Light up your day

  • feb 2022
  • 1062

The LichtCafé is for everyone who is eligible for light therapy. It is a pleasant, inspiring place where you start the day with the right amount of light. While you sit behind the light lamp, you can enjoy a lovely cup of coffee or tea, read a newspaper, chat, or check your email. There are experts at the LightCafé to guide you during the light therapy. They will also discuss lifestyle with you; a healthy lifestyle has a positive influence on your mood.

What does light therapy involve?

Light therapy is a treatment in which your eyes are exposed to intense white light. This light comes from a lamp with a light intensity of 10,000 lux, without UV radiation. The treatment lasts half an hour a day, and is given in the morning. 10,000 lux can be compared to a bright morning sun: much brighter than normal artificial light but not as bright as the light outside on a summer’s day.

Light therapy has been proven effective

Most people with symptoms of depression recover after light therapy. This is usually the case after just 1 to 2 weeks of light therapy. A healthy lifestyle also has a positive effect on your mood, which is why we combine light therapywith lifestyle advice at the LichtCafe. It also has a beneficial effect in depression during pregnancy. Light therapy is very effective in helping with seasonal depression.

What does light therapy do?

Light therapy influences your biological clock. This internal clock ensures that your body functions such as heart rate, glucose level, mood and sleep rhythm are properly regulated. Everyone’s biological clock runs a little differently and never lasts exactly 24 hours. It is important to reset this clock correctly every day. The light in the morning is mainly responsible for this. When your biological clock has a fixed rhythm, you feel more comfortable.

A lack of daylight can disrupt your biological clock. This manifests itself in:

■ dejection or depression
■ less energy
■ craving for sweets
■ increase in need for sleep
■ daytime fatigue
■ less desire to do things

It’s not only morning light that helps to set your internal clock correctly. A fixed daily rhythm, healthy food, exercise and social contacts also play an important role. This all falls under a healthy lifestyle. That is why the treatment at the LichtCafe is a combination of light therapy and lifestyle advice.

How does the light treatment work?

During light therapy sessions, you sit near a light lamp that gives a bright white light. This is done in the morning. You must keep your eyes open during the treatment, you don’t have to look straight into the lamp, as long as the light hits your retina. You can do something else in the meantime. It takes 30 minutes.

You will receive light therapy for 5 consecutive workdays, 30 minutes a day. To be able to follow the progress of your symptoms, you will fill in two short questionnaires at different times. On the fifth day, you will have another interview. If you still have symptoms, then you can extend the treatment two more times, with five extra sessions.

Side effects

Light therapy has few side effects. In general, the symptoms diminish quickly and disappear completely after stopping the light therapy.

Side effects can include:

■ dizziness You may feel a little dizzy after the treatment. This will go away on its own after about 15 minutes. If this affects you, it’s best to wait a little longer before you leave.
■ nausea
■ headache
■ an anxious feeling
■ fatigue
■ tired or irritated (dry or teary) eyes

Can light therapy damage your skin or eyes?

The answer to both questions is no. The light lamp does not contain UV radiation and is, therefore, not bad for the skin. If you do not have any problems with your eyes, then they will not be damaged by the light therapy. The light is comparable to being outside on a sunny day. If you have eye problems or take medication for this, it is a good idea to report this at the first interview.

Certain medications

When taking certain medications that make the eyes more sensitive, light therapy may be unwise. This will be discussed at the intake interview.

Experts with knowledge about a healthy lifestyle are present at the LichtCafé, so that you can get started right away. You can follow online modules on topics like healthy nutrition, a good daily structure and better sleep. You can also use one of the desk bikes or join a walking group.

When is light therapy

Eye diseases
Eye diseases Light therapy is not suitable for a number of eye diseases. The expert may ask you to see an ophthalmologist.

If you have a bipolar disorder, please let us know at the intake interview. Extra vigilance is then required. Light therapy is not used during a period in which there is (hypo) mania, because this strengthens the mania. During a depressive episode, light therapy can actually have a beneficial effect.

Attention to lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle affects your mental and physical well-being. A healthy lifestyle includes nutrition, exercise, social contacts, balance between exercise and relaxation and sleep.

How can you register for the LichtCafé?

Registration is done through your practitionerat GGzE.

If you are not undergoing treatment at GGzE but would like to start light therapy at the LichtCafé, ask your GP for a referral.

Expert guidance

Expert guidance from GGzE is always available in the LichtCafé.


Research into the effects of light therapy is currently being carried out at the LichtCafé. If you are registered for light therapy, you will be asked if you want to participate in this study. If you participate, you will receive light therapy as described above, and you will be asked to complete some additional questionnaires. This research contributes to more knowledge about light therapy.

The intake

After your registration, you will have an intake interview with one of the experts. They look at whether you could benefit from light therapy. The intake interview lasts half an hour.

After treatment

Experience shows that people recover after light therapy. But your symptoms may return after some time. It is then advisable to repeat the light therapy. Please discuss this with your practitioner or GP.

The costs

Light therapy falls under insured care. Keep in mind that you have to pay your excess.

Download the complete brochure here

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