The 6 Best Therapy Lamps

Updated November 22, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

6 Best Therapy Lamps
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We spent 43 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 Bayer got the first drug patent (for aspirin). Hmmm. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), arthritis, muscle pains, skin rashes, insomnia, jet lag, lack of energy, and mood disorders can all be treated with one of these therapy lamps. No drugs needed. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best therapy lamp on Amazon.

6. 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 for eye safety and comfort, so you can use it all day long without worry.
  • five year limited warranty
  • height and angle adjustable
  • light smells of burning plastic
Brand Carex
Model DL930
Weight 8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Carex Health Brands Daylight Sky

The Carex Health Brands Daylight Sky combats seasonal affective disorder, stabilizes circadian sleep patterns, and helps to get you over jet lag. The unit offers an impressive field of light suitable for use at desks or workbenches.
  • balanced white light for eye safety
  • two modes for therapy or tasks
  • difficult to set up
Brand Carex Health Brands
Model DL2000
Weight 9.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. DPL Light Therapy

Go beyond elevating mood or alertness with the DPL Light Therapy, which was designed to relieve muscle pain, joint aches, and the stiffness associated with chronic arthritis. This is a drug-free alternative to pain management.
  • leds emit photons
  • produces visible and infrared light
  • prohibitively expensive
Brand DPL
Model DPL
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Northern Light Technologies Travelite

The Northern Light Technologies 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. A 7-year unlimited warranty is included.
  • sits vertically or horizontally
  • reliable flicker-free performance
  • small size reduces effectiveness
Brand Northern Light Technolo
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Philips goLITE BLU

The Philips goLITE BLU is clinically proven to naturally promote energy and mood with as little as 20 minutes of use each day. It's an intense unit, but its color temperature effectively mimics the clear, inspiring quality of a blue sky.
  • small enough for bedside table
  • unique uv free design
  • can be too bright for some settings
Brand Philips
Model HF3422/60
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Carex Health Brands DL93011 Classic Plus

The Carex Health Brands DL93011 Classic Plus has a lamp that's backed by the Center for Environmental Therapeutics, making it a safe and effective choice. Its 10,000 lux light intensity and 12-inch output means you can expect results faster than other competitors.
  • total light therapy in 30 minutes
  • treats seasonal affective disorder
  • easy to adjust angle of light
Brand Northern Light Technolo
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 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 November 22, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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