Top positive review
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(4.5 stars) Surprisingly effective
on 3 December 2009
I've been using this product for two weeks now, and I'm surprised just how much difference it's made to me in that short amount of time.
I have had a history of suffering from depression, and with hindsight these episodes have tended to occur with the onset of the winter months. I'm fairly open-minded about trying different treatments, and I've always understood the problem to be a chemical deficiency rather than a purely psychological one, as cognitive behavioural therapy had little effect whereas anti-depressants worked far better (although it's not adviseable to take them for long). [Edit 22-12-10]The issue of anti-depressants is a complicated one though, and my experience of using them might not be the same as that of others.
The surface area of the light is quite large, and can be set at varying levels of brightness. It functions as an alarm clock, and can be programmed to shine when it wakes you up, too. The LCD display is large and easy to read, and the unit comes with a faux-leather slip that can be used to take it with you on your travels.
A nice touch is the metal stand it comes with - it has a recess it lies on on the back of the light, and is held there by magnetic means when not in use.
I found the easiest way to use this light is to place it on the desk beside me while I surf the internet in the morning - at first it feels very bright, but that sensation quickly goes away and is replaced with one similar to how you feel when you open the curtains in the morning and the sunlight hits you. It's a lovely refreshing feeling that makes you feel like a flower opening (apologies for the bad analogy).
I have it set to shine at 75% for 25 minutes, and over the last two weeks I've noticed:
- Improved mood
- More energy
- Increased libido
- Better sleeping patterns
- More dreams
There are three shortcomings to this particular model:
1) The price - if you want to try light therapy to see if it works, it's a lot to pay (although as another reviewer points out, there is a 30-day money back guarantee).
2) The rechargeable battery only lasts for about 3 sessions before it needs to be recharged again. I can see that it takes a lot of juice to keep the light as bright as it is though, so perhaps this is to be expected.
3) A small point - the stand makes the light shine upwards too much - I'd prefer a directional stand that could give me more control over where it points.
I look forward to each day with vigour now. I hope this outlook continues and that these improvements aren't temporary. I really don't think it's a placebo effect, either.
So although I can understand why some of the 'reviews' on this page are so sceptical about this product, I can only say that it has worked for me - perhaps I'd find it hard to believe that it can be effective if I didn't need to use it too.I haven't tried the smaller cheaper models so I wouldn't know whether to recommend them or not. All I know is that this works for me, and I wholeheartedly recommend trying it if you suffer from the winter blues too.
I'll write more as the season progresses.
Edit 08-12-09: Week 3 - I'm finding it a lot easier to go to bed early. I was asleep by 10.30 last night - a very refreshing experience!
Edit 26-01-10: Week 8? - I'm only having to use it once every two days now; whether this is because I'm 'dosed up' to capacity, or because the worst of the initial impact of winter is over, I'm not too sure... but I'm still feeling good, and free from bleakness and fatigue.
Edit 23-2-10: I tried out a week of not using it to see what would happen (a 'control' week, if you like), and the effects were noticeable, even though they crept up on me rather slowly; I became rather irritable and tired after 5 or 6 days - snapping rather unpleasantly at loved ones, and I found it hard to get to sleep. Rather than continue the misery I switched on the light again, and three days later I'm feeling a lot better for it again.
Edit 12-09-10: Well, the nights are drawing in again, and I'll start using the light at the beginning of October I think. It's a great relief to know it's there when I need it. The prospect of the oncoming winter doesn't seem quite so bad.
Edit 03-10-10: I've started using it today; I'm not a pleasant person to be around when the SAD kicks in, and stupidly I waited until I (and others) suffered from my mood swings before I did so. Not a nice feeling. At least I've proved to myself that I need to use it, I suppose - it's so easy to forget. I just hope it works as well as last year. It's a bit pointless to update this much further, so I'll do a final one in a week or so when hopefully I'll be feeling better.
Edit 18-10-10: I feel better, thank goodness. I can be nice to people again, I have energy, and everything doesn't seem so bleak. The dependency I have on this light worries me slightly, but what an improvement it's made - for people who suspect they might be sensitive to these seasonal light changes, I'd recommend trying it out under the 30-day money back guarantee; that's enough time to have noticed any differences. Good luck to you, and I hope it helps you as much as it has me!
Edit 08-07-15: the updated version of this lamp is the Philips HF3420/03 Intense Blue Energy Up Energy Light - search under the serial number for further details.