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Light and Health - Part 2
Publish date: Nov 28, 2012
Summary: Even if you're stuck indoors in an office or at a computer, there's a way you can get as close to natural sunlight as possible with full spectrum lighting.
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This is Part 2 of the article "Light and Health" by David Olszewski. Read Part 1 here
John Ott, who was a pioneer in analyzing the effects of artificial light on the human body was Walt Disney's time-lapse photographer. That is how he discovered the effect of light on plants and people. He found that fluorescent lights which were heavily skewed to the blue side of the spectrum caused virtually all male offspring in test animals; whereas if the fluorescent lighting was skewed to the red side of the spectrum, it resulted in primarily all female offspring. He also showed that six major types of fluorescent lights being used at that time caused a significantly higher mutation rate in offspring (mutated genes and birth defects), and he was responsible for causing those six types of fluorescents to be banned from the country. If light has that effect on reproduction in test animals, what impact is light having on you?
Yellow Predominance in Indoor Lighting
Both an incandescent and a fluorescent light produce a yellow frequency. The incandescent light (that is, the ordinary light bulb) is high in the yellow, orange and red frequencies, and this makes your eyes squint because the yellow frequency of the light bulb is the single worst frequency for the eye. It was developed because it was the brightest of all the colours, and it reaches the cones first, but it also causes the eye to contract.
When you read under an incandescent or fluorescent light, the yellow does not absorb into the paper, and it becomes glare. This glare from regular incandescent lights actually is what puts you into reading glasses earlier. The full spectrum is white. It has no glare, and the letters stand out. Basically you can read for hours on end under a full spectrum without even squinting or eyestrain. With regular lights, I start rubbing my eyes after about 20 minutes. Sodium lights are bad also. They also give out a yellow basis.
Halogen lights also produce a yellow frequency. If an incandescent light is a bad light, a halogen is a very bright bad light. Halogen lights were initially created without glass to protect them, and they produced more ultraviolet than any other device I have ever seen. But as long as the glass is over it, you are o.k., because the ultraviolet does not come through the glass.
Problems with Ordinary Fluorescent Tubes
(1) They have the wrong light frequencies (or colour). (2) Radiation in the form of soft X-rays escapes out the ends of the tube. This causes a slow clustering of blood cells and restriction in oxygen flow which makes you drowsy. The only way to shield the radiation is to put lead tape on the ends of the tube. You can obtain small pieces of lead tape from security companies who use lead tape around the windows. (3) The third problem with fluorescent lights is pulsation or flicker, and that occurs not from the bulb, but from the fixture itself. The fixture pulsates 60 times a second - 60 Hertz, 120 power. By changing the power supply in the fixture to an electronic one, it will pulsate at 25,000 times a second and you will get no flicker. All the new type of fluorescents are flicker free, 25,000 electronic ballast.
Radiation from TVs and Computers
TVs and computer screens have a similar effect to fluorescent bulbs. Not only do they give you radiation out the sides and back that clusters the blood, but it also has an optical effect that stops all healing. The pulsing refreshing rates on the TV and computer screens scramble the brain-wave patterns that are associated with healing and ceases healing in the body.
Full Spectrum Lighting
Since full spectrum light requires a fluorescent tube, the full spectrum lighting manufacturers had to make all the necessary changes. They put in electronic ballast; they put in the right phosphors to produce all the frequencies of light, and they shielded them. John Ott showed in many school studies that when you can change the school lighting from incandescent or fluorescent to full spectrum, students' grade point averages will go up half a grade point, they will stay out of glasses longer, they will be less hyper, and strangely their dental cavities drop like a rock. And the reason? It stimulated vitamin D on the skin, resulting in more calcium to the teeth and less dental decay. Full spectrum light helps depression and the immune system during the winter, and it is the only natural colour to use for viewing artwork and other colour products.
Full Spectrum Equivalence to Sunlight
If you get six hours of full spectrum light in either fluorescent bulb form, fluorescent tube form or light box form, you are probably close to your 30-minute equivalent of sunlight. If you can get full spectrum lights in your working environment, you can boost that. You don't have to have direct light. Light will bounce off of floors and tables; it will go into your eyes. You don't have to be in direct sunlight when you are outside either. You can be under a shade tree and be getting your lighting. It is enough to have sunlight on your face in the wintertime because that will activate vitamin D, and more importantly, since 98% of sunlight comes in through your eyes, you are O.K. John Ott showed that if have full sunlight or its equivalent in full spectrum light in the vicinity of your computer, it would open up the blood stream and basically counteract the drowsiness. So it is really nice to have sunlight or full spectrum lighting within four to eight feet of your computer area, or your television. The outer glass or plastic on full spectrum tubes and bulbs is light conductive.
Incandescent Bulbs Cannot be Full Spectrum
A full spectrum light has a profile with 1,200 frequencies, and it is similar to sunlight, but it can only be produced in a fluorescent tube with a lot of expensive phosphors. You cannot mimic the full range of colour with a filament in an incandescent bulb. Certain incandescent light bulbs like Chromalux or Verilux are sold as full spectrum, but they are not fluorescent and they are not full spectrum. They are merely coated to absorb the yellow, and they certainly have no effect on things like seasonal depression disorder. It's false advertising.
Full Spectrum Tubes for the Regular Light Socket
You can bend small fluorescent tubes and put them into sockets that will go right into your regular lighting, and the beauty of full spectrum (besides health benefits) is that they are so cool and low-cost running that they use one-fifth of the electricity of a regular bulb. You have an 80-watt bulb that runs on 20-watt power. And because they run cool, the bulb usually lasts five or six years, and even longer. So basically, it is really worth the cost. Note that there is less ultraviolet light in the socket type fluorescents than in the tubes, and so the tubes are usually better for seasonal depression. The manufacturers wanted to get more brightness in the smaller 100-watt and 80-watt bulbs, and in order to do that they had to reduce the amount of ultraviolet.
A real full spectrum bulb contains a good amount of ultraviolet. "Total spectrum" bulbs have a reduced amount of ultraviolet so that they can increase the brightness. These are often known as "extra-brights".
If you have severe seasonal depression, you should be using the full spectrum lighting, and you should replace them after every third winter season, because the UV will deteriorate. The full spectrum lighting will have most effect if it is used first thing in the morning. If you put a screw-in full spectrum bulb in your bathroom, that is the first light you will use in the morning, and it will stop the melatonin production right away. So basically, that is the least expensive way to treat seasonal depression. The other alternative is a full spectrum "light box".
Full spectrum bulbs are generally available in plant stores and pet stores because they never use anything but full spectrum lights on all their plants and animals. They are treated better than humans. On the other hand, there are a lot of mail order companies that market full spectrum.
Full spectrum light provides sunlight indoors, reduces eyestrain when reading and counteracts drowsiness. The radiation coming out of fluorescent tubes causes drowsiness. Fluorescent tubes are identical to your computer screen and your TV screen. Therefore, your computer screen is doing the same thing to you.
David Olszewski is an engineer from Seattle, Washington who holds patents on light therapy equipment in several countries. He is co-author of the latest book on light therapy, Light Years Ahead, which describes light therapy in medicine today. He is president of the Light Energy Company and has over 30 years of experience in the application of light and heat equipment in the health field and the effects of light and other electromagnetic fields on the body.
For more information please contact David Olszewski at Light Energy Co., Seattle, Washington at 1-800-LIGHTCO (1-800-544-4826).
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