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the therapeutic use of sunlight or optical radiation, including infrared, visible, and ultraviolet radiation; a branch of physical therapy. Luminous energy’s effect on man is determined by its intensity (strength of the source and distance to the irradiated surface), by the duration of irradiation, and by the penetration depth of electromagnetic waves. The penetration depth, which depends on the light-wave length, is greatest with infrared and visible rays and least with ultraviolet rays. Erythema, that is, redness of the skin, may appear a few minutes after irradiation, for example, by infrared rays, or two to eight hours after exposure to ultraviolet rays. The intensity of the skin reaction varies with such factors as age, the time of year and the sensitivity of the skin in different parts of the body to different kinds of rays. It can change with some pathological conditions and after the ingestion of certain medicinal substances. The irradiated area acquires a tan in three to four days.

Thermal and luminescent artificial light sources are used in phototherapy. Thermal sources include incandescent lamps that emit infrared and visible rays, general and local light baths, Minin lights, and infrared rays. The quantity and composition of the energy released by these sources depend on the temperature of the radiating body. Luminescent sources, in which radiation is achieved by electrical, chemical, and other processes, include mercury-vapor lamps, luminescent erythematous lamps, and arc bactericidal lamps.

Ultraviolet irradiation, both local and general, is used to compensate for an ultraviolet-radiation insufficiency and to increase resistance to various infections, for example, influenza. It is used as an analgesic and antiphlogistic in treating diseases of the joints, the peripheral nervous system (neuritis, neuralgia, radiculitis), the muscular system (myositis), and the respiratory system (bronchitis, pleurisy), as well as in treating skin diseases, gynecologic and metabolic disorders, and some forms of tuberculosis. Ultraviolet irradiation is used in pediatrics in preventing rickets and acute respiratory diseases, in increasing the body’s defensive mechanisms against rheumatic fever between attacks, and, together with antirheumatics, in treating rheumatic fever during its acute phase. Thermal procedures and visible and infrared rays are used as analgesics and resorption agents primarily in treating subacute and chronic inflammatory diseases, neuralgia, and muscular pains.

Phototherapy is contraindicated in treating the active form of tuberculosis, neoplasms, pronounced heart failure, the second and third stages of hypertension, acute exhaustion, increased thyroid function, renal disease and insufficiency, and photopathy (a diseased condition caused by light).


References in periodicals archive ?
The bright light therapy box is a healthy and inexpensive alternative to prescription drugs which can make users groggy and lead to bizarre side effects such as sleep eating and sleep driving.
Bright light therapy is of special interest since it is a non-drug therapy that alleviates symptoms in people who have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or major depressive disorder (MOD).
discovered in their research that bright light therapy was an effective treatment for many symptoms related to SAD.
The primary treatment for SAD is morning bright light therapy, which has several decades of research to support its efficacy.
Circadian rhythm disorders may be treated with bright light therapy.
and Philadelphia Sports Clubs Debut Waist-Whittling Workout Class Incorporating Bright Light Therapy to Improve Moods
Patients can read, work and watch television during bright light therapy, which requires they sit 12 inches from the light source for 30 to 120 minutes each day.
Research now shows that bright light therapy is an effective first-line treatment in preventing the progression of severe symptoms, such as depression.
Our portfolio of healthy lighting solutions include: Sunshine in a Box(R) and Planet Light(TM) neodymium incandescent light bulbs, reflector floods, energy efficient compact fluorescents, Instant Sun(R) full spectrum fluorescent tubes, MR16 Halogens, HappyLite(R) Sunshine Simulator(R) bright light therapy systems, Rise & Shine(R) Natural Alarm Clocks(R), HappyEyes(R) desk/floor lamps, and the HappySkin(R) Acne Light.
Michael Terman, a psychologist at Columbia University in New York, reports that in a comparison of three different treatment options, patients receiving either bright light therapy or high density ions improved significantly, while the placebo group receiving low density ions did not.
At Coolfont, they can experience the benefits of bright light therapy in a relaxed environment, and decide for themselves if they can benefit from light therapy at home.
Users then continue their bright light therapy until longer daylight hours return in the spring.