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Twin Cities Nonprofit Uses Light Therapy For Depression

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Children and adults feeling depressed and anxious have another way to fight their problems, and this solution doesn’t involve medication. It actually involves light.

Consider it a type of light therapy that calms the brain. The results for some people have been dramatic, especially for a 14-year-old Minnesota boy.

“It just makes you tired and comfortable,” said Dakota Storlie.

For 45 minutes three times a week, he concentrates on light patterns and soothing sounds. Small monitors are hooked up to his head and ears.

Becky Aish is with the Twin Cities nonprofit agency, A Chance to Grow. During the sessions, she analyzes what’s happening in Dakota’s head.

“So, what I’m seeing her is basically his raw, electrical activity. See how it’s trimming down, becoming smaller. Smaller is better,” she said, while referencing the small colored bars on her computer screen that show Dakota’s brain activity.

Those shorter bars mean Dakota’s focusing.

“In some areas, yep, he has too much energy,” Aish said. “So what we’re trying to do is basically trim down that long energy.”

Dakota has had 20 sessions so far.

“It has helped me not to argue. It helps me relax and calm down,” Dakota said about how he’s feeling now.

His mother, Jean Storlie, says he’s not as angry, his aggressiveness is toned-down. and he’s not provoked as easily.

“I’m thinking that if he’s as good as he is right now after 20 sessions, after 40 he’s going to be a kid we don’t know. He’s just going to be that much different,” said Jean.

Dakota is one of 20 clients that uses this therapy every week. The youngest client was 4 years old, and the oldest was in his mid-70s. Some of those clients report a better night’s sleep and feeling less depressed.

Dakota will work with Becky a few more months. She believes the change she’s seeing now in this teen will last for a long time.

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