Talk:Light therapy

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Heliotherapy merge?[edit]

A new article has just been created called Heliotherapy. It appears to contain the same subject matter as Light therapy. If there is no qualitative difference between the two, I suggest merging the text of Heliotherapy into the text of this article. Or via a redirect, if there is no real difference. ... discospinster talk 02:47, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Sunlight was long known to improve acne, and this was thought to be due to antibacterial and other effects of the ultraviolet spectrum; which cannot be used as a treatment due to long-term skin damage. However, artificial UV worked less well than sunlight Does sunlight improve or inhibit acne?

Only temporarily, then it comes back worse in (if the statistic I've heard is to be believed, and I have no reason to doubt it) 90% of cases.WolfKeeper 04:17, 22 January 2007 (UTC)


I started the section, but I agree it should be merged with Light Therapy as a separate section since it is a term that is being used more often. Heliotherapy more than not refers to the use of UV than other wavelengths, but this would just make it a sub of light therapy. Pharmboy 14:03, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

See also Photobiomodulation[edit]

It depends .... is it a photochemical effect ? or is it a heat therapy ? or is it an ancient therapy with no declared mechaniusm which my include either or both effects.

I think it may be both a Heat Therapy and Photobiomodulation

Perhaps the title should be changed from "Light Therapy" to "Light Therapies" or maybe even "Photomedicine" given the range of applcations

There is no one "Light Therapy", there are" Light Therapies"

The statement in the Heliotherapy page that the effect on Arthritis is due to heat is insufficient.

Heat is soothing and maybe effect blood supply (I'm not qualified to comment further)

But there are photochemical effects that cause a true anti inflammatory effect.

Academia salad 08:48, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Heliotherapy merged, arthritis section removed[edit]

I redirected Heliotherapy and removed sections that require cites until I can do this properly. The whole article needs some cleaning up, but need to gather some data first.

Unreliable sources for blue light hazard[edit]

After reading the statement in the SAD section on blue light and ARMD, I clicked through to the sources. They appear to be on a commercial light therapy site that sells green-light devices (sunnexbiotech). Also, there were no authors or editors listed in the sources even though their referenced content clearly included interpretations of the research cited. I decided to remove links to those sources. Surely there must be some better sources that clearly make the argument for a link between exposure levels to certain wavelengths of blue light and ARMD? I'll look around and maybe add those later.

In the mean time, I kept the pubmed source on the blue-blocking glasses hypothesis, but moved it to the Safety section since it applies to more than just SAD treatment.

--Dave04 19:01, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

The blue light hazard is well-documented. Unfortunately, the article I just Wikilinked to doesn't have much useful information. This might help. Also, this. Since the hazard peaks at around 440 nm, while melatonin suppression has a broad peak in the 460-480 nm range, sky blue or "ice blue" lights should be both safe and effective. That would be 490 nm dominant (which is how visible-light LEDs are usually marketed), which comes out to about 480 nm peak. Going up to greenish or teal is going too high. Zyxwv99 (talk) 00:28, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

External Links cleanup[edit]

I removed a "light therapy FAQ" external link that went to another commercial site (litebook). There are plenty of non-commercial, credible info sites out there that talk about light therapy for SAD. A quick Google search is all it takes. If someone feels like we need to link to one or more of them, by all means...

It appears that the advanthera (Acne/Anti-aging) site is also pitching their products, but I don't know enough about this to see if there are better non-commercial sources for the information that they provide, or if it's even necessary to provide it. Would someone else care to clarify or take action? --Dave04 19:01, 15 February 2007 (UTC)[edit]

On 2007-06-21 Pharmboy removed the link, describing it as spam. I argue that is not spam and provides one of the few objective websites on light therapy. The center for environmental therapeutics (CET) is a charitable organisation staffed by volunteers from various academic institutions (you'll notice that the board of directors overlaps strongly with the authorship of the peer-reviewed journal articles in the article's reference list). I agree that their website design leaves something to be desired, and certainly could be mistaken for spam at a first glance, but I think this is just due to their lack of budget for spending on web design. It's true there is a commercial element in that they have decided to endorse specific models of light box, that they have reviewed for safety that and have been tested in clinical trials, and they do earn a commission for sales of these products which are made through them, but I don't believe that should be enough to consider this a spam link (and in any case the link in question was to a list of criteria that should guide any process of light box selection, not to the product page). The primary purpose of the website is to connect patients, researchers, clinicians, with up-to-date information on the latest research, clinical trials, etc, not to make money. In case you are wondering: I have no connection with other than I put the link there in the first place (and have donated money to them before). I am going to restore the link. lev 20:37, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

I have checked out the site. My concerns are: a) they recommend only the products that they sell b) they make money on the products that they sell. Therefore it seems to me that the site is defacto advertising and commercial.WolfKeeper 20:51, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
First: thanks for reviewing this edit. My response to your points is:
a) They recommend at least one product that they don't sell -- the LightSource Model 978. Despite the way they have the website set up, I don't think the products they are selling are their own, rather it's more like an affiliate deal with the companies that make and sells them -- they say that you can order direct from those companies and mention that it is a "CET order" so the company will make a donation. Many many .orgs have similar affiliate deals (eg "buy this relevant book using our amazon affiliate link"). I agree that the website doesn't necessarily give this impression -- at first glance you could miss the unique "ask-the-doctor" section, their summaries of the research literature, their unique clinical resources (online self-assessment questionnaires, designed by Columbia University doctors and available nowhere else on the web), free journal reprints, etc. I'm sure a lot of potential visitors have taken a look and been put off, thinking that it's just another light box manufacturer's pseudo-scientific advertising website.
b) By definition they cannot be "commercial" since they are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Beyond that, some nonprofits have paid employees, etc, but states that it is entirely run by volunteers, as a public service. A previous version of their website (disable javascript to avoid immediate redirect to 404 page) explained their financial situation in more detail. WP:EL says to avoid "Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services" which I don't believe applies here -- if you think otherwise, please explore the site a bit further -- it's deeper than it at first appears (at the least you should look through the "ask the doctor" forum). I really think it's one of the most useful websites in the field, and it would be a shame to exclude them just because of appearances. According to the archived page I linked to above, they have (or had) annual expenses of $15000, and annual income of $4000, from publications, reprint permissions, and from the 10% commission they get on lightbox sales. The rest comes from donations and from a past grant. So, I hardly think you could say the website exists "primarily to sell products or services". I'm not going to reinstate the link myself, but I urge you to look more closely at the website and I think you'll see that it provides useful information that goes beyond what is currently in the article and beyond what will ever be in the article even if it were improved to featured-article quality, and although there are items for sale, that is certainly not the primary purpose of the website. lev 01:17, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Some of the stuff they sell remind me of Scientology, e.g.: (talk) 22:05, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Strength = intensity?[edit]

"However, the strength of light at a dermatologist clinic is likely to be of a much higher strength,..."

This sentence isn't good because of the repetition of the word "strength". I don't have the background to judge whether the word intensity would be better than strength, though I suspect it would.

Also it should probably be "a dermatologist's clinic" or "a dermatology clinic". Hordaland 08:36, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Fixed, but it wasn't wrong so much because it repeated "strength," but because of the structure. Josh.anders (talk) 01:04, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


Antiaging refers to activation of ATP, which cannot actually be activated (or deactivated). This makes the rest of the uncited section suspect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:35, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Removing sentence from SAD section:[edit]

"Other treatments are based upon infrared light exposure."

What "other" treatments? For SAD, or for something else? This sentence has no business being there unless it is explained. --Hordaland (talk) 15:35, 16 February 2008 (UTC)


I've removed the last part of this sentence, as I couldn't make sense of it. Can be added back in if clearly worded: It is reported that bright light therapy (BLT) may activate the production of reproductive hormones, such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and estradiol (E2), which could be inferior to contraception but favors the treatment of infertility.[3][4] - Hordaland (talk) 09:37, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Moving sentence from "Safety" to the list of indications[edit]

"It is reported that bright light therapy (BLT) may activate the production of reproductive hormones, such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and estradiol (E2).[16][17]" - both referenced sources are commenting findings in positive light as promising ways to treat sexual disorders and infertility as opposed to safety concern of light therapy. I would like to suggest moving this away from "Safety" into new chapter "Infertility and Sexual Disorders". (talk) 02:42, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Removing "Alternative medicine" tag[edit]

Article only talks about mainstream understanding of light therapy and in many cases has references to evidence provided by research. "Alternative light therapy" usually is about chakras, briefing in colors and other scientifically unsound faith healing techniques. As article does not talk about that, I would recommend against tagging it as "Alternative medicine". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:03, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Good call. I'm removing the tag which has been there since September 2007. It's possible that the article seemed 'alternative' at that time, but it now doesn't, and shouldn't. Thanks. - Hordaland (talk) 12:42, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree; this article deals with mainstream uses of light therapy. I've also removed the recently added CAM-specific Category:Energy therapies for the same reason. Xasodfuih (talk) 13:00, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Additional Resources[edit]

FYI, I'm starting to do a bit of research on this topic in order to write a Master's Thesis. Two extremely helpful sources I've read a lot from on this topic so far are: Dr. George Brainard (Thomas Jefferson University) and Alexander Wunsch (Heidelberg, Germany). I dont have the time to update this website.. but whoever does, might find journal articles by these two useful in doing so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

No Mention of "PHOTOBIOMAGNETICS"[edit]

No mention of useing LIGHT andf Magnetic fiewld stimulation together called Photo-(light) Biomagnetics(Biological magnetics) Thanks! (Dr.Edson Andre'J)Andreisme (talk) 21:07, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

VIP light therapy[edit]

The new section VIP light therapy, added by IP on 8 June 2009, has no sources/references at all. It will be removed soon if reliable sources are not added. Reliable, inline sources are necessary for each of the various claims. I will be adding this text to the IP's talk page. - Hordaland (talk) 11:22, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Death to spam, I'll just remove it. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 12:53, 9 June 2009 (UTC)


Excessive ultraviolet exposure in doses used in tanning salons may be associated with carcinogenesis.

The above sentence was removed from the article by an IP. It can go back in, if a reliable source is found. Just FYI. - Hordaland (talk) 00:13, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

The History section...[edit]

...lacks citations, and it sorely needs them if it is to stay in the article. --Hordaland (talk) 23:38, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Junk science and possible title change[edit]

I have just done an edit on this page with some attempt to clean up the junk science in it. The most common use world wide of phototherapy worldwide is in the very successful application of treating psoriasis, which affects 2-3% of the world population. There is plenty of clinical evidence to support this but none to support pseudoscientific or questionable efficacy treatments like light assisted accupunture. There were a number of instances this cropped up that I have tried to remove. Also, light therapy is too vague - photomedicine or phototherapy is a better title, encompassing the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

Also, while I left it in, it seems the only trial for hair loss / light therapy was which isn't very promising being statistically insignificant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drg85 (talkcontribs) 18:49, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Wound healing[edit]

I removed the following section due to lack of sources. It appears to have been lifted word-for-word from the following press release:

I also revised and properly sourced the remainder of this section.

Red lightwave therapy has been suggested for use in healing of wounds. Doctors are examining how this special lighting technology helps hard-to-heal wounds, such as diabetic skin ulcers, serious burns, and severe oral sores caused by chemotherapy and radiation. The project includes laboratory and human trials, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and funded by a NASA Small Business Innovation Research contract through the Technology Transfer Department at NASA¹s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
"So far, what we've seen in patients and what we've seen in laboratory cell cultures, all point to one conclusion," said Dr. Harry Whelan, professor of pediatric neurology and director of hyperbaric medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "The near-infrared light emitted by these LEDs seems to be perfect for increasing energy inside cells. This means whether you're on Earth in a hospital, working in a submarine under the sea or on your way to Mars inside a spaceship, the LEDs boost energy to the cells and accelerate healing."
Dr. Whelan's NASA-funded research has already seen remarkable results using the light-emitting diodes to promote healing of painful mouth ulcers caused by cancer therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy. The treatment is quick and painless. The wound-healing device is a small, 3.5-inch by 4.5-inch (89-millimeter by 114-millimeter), portable flat array of LEDs, arranged in rows on the top of a small box. A nurse practitioner places the box of LEDs on the outside of the patient's cheek about one minute each day. The red light penetrates to the inside of the mouth, where it seems to promote wound healing and prevent further sores in the patient's mouth. "Some children who probably would have had to be fed intravenously because of the severe sores in their mouths have been able to eat solid food, " said Dr. David Margolis, an oncologist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Margolis, whose pediatric cancer patients are participating in the study, explained that, "Preventing oral mucositis improves the patients' ability to eat and drink and also may reduce the risk of infections in patients with compromised immune systems."
In the laboratory, Whelan and his team have shown that skin and muscle cells grown in cultures and exposed to the LED infrared light grow 150 to 200 percent faster than ground control cultures not stimulated by the light. Scientists are trying to learn how cells convert light into energy, and identify which wavelengths of light are most effective at stimulating growth in different kinds of cells.

--Stu21202 (talk) 16:28, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

First photo[edit]

the photo of the girl looking directly at light is maybe not best choice, indicative photo on subject as some therapies say you should not look directly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:55, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

That's a good point. I've reacted to that photo in the same way. The light should be kept in one's peripheral vision, preferably at an angle from above. Hordaland (talk) 03:01, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Deep penetrating light therapy[edit]

I reverted the addition of material from what used to be Deep penetrating light therapy (which I just redirected here), because most of the sources failed WP:MEDRS either as primary studies or too old. A pubmed search for "Deep penetrating light therapy" brings zero hits, suggesting we should not have an entire separate section on this either. A few of the sources may be incorporated here, but wholesale copy/paste is not an improvement. Yobol (talk) 15:05, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps the Deep penetrating light therapy page should be deleted, then. Epicgenius (talk) 15:06, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
That's a good idea. Will have to look into how that's done (if no one else does it first). Yobol (talk) 15:35, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Moving an IP's comment here from article text[edit]

Here are four peer reviewed articles at the National Institutes of Health website which attest to the efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of acne:

--Hordaland (talk) 00:14, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Regarding the section titled "Acne vulgaris":[edit]

"Evidence for light therapy and lasers in acne vulgaris as of 2012 is not sufficient to recommend them.[13]"

  • This conclusionary statement appears in an overview article by Titus and Hodge focusing on topical astringents and oral medication. They have done zero research on light therapy, and are hardly an authoritative source on the subject. Conversely, there are at least four articles available at which attest to the efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of acne.

"While light therapy appears to provide short term benefit, there is a lack of long term outcome data or data in those with severe acne.[14]"

  • Compare this to the clearly positive description of another personal care practice in the Wikipedia article titled "Tooth brushing." Light therapy is like brushing your teeth. It provides a short term benefit, but must be repeated daily or even more frequently to keep up with the growth of new bacteria. When light therapy is viewed as a form of hygiene, it can be characterized as an important part of skin care for people who are prone to acne breakouts. Inexpensive LED composite bulbs are now available which are intended to be used for this purpose, and do what they are claimed to do. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Additions to Seasonal affective disorder[edit]

I propose the following additions to the section about cite web|url= Therapy – Topic Overview|date=30 June 2009|publisher=WebMD|accessdate=11 July seasonal affective disorder (shown in italics):

The effectiveness of light therapy for treating SAD may be linked to the fact that light therapy makes up for lost sunlight exposure and resets the body's internal clock.[1] Studies show that light therapy helps reduce the debilitating and depressive behaviors of SAD, such as excessive sleepiness and fatigue, which results lasting for at least 1 month. Light therapy is preferred over antidepressants in the treatment of SAD because it is a relatively safe and easy therapy. [2]

It is possible that response to light therapy for SAD could be season dependent.[3] Morning therapy has provided the best results because light in the early morning aids in regulating the circadian rhythm. Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). Mayo Clinic states that light therapy is of proven effectiveness for treating seasonal affective disorder and light therapy is seen as its main form of treatment.[4] Controlled-trial comparisons with antidepressants show equal effectiveness, with less expense and more rapid onset of therapeutic benefit, though a minority of patients may not respond to it.[5] Direct sunlight, reflected into the windows of a home or office by a computer-controlled mirror device called a heliostat, has also been used as a type of light therapy for the treatment of SAD.[6][7]

The effectiveness of light therapy for treating SAD may be linked to the fact that light therapy makes up for lost sunlight exposure and resets the body's internal clock.[8] Studies show that light therapy helps reduce the debilitating and depressive behaviors of SAD, such as excessive sleepiness and fatigue, which results lasting for at least 1 month.[9] Light therapy is preferred over antidepressants in the treatment of SAD because it is a relatively safe and easy therapy.[9]

It is possible that response to light therapy for SAD could be season dependent.[3] Morning therapy has provided the best results because light in the early morning aids in regulating the circadian rhythm.[9] [Unsigned comment added by Stephrod0820 19:11, 3 April 2014‎]

  1. ^ 2012
  2. ^ Sanassi, Lorraine A. "Seasonal affective disorder: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?." Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants 27.2 (2014): 18-22.
  3. ^ a b Thompson C, Stinson D, Smith A (September 1990). "Seasonal affective disorder and season-dependent abnormalities of melatonin suppression by light". Lancet. 336 (8717): 703–6. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(90)92202-S. PMID 1975891. 
  4. ^ "Light therapy". Mayo Clinic. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Lam, RW, Levitt AJ, Levitan RD, Enns M, Morehouse R, Michalak EE, Tam EM (2006). "The Can-SAD Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effectiveness of Light Therapy and Fluoxetine in Patients With Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder." (PDF). American Journal of Psychiatry 163:805–812. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  6. ^ "Applications: Health". Practical Solar. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  7. ^ "Grab the Sun With Heliostats". New York House. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  8. ^ "Light Therapy – Topic Overview". WebMD. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c Sanassi, Lorraine A. "Seasonal affective disorder: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?." Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants 27.2 (2014): 18-22.

(Just adding reflist) --Hordaland (talk) 11:54, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

The sources should be WP:MEDRS for anything biomedical: so some primary sources and web sites aren't good here. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 11:59, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
What sources wouldn't work here? Stephrod0820 (talk) 17:01, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Vitamin B2 deficiency?[edit]

I have reverted the new edit which added the sentence-with-ref seen below. The ref is primary & from 1977(!). If its findings are good, they must since have been included in a review or textbook. Such a ref is necessary if finding is to be included in Wikipedia.

  • Light therapy has also been found to induce riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency in neonates.
  • ref: cite web |url= |title=Light (phototherapy)--induced riboflavin deficiency in the neonate. |author=Gromisch DS, Lopez R, Cole HS, Cooperman JM. |date=January 1977 |website= |publisher=Journal of Pediatrics |accessdate=5 April 2014

--Hordaland (talk) 06:20, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

My last edit - questions to katewishing[edit]

I am a novice in Wikipedia and would like your help in understanding teh nature of editing. You reverted today all my edits .

I believe that I added a lot of useful and refined information to these article and I am sorry that they were deleted.

Few specific questions:

[1] I added a reference to a FDA cleared targeted Phototherapy device - Multiclear.

   You  deleted it.  On the other  hand  you did  leave in the article
   reference  to 2 other  devices: B Clear  and Theralight.  What is  the difference  ?  
   I personally  do not  see  why mentioning  these  2  and  not  the third. 

[2] Blue light acne therapy is today in the mainstream of acne therapy. The FDA cleared this treatment formally for this indication. The are dozens of review articles and dozens of clinical studies in teh best peer review journal that accept it;s efficacy as one of the acne treatment. It is extremely useful for people who can not take drugs. Hard to understand why all these references were deleted.

[3] Photosensitivity to drugs is a big problem. In my edit I tried to highlight the problem in people under psyciatric treatment that are exposed to this possible side effects. Why was it deleted ?

What is promotional here ?

Best wishes, Skin58 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Skin58 (talkcontribs) 18:36, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

You removed a 2012 review that states "there is insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of [light] therapies for the treatment of acne. Studies of these products typically lack controls, have small sample sizes, are short term, and do not compare these therapies with validated pharmacologic treatments." Most of the sources you replaced that with are dated or primary. Only two of the sources you added meet WP:MEDRS guidelines. The first is a 2011 book, and it is consistent with our statement that further research is needed, not that the efficacy has already been proved:
  • "The studies to date are promising; however, further investigation is necessary to determine safety, long-term efficacy, and optimal parameters of lasers and light sources."[1]
Your second acceptable source is a 2012 review. This one does say that "Blue light therapy is a clinically accepted approach for Propionibacterium acnes infections." However, it contradicts multiple other reviews that state the evidence is limited, and the lead authors have published numerous studies on blue light therapy, which puts their objectivity in question.
The entire "FDA approved devices" section should probably be removed per WP:NOTCATALOG. KateWishing (talk) 19:39, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Should not include Photodynamic therapy[edit]

Why is Photodynamic therapy included here under techniques - PDT is light activation of photosensitive drugs. Maybe 'light therapy' is too general a term and should be a disambiguation page ? - Rod57 (talk) 03:12, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Diabetic retinopathy[edit]

Light therapy is being used to treat Diabetic Retinopathy and is available commercially (Noctura 400 mask - There is significant evidence that retinal stimulation will treat this condition in humans from a number of unbiased relatable sources such as

Eye (Lond). 2011 Dec;25(12):1546-54. doi: 10.1038/eye.2011.264. Epub 2011 Oct 21

and there are clinical trials underway

Trials. 2014 Nov 22;15:458. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-458.

How do we add this or similar references (there are quite a few available) to show that there is a body of evidence that light therapy can be used for this treatment?

Also I'm keen to add something on other forms of light therapy. I've been carrying out extensive research (part of my job) in this area and want to get the message out.

Northernalex (talk) 14:14, 20 October 2016 (UTC) northernalex

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