Science & Spirit: Healing Light
Let the light shine! That’s the message researchers are finding about the powers of light to treat medical, mental-health, and cosmetic issues. There are even new ways to use light imagery to battle autoimmune diseases. For all the illuminating news, read on.
In 1999, Paula Marie Jackson lost her vision, hearing, and ability to walk, and was soon diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She gradually developed her own version of Guided Imagery therapy, and was able to regain her mobility and slow the progression of her symptoms. Now her therapy, called LIGHT (Light-Induced Guided Healing Therapy), has been studied in a peer-reviewed paper with promising results. LIGHT uses a combination of hypnotherapy, meditation, and guided imagery.
For example, a patient visualizes light entering the top of her head and moves colors from the light to reach physical and mental areas of concern.
While the initial study had a small sample size, a 10-week program was found to help participants with chronic conditions experience a 75 percent decrease in depression, 24 percent decrease in fatigue, a 38 percent increase in physical quality of life, and a 30 percent increase in mental quality of life. LIGHT is offered as an educational program at UC San Diego for those with a chronic or autoimmune diagnosis or as a way for healthy people to learn to deal with everyday stress. You can also learn more about the method here.
Try at Home: Guided Meditation Using Light
S&H staff writer Julie Peters, who is also a yoga teacher and yoga studio owner, created a meditation that leads you through a visualization of healing white light to help internal healing from any injury, surgery, or illness. “Meditation alone can be helpful in healing from many conditions because it relaxes the body and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on our internal capacity for rebalancing and repair,” Julie says. Listen to Julie Peters’ “Healing Meditation for Injury, Stress, or Illness.”
The Skin You’re In: External Uses of Light Therapy
A 2018 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology looked at a broad range of LED (light-emitting diodes) treatments for medical and aesthetic uses. Here’s what the author, dermatologist Glynis Ablon, found:
- Blue light was effective in treating mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris.
- Red light was effective for wound healing, such as reducing bruising and swelling post-surgery.
- Red and near-infrared light was successfully used to treat psoriasis.
- Red and green light helped with Bowen’s disease (a very early form of skin cancer). Red light also showed good results for dealing with basal cell treatment and actinic keratosis.
- LED light was also found effective for cosmetic uses by reducing fine wrinkles, improving skin’s firmness, and boosting collagen in the skin.
For even more on this topic, check out Traci Pedersen’s story on “The Healing Powers of Light.”