The Nature Bright Sun Touch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp is the most popular light therapy lamp among online buyers. It features a 10,000-lux brightness with above-average reach, and it can provide negative ion therapy – an experimental therapeutic treatment for seasonal affective disorder that uses high voltage to ionize air molecules. Negative ion therapy works on the premise of positive ions in the bloodstream being responsible for some symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, and it attempts to cancel this out by infusing the air with negative ions. It should be noted that the majority of the scientific community considers this pseudoscience.
The Nature Bright Sun Touch Plus costs about $50. This makes it the most affordable light therapy lamp I reviewed and also explains why it's the most popular lamp on Amazon. With its decent performance for its size, the value is clear. That said, it's not without concerns. And if light therapy is effective for you, investing in a brighter lamp with greater coverage is better in the long term.
Light Therapy Performance
In my tests, the light meter measured 10,000 lux at 7 inches. This was good enough to be above average, but it's far below the brightness you want when sitting between 16 and 24 inches from the lamp. In fact, at 16 inches, the brightness measured at 2,030 lux. Even so, it is the fourth brightest sun therapy lamp I tested. And even at this brightness, you can receive the therapeutic benefits. It just means your therapy sessions have to last longer.
The Sun Touch Plus’ coverage doesn’t compare with the Day-Light Sky’s or the Sunbox Sunlight Jr’s. However, it is good enough to be third best. Light therapy lamps with good coverage allow you to sit and move around comfortably within the light field without losing the benefits of the brightness.
The biggest concern with the Sun Touch Plus’ performance is its 17,000 Kelvin color temperature. The manufacturer claims the light is designed to mimic the color temperature of a blue sky. However, the light therapy experts at CET.org warn against using blue lamps with temperatures above 5,000 Kelvin. For starters, they argue there is no evidence to suggest blue light is beneficial or that it even mimics a blue sky, especially considering the sun has a color temperature of about 5,000 Kelvin at noon.
But most importantly, the bluer light causes extreme aversive glare and can potentially damage your retinas if you take photosensitizing medications. You can feel the glare, especially if you have sensitive eyes. It feels brighter than it is, and you can't read or see things as well under it. And at 17,000 Kelvin, it's over 10,000 Kelvin higher than the lamp with the next highest color temperature.
The Sun Touch Plus has only one brightness setting, but it features four timers. This is a nice touch and ensures you get the exact amount of light you need without exceeding your limit. However, the lamp isn’t adjustable – you can’t even lay it on its side for broader coverage like you can with other lights that have triangular box designs.
Safety & Power
For a fluorescent light therapy lamp, the Sun Touch Plus’ heat output is pretty tame. After 30 minutes, the lamp’s surface reached 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough you should be careful when grabbing it but far cooler than about half the lights I tested.
When aimed at a wall from 16 inches away, it raised the wall’s surface temperature by 1.45 degrees. This is enough to feel the warmth but not enough to become uncomfortably hot after 30 minutes.
The biggest safety concern is the lamp’s negative ion feature. It's unclear how it works, and the manual and manufacturer never explain it. Because it uses high voltage to supposedly create negative ions in the air, the electrical safety seems doubtful.
The Sun Touch Plus is among the top five brightest and best performing light therapy lamps under $200. And since it costs less than $50, it's my pick for best value. That said, there are some concerns worth weighing – for example, its very high color temperature and the potential electrical risks of the negative ion therapy.