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A Brain Illuminating Device

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I recently came across a new device that I felt was interesting on Ms. S's Daily Report (DR) on the 16th May. This is what she wrote:

[Good News/Appreciation Message]

In recent DRs, there have been discussions about light and jet lag. Here, I will introduce you to a unique product called "Valkee." http://valk.jp/

A Japanese friend of mine who is married to a Swiss man, and has been going back and forth between the two countries, recommended this product. Since she started using this, the jet lag which had taken her a week to recover from, was cut down to two days. She regularly goes to Italy as a researcher on a national budget, and she heard that Italian soccer players found the product useful. This might help those who go abroad often.

I agree that jet lag is a tough thing to recover from. In my case, 1 hour of jet lag is okay, but when it exceeds 3 to 4 hours, it suddenly starts to throw off your biorhythm.

Since I was curious about it, I went to the product home page and found out that it basically exposes the brain through the inside of your ears to light composed of sunlight wave lengths. The structure is simple; they are shaped like earbuds LED lights instead of speakers, which you just plug them into your ears. It was developed in Finland as a sun exposure assisting device. It was invented to illuminate sunlight through your ears, resulting in a similar effect on the brain being exposed to natural sunlight.

I immediately bought one from Amazon for 25,000yen (~250 USD) which was not cheap, but I thought if it helped recovering from jet lag or normalizing my body clock, it would be worth the investment, and I would recommend it to non-early birds.

Once the product arrived, my impression was "this is 25,000yen?" because it looked too simple and shabby. I tried it, plugged the earbuds into my ears, and turned it on to activate the 12-minute timer. After 2 to 3 minutes, the inside of my ears became gradually warm. Normally, the warmth makes me feel like I might fall asleep.

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I have been using the device for about three weeks. I tried to check if it worked with jet lag when I had a trip to Singapore last week, but the 1 hour time difference was too short to confirm its effectiveness.

However, I found it quite useful when writing morning mail starting at 5am, and then at around 8am, I normally feel a little sleepy and tired. I turned on the light for 12 minutes, and after some time, another 12 minutes. By the end of the exposures, my concentration was back and found myself typing full-speed. I use it almost every day.

The good thing is that I don't have to do anything but plug in the earbuds just like listening to music. This wakes my brain up and gives me a warm, content feeling. In Finland, they seem to find it useful to fix the biorhythm malfunction due to the short days in the winters. In some cases, they say it is good for depression. I found it useful at least, but it would also be worth trying to see how it helps people with depression.

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