Light Therapy – through your ears….

2 min read


Have you heard of light therapy, or the use of those light boxes to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder? 👇🏼

💡 Back in late 2017, I picked up the earlier version of these light-emitting earphones from a small fledgling R&D Finnish outfit called Valkee. It was a punt TBF – a new product from a small foreign firm with the weird idea of enhancing energy through Transcranial Bright Light (TBL) therapy.

✈️ I’ve used them say 80% of all mornings since then, including on business trips and family holidays abroad. The idea being to energise my morning starts or as a forcing function to combat Jetlag.

🕥 Well, I pre-purchased via a Kickstarter project in MARCH 2019(!) their latest additions (pictured below) that were wireless, could play music and take calls, and had a step up in the light tech. Their R&D/production journey for this project was loooooooooooooong – COVID disruption didn’t help. They arrived this week 😬. Almost 2 years after pre-order! Hey ho, I get the challenges a small biz has in creating a technical physical product.

Valkee HumanCharger Light-Emitting Earphones

❓Do they work, scientifically? 

Scientifically, light therapy and its benefits have been studied since the 80’s. We are photos-sensitive beings who have a circadian rhythm – and modern lifestyle choices seriously mess with the natural light signals we’re built to respond to.

🙈 As energy and self-optimisation is important to me, I do what I can get motoring in the morning and to get as much sunlight on my skin as I can. Dog walks, morning red light therapy, and these weird looking earphones. Not all of them everyday, but tools to use dependant on the weather and my mood etc.

Here’s the theory behind these Light-Emitting Earphones (from the HumanCharger website):

💬 “Between 2008-2010, researchers at the University of Oulu, Finland, discovered that in addition to eyes, areas of the human brain are also sensitive to light. This sensitivity is due to the photoreceptor-proteins in the brain, which are similar to those found in the eyes, a discovery that had been made by researchers in the U.K. and the U.S. 10 years earlier. University of Oulu researchers found that brain areas can be reached by light through ear canals, ear tissues and bones of skull. The skull of large mammals, including humans, lets light pass through naturally. In ordinary daylight and daytime conditions the brain is constantly being exposed to light.”

💬 “The studies, all placebo-controlled, conducted since mid-2012, focused on the responses and applications of Transcranial Bright Light (TBL).”

I’ll link to their research section and the papers involved in the comment below, so you can get your head around the biological mechanisms at play and observed outcomes. 👇🏼

❓Do they work, anecdotally?

Personally, they add something. They support my wake up routine.

☕️ I stopped drinking caffeine almost a year ago. Still have coffee, but only decaf. Geez, it was tough, but so glad I did. 

👌🏼The combo of the contrast shower, getting outdoors, perhaps a bit of red light, getting good sleep, and these earphones definitely get me charged up and ready.

Could I live without them? Absolutely.

But, especially in these darker months, they are a nice easy little tool to use to combat the morning winter blues ❄️ 



If you’re curious, the research on TBL is in the comment below.



The Original Facebook Post

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One thought on “Light Therapy – through your ears….

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  1. Hi Steve Katasi, to begin with I thought, ‘aha more bloody snake oil’, but I read through it anyway and when I got to the bit about the inside of the cranium being illuminated in daylight I remembered how we used to take a torch under the bedclothes, close our lips over the lamp and laugh at each others glowing faces.
    While writing this and mulling it over I am wondering how little LED lamps can offer anything like the one kilowatt per square metre we get from direct sunlight.

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