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Blue Light (BLUEWAVE) Therapy, Blue Light Therapies


What is Blue Light (BLUEWAVE) Therapy?

The specific bandwidth of light that is responsible for suppressing melatonin and shifting circadian rhythms encompasses light in the range of 465– 470nm (nanometers) and peaks at 464nm. This narrow slice of light is in the upper end of the blue spectrum.

How Effective Is Blue Light (BLUEWAVE) Therapy?

Recently, the Journal of Neuroscience reported that this specific bandwidth of light is up to five times more effective than other wavelengths at causing this neurochemical shift. A joint National Institute of Health (NIH) study with Philips (formerly Apollo Health) and Thomas Jefferson University was also conducted to determine the antidepressant response of BLUEWAVE LED technology. This study demonstrated recovery and remission rates equal to or higher than similar studies with standard bright light therapy.

Is Blue Light (BLUEWAVE) Therapy More Effective Than Full Spectrum Light Therapy?

By using this specific light or boosting it in conventional light therapy, researchers hope to be even more effective in eliciting a stronger and quicker response. Until now, light therapy devices have had to produce 10,000-lux intensity in order to produce a therapeutic response. Now our technology can produce more BLUEWAVE light than was available with full-spectrum lamps, while greatly reducing the overall intensity of the light.

Is Blue Light (BLUEWAVE) Therapy Safe?

The NIH study was conducted in accordance with FDA guidelines for ocular safety. Dr. David Sliney, the NIH physicist responsible for ocular safety testing, reported that BLUEWAVE was well below Governmental threshold levels for ocular safety. Since the risk of ocular damage diminishes exponentially with increasing wavelength (AACGIH, 2001) BLUEWAVE poses no risk of ocular damage (Ocular damage occurs in the range of 340 - 390 nm, ultraviolet and near ultraviolet light). Also because BLUEWAVET technology is very targeted, it produces no UV emissions.

How is Blue Light (BLUEWAVE) Therapy Measured? 10,000 lux vs. Photons/cm 2

Because BLUEWAVE represents only a narrow slice of the visible light spectrum, it cannot be measured accurately with a lux meter. Lux meters measure the total spectral energy from all visible wavelengths, not specific bandwidths. This is why BLUEWAVE intensity is measured in photons/cm 2 instead of in lux.

Who Has Blue Light (BLUEWAVE) Therapy Technology?

The specific bandwidth of light was discovered by Thomas Jefferson Medical University, and we own the patent applications for BLUEWAVE technology. BLUEWAVE technology was developed by Philips (formerly Apollo Health) to apply TJMU's research. Although a few companies claim to have this or similar technology, they do not. Philips is the only light therapy company to have participated with TMJU in these research studies, and only Philips is authorized to research and manufacture devices with BLUEWAVE technology.

Caution: Other companies may claim to have "Blue" technology, but their products are not the result of research and may cause over exposure or safety issues. For example, one light therapy device uses a blue fluorescent lamp, which increases light in the low range of 420 nm. Part of this range is considered 'near ultraviolet,' close to the UV range of 340 - 390 nm. Other LED products also claim to benefit from this research, but produce light intensities far in excess of TMU and Phlips' research results without the necessary level of BLUEWAVE light.


BLUEWAVE is different than BRITEWAVE in that it provides only the effective bandwidth of light. It is more effective than 10,000 lux full-spectrum light, and because of reduced intensity, it is easier on the eyes and causes fewer side effects. BLUEWAVE technology is also the most convenient to use.

BRITEWAVE combines 10,000-lux light with BLUEWAVE and is ideal for those who prefer bright sunlight, but also want the benefits of BLUEWAVE. Both technologies are more effective than conventional full-spectrum light therapy, but because BRITEWAVE products produce larger treatment fields, they may also be considered for children or those with more severe symptoms.

BLUEWAVE advantage

BLUEWAVE technology represents a technological leap in the evolution of light therapy. For the first time, we are able to isolate the specific bandwidths of light responsible for eliciting a therapeutic response. BLUEWAVE allows us to increase the effective bandwidths while significantly reducing the overall intensity of light. As a result, patients can enjoy a more comfortable and efficient therapy.

No reported side effects

At the annual Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms convention in May 2004, TMJU researchers reported their latest study using our BLUEWAVE technology. Not only were response and remission rates equivalent to standard 10,000-lux studies, but no side effects were reported from using BLUEWAVE .These findings were remarkable, especially considering that previous 10,000-lux light therapy studies had participants who experienced initial side effects ranging from nausea to headaches.

Greater comfort

In addition, participants remarked that their therapy was more comfortable than 10,000-lux light therapy, and when given a choice, preferred using BLUEWAVE. Some patients who used 10,000-lux light therapy remarked that BLUEWAVE was 'easier' on their eyes. Under normal circumstances, light therapy studies expect some participant drop out, but the dropout rate with the BLUEWAVE study was far lower than normal. Researchers also noted that the participation rate unusual and encouraging.

Summary results From TJMU/Philips joint study

  • Found to be equally efficacious in treating Winter Blues.
  • Almost 100% Patient participation (No fall out from negative reactions).
  • No perceived glare.
  • No adverse side effects.
  • Patients preferred treatment to conventional light therapy.
Side effects are not common in standard light therapy, and almost all are temporary and easily overcome.


Safety analysis

Since the averaged radiance of the array is below the 10-mW•cm-2·sr-1 limit for continuous viewing, a warning statement to limit the viewing duration under normal use conditions is not necessary. However, the current cautionary wordings contained in the regular goLITE User’s Guide should be retained, since the caution advises the user not to stare continuously at the panel, since, as with any bright light source, needless staring should be avoided. Afterimages and discomfort glare will also result from staring. Discomfort glare is strongest when the central retina, the macula, is illuminated; hence, a normal user would find it uncomfortable to stare directly into the source and would naturally follow the arrangement where the source illuminates the peripheral retina. Lamp safety standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA)10-12 and the International Commission on Illumination (the CIE)13 with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)13 all place this product in a non-risk, “Exempt” category because the blue-light radiance is to be averaged over an angle greater than 11 mrad for durations greater than 100 s (i.e., collecting field of view ? = 0.0011·vt radian), thus recognizing eye movements increasing in magnitude with time t. The criterion for Exempt status is that the source radiance averaged over ? = 0.11 radian does not exceed LB = 10 mW•cm-2?sr-1, which it does not.


The goLITE BLU as tested operated at full-panel emission levels that are below limits recognized as maximal safe exposure values for the times of intended use with the light panel not directly viewed and the individual performing other tasks. Indeed, to put this light in perspective, the retinal irradiance for visible wavelengths is comparable to viewing bright sunlight reflected from snow.

BLUEWAVE Vs. 10,000 lux

By using this specific light or boosting it in conventional light therapy, researchers hope to be even more effective in eliciting a stronger and quicker response. Until now, light therapy devices have had to produce 10,000-lux intensity in order to produce a therapeutic response. Now our technology can produce more BLUEWAVE light than was available with full-spectrum lamps, while greatly reducing the overall intensity of the light.

Things to consider when comparing BLUEWAVE to 10,000 lux:

  1. Clinically tested and published as an effective treatment for Winter Blues.
  2. BLUEWAVE products are the only ones with no UV light.
  3. Reduced glare & eye strain: 10,000 lux light is 25 times more intense.
  4. Fewer side effects than with 10,000 lux light.
  5. Approved by an FDA optical safety review.
  6. Passes ICNRIP/ACGIH threshold values for ocular safety.
  7. Independent safety analysis by NIH consultant physicist and leading ocular safety expert.
  8. Safer than fully-shaded outdoor light.
  9. Short wavelength blue light has been published and advocated by Harvard, Thomas Jefferson, Rensselaer Polytechnic, and others.

#1 recommended brand

For over 20 years, Philips products have been the choice of doctors, researchers and hospitals, because Philips is consistently at the forefront of the science of light therapy. Philips is the only company which participates in published research and subjects its products to such stringent safety evaluation. Leading edge research allows us to offer the following benefits to our customers:

  • The safest, most effective light therapy products.
  • Accurate Assessment tools to help you respond much quicker.
  • More enjoyable & convenient therapy with fewer side effects