“Happy Chair” in Scotland offers hope to SAD sufferers

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It’s coming to that time of year again when many people in the northern hemisphere suffer from a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the Winter Blues.

Now a student from a university in Scotland, a country that has a lot of SAD sufferers because of the large number of long dark winter days, has developed a “happy chair” in order to help people suffering from winter depression.

Chuang, Meng Jung decided to develop the chair which can offer light therapy to SAD sufferers, after noticing how the weather and the amount of light there was in Scotland was so different to what it was in her native country Taiwan.

“Taiwan has very hot weather and we tend to cover up in the summertime. Here it is different. You love the sunshine and love to sunbathe” the Scotsman newspaper reported Chuang as saying.

“In Taiwan, during the summer we use umbrellas to cover our bodies. It was interesting for me. I wanted to know what local people thought about the weather here.”

Chuang carried out her own research and discovered that many people in Scotland are suffering from the symptoms of SAD.

“In Taiwan we don’t have this problem” she said.

“So I decided to focus on this condition because up to half a million people are thought to experience that problem.”
Her research also revealed that women were twice as likely to suffer from SAD as men and that 20 percent of women experienced symptoms of depression during pregnancy.

The prototype of Chuang’s “Revive” chair, which emits the recommended daily dose of light and at the same strength as other light therapy equipment, is going on display at Edinburgh College of Art where she is currently a student.

“The chair is touch sensitive, the lights come on for the recommended daily dose of 30 minutes, turning back to white light after this time so the user knows they’ve had their ‘dose’,” said Chuang.

During the course of her research she discovered that light can be an effective therapy for SAD sufferers but those who wanted it often had to pay out a lot of money for their own equipment. She is hoping that her chair will be able to go into full production.

She suggests that to cut down on the costs her chair could also be used in doctors’ surgeries and clinics and rented out by the hour.

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