Wellness Services offer students light therapy treatment



A light therapy lamp shining brightly in the Wellness Services office.

Allison Formeller, Staff Writer

At the end of every fall semester,  posters from the Wellness Services at Elgin Community College adorn nearly every bulletin board advertising the benefits of using the light therapy lamps they offer. 

These lamps are used for a multitude of reasons, including to help with sleep, anxiety, mood swings and depression. 

The lamps simulate the brightness of the sun, which can help students cope with the gloom that comes with the fall and winter weather. According to Mary Grimm, a wellness professional at ECC, the light therapy lamps can give up to 10,000 lux, which is extremely bright. 

While the Wellness Services has seen an influx of students near the middle and end of the semester, when many students are taking midterms and finals, many don’t know that light therapy is offered.

“There is little demand from students,” said Grimm. 

Students can rent the lamps for a week after making an appointment with the Wellness Services to make sure that light therapy is the correct treatment for them. 

“We wouldn’t allow anyone to check out a lamp if they had [disorders or were taking medication that could negatively affect the student during light therapy], ” Grimm said. 

However, despite the multitude of issues the light therapy lamps can help assuage, the lamps are actually underutilized by students.

Even with posters advertising the Wellness Services hanging up around the school, some students feel like they don’t have time to book an appointment, especially when midterms and finals are creeping up on them.

“We hardly have time to keep ourselves sane, much less put work into it,”  said second-year ECC student Mateo Calero. 

Currently, the Wellness Services have four light therapy lamps, and would be willing to buy more if demand from students increased.

According to Grimm, the Wellness Services always recommend trying light therapy if the treatment is a good fit for the student. For some, it may greatly help with the stress of finals, as it can reduce anxiety and help with lack of sleep. 

However, light therapy is not the right fit for all students. Due to this, students are encouraged to talk to their physicians or therapists to see if light treatment would be a good fit for them.

“Just like a medication, light therapy is never going to be a cure-all,” Grimm said.

As finals are approaching, students are busy finishing assignments and studying for exams. Some students also have to work. In short, at the end of the semester, students are often stressed out and busy. 

“Mental health isn’t something that’s discussed, but it’s important when you live such a busy life,” said Mateo Calero, a second-year student at ECC.


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