From: (Rudy Nadler-Nir)
Date: Wed Sep 6 1995

Here's my report: [originally posted to]

We're just coming out of winter here, in the Southern Hemisphere, and if it weren't for the Net and fellow SAD sufferers - I'd be in for a horrible ride.. luckily - I used light therapy, and I survived!

Lighting facilities sold commercially are very expensive. Since I couldn't afford it, and I'd hate to move away from my beloved Cape Town, I have asked for advise from other members on the list.

Using their input (God bless you, guys) I have built my own lighting box! Using this box daily for the last three months has changed my life. So I'd like to offer my specs to the public.. Here goes (with special thanks to Brian S. - he deserves an OBE..):

WARNING: Please note that this structure helped *me*, but I give no guarantees whatsoever.
If you want to build and use a light box as per my specifications, - you do it at your own risk, I don't want to receive any lawyer's notes.

Light therapy uses light emitted from 'full-spectrum' lights. (Ask your DIY or hardware store for these).

A 10,000 lux light source at a range of 1 meters for about 30mins a day, preferably in the morning seems to be the recommendation.

Brian's calculations suggest that this means that if the illuminated area is about 4 sq. meters you need a light source giving 40,000 lumens.

A 5ft fluorescent tube produces about 5000 lumens so you would need 8 of them together with their fittings.

They need to be mounted close together to provide the concentrated source you need and they are going to take about 500 watts of electricity.

A flat white surface about 100mm behind them will be enough for a reflector - I used white fittings, that did the job.

You should not need a diffuser with ordinary fluorescents, it would be mostly aesthetic.

I had the lights installed by an electrician. The fittings were bolted to the wall, horizontally, at eye level as I sit. I position my chair about 1 meter from the wall.

Duration: between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on my mood and on how dark the days are.

I keep my glasses on, I read, write and so on. I don't stare directly at the lights all the time, but I face them directly and from time to time I lift my eyes and stare for a few seconds.

The benefits were amazing - and quick. Within 3 or 4 days after having started the therapy, I felt better. My SADness was weakening - I felt that I was beating the beast!

The depression was subdued. I still sleep a lot. My stamina is better.

I experienced clear bouts of hipomania (restlessness, being irritated etc.) and when that happened I shortened my exposure.

I hope that these notes will help other sufferers. Luckily, spring is around the corner here, but I'll be thinking of you.

Take care--

Rudy Nadler-Nir