decades improvements in full-spectrum products which block out by shielding the adverse electromagnetics in lighting fixtures and vision aids while enhancing to the technological limits the positive, full spectra of all the colours of light. Only some fluorescent systems can recreate the sunlight-at-noon emissions and these have to be particularly well built and shielded from undesirable radio frequencies. These developments are now merchandised under the trademark, OTT-Lite.  Users report such benefits as visual acuity and ergonomic.

Pure colours can have important corrective and stimulative effects on both the physical and the psychological systems.  Before being ridiculed by the medical authorities, over a quarter of American doctors worked primarily with colour therapy and many of the most effective and respected surgeons would forego invasive surgery protocol in favour of specific colour exposure to major pathologies. An amazing case involved the complete recovery of the then America's worst burn case (almost 100%) with no other treatment than projected colour. Colour was able to compensate to the kidney and liver their inability to excrete toxins via the none-existent skin.  We also know that colours play an important role in advertising -- from the "all are welcome" yellow arches of McDonald's to the "elitist, upper class" green in the American Express Card.  They are also used in abating violent behaviour in prison pink rooms ..

The generalized effects of light -- and specific frequency bands of light -- on our glands and lympathic system is so well established that endocrinology Professor Richard Wurtman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote in Scientific American, "Light is the second most important environmental input after food in controlling body function."

Clearly, light -- in its full spectrum and in its specific colour bands play a key role in our well-being and we should, in our Northern clime, be particularly careful to adapt our ways to its availability.


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