Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a psychological and physical affliction that affects millions of people each year in northern latitudes. Also known as “seasonal depression,” it is a negative change in mood caused by a disruption of the natural circadian rhythms in the body due to changes in the amount of light experienced by the body. SAD is especially prominent amongst those persons who live sedentary, indoor lifestyles in far northern latitudes during January and February, although it is known to affect some persons who are simply generally used to a more sunlight than is available in the winter months. It is characterized by a generally depressive mood that may include things such as feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, or even thoughts of suicide. Because of its pervasiveness in far northern and far southern latitudes, it is thought to be one of the contributing factors to the high rate of suicide in nordic countries, despite their high standard of living.
The cause of SAD does not appear to be clear, but studies link it primarily to a disruption of circadian rhythms caused by a lack of sunlight. Humans evolved in what is now central and Saharan Africa, near the equator, in a very light-heavy environment. For this reason, humans evolved to have bodies that are very depending on using external light sources as a “clock” which tells them when it is time to wake, sleep, and when certain biological processes within the body are to be produced. The absence of natural sunlight caused by the long winters at higher latitudes disrupts this process, especially when it is further disrupted by a sedentary, interior lifestyle.
As such, exposure to artificial sunlight for several hours per day has been found to be effective at combating SAD. However, most lamps cannot produce artificial sunlight, as they lack both the broad spectrum and luminosity of natural sunlight. Instead, special sunlamps are required, such as those produced by Verilux. These sunlamps produce the entire broad spectrum of natural light, with the exception of harmful UV, and are as bright as the sun. Therefore, indirect exposure for several hours per day can help prevent or even temporarily cure SAD in afflicted persons.
Verilux HappyLight Touch
The Verilux HappyLight Touch is a light therapy device intended to be used by those who are busy or who need to break their light therapy up over a large number of sessions. While most persons who use light therapy do long 2-3 hour sessions in either the morning or evening, it isn’t necessary to indulge in such long sessions in order to get full effectiveness. Additionally, persons with sensitive eyes may find such long sessions to be painful and difficult, even when exposing oneself only to indirect light.
This is why Verilux developed HappyLight Touch. Using technology found in many modern portable devices, the HappyLight Touch is designed to offer brief therapy sessions at the push of a button. Easily programmable using the onboard control panel, the HappyLight Touch can be adjusted to change the duration, intensity, and timing of therapy sessions, enabling users to get a few minutes in here and there until it adds up to the several hours of light therapy recommended by most practitioners.
The HappyLight Touch shares much of the technology of the original Happylight, including the use of energy-efficient LEDs and a small form factor. This also means that it retains the longevity and low power consumption of the HappyLight. It is also capable of fitting in most places, although the necessity of adding a control system makes it less able to fit into the smallest of spaces. Still, it is ideal for most situations around the house or office, and the fact that it can be programmed to turn itself off at the end of a therapy session helps ensure it neither wears out nor wastes power when not in use.
Verilux HappyLight Liberty
The Verilux HappyLight Liberty is a small sun lamp intended to be installed anywhere, but especially office desks. Unlike traditional sunlamps, the Verilux HappyLight Liberty has a small footprint and minimal power demands so that it can broadcast light anywhere, rather than in a specific place. The Verilux HappyLight Liberty is specifically engineered to meet the demands of busy persons, who cannot set up a sun lamp in a favored position and then remain there for several hours. Instead, the Verilux HappyLight Liberty is designed to be set up next to a monitor at work, kitchen counter in the morning, or another similar high-traffic place. It broadcasts light diffusely instead of in a directed manner, so that its benefits can be enjoyed without directly facing it.
Despite its small size, the Verilux HappyLight Liberty still emits the 10,000 LUX recommended by most doctors and therapists for light therapy. It is thus as bright as the sun on a partly cloudy day, and care should be taken to avoid directly staring into it. The Verilux HappyLight is best enjoyed obliquely, placed off to the side where its light can wash your face, and it is ideal for illuminating areas where you are working, reading or relaxing. This permits the Verilux HappyLight to provide light therapy without the risk of damaging the eyes. And thanks to its small size, the Verilux HappyLight can provide this service almost anywhere. This small size also lends to its energy efficiency. The Verilux HappyLight is designed to use as little energy as possible, and unlike older designs, the Verilux HappyLight is LED-based, enabling it to run for hours with minimal power draw. The use of LEDs also ensures longevity, enabling the Verilux HappyLight to run for years without any need of maintenance or replacement.
Verilux HappyLight Deluxe
The Verilux HappyLight Deluxe is, as its name implies, a deluxe light therapy machine designed for those who need intense light therapy for long periods. The Verilux HappyLight Deluxe is much larger than other models, and while it provides the same intensity of 10,000 lux light across the broad non-UV spectrum, it does so over a much wider area, essentially filling a room with sunlight anywhere it is placed. This makes the Verilux HappyLight Deluxe ideal for those who need an entire room illuminated, or who need to combine their light therapy with other physical activities such as morning exercise. It is also ideal for those who need especially intense light therapy, since the Verilux HappyLight Deluxe is capable of delivering intense light over the entire body, and can replace traditional multi-light setups.
The Verilux HappyLight Deluxe is designed to be either free-standing or flush mounted. It is simpler than other systems, with its only operation being on or off. Despite its large size and powerful lamps it runs silent and has a low power draw thanks to its energy efficient design. It can be plugged into any standard outlet but is not intended to be portable due to its large size and weight. It uses CFLs instead of LEDs, which does make it slightly less energy efficient than other models, but this comes with a significant increase in broadcast power, as shown by its ability to fill a room with sun-like light.