Light in Your Ears: Treatment for SAD

The days are getting shorter in the Northern latitudes. I don’t suffer from Seasonal Affectation Disorder, but I know plenty of people who do.

Which is why I thought this doohickey from Finland (from a start up called Valkee) was so interesting. It works by beaming a specific frequency of light into your brain — not through your eyes, but rather, via your ears!

From the company website (translation may be a bit clumsy):

“A new way to prevent and treat seasonal affective disorder. Reduced exposure to light affects all of us. Symptoms are ranging from mood swings to the more serious seasonal affective disorder. The VALKEE bright light headset increases light exposure easily and effectively by bringing light very close to the brain via the ear canals.

Researchers at the University of Oulu, Finland, have researched bright light headsets since 2008, and are convinced that this is a significant method for the prevention and treatment of seasonal affective disorders and other depression types. Bright light is needed in the brain, not in the eyes

The brain has photosensitive areas that react differently to the lack of light, resulting in depression and mood conditions. These areas can be cured with bright light. Surprisingly our eyes are not the most effective route to deliver light to the brain: the ear canal, where the skull at its thinnest, is the most effective route to direct light to where it is needed.

Its a shame they can’t pump music thru at the same time — even better, have the iPhone into cranking out light into your head.

SAD? There’s an app for that!

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