Valkee – light up your brain

November 6, 2010 at 16:34 28 comments

Let there be light!

Valkee, a bright light headset, is a Finnish innovation aiming to fight the yearly exhaustion and depression due to the dark season. The preliminary research has been more than promising: nine out of ten people experienced total relief of symptoms. The clinical research has been done in the University of Oulu, Finland, and the results, as mentioned, have been phenomenal. Valkee has been studied since 2008 and is now available in Finland.

The device itself is like a mini radio with earplugs. The daily treatment takes only from 8 to 12 minutes and is painless and easy. The bright light goes straight to brain (the skull is the thinnest in the ear canal) and therefore is more effective than, say, bright light treatment done by the traditional bright lights. And by my own experience, it really is. I’m a devoted owner of both the table bright light and the “dawning light” which wakes me up in the morning by a gradually enhancing light. I love them both but neither of them has had this big of an impact in my energy and mood. I’ve also noticed my attention span is longer than in awhile (way beyond the average gold fish which is what – 3 seconds?).

I was lucky to get to test this wondrous device. After two weeks of using Valkee daily for 12 minutes I’ve been transformed. I actually just recently (3 weeks ago) donated blood and my hemoglobin was quite low. Donating blood lowers it even further and I’ve always had some difficulties dealing with low hemoglobin. I’ve been sleepy and very, very tired. After starting the use of Valkee the fatigue has stepped aside and I’m back to my normal happy, excited and energetic self. Feels SO good, it’s a huge relief. And while I can’t be sure whether it’s just Valkee or other things (such as lifestyle factors and supplements) I have to say, the hemoglobin issue never resolves this quickly.

The daily treatment time has to be examined experimentally by every individual. I’ve for example had some difficulties sleeping long enough. I go to bed at 9 or 10pm and normally wake up at 5:45. After using Valkee I’ve started to wake up already at 4:45 so now I’m working on taking the treatment a bit later in the day, at 9am. But even if the light wakes me up at such an early hour I wouldn’t ditch it. I adore this feeling of energy and focus. Of course, to see if there’s really anything to it I’m gonna have to live without it for awhile to see, how that impacts my mood and energy.

...and the lightness came.

I’ll continue reporting on my experience with Valkee. Based on my humble experience I’d already suggest to get your own, if you have issues with the dark side. It’s quite pricey (189 euros in the Pharmacy of the University) but I’m sure the price’ll come down once it gets more common. Also, it’s a cheap price for sanity and improved quality of life. Still, the toughest part is yet to come: the fall’s easy for me compared to the beginning of spring. My personal low sets in January and lasts until the end of March, approximately. Let’s see if the year 2011 is finally different and I don’t have to move from  Finland after all.

Hopefully there are many researches yet to reveal the truth about Valkee. While waiting, I’m going to be enjoying this internal sunshine.

Find out more about Valkee in Finnish.

Find out more about Valkee in English.

Entry filed under: Other. Tags: , .

Suomenkielisiä paleoruokaohjeita 11 – Poetic Therapy

28 Comments Add your own

  • […] here:  Valkee – light up your brain « Meri Pekkanen: Occupational therapy … By admin | category: University of OULU | tags: clinical-research, device-itself, […]

    Reply
  • 2. Paula  |  November 23, 2010 at 18:50

    you said you were taking other supplements? what were they?
    I am in Canada and just found out about this product. It’s not available here yet but they are looking to make it FDA approved. Does it need to be plugged in or can it use batteries?

    Reply
  • 3. Paula  |  November 23, 2010 at 18:52

    one more question… does it help with sleepiness in the winter time? I find I’m mildly depressed but mostly feel sleepy. most treatments for SAD talk about the depression but I’m not hearing much talk about sleepiness and energy

    Reply
  • 4. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  November 24, 2010 at 20:38

    Paula, well currently I’m having a cortisol issue so I’m taking some supplements to lower my sky high cortisol levels. I’ve also got some deficiencies in some mineral and I’m taking iron to get my Hb up after donating blood. But the supplement issue is highly unique to every individual. Of course taking enough vitamin D (at least 50 micrograms a day) and fish oil help a lot for fatigue as well.

    The earlight is recharged by attaching it to a computer via USB but not when you’re using it. It just hangs in your neck… Pretty easy.

    For me it has helped my sleepiness a big time, even more than my regular bright light or my wake up light. And it worked really fast! As I mentioned in the post first it was a problem: I started to wake up an hour before I should (4:45) but that didn’t last too long. Now I’m just happy to be energetic, not sleepy at all until 9om and I sleep well. Getting up is easy.

    So in my experience yes, it helps the sleepiness! Also for me it’s not so much depression in the winter time but fatigue and sleepiness and lack of energy.

    Very nice, that you’ve heard about this in Canada! Now it’s truly snowy in Finland, the winter came early this year, oh boy o boy…🙂

    Reply
  • 5. David  |  January 3, 2011 at 18:58

    Hi!
    Thanks for an interesting article.🙂

    How’s it going with your treatment?
    I’m thinking about buying a Valkee but still waiting for more people to review it.

    Reply
  • 6. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  January 3, 2011 at 21:16

    Hey David,

    thanks for stopping by! Well, still using my Valkee, had a couple of days off now since I went to the summer cottage for the New Year but difficult to say if that has had any effect. I’m still happy with it, especially since I know my hemoglobin can’t be too high which usually means I’m beat.

    But now the real test begins; Jan, Fed and March have always been the hardest for me. Curious to see if this year would be better. Although I have to say that following a low carb, grain and dairy free diet has also made things a heck of a lot better, that’s been going on for some years now.

    Anyway, I think it’s cool that people are excited about Valkee, it’s something that’s really thought outside the box. We need more innovations! But I’m also eager to see the research in a longer run.

    Take care, where ever you may be, and have the best year 2011!

    Meri

    Reply
  • 7. Paula  |  February 2, 2011 at 16:48

    Hello,

    How are you finding Valkee during January-March as you said these were the worst months for you.

    Reply
  • 8. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  February 6, 2011 at 06:44

    Hi Paula,

    I’m going to write a follow up about using Valkee, trying to manage it today. Nice to hear that people are interested.🙂

    Reply
  • […] Previous Valkee article: Valkee – light up your brain […]

    Reply
  • 10. Josée  |  November 22, 2011 at 22:59

    Hello,
    Just found out about this product. We’re in November 2011. Any comments on your Valkee usage and benefits ?

    Reply
  • 11. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  December 13, 2011 at 19:29

    Hey Josée!

    I’ve written an update maybe a little over a month ago. It’s my second year of using Valkee and I really feel I benefit from it. Especially it keeps my circadian rhythm in place, also I’m a lot less tired. Both years I’ve noticed marked differences in these aforementioned issues after using Valkee maybe for two weeks.

    Where are you from, may I ask?

    Reply
    • 12. Josée  |  December 14, 2011 at 00:55

      Hello Meri,
      I’m from a small town in Quebec, Canada where it’s more or less like Finland climate with long, snowy, dark and cold winters.
      You say you wrote an update about a month ago, yet it doesn’t show up on the comments. The last entry before mine (November) was from February 2011… Any chance you can repost ?
      If not, I’ll go with today’s one.
      Thanks !
      Josée

      Reply
      • 13. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  December 14, 2011 at 06:20

        Oh I’ve never been to Canada but I hear it’s very similar to Finland climate wise!

        Here’s the most recent: https://meripekkanen.com/2011/11/13/more-proof-for-valkee-earlight/

        And here are all my posts regarding Valkee: https://meripekkanen.com/tag/valkee/

        Are these of any help?

        Meri

      • 14. Josée  |  December 14, 2011 at 17:46

        Hello Meri,
        Thank you very much for your 2 lonks. I read them both and it’s sounds like the thing to try to alleviate this awful time of the year and the ensuing SAD. Thanks again for your input and ideas (meditation combo) !
        Josée

  • 15. Josée  |  December 14, 2011 at 17:46

    Oops, I meant : 2 links !

    Reply
    • 16. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  December 14, 2011 at 20:04

      You’re welcome! I hope you find Valkee helpful.🙂

      If you’ll remember, it would be great to hear if you decide to buy Valkee and try it!

      Reply
  • 17. Herbert  |  October 18, 2012 at 16:53

    Hello Meri, Are you still using Valkee and does it still help?
    I have SAD form October to at least March, so I am very interested to hear other people’s experiences.
    Do you also suffer from SAD?
    If yes, does Valkee take the SAD away?
    Thank you beforehand for a reply!
    Herbert4

    Reply
  • 18. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  October 25, 2012 at 05:35

    Hi Herbert!

    Yes, I’m still using Valkee or actually I’m again using it, we took it out again maybe a month ago. It does work! For me at least, and my boyfriend. I don’t suffer from SAD but before Valkee (had it for three years now) I was very tired when it started to get dark in the fall. Now I’m just clear headed and bright😉

    Have you read about the research from Valkee’s site?

    Meri

    Reply
    • 19. Herbert4  |  October 25, 2012 at 11:18

      Hi Meri, Thank you for your reply. Of course I have read about the research on Valkee’s website, but that is not so impressive, because up till now it does not meet the usual scientific requirements. I just bought a Valkee and started 3 days ago, So far I am very content with it!

      Reply
  • 20. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  October 25, 2012 at 16:48

    Hey again!

    Sorry, didn’t mean to offend you, I’m just not sure whether everybody knows about their site but obviously one would know.🙂 Yeah I guess it’s done with too few people and stuff. I’ve really just tried it out on myself and found that at least for me it works wonders!

    It especially helps to fine tune your circadian rhythm if there’s a need to do such thing. I’m a natural morning person and I have to be careful not to use Valkee before 6am in the morning, otherwise I’m just going to start to wake up earlier and earlier and earlier… But as long as I watch that (I use it usually just after 6am or sometimes after work at 4pm) I’m good to go.

    Would be super to hear from you when you’ve tried it for a little while! Please come back to report🙂

    Take care,

    Meri

    Ps. Where are you from?

    Reply
    • 21. Herbert4  |  October 26, 2012 at 10:04

      Hey Meri, I am from Prague, only Central Europe, but still bad enough to have SAD. I will keep you posted on my experiences with Valkee, it would be really fantastic if Valkee takes the winterblues away, because so far nothing else did!

      Reply
  • 22. Herbert4  |  December 5, 2012 at 18:51

    Hey Meri, Valkee did not work for me, just like “normal” light therapy does not either. My psychiatrist gave me pills that are working, so I am feeling better.🙂
    And I am still using “normal” light therapy in the morning, it helps me getting out of bed, but not to beat SAD.

    Reply
  • 23. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  December 5, 2012 at 22:31

    Herbert, nice to hear something works.🙂 Did you try the things separately then? Drugs and Valkee? Are they antidepressants?

    Hmm, I really seem to benefit from Valkee. But the research has been really peculiar and not properly done, still waiting for a decent research.

    Reply
    • 24. Herbert4  |  December 6, 2012 at 09:58

      Yes, I used Valkee and light therapy, when that didn’t work, I used Valkee, light therapy and antidepressants, that didn’t work either, then I used other antidepressants that worked and I still use light therapy as “moral support”.

      Reply
  • 25. Herbert4  |  December 6, 2012 at 10:58

    My psychiatrist says that light therapy is not sufficient for winter depression, that you need pills and can do light therapy as support.

    Reply
  • 26. Pekka  |  December 7, 2012 at 10:32

    I think Valkee’s research is not peculiar in any way. It is well-done by respectable scientists, but of course early days. I also benefit from it.

    Herbert – quite suspicious that your doctor says that antidepressants is the only way out of SAD. SAD is due to lack of light. Are you sure you have SAD or normal depression? Are you sure your doctor can set correct diagnosis?

    Reply
    • 27. Herbert4  |  December 7, 2012 at 11:11

      Pekka – I am not an expert and have to rely on my doctor’s knowledge and experience. I would say that I have winter depression, i.e. depression that plays up each winter. I also know that when I move in winter to Australia, I don’t have it. What is that according to you?

      Reply
  • 28. Meri (Monkeyfood.net)  |  December 8, 2012 at 09:11

    Pekka, maybe not peculiar but preliminary, you are correct. Maybe there has been some peculiarity in publishing the results in media? I don’t know. I’m glad to hear someone else is also getting the benefits! Especially being jetlagged after a recent trip it’s helped me a bunch in restoring my rhythm.

    And thank you both for having this interesting conversation.🙂

    Reply

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