Saturday, October 31, 2009

An Over the Counter approach to Seasonal Affective Disorder

Light your way out of the winter blues!

"Seasonal Affective Disorder" is a syndrome that can trigger depression in people - such as myself - prone to that condition. It used to be that in order to combat it, your doctor would increase your medications for the season, and perhaps suggest that you purchase a "light box."

I suggest you skip upping your meds (for the moment) and save yourself some (large) amount of money by avoiding any "Medical Device."

Rather, skip on down to your local hydroponics store - you know, that vaguely hippyish place where they help you grow tomatoes and "kitchen herbs" indoors, year round. Walk past the spirit-catchers and crystals to the lighting area. Now, ask about full-spectrum lighting - specifically, Full-spectrum florescent lights. (You may also be able to find full-spectrum lighting at aquarium supply houses.)

I just bought two "Sun Blaster Lighting" 6400K 26W "Curly" bulbs and installed them in my living room's overhead fixture. With tax, just over $20, Canadian. Currently they are literally blasting full spectrum light that is almost too intense - and I will probably move one bulb to another fixture. But just for now, I'm literally bathing in the light, and I'm feeling the seasonal depression being forced away from me. The sensation is almost palpable, and while testimonials are notorious for their subjectivity, it's a pretty darn good light-source, aside from any arguable subjective effects.

One huge surprise is that I'm finding that the cool light is making it a lot easier to read my computer screen - and that makes no intuitive sense to me at all. Oh well.

The link to Sun Blaster Lighting is unpaid and unsolicited. (It's a Canadian company, but their bulbs are made in China, along with the majority of all CFL lighting, so my flag-waving is a bit muted.) I just happen to know that these worked and are locally available at Merlin's.

Any full-spectrum, high-intensity light that is intended for indoor growing should work just fine, and you won't be paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket for an ugly medical appliance. It's a light source. Use it as such and gain the health benefits as you do the things you do when you have the lights switched on.


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