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When the skin gets injured it responds by the fabrication of macrophages, cells that are part of our immune system and that are able to absorb dead and damaged cells. Under the radiation of red light of about 660 nanometers these macrophages expel a matter that stimulates the generation and dispersion of new subcutaneous conjunctive tissue or fibroblasts. Surgical wounds sometimes heal very slowly or not at all and may get complicated by the development of hypergranulation tissue with chronic ulcer. These defects may sometimes successfully be treated by a radiation with polarised yellow light of about 590 nanometers. It is strongly advised to consult your physician before applying any light therapy for wound healing (see also infrared therapy).
An unborn child has no blood production from itself but uses the blood of the mother, which is transported by the umbilical cord. Immediately after birth the own blood production of the child will develop and the blood of the mother will gradually be broken down and replaced by the child its own blood. The waste that remains from the (prenatal) blood is bilirubin (formerly referred to as hematoidin) which normally will be excreted by the liver. In some
occasions, especially with children who were born (too) early, the liver is not yet able to deliver the necessary break down capacity and the surplus of bilirubin will accumulate in the bloodstream. This makes the skin of the child look yellow. By radiating the skin with blue light with a wavelength of 458 nanometers the bilirubin will break apart and the yellow
tint will disappear. Since other and more severe diseases may also cause a yellow tinted skin, treatment of a newborn baby with blue light may only be performed by or under the supervision of a physician.
Acne is a skin disease that is accompanied by the development of pimples. The most common cause is an overproduction of skin fat due to a disturbance of the hormone balance. The blocked and overloaded sebum glands are vulnerable for bacterial infections. Some types of acne are caused by the propion bacterium. This bacterium expels a waste called porphyrin that can partly be transferred into singlet oxygen by radiating it with violet light with a wavelength between 420 en 405 nanometers. This active oxygen
in turn slows down the further development of the propion bacterium and may even kill it. An acne treatment with violet light is often supported by a simultaneous radiation with red light with a wavelength ranging from 670 to 650 nanometers. This red light stimulates the development of fibroblasts in the epidermis and quickens the healing of a damaged skin (see also wound healing). Acne scars can sometimes successfully be treated with lasers operating in the near infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The working of light- or photo therapy for the treatment of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or some sleep disorders like jet-lag is for the greater part attributed to its influence on the body clock. The control of our body clock is located in the brain and it is the
hormone melatonin that plays a vital roll is the process of wake and sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that influences the sleep and it is produced by the pineal gland (glandula pinealis). The production of melatonin increases at night and it breaks down again as soon as daylight starts entering the eyes. Individuals who are sensitive for the amount of melatonin in their body are at risk to suffer from disturbances of their body clock when the days shorten during wintertime or when the levels of light decline during longer periods of bad weather conditions. Their body clock may shift since there is too little light entering their eyes to sufficiently break down the melatonin. This causes fatigue and dullness. Exposure according a tight timetable to an additional quantity of artificial daylight might be able to correct the disorder. Blue light seems to be the most effective element for the treatment of SAD and related complaints. Under normal work- and living conditions Daylight daylight is commonly simulated with blended lamps or with tube-lights with enhanced yield in the upper part of the spectrum, so-called full-spectrum lamps. The light source can also be integrated in a wintertime sun flap or in a monitor that is used frequently during daytime. At wake-up a full-spectrum lamp in combination with an alarm making a natural background sound
It is widely accepted that colours do have an influence on our mood and emotions. The theories about how and to what extend they do this are far from undisputed however. The phenomena is documented and applied ever since early history of civilisation but as far as it concerns the relation between specific colours and their influence on body and mind there seem to be as many theories as
there are specialists. There is some common tendency towards the theory that the colours in the direction of the red part of the spectrum are having an exciting influence on our metabolism and our mood while the colours in the direction of the blue part of the spectrum are having an opposite, calming effect. The many claims that with colour therapy (or chromotherapy) almost any known disease can successfully be treated by applying the right colours in the right dose lack any independent and reproducible evidence however.
can be helpful. It simulates the dawn before the real sunlight appears.
general instructions for use
Warning: In all cases follow the instructions in the manual that came with your source of light. When the manual is missing, try to obtain a replacement from your supplier or the original manufacturer. The instructions for use that are given on this site are specifically aimed at those who are interested in working and use of sources of light for self medication without necessarily possessing one themselves. The author of this site is in no way responsible for any damage caused by the use of an artificial source of light.
Determination of an effective timetable for a treatment with light is very much depending on the type and degree of the disorder and will therefore often be done by or under supervision of a doctor or a specialist. The usual treatment of SAD consists of exposure to artificial daylight at a predetermined day of time, mostly in the morning hours. Typically the duration of one session of treatment is about half an hour. It is not necessary to constantly look into the light source directly. Reading a book or doing some other activity aside the light is as much as effective. Usually the complaints should disappear after one or two weeks. If not, contact a doctor. Other than with SAD, a direct and close radiation of the parts of the body to be treated for acne or wound healing is of importance. The effectiveness of colour therapy has not been proved but there seems to be little change of negative side effects.
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Some types of (developing) skin cancer can successfully be suppressed or even cured with photodynamic therapy (PDT). Examples are basal cell carcinoma, Bowen's disease and solar- or actinic keratosis. Photodynamic therapy consists of two components: 1) a photosensitiser that makes the tissue sensible for light and 2) intense light with a specific wavelength that causes the destruction of infected cells. There are two types of treatment that both use the property that cancer cells will more easily absorb certain photosensitisers and are more reluctant to release them than healthy cells will. With one method the photosensitiser or its metabolic precursor (a substance that only within the tissue is transferred into a photosensitiser) is applied to the affected tissue in the form of an ointment and covered with a lighttight bandage. When after a few hours the photosensitiser is formed and/or absorbed by the cancer cells, the treated area is radiated with light. With the other method the photosensitiser is injected into the bloodstream and absorbed by cells all over the body. When after a period of 24 to 48 hours the photosensitiser has disappeared from the healthy cells, the infected cancer cells (that still contain some of the photosensitiser) are radiated with light. The method using an ointment can be used externally. The other method can also be used internally, using fiber optics to bring the light to the area to be treated. The exact wavelength of the light
depends on the type of photosensitiser but is mostly in the range of 620 to 780 nanometer, so red to nearby infrared (see electromagnetic spectrum). Under the influence of the light, the photosensitiser reacts with oxygen present in the tissue, releasing active singlet oxygen, an aggressive chemical that reacts with the infected cell in a destructive way. The exact result of the reaction depends strongly on the composition of the applied photosensitiser. Since photosensitisers tend to build up in tumours more than in healthy tissue, especially
cancer cells will die and damage to healthy tissue will be limited. A part of the cells will die by apotosis, a natural form of decease. An other part will die by necrosis, leaving the remainder of the cell for the immune system to be expelled. This may cause inflammation, swelling, pain and even scarring. Photodynamic therapy may only be executed by a physician.
Green laser light is used for surgical reduction of an enlargement of the inner-side of the prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, BPH) with a technique known as Photoselective Vaporization Prostatectomy (PVP). The light is generated with a 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser in combination with a Potassium titanyl phosphate (KTiOPO4) or KTP-crystal which doubles the frequency, resulting in a 532 nm green laserbeam.