Archive for February, 2011

Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device

Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy

Rating 4.25/5 ★★★★¼ 

As I posted the other day, I have at last found a SAD therapy lamp that I can order in the UK to combat the long grey winter. But it isn’t an easy one to travel with and I do have to go to client sites from time to time. Much as I hate to keep getting solutions from the States, once again I found the USA has the answer to my problem.

At first glance I thought this light panel produced the wrong spectrum for SAD therapy. It’s very blue. But I looked at what users say about it and they won me over.

Registered nurse “Michele” (initially skeptical) says:

I read all these reviews and did a lot of online research on a variety of units. I decided on this one because of the 1) long life of LED bulbs 2) AC or Battery capability 3) Size of unit (it’s smaller than you might think compared to other units – can fit in your purse or laptop bag NO problem 4) price. [….]

I often felt extremely fatigued and drowsy driving into work – that has resolved. My sleep pattern is becoming more consistent and the winter blahs don’t seem as severe as in the past.

I would have NEVER believed it worked until trying it.

Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy

Did I mention that it’s delightfully compact? Take a look at the photo to see what I mean. It’s more durable than I expected, runs longer on one battery charge than I expected, and takes rechargeable batteries. For most trips I can leave the charger at home! This wasn’t feasible before LEDs came along. It’s a great example of how LEDs make things possible that weren’t possible before.

Pros

  • Combats SAD (weirdly, considering how blue it is)
  • Compact and durable for easy travel
  • Can run on replaceable batteries (for a few sessions per charge)
  • Does extra duty as an alarm clock

Cons

  • Don’t lose the charger! It’s very difficult to get a replacement (and if you’re abroad like me, it may be impossible)
  • Although lemons appear to be rare, if you get a faulty unit, Philips’ customer service is poor

Like it already? Amazon is carrying it at a steeply discounted price.

Problems seem to be very uncommon, which says the design and the quality control in manufacturing are very good. This light is so popular and gets so many five star ratings, I have to say the Philips design team has done a fine job. I haven’t given it five stars simply because I think it’s silly to insist on a charger that is hard to replace–I’d prefer to be able to get a generic charger easily so I can keep one at home and one in my travel bag.

A lot of users carry on at length about how happy they are. “Nicolea” is more brief:

Awesome- been using it since it arrived in late Dec and feel a lot better- don’t want to cry on overcast days. My sleep pattern has also improved, I had no problem getting up early when I went back to work. [….] Re use- don’t stare at the light, it is supposed to hit the side of your eyes. I just have beside me as I eat breakfast and occasionally glance at it.

Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy

If you’re looking for SAD therapy that you can slip into a handbag or small carry-on bag, click here to get it at Amazon.

Good Diffusion is Essential

People often complain about the bright spots in lighting units based on LEDs. Improving the efficiency and output of LEDs is great, but those lights will not do much good unless they can be made more comfortable to the eye.

That’s where diffusion materials come in. The glass or plastic covering over the light is not just meant to keep out dust. It should spread out the light coming from the light source so that illumination is smoothly spread out and looks even. Doing this well is more difficult than it sounds. Current diffusion materials tend to either not do that well enough, or do it by wasting a lot of the light by either sending it in a useless direction or converting it into heat.

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is not the only company making advances in this area. I’m just pointing to them because of a recent article about what they are doing, which you can see by clicking here.

For the most part I try to keep the discussion here at a level that people can understand without a degree in science. I would be grateful if you will comment to let me know whether I should give more pointers like this, or always translate for you as I did in the Lighting Discussion.

Nature Bright PER3 LED SAD Therapy Lamp with Wakeup

Rating 3/5 ★★★☆☆ 

At long last! I’ve been looking for a SAD therapy lamp that I can use in the UK without needing to bring it back from the States. I prefer it to use LEDs. From our lighting discussion, you understand why–flicker bothers me and I don’t want extraneous UV radiation in my eyes! This lamp is exactly what I wanted!

I have a terrible time getting up in the morning during English winters when the sun doesn’t rise until as late as 08:30. (At one point I was going to move to Inverness in Scotland where winter nights are even longer.) I was resigned to needing to get up and switch on whatever SAD therapy light I bought, but this one doesn’t make me do that. It can be programmed to start itself and gradually ramp up to full light, simulating a dawn effect as my wake-up alarm.

Pros

  • Many SAD therapy lamps use fluorescent or halogen bulbs. I am not keen about UV leakage from those directly into my eyes. LEDs, as in this lamp, are safer.
  • Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston chose this lamp as “best of breed” for SAD light therapy.
  • The wakeup (and twilight dimming) features are a delightful bonus, and easy to program.

Cons

  • A disturbing proportion of these lamps appear to have a manufacturing defect that causes one or at worst two strips of the LEDs to go dark after a very limited time. That makes it important to buy where you can get a good warranty. (It’s the reason I rate it 3 stars, a little below the average rating online.)
  • As with most SAD therapy lamps, you have to stay close to the lamp for a while to get the full therapeutic effect. My brother reads the newspaper with his in the morning, which is about the right exposure. I haven’t set a firm routine yet.

Whenever I find a comparable unit with better manufacturing consistency, I will replace this review. For now, this is as good as it gets!

If you have the same difficulty in the winter as mine, or worse like my brother, click here to get this lamp with free Super Saver shipping from Amazon. Amazon is beating everybody else on price (by quite a bit). They have a reputation for holding their vendors’ feet to the fire if something goes wrong–in the event that you get a faulty unit, you’ll have Amazon on your side.