We chat with Jerry Addington, an expert in horticulture, light therapy and carnivorous plants at the Indoor Sun Shoppe in Fremont.
On winter solstice in Seattle, daylight lasts a mere 8 hours, 25 minutes and 14 seconds. No wonder 1 in 10 Seattleites suffers from full-blown Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter depression, carb craving, hibernation instinct) while another 10 to 20 percent wallow in winter blues. We chat with Jerry Addington, an expert in horticulture, light therapy and carnivorous plants at the Indoor Sun Shoppe in Fremont.
Q: The theory behind light therapy?
A: Basically, we’re all naked apes, none of us more than 50,000 years out of Africa. Part of our genome is still singing the old savannah song of sunshine and warmth of the African plains. We’re culturally adapted to living here because we have clothing and shelter, but I’m not sure we’re completely psychologically matched to a climate like this.
As a species, we live in concrete warrens like human naked mole rats, cut off from diurnal signals, seasonal signals which we’ve had an organic relationship with for centuries.
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Light therapy can get us going with the natural rhythms.
Q: Plugging something into an outlet seems less than natural.
A: It’d be better if we adapted to the natural rhythms of the winter, but we can’t. We have to get up and get in our cars to go somewhere. Light therapy may be . . . the difference between getting through the winter in the Northwest and feeling oppressed. It’s a crutch.
Q: What about placebo effect?
A: Is it placebo effect on a cloudy, gray day when the sun breaks through the clouds and you get a lift? We are looking to experience that lift of the spirits that people get from the sun.
Q: I notice you’re wearing a brimmed hat indoors.
A: I tend to get headaches with the light coming from all directions. Besides, I don’t have much up here to protect me.
The light therapy has not stimulated any hair follicles, I can tell you that.