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Seasonal Depression Got You Down?

By harrisjensen - Posted on 20 December 2011

Build Your Own Light Box To Treat Seasonal Depression!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Jouranl

Thanks for all your recent emails to me, giving me feedback on the website.  It's been another great year for Good Day Journal.

In 2012 I hope to offer ebooks, for some of the half a dozen books I've been working on.

They are all about strategies that common people use to change their brain, overcome anxiety or depression or the like...with the power of new thinking and new actions.

Here is some feedback on how to build your own broad spectrum light box that should help treat seasonal depression.  Search seasonal depression on my web site and you'll see my other article on this topic, and search it on google and google scholar and medline plus for more information.

Here is how to build your own lightbox, at your own risk of course.  I recommend you just buy one, such as at the Light Center in Fort Collins, but some just can't afford the price tag, so here is another option, as described by a reader.

Thanks to the anonymous reader!

My box or should I say studio light box can be found here and was described as a 50cm x 70cm 5 mount studio light box:    This didn’t come with a stand as I already had one.  This gives out monster light for up to with 5 standard screw florescent compact light (CFL) bulbs.  There are 5 switches at the controller or one per light bulb.  As to the type of kelvins or (“K’s) to equal “full spectrum” is below.


A simpler option with just one bulb fixture, smaller box, without stand included is  for $40 which includes shipping from China.


One can buy a folding stand for $40  though some I found around $30.


Similar combination of the above including stand for $60  which seems the best deal.  Unless one wants a whole household looking at the box (such as the one I have at 50cm x 70cm and up to 157 total watts from 5 Compact Florescent Light [bulbs] …four 23w CFLs at 6500k and one 65w at 6000k).  By attaching one 30w CFL (120 watt incandeliscent equivalent) with 5500k (see ) you would have a somewhat nice box for around $80.


As to “Full Spectrum” I guess it depends on the client.  For humans it seems to runs between 5000k to 6000k.  K represents Kelvin units per lighting color temperture ( ) with 5000k representing the light produced by the sunlight at noon on a non-cloudy day.  I’d assume before noon and after noon in daylight hours (& depending what location in the hemisphere and time of year it is) it swings toward 6000k and beyond with more blue sky exposed.  Plants seem to like 6000k-6500k.

(The writer of this letter vouched his home made light worked well to correct low energy from his seasonal depression, but there are no studies elsewhere to verify this might work for if you build it, it might not work!  And it doesn't have a shield, so harsh light then may be more likely to lead to cataracts and headaches...but if it doesn't, good for you!)