What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder affects 4-6% of people and it is tricky to deal with because it varies throughout the year. If you have this condition, you might feel fine for part of the year. But then, as the seasons change, your mood crashes and you start to have trouble summoning up the will to get out of bed in the morning. Weight control also becomes a problem as appetite changes and shifts. For some people this can mean an increase in appetite and weight, for others it can mean a decrease in appetite and unhealthy losses. Either way, the change in season is to blame. Typically, this is the change between Summer and Fall, and the symptoms become progressively worse through the cold Winter months.
In all cases, seasonal affective disorder and seasonal depression have a single key culprit: Light.
How are Light and Depression Related?
Your brain uses light to set its internal clock, which tells your body when it’s supposed to wake up, get ready for lunch, or go to sleep. Light is also what triggers your brain to produce serotonin and melatonin, both of which are important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. In addition to being important for thought and memory, serotonin and melatonin are also involved in regulating the basics of mood, appetite, and sleep. Low levels of these chemicals cause the symptoms of depression.
So how do the seasons figure into this? Well, seasonal depression happens when the seasons change because – unless you are right at the equator – winter also comes with lower light. Not only are days shorter, but less sunlight reaches the Earth during this time of year… which means that less light reaches you.
This lack of natural sunlight leads to a drop in serotonin and melatonin, which causes a drop in mood, sleep ability, and appetite as a result. The bad weather that comes with Winter may also be a factor, but lack of light is well known to cause depression, and light therapy is also a proven therapy for seasonal affective disorder.
So if you are suffering from seasonal depression, how can far infrared therapy bring light back into your life?
Far Infrared Therapy – a Treatment for Seasonal Depression?
Well, it turns out, despite conventional wisdom, you don’t need all of the different parts – or wavelenths — of light to treat seasonal affective disorder. Typically, light therapy uses a light source that uses all of the wavelengths of light, sometimes with the dangerous ultraviolet wavelength (the type of light that causes sunburns) taken out. Far infrared light, which is not visible and is only felt as a gentle warming sensation, has the same effect. Studies comparing typical light therapy with far infrared therapy side by side found that both were equally effective at helping people with seasonal depression.
Other treatments for seasonal depression, include antidepressants, psychotherapy, supplements with vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, and light therapy under a sunlamp. Far infrared therapy for seasonal depression is very important because it opens up a lot more options for people with seasonal depression… including spa trips.
Why use Infrared Sauna Wraps?
Sessions are a relaxing way to help you with seasonal depression. Wrapping users in an invigorating embrace, our system uses far infrared light to warm both body and spirit. Infrared body wraps are a nice addition to an anti-seasonal depression regimen, since it doesn’t require blinding bright light and can be done while relaxing. As an additional bonus, sessions also detoxify the body and smooth the skin while delivering a dose of far infrared light. The only thing better for seasonal affective disorder would be to go to the tropics, where the light levels don’t decrease. The tropics, however, come with both high heat and a hefty risk of sunburn.
In contrast, far infrared light is warm, but it doesn’t burn. Far infrared light is well-known as a safe and effective therapy for relieving pain, encouraging weight loss, and clearing the body of toxins. Wraps deliver this relieving warmth in a controlled, gentle way, without you having to breathe in uncomfortably hot sauna air. You get comfort, you get deep relaxation, and you help lift your spirits on top of that: That’s a good deal, and you can get all of that from a wrap.