The NatureBright Sun Touch Plus Ion and Light Therapy Lamp really is a special device.
First, a bit of context. I first encountered the Sun Touch Plus while living in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. That might seem like an odd place to need a sun lamp; after all, isn’t the desert kind of defined by its brightness and an excess of sunlight?
Well, the trick is that the Mojave is also very, very hot, and the sun is extremely bright. The heat can hit you like the hammer of Thor taking a desert holiday. This means that I actually spend an extraordinary amount of time indoors, away from the sun, especially during the summer months. The days get short in the winter, inevitably, leading to less sunlight overall. The net result is that I actually get less time in the sun despite living in a place with it. My doctor even told me I had a slight Vitamin D deficiency because of my reclusive habits, and it definitely had affected my sleeping schedule for the worse.
He recommended I look into a sun lamp to provide the ion light therapy that could help me combat these, in addition to a prescription for Vitamin D supplements. So I did some searching for reviews. The SunTouch Plus had the best reviews that I had seen, so I bit the bullet and ordered one.
The net result has been an improvement in my sleep cycle, as I’m able to balance the amount of light I receive while spending a lot of time indoors. My Vitamin D levels have balanced out, and I might even try reducing the supplement I’ve been taking, to see how that affects things. I’m sleeping better and have a much improved mood on most days ever since I began to use the light.
The Suntouch lamp is very convenient, well proportioned and easy to move around the house when I need to adjust the room it’s located in. I am quite happy with my little “sad lamp.” I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder per se, but I do notice symptoms when I have too little exposure to natural light, and my Suntouch Plus has helped me get past these symptoms.
- Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 13 inches ; 4.41 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 5.4 lbs
- Lux Rating: 10,000
- Integrated Timer Selection
- Body: Plastic
The first feature that I really appreciated was the integrated timer. The SunTouch Plus lets you set the time it will trigger, which saves the trouble of having to turn it on every day. I personally set it to go off ten minutes before my alarm clock rings in the mornings. I start getting the benefits of substitute sun exposure before I even open my eyes this way. I’ve gotten so used to it that I’ve begun to wake up shortly after the lamp turns on, so I don’t have my obnoxious alarm jarring me awake most days.
Another neat feature is an optional upgrade, which is a semi integrated aromatherapy system. This is fueled by small capsules with varying scents. Now, I don’t hold with the argument that specific aromas cure specific (or even any) kind of physical ailments. However, I do appreciate wonderful smells. Oranges in particular are a favorite scent of mine, and the Happy Orange scent that comes with the aroma therapy module is absolute heaven in the mornings.
Another facet not to be discounted is that the SunTouch, as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder, has been recommended by the Columbia Department of Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatry Institute. These are two of the nation’s premier psychological institutions, and have conducted years of tests on the effects of ion and light therapy on people suffering from low exposure to sunlight and the associated symptoms.
Those symptoms, incidentally, are not to be taken lightly.
To quote the Mayo Clinic:
In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses .
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Now, in my case, I did not experience all of these. I have however had a disrupted sleep cycle, loss of energy, sluggishness, and trouble concentrating. That’s roughly half the list of symptoms right there, and the SunTouch Plus helped me push past all of them. I had been sleeping approximately 12 hours per day (3 of it during a nap whenever I felt tired), and now I do not feel the need to sleep as much.
Now, there are some concerns to address.
First of all, the SunTouch Plus is not a “task lamp” shape, but more of a very simple box. It’s convenient and simple enough to adjust, but it isn’t quite as straightforward as a lamp with a bendable neck that can be angled into just the right spot.
Further, there are a number of reports of replacement bulbs burning out within a year, with several reports of bulbs burning out in as little as a week. In my case, no bulbs have burned out, but I have noticed that the bulb on the right is a slight bit weaker than the others. Given that the bulbs cost between a quarter and half of the price of the base unit, the thought of replacing them seems irritating to me, and I hope I don’t have to.
Lastly, there are some reports of other electrical problems, such as faulty switches or bad power supplies. Again, having to replace the whole unit is irritating, and a device intended for regular use shouldn’t have even these relatively few reports of faulty components, or should have cheaper replacements if such components exist.