Would you have ever thought that you can improve your thyroid health with nothing more than light?
Well, here at Forefront Health we like to practice what we preach.
So, as I write this I’m sitting in front of my own homemade thyroid light-therapy lamp.
It’s the same exact light therapy lamp that I’m going to share with you in just a minute.
It’s the one I’ve been recommending to clients for the past few years.
And it costs less than $25, which should be an affordable invest for almost anyone.
In fact, it might be one of the cheapest investments you can make in your health.
While using light-therapy has many health benefits, I often recommend it to my clients to help with a number of common thyroid symptoms and/or conditions such as:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Hair Loss
- Skin Conditions
- Elevated Cholesterol
So, I hope you use it and take advantage of the therapeutic benefits it can provide you.
In Part 1 of this post on “How to Get Off Your Thyroid Medication Using Light Therapy”, I talked about how “low level laser (light) therapy” (LLLT) is being used to effectively treat hypothyroidism.
And it’s helping people restore healthy thyroid hormone levels without the need for thyroid medication by activating an important enzyme called “cytochrome c oxidase”.
The LLLT devices used today for this thyroid light therapy involve the use of expensive lasers that can cost on the order of thousands of dollars.
And while LED (light emitting diode) technology can also be used in a similar fashion, these devices can cost on the order of hundreds to thousands of dollars. Plus they require precise specifications to match what is achieved with lasers.
This is why it’s often better to recommend something simpler and more cost-effective that anyone can use while still providing significant therapeutic results.
And that’s what I’ll be sharing with you in just a second.
But before I do, I want to answer a common question I’ve been getting because odds are you might have asked wondered the same thing.
Can You Use More Sunlight In Place of Light Therapy?
The short answer is, not exactly.
While getting adequate sunlight is important and has been shown to have numerous therapeutic effects… light therapy is different.
With LLLT or light therapy in general, we are focusing on specific parts of the light spectrum that are well researched and known to improve thyroid function and metabolism.
Sunlight itself is full spectrum, meaning that it contains larger amounts of damaging UV and blue light than the therapeutic red and infrared light that we want.
According to Dr. Michael Hamblin – Harvard Professor and Infrared Therapy Expert
Sun probably provides 20-30 millwatts/sq centimeter of near infrared….so it’s beneficial, but it’s not nearly as powerful as the LEDs [and lasers]… To get the correct dosage from the sun, you’d need to worry about UV exposure, and it would be better if you were on a higher altitude.
– Michael Hamblin
So, yes… you need to get plenty of sunlight.
However, light therapy allows us to achieve greater therapeutic effects by using higher concentrations of therapeutic light that contains far less concentrated damaging light.
You can see this by looking at the graph below…
Notice how sunlight contains a much higher percentage of UV and blue light than it does in the therapeutic spectrum noted by the black box between 600 to 900 nm wavelength.
(Note: Special thanks to Vladimir Heiskanen for the image above.)
Incandescent Light Is a Much Better Alternative
As you can see from the graph above, we can achieve a fairly good balance of therapeutic light from the use of incandescent bulbs.
While the concentration of therapeutic light isn’t necessarily large, it contains very little damaging light.
So, even in smaller concentrations the use of higher power incandescent light bulbs can be used to achieve some degree of these same therapeutic benefits as LLLT.
With that being said, there’s a problem that we’ve run into with the use of incandescent bulbs.
Governments are working to phase-out incandescent bulbs in an effort to promote other energy-efficient alternative bulbs. This is making incandescent bulbs more and more difficult to find.
While today they have been largely banned for use with general lighting, we can still get them in other forms such as “heat lamps”.
How to Build Your Light Therapy Lamp for Less Than $25
While Russian researchers recommend 2000 watts to 3000 watts of incandescent light, this is difficult to achieve with heat lamps.
For comparison purposes, the recommended lamp below uses a 250 watt bulb which would require on the order 8 to 12 bulbs to achieve the same power output.
However, the heat production would be rather extreme.
So, while a single lamp will provide some benefit, using two or three of them will provide more and be extremely beneficial during the winter when we have the least exposure to light.
To build this light therapy lamp you need two parts, the incandescent bulb and the lamp reflector to house the bulb.
(Note for Those on 220 volt AC Power: This specific set up only works for the 120 volt AC electric service used in North America. It will not work with the 220 to 230 volt AC electricity used in most everywhere else in the world. But you can easily find replacements by finding a bulb and reflector lamp that uses 220 volt AC rated at the same power/wattage. Just go to your local hardware store and ask for a 250 watt incandescent bulb and reflector lamp. It’s that easy.)
It’s also worth noting that we use a 130 volt incandescent bulb, which when run at 120 volts is known to provide a higher concentration of therapeutic light and produce less heat.
Here are the parts you will need:
How to Use Your Light Therapy Lamp
The most important part of light therapy is to make sure the light is getting exposed directly to your skin.
The more skin exposure the better.
For general use, it’s recommended that you get plenty of exposure to both your neck (thyroid) and chest (thymus).
Or it can be used directly on other parts of the body such as arthritic joints to help relieve pain, or the scalp to help stimulate hair regrowth.
Place the lamp(s) 2 to 3 feet away.
Start slowly with 5 to 10 minutes per day and increase your exposure over time. Try building up to 30 to 60 minutes per session.
You can also use the lamp multiple times daily, and at different times of the day.
For example, some clients report improved sleep when using it before bed.
Are You Ready for Light Therapy?
Just like using thyroid hormone, light therapy can be a double edged sword.
This is something that I warn my clients about all the time.
Anytime you stimulate metabolism, it increases the rate at which your body uses nutrients.
If your diet is not adequate or you are deficient in certain vitamins then this can further deplete you and result in unwanted side effects.
For example, light therapy will increase the rate at which your cells consume sugar.
So ensuring that your blood sugar is adequate is extremely important.
If not, it can further lower your blood sugar, activating your stress response.
(Note: This is covered in more detail in this article on “How to Heal Your Thyroid By Healing Your Liver”.)
So, to be on the safe side don’t use light therapy on an empty stomach.
At a minimum, at least have a piece of fruit.
Or, if you want to get the most out of this light therapy, then use it together with our Ultimate Thyroid-Boosting Meal Plan.
You can learn more about the UTB Meal Plan here.