Feeling the Winter Blues?

From the Web: Nature, Science & Tech

Blue light triggers emotional part of the brain according to an article in ‘The New Scientist’

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Blue Winter

The New Scientist reported on the well-known fact that our species feels much happier when the sun shines. Scientists are trying to find out if the rays that penetrate through the eyes into the brain trigger responses in the emotional part of the brain.

Light is being used for various healing techniques, most notable in Peter Mandel’s Esogetic Colorpuncture, Vicky Wall’s Aura Soma oils and pomanders, and a variety of color light meditations. Although light is also used to treat mood disorders, we don’t fully understand how this works. We do know that rods and cones in the eye process visible light, and a third type of photoreceptor, particularly sensitive to blue light, mediates non-visual responses such as sleep cycles and alertness.

I recall here Osho’s Gourishankar Meditation where during the second stage one looks at a flashing blue light (a synchronized strobe is suggested) while sitting perfectly still and breathing evenly. The very first time I did this meditation in Kalptaru in London just on the eve before departing to Pune for the first time, I felt it to have an extremely powerful impact. Indeed it shook up my body to develop a mid-ear infection in-flight which was physically quite cumbersome yet I was in high spirits! But I regress.

It has been found that light from the green part of the spectrum is important to the eye’s visual system, while blue light seems to primarily affect the mind, including the mood, and the impact seems to be even greater than previously thought. According to a new study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, blue light may play a key role in the brain’s ability to process emotions. The brain response associated with blue light could help people adapt to emotional challenges more easily.

The results also suggest that spending more time under blue-enriched light – rather than the white light most bulbs emit – could help stave off bouts of the blues and make all of us feel a bit brighter during the winter months.

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