This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Before you use light therapy for depression or for any other ailment, you should talk to your doctor. (Indeed, if you suffer from any type of depression, you should be under a doctor's care.) Once you have a professional's recommendation, you can probably do light therapy at home. For depression, the therapy may be part of a more comprehensive treatment plan that also includes exercise, dietary changes, and medication.
Not surprisingly, the best way to get light therapy is to go outside for about 30 minutes and raise your face to the sky (don't look directly into the sun, however). Even on a cloudy day, the sun provides the full spectrum of light that the body needs.
When being outdoors is not an available option, the most common way to receive light therapy is to use a light box fitted with a white or full-spectrum light. Many users report that full-spectrum light, which simulates daylight, is more pleasant to the eye than white light, although there is no difference in the benefits received. Many full-spectrum lights now eliminate the skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.
For a treatment, the light box (which is small enough to be set on a table) should be placed where it is level with the eyes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding where you should sit for optimum results. You may read, eat, or do other activities during the session. Depending on the brightness of the light source, treatment can take anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours.
If you'd rather move around during your treatment, you may prefer to use a light visor, which is worn on the head like a tennis visor and powered with rechargeable batteries. Because light visors typically have a maximum of just 3,000 lux, but because they are worn so close to the eyes, treatment sessions don't necessarily take longer.