Can light be sculptured to enhance our wellbeing?


An abstract of the paper

“Lighting can help create excitement in a themed environment. Lighting can help a person navigate through a new space. Lighting can help to bring about a sense of calm and peacefulness in a sacred setting. Lighting can help to add mystery in a theatrical production. And, lighting can cause us to strongly dislike a room which we would otherwise find appealing.”

How do we create light effects that enable us to stimulate cognitive and emotional human responses?

We are surrounded by light. Ephemeral light constantly fluctuates around us, in our spaces, in our memory and in our emotions.

We are part of a co-created picture constituting of light patterns created by different light sources, shapes and textures.

These light patterns, some of them generated by nature, others formed by human actions, are consciously and unconsciously incorporated in our sensory system. Light patterns made in nature, geometrically described, from the spirals of the nautilus shell, the sunflower and spiral galaxies, to the hexagons of snowflakes, flowers and bee’s honeycomb form examples of sacred geometry.

We live at a frenetic pace in modern society and lighting stimulus around us affects our visual cognition leading to intrinsic health results.

“Lighting can affect the health of people... This goes beyond the safety aspects of providing enough illumination to see by; lighting affects mood and human circadian rhythms, while poor lighting can cause glare, headaches, eyestrain, aches and pains associated with poor body posture.”

There is an important human responsibility in the creation and manipulation of light and this responsibility is one shared by all professional figures who works with such a powerful and beautiful phenomenon.

In the new age disciplines of self-growth the emotion of an individual is positioned at the centre of all the other circumstances, with the important question being “How do you feel in this particular moment?”

An important part of the answer to this question is explained by emotions and feeling, maybe generated from past traumas, or current situations. But what if those emotions and feeling could be conducted by Light experiences? What if Wellbeing Light could be in daily usage providing unconscious brain stimulation to improve our mind state?

It could be essential for our wellbeing to understand the value of lighting effects in relation to their affect on human emotion. This research will be the start of an investigation into the benefits to our wellbeing that careful applications of light in our domestic or everyday environments could offer.

Keywords:

Ephemeral Wellbeing Geometry

Realm Experiential light Creative lighting

Reality Perception Mood

Emotion Cognition Sensory

Introduction

The sun, our solar system’s star, is a source of energy, radiance and brilliance. This powerful shining mass, so often taken for granted, is a precious and powerful element.

Sunlight gives energy to plants that in turn grow and provide food and oxygen for life on Earth. Whether directly, or indirectly, light is indispensable to all nature, humans included. Indeed, humankind needs sunlight in which to thrive with a mental and biological equilibrum.

The Sun is also a part of our reality in its effect on our sensory system through seeing and perceving. Illumination has been associated with enlightenment universally and solar iconography is ubiquitous throughout the world in culture and history.

Moreover, Light is an important motif of spirituality; “Because nothing else so deeply probed the infinity of the human imagination, light was the perfect avatar. Perhaps gates were pearly, cows sacred, the lotus a lovely seat for the Buddha. But light had no shape or form to embellish. It could be anywhere, everywhere, all colours, all powerful, evanescente and etheral, mysterious and magnificient.” Watson, B. (2016), Light. Bloomsbury.

We describe the sun in scientific terms but that in itself is not enough. We talk about it from a spiritual perspective but still that doesn’t do justice to the omnipresent power of the sun.

On Earth a flower blooms and shrivells, the mountain-peaks whiten and return to rock and a human being iives a life then leaves their physical body all in the circle of what we call Life, while the sun, unflinching, the heaviest object in our solar system, seems to stay put, leaving us surrounded by its grand evidence.

Light and physical health

It has been shown that exposure to sunlight boosts levels of serotonin, the body’s natural “happy hormone”

“While the photostimulation of serotonin may be mediated in a number of ways, including the retinoraphe tract (i.e., via the retina)... sunshine may directly stimulate the production of serotonin through the skin. Research indicates that the skin has the serotonergic machinery to perform this task. This may explain the popular appeal of sunbathing, traveling during the summer months, and being outdoors in the sunshine.” Sanson R.A., Sansone L.A. (2013) Sunshine, Serotonin, and Skin: A Partial Explanation for Seasonal Patterns in Psychopathology? Innocvations in Clinical Neoroscience, Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779905/

When we are outdoors in daylight, we are hit by all the full spectrum of light, which is the light that covers the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to near ultraviolet, basically all wavelegnths that are useful to plant or animal life.

John Ott, renowned proponent of full-spectrum lighting, and researcher of Light therapy, in his book Light and Heath, postulates that most people living in modern society spend much more time indoors behind walls and glass in artificial light, than outdoors in daylight.

This, combined with the fact that the artificial sources of illumination created by our endevours to improve and innovate indoor lighting have lead to many light sources that distorted the visible light spectrum of natural sunlight, to the extent that they have an almost absence of ultraviolet. ( p. 156 Light and Health).

Ott argues that that depriving humans of ultraviolet light could be detrimental to our health.

To combat this problem, John Ott founded OttLite lighting, an artificial full spectrum lighting which is formulated to provide the full range of light wavelengths with a precise balance of contrast and brightness, with elimination of the harsh glare, distortion and fatigue other light sources could cause. (https://www.ottlite.com/Get-Inspired/Ottlite-Blog/Article/146/Full-Spectrum-Lamp)

Another artificial lighting product with the users’ wellbeing in mind is the variety of lamps designed to relieve the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a depression specifically caused by lack of sunlight. Nowadays many companies have studied the important phenomenon especially in the northen Countries which can have very short dayligh hours and brought to the market product such asthis lamp from Lumie, a product recommended by the British National Health Service.

https://www.lumie.com/collections/sad-lights/products/arabica


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