Second Nature Care Blog

Seeing the Light through Parkinson's

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 8, 2017 10:14:04 PM / by Isadora Guggenheim

Light therapy and Parkinson'sSleep disturbances are among the most common manifestations of Parkinson's disease and have traditionally been attributed to PD symptoms, adverse effects or PD medications and neurodegeneration of central sleep regulatory areas. Accumulating evidence however suggests that Parkinson's directly disrupts circadian rhythms. A few exploratory studies have documented that supplemental exposure to bright light improved depression, bradykinesia, rigidity, dyskinesias, and insomnia in PD, the investigators said.

Light therapy was found to significantly reduce excessive day time sleepiness, improve quality of sleep, decrease overnight awakenings, shorten sleep latency, enhance daytime alertness and activity level and improve motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson's. The treatment is noninvasive, nonpharmacologic and well tolerated. Light therapy is widely available for treatment for several sleep and psychiatric disorders.

In a recent study light therapy, excessive daytime sleepiness as measured by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and self-reported alertness during wake time as well as several sleep metrics such as overall sleep quality, overnight awakenings and ease of falling asleep significantly improved. All of the patients reported feeling more refreshed in the morning. Light therapy also improved overall PD severity as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, particularly in scores related to activities of daily living and motor symptoms.

Naturopathic medical scope of practice includes light therapy. I remember learning different ways of integrating light therapy into clinical practice. I have great SAD protocols with high quality nutraceuticals, intestinal microbiome make-over and I.V. ozone and amino acid therapies.  

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Where can I get bright light therapy?  The bright light device used in the study is manufactured by Valkee Ltd. from Oulu, Finland.  www.valkee.org 

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Isadora Guggenheim

Written by Isadora Guggenheim

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Isadora Guggenheim, ND, RN, MS, CNS LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
For all appointments: Tel: 845 358-8385 Fax: 845 358-2963 drguggenheim@msn.com