I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that light therapy made me a new man.
I thrive on sunlight. So for years I would sink into an unshakeable depression when winter came to New York City, where I live. When the sun finally returned in April or May, I’d begin to feel more like myself again. But those long, dark months were hard. Like millions of people in the Northern hemisphere, I was suffering from seasonal affective disorder—aptly nicknamed SAD.
Then I stumbled across full-spectrum light bulbs, and brightness returned to my life—both literally and figuratively. Even though they were super expensive at the time, they were worth every penny. (Good news: they’re now affordable and easy to find—you can even buy them at big box stores.)
I’d still pick a sunny day over a gray one, but at least with improved lighting I no longer want to leap from my 19-story office when it’s dreary…again.
Light therapy as a SAD treatment is nothing new, but I was excited to come across this new study that showed it can help with another pervasive (and depressing) issue as well—sexual dissatisfaction.
The study showed that in as little as 2 weeks, light therapy can improve sexual satisfaction in men with low sexual desire and arousal.
The researchers rounded up men who were seriously unhappy with their sex lives—on average they rated their sexual satisfaction as a 2 out of 10. Half the men then received active light therapy using a light box daily for two weeks. The other half had a placebo light treatment in which the light was far less bright.
After 2 weeks of treatment, the group exposed to the bright light had TRIPLED their sexual satisfaction scores. In contrast, the control group stayed more or less the same.
Light therapy boosts natural testosterone production by 50%
The explanation? In part, it was testosterone. In the active light therapy group, testosterone levels rose by more than 50%. The placebo group had no significant increase.
We know that testosterone levels are closely linked to sexual satisfaction, but here’s something you may not have known (I didn’t until I read this study): In the Northern hemisphere, testosterone production plummets from November through April. It picks back up again in the spring and summer, with a peak in October.
The use of the light box really just mimics nature. It inhibits the pineal gland in the center of the brain, which opens the door to greater testosterone production. In fact, it probably causes other hormonal effects that we don’t even know about yet.
Could light replace Viagra? It’s too soon to tell, but this is a safe and natural treatment with other benefits as well— giving it a huge advantage over medications, which often pose more problems (think side effects, drug interactions) than they’re worth.
And there’s certainly no harm in adding light therapy to other natural libido-boosting therapies, like the ones I wrote about in last month’s issue. If you missed it, you can download it for free from the archives by visiting www.drpescatore.com and logging in to the Subscriber area with your username and password.