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SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Alternative Light Box

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a medical condition where depression is caused by winterly lighting conditions. If it was always summer you'd feel much better. Medical opinion is that SAD is not purely a psychological condition but has something to do with the way the inner workings of the brain perceive lighting and the length of the day.

The prescription: LIGHT BOXES. These are arrays of lights which simulate daylight. By being exposed to these for so-many hours per day, your brain can be convinced you are living in summertime, and so avoid "the winter blues".

Strangely, lightboxes are sometimes quite expensive, which is odd, as there's nothing "magical" about them.

One rainy day when I was wondering how I might best get rid of an old sunbed which was cluttering up the place, I had a bright idea which may make some good sense and be helpful. If you get an old sunbed and replace the UV tubes in it with standard fluorescent lamp tubes of the same length, you have in effect created a lightbox!

As old sunbeds of the type that are surplus to requirements can be acquired cheaply on the secondhand market, and replacing the fluorescent tubes is relatively easy and inexpensive, there is a solution to the lightbox shortage.

This, as well as saving money, could get you a lightbox SOON rather than having to wait for medical supplies to catch up with the heavy demand which can often outstrip light supply.

If you suffer from S.A.D. and you decide to try this idea, here are a few things to consider:

* The day you start putting the idea into action you will start to feel slightly better. Having power over your own treatment is positive. Waiting is bad for the health.

* When you buy a secondhand sun bed, it does not matter if some of the tubes are missing, provided all the slots work. (check the neon-starters)

* Don't use a sun bed with UV tubes as a lightbox. Replace the tubes with fluorescent lamps. (Obvious, but it had to be mentioned!)

* When buying the set of new fluorescent light tubes, you may be able to haggle a discount on the basis of buying in quantity, especially at an independent flexible electrical shop.

* The old UV tubes have a positive value and may even be worth trading-in at the electrical shop or selling to a disco. Don't smash them, as the waste of money and pollution hazard are poor karma.

* Questions may be raised about the matter of "colour temperature" and whether the light is near enough to daylight to be therapeutic. Don't let anyone convince you it can't possibly work because it's not "proper medical equipment" or some such thing! My advice is to try it yourself and see if it works. This is better than believing experts are always right. After all, a few years ago the experts were saying there was no such thing as SAD! No-one can tell you with any authority that you are, or are not, depressed. Only you can say.

* If you've got an old sunbed which you'd like to donate to a hospital so they can treat people who've got Seasonal Affective Disorder, make sure the medical people know about this idea first.

This idea is presented online as a shareware invention to try to do some good in the world. Here's hoping it helps! In contrast to trying to patent ideas, this is instead released and then the hat passed around. So if it's doing any good and you'd like to make a voluntary contribution, please send what you think it's worth to: Zyra, c/o the shareware office address. Cheques payable to Zyra Electric.

Feel free to save / print / distribute this page, and tell your friends you saw it at www.zyra.org.uk on the SHAREWARE INVENTIONS pages.

also see Fluorescent Lamp start-up misconception

Going on holiday is also good for the health. It's not winter the other side of the world! See Travel

A professional approach to S.A.D. boxes is recommended, in which case you could have a lot at Androv