New form of alternative medicine comes to OU

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New form of alternative medicine comes to OU

Bright light lamp therapy provides a source of vitamin D, which is beneficial to our health.

Bright light lamp therapy provides a source of vitamin D, which is beneficial to our health.

Elyse Gregory

Bright light lamp therapy provides a source of vitamin D, which is beneficial to our health.

Elyse Gregory

Elyse Gregory

Bright light lamp therapy provides a source of vitamin D, which is beneficial to our health.

Laurel Kraus, Staff Reporter

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Spring break is over, and at this point in the semester, it’s not uncommon for students to be feeling down, stressed or tired.

“It kind of fits in a broad category of people just tend to do worse in the wintertime, and I think that that’s a significant amount of people,” said Maryann Swanson, director of Oakland University’s Graham Health Center. “We just are not as happy. You don’t even have to have an actual diagnosis.”

On Dec. 1, 2016, University Recreation and Well-Being began implementing bright light therapy to help combat these problems.

Bright light therapy is a relatively new form of alternative medicine and is essentially a lamp that releases light that mimics the sun’s rays and administers Vitamin D.

“We’ve been taught that the sun does negative things, but the sun does positive things, too,” Swanson said.

According to a Columbia University study, the body’s internal clock — which regulates body temperature, hormone secretion and sleep patterns, among other functions — is highly affected by light stimulation, or lack thereof.

For best results, a bright light therapy lamp should be placed approximately 20 to 30 inches away from the user’s face for sessions of 20 to 30 minutes.

“I do suggest, if you’re hoping to get some type of medicinal benefit or real benefit from it, talking to your doctor and looking at the research and deciding with your doctor what’s going to be best for you,” said Erica Wallace, health and wellness coordinator for the Recreation Center.

The risks of bright-light therapy are minimal, but include possible vision damage for those who have impaired vision.

Those interested in using the bright light, located in the Wellness Suite on the bottom floor of the Recreation Center, can sign up for a 15-minute session on the schedule posted on the suite’s door.

The light is not offered every day, but available times will be posted one week in advance.

OU students, staff and faculty can also call the Wellness Suite at (248) 370-4424 to schedule sessions.

The suite has also supplied crayons and activities to occupy the users’ time.

Additionally, when clients go into the Graham Health Center for intake or medical review, they will be offered the opportunity to try bright light therapy during the interview.

Pricing for these lamps ranges from $30 to $200.

According to Wallace, the Wellness Suite plans to continue offering bright light therapy through the end of March, unless there is demand or a need to continue.