The 10 Best Therapy Lamps

Updated May 25, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Light therapy was widely used worldwide for effective treatment of numerous ailments until patented pharmaceuticals came on the market (go figure). But if you prefer non-drub-based remedies with no adverse side effects, these lamps can effectively help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), arthritis, muscle pains, skin rashes, insomnia, jet lag, lack of energy, and mood disorders. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best therapy lamp on Amazon.

10. Northern Light Travelite

The Northern Light Travelite is a portable, energy-efficient desk lamp that can be used for any task requiring extra lighting or for therapeutic purposes. Its bulb is designed to last for up to 5,000 hours of use and it has a reflector to reduce glare.
  • sits vertically or horizontally
  • extra long power cord
  • included bulbs are fragile
Brand Northern Light Technolo
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Philips GoLite

The Philips GoLite is clinically proven to naturally boost energy and mood with as little as 20 minutes of use each day. Its color temperature effectively mimics the clear, inspiring quality of a blue sky, and it boasts even light distribution.
  • small enough for a bedside table
  • uv-free lighting
  • can be too bright for some users
Brand Philips
Model HF3422/60
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Daylight Classic

The Daylight Classic offers UV-filtered, glare-free white light for a variety of clinical and therapeutic needs. Its diffusion screen blocks 99.3% of UV rays for eye safety and comfort, so you can use it all day long without worry.
  • wide stable stance
  • steady light doesn't flicker
  • creates a slight odor
Brand Carex
Model DL930
Weight 11.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Circadian Optics Lumine

The modern and sleek design of the Circadian Optics Lumine makes this lamp look like a picture frame, so if you don't want guests knowing you rely on light therapy, they don't have to. It has a color rendition index of over 90, making it a full spectrum lamp.
  • lightweight at just one pound
  • conveniently-placed power switch
  • angle is not adjustable
Brand Circadian Optics
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Verilux Sunshine Simulator

While several therapy lamps provide 10,000 lux of bright light, it's rare that one can still do that at 14 inches away, but the Verilux Sunshine Simulator can. If you want a highly effective option that you don't need to sit right next to, this is it.
  • can be mounted on the wall
  • wide shine pattern
  • only has one light setting
Brand Verilux
Model HPLD
Weight 9.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Carex Classic Plus

The Carex Classic Plus is backed by the Center for Environmental Therapeutics as a safe and effective choice. Its bright, 10,000-lux light intensity and 12-inch output mean you can expect results faster than many other competitors.
  • complete session in 30 minutes
  • height and angle are adjustable
  • five-year warranty
Brand Carex Health Brands
Model CCFDL93011
Weight 12.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Nature Bright SunTouch Plus

The Nature Bright SunTouch Plus offers 15, 30, 45, and 60-minute timed sessions so whether you need a quick boost or a longer light session during a particularly hard day, it has you covered. It can be paired with an aromatherapy capsule, too.
  • negative ion therapy
  • great for alleviating anxiety
  • north pole sky color temperature
Brand Nature Bright
Model F40-40
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Carex Day-Light

The Carex Day-Light offers an impressive field of light suitable for many uses. It combats seasonal affective disorder, stabilizes circadian sleep patterns, and helps to get you over jet lag. Because it stands tall, it shines down on you, much like the Sun does.
  • balanced white light for eye safety
  • durable and well-built
  • produces almost no heat
Brand Carex Health Brands
Model DL2000
Weight 9.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Verilux HappyLight

If the seasonal changes already have you down, then you don't need a high price tag upsetting you further. Fortunately, the Verilux HappyLight is quite affordable. It's a perfect choice for those who enjoy a brighter, white light.
  • ideal for small spaces
  • doesn't look like a therapy lamp
  • easy to set up and use
Brand Verilux
Model VT10WW1
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Northern Light Technology Boxelite

The Northern Light Technology Boxelite offers the best of two worlds with a sleek design that won't protrude too far onto your desk area, and an extra large face that ensures you'll be covered with soothing light. Plus, it doesn't make an annoying humming noise.
  • warm color temperature
  • makes a good reading light too
  • manufactured in canada
Brand Northern Light Technolo
Weight 6.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

How A Therapy Lamp Works

Light therapy is the process of sitting near a lamp that in some way mimics natural light or emits certain wavelengths of light. There are different types of lights that can be used in therapy lamps, including fluorescent, polychromatic polarized (often used in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome), and full-spectrum. A doctor will typically prescribe these lamps to an individual for a very specific amount of time each day, depending on the condition being treated.

Therapy lamps meant for home use are often referred to as light boxes. They're much brighter than regular lamps, sometimes emitting up to 10,000 lux of light, so they usually have built-in eye protective technology. Those that depend on specific wavelengths are not as bright, and usually send out light in the blue and green areas of the visible spectrum.

One of the most common uses of light therapy lamps is the treatment seasonal mood disorder (SAD). Since individuals who live in areas with severe winters don't get as much sun-produced vitamin D as they need, these lamps can mimic time spent outdoors. But therapy lamps work on multiple levels of SAD. They can also help reset someone's internal clock, helping them sleep better, which can in turn fight depression and feelings of fatigue.

Light therapy lamps are also effective in treating certain skin conditions. When therapy lamps are used to treat skin conditions, it is called phototherapy. People can either receive full body phototherapy at a doctor's office or purchase a therapy lamp if they only need to treat certain areas of their skin. One condition that responds quite positively to light therapy is psoriasis. One of the symptoms of psoriasis is inflammation of the skin, brought on by the immune system's response to the condition. Using ultraviolet radiation on isolated parts of the body can suppress the immune system response there, and reduce inflammation. Light therapy, and specifically lamps that use lasers, has even been shown to provide some relief for acne sufferers.

When It's Better Than Medication

While there are over-the-counter and prescription medications for many of the conditions that therapy lamps treat, these medications can have unpleasant side effects that light therapy simply doesn't. Many people use these lamps to get over jet lag. Because the lamps suppress the production of melatonin, the chemical that makes us sleepy, they can help travelers adjust to their new time zone, without the need for excess amounts of coffee, or naps.

Some people use the lamps in place of antidepressants. For example, it can be dangerous for a pregnant woman to take pharmaceutical antidepressants, and light therapy has proven to be a safe alternative to treating prepartum depression. Even non-pregnant individuals find that they can take a lower dose of antidepressants if they supplement them with time spent under a light box.

Therapy lamps can be a mild alternative to sleeping pills for people who suffer from sleep disorders. By simply doing their daily activities, like reading or typing on their computer, under a therapy lamp, insomniacs can slowly adjust their circadian rhythm. This can help them avoid the disruptive side effects of sleeping pills.

The History Of Light Therapy

Humans have always recognized that light is an important part of the healthy development of any living organism. As early as 1400 BCE, civilizations in Ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece harvested the therapeutic benefits of natural light. It wasn't until the late 1800s however, that people started using artificial light. It was around this time that the quartz lamp came to be, along with fluorescent tubes and the arc lamp.

Doctors first used these artificial lights in the treatment of diseases which used to plague humankind, like syphilis, pellagra, and tuberculosis. In the 1870s, a man named Augustus Pleasanton harnessed the power of blue light to stimulate the nervous system and alleviate pain associated with various conditions. In the 1890s, Neils Ryberg Finsen used red-light therapy in the treatment of smallpox and lupus.

Finsen would later be given a Nobel Prize for using ultra-violet light in the treatment of tuberculosis. Not long after, Dinshah Ghadiali would reveal his Spectro-Chrome system to the world, which is still widely used today. This system is based on the idea that certain colors in the light spectrum have a special relationship with certain parts of the body. In the 1920s, Harry Riley Spitler began to explore the benefits of light therapy on ocular disorders. Spitler is responsible for the principles of Syntonics, which uses light to balance the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

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Last updated on May 25, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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