Illuminating Wellness: Understanding Light Therapy vs. Infrared Therapy for Seasonal Blues

Illuminating Wellness: Understanding Light Therapy vs. Infrared Therapy for Seasonal Blues

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 As we journey together towards vibrant and wholesome lives, it's essential to explore all avenues of wellness. Since moving to Idaho a year and a half ago, I have had MANY new adventures and have learned more about nature and myself every day. It is pretty incredible to be experiencing all four seasons. As a girl who grew up in Southern California, I mostly had the experience of two seasons, the difference really being the change in hours of sunlight per day.

I am officially on my second run through the change in the seasons and wow, hello January, hello to the phenomenon called inversion. If you haven't heard of it or experienced inversion, I get it, neither had I.

An inversion is a natural phenomenon where the normal temperature gradient of the atmosphere is reversed, leading to a layer of cool air being trapped beneath a layer of warmer air. Learn something new every day ✅!

Basically what it looks like is trapped fog. It is white, everywhere you look, and after days of it, you realize you are a little more cranky, snappy, or less inspired to, well, be inspired. What’s true is… you haven’t seen the sun and your body and mind miss it! 

Way back when I moved to Seattle, Washington to further my massage education, I had my first exposure to a diagnosis called “SAD, Seasonal Depression”. It was a part of our curriculum and it was something I had never heard of growing up in sunny So Cal. I had also never heard the term “outerwear” and had the good fortune that our school was walking distance to an REI clothing store in the likes of a Disneyland stature! Some fellow classmates guided me through this wonder of an outerwear store and soon I owned shoes that were designed for you to walk places in, a jacket that kept you warm and dry, and a scarf along with a lesson on how to wear it. Thank goodness for the kindness of the locals!

So back to SAD, I was shocked at how much information we learned about this mysterious diagnosis that I was sure very few people actually had, I mean I had NEVER heard of it. But along with the millions of other things I have learned that happen outside of sunny Southern California, I quickly learned SAD was prevalent and debilitating. 

There are many treatments and therapies to help with the effects that SAD has on a person and if you are interested in learning more, please leave me a message in the comments. 

I do not have SAD but I can see how after experiencing a month of just hints of sun rays, the effects of not getting the nourishment from Mother Nature’s direct Sunlight could turn into depression and uncomfortable or even painful achy bodies. 

I find myself jumping into the infrared Sauna more this month for warmth and deeply penetrating light healing. I also notice that caffeine is more jarring to my system so I have shifted from morning coffee to morning adaptogens like RIZE and MUD/WTR. In the same vein, my nervous system is more wound up and my fascia is tighter than normal. 

I notice I need more softness, quiet, breathing, stretching, and journaling.

The lights in my house are dimmed, and the music that fills the house is more calm and nourishing. I begin my day slower, on the floor breathing and stretching. I end my day with a cup of Rooibos or Vanilla Tea. I allow for more sleep if needed. I am choosing UPLIFT for my after-shower body oil and RELAX BUTTER for my nighttime hands and foot rub before bed. REVITALIZE ENERGY SHIFTING SPRAY is my go-to for refreshing my bed sheets and pillows when I make my bed in the morning. I am being intentionally kinder and softer with my choices for myself and my thoughts of myself.

winter support bundle: body oil, body butter, energy shifting spray

As I find myself in this season on the journey of listening inwardly to my needs both physically and emotionally, I have also found myself inquisitive of other therapies that could be supportive of my system during this time. I find that Light seems to be key for me and I was left with a question. What is the difference between Red Light and Happy Lights? 

If you have the same question, here is what I have learned:

I’d like to shed some light on two remarkable therapies: Light Therapy (often referred to as "Happy Lights") and Infrared Red Light Therapy. Both have their unique benefits, especially when it comes to combating the winter blues. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Light Therapy for Seasonal Depression

Light therapy, commonly known for its "Happy Lights," is a beacon of hope for those experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). As the days shorten and sunlight becomes scarce, many of us might feel a dip in our mood. Here’s where Light Therapy steps in.

  • How it works: Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light, believed to cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD.
  • Benefits: It’s particularly effective in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, boosting your mood, and increasing concentration.
  • Best for: If you’re feeling the winter doldrums, missing the sun, or experiencing mild SAD symptoms, Light Therapy could be your ray of sunshine.

Exploring Infrared Red Light Therapy

Infrared Red Light Therapy, on the other hand, delves deeper – quite literally. It uses specific wavelengths of light to penetrate the skin and can be used to treat different conditions.

  • How it works: This therapy delivers wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to your body, stimulating cellular repair and increasing circulation.
  • Benefits: It’s known for reducing inflammation, aiding in muscle recovery, improving skin health, and potentially providing relief for chronic pain.
  • Best for: If you’re dealing with physical ailments like muscle aches, skin issues, or chronic pain, Infrared Therapy could be your soothing balm.

Which Therapy is Best for Winter Blues?

So, which therapy should you embrace to combat the winter blues? The answer lies in understanding your specific needs:

  • If you're primarily affected by the lack of sunlight and its impact on your mood and sleep, Light Therapy is your go-to.
  • If you're more concerned about physical symptoms like pain or skin health exacerbated by the colder months, Infrared Therapy might be more beneficial.

At Hellomellow, we believe in a holistic approach to wellness. Whether it’s Light Therapy bringing a semblance of sunny days into your home or Infrared Therapy soothing your physical woes, both therapies offer unique pathways to wellness. Remember, we’re on this journey together – here to support and guide you towards your most mellow and vibrant life. Stay luminous, stay mellow!

Have you tried Light or Infrared Therapy? Share your experiences and tips with our Hellomellow community in the comments below. Let’s continue to learn and grow together!

Here are some of the best options for light therapy lamps available on Amazon, ideal for combating seasonal depression:

I love the look of this lamp as it is beautiful so I don’t mind leaving it out as a piece of furniture in my house. If you are a visual person like me and would like a lamp you can leave out that lifts your mood my pick is the Sunrise Sensations - DayBright Light Therapy Lamp Full Spectrum


Sunrise Sensations - DayBright Light Therapy Lamp Full Spectrum


Another great option with rave reviews is  Verilux® HappyLight® Luxe

Verilux® HappyLight® Luxe - Light Therapy Lamp

Every lamp has unique features to cater to different preferences and needs, especially for those dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It's important to choose a lamp that fits your lifestyle and the specific symptoms you're looking to alleviate​​.

As for my Red Light recommendations, there are many “Hot Box” types of infrared businesses popping up for you to try infrared therapy, or if you’d rather have accessibility at home and want to start with something smaller than a sauna I like the look and reviews on this one: Bestqool Red Light Therapy Device for Body, Face

Bestqool Red Light Therapy Device for Body, Face


And if you are ready to take the plunge and get an Infrared Sauna the Dynamic Andora 2 Person Low EMF 6 Heating Panel Infrared Therapy Wood Dry Heat Sauna is great. Less than the super pricey ones but great quality for the price. I am in mine daily!Dynamic Andora 2 Person Low EMF 6 Heating Panel Infrared Therapy Wood Dry Heat Sauna

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Here’s to a mellow vibrant life!



1 comment

Bonnie Cavalier
Bonnie Cavalier

Great information Tracy. So interesting to
Learn about SAD

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