Green Light, Red Light



Treatment of seasonal affective disorder with green light and red light.

Oren DA, Brainard GC, Johnston SH, Joseph-Vanderpool JR, Sorek E, Rosenthal NE.
Department of Neurology, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

This study sought to determine whether an equal photon density of green light is superior to red light in treating seasonal affective disorder.
After recruitment through the media, 20 outpatients with seasonal affective disorder participated in a balanced-order crossover trial of 1 week of green light therapy compared with 1 week of red light therapy. Each treatment consisted of 2 hours of daily light treatment at home in the early morning. Ultraviolet light was excluded from both treatment conditions. The photon densities of the two treatments (2.3 x 10(15) photons/sec per cm2) were similar to those used in previous studies of therapy with 2500-lux white light. Fourteen patients completed the study. At least 1 week separated each treatment period to allow time for relapse. Effectiveness of treatment was assessed by analysis of variance of changes in ratings on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression.
Although patients' expectations of the two treatments were similar, green light induced greater antidepressant effects than red light. A Sequence by Color interaction was also demonstrated.
Green light provides a treatment effect superior to that of red light and similar to that seen in previous studies with white light. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that retinal photoreceptors mediate the antidepressant response in seasonal affective disorder. Identifying optimal wavelengths for light treatment is important in optimizing phototherapy efficacy.



The Law & Order Admin
Jan 4, 2012
Very very interesting. Good find J.


Jul 22, 2012
This makes me wonder if we need lights
other than regular incandescents for SAD-style light therapy.
I wonder how much green spectrum our arrays of powerful incandescent light have.
Not much, it wouldn't seem, if I recall those light charts correctly.

It also returns me to wondering what Peat thinks about SAD-style light therapy.
As I just posted in another thread,
it has never been clear to me exactly what Peat thinks of that kind of light therapy.
He did seem to refer to such a therapy obliquely in his newletter from the late '90's.


Thread starter
I think one interesting thing is that I haven't heard Peat mention green light. I'm guessing it would be because it's inferior to orange and red. Also, the incandescent light has a lot of red but also an important amount of orange. So we're getting a combination of red and orange.



Thread starter
narouz said:
I wonder how much green spectrum our arrays of powerful incandescent light have.

More than it has blue, which has very little, and less than it has orange and red.


Sep 1, 2017
St. Louis, Missouri
So should we be getting Full spectrum lighting then? Anyone know good full spectrum bulbs out there to try? Daylight basically has equal amount of all light (Blue, green, orange, red, IR) and it makes sense that we need all of them and shouldn't just isolate red out of that.

Maybe a mix of Halogen and Incandescents?? Halogen seems to have more green than Incandescents do.
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