In some cases, light gets a bad rap because of things like sunburn and blue light, and the effects that they can have on human health. This can make it easy to overlook the idea that light can, and does, actually do a lot good in the world. For one, it produces vitamin D, it also lets us see and care for our families at night. Most importantly perhaps is that, under the right conditions, it keeps us in sync with our natural circadian rhythm (our biological need to have alternative periods between light and darkness).
What’s less obvious is that light can be used as an aid for healing.
I have a very active four year old Welsh Terrier, Atticus, who ruptured his ACL – that’s the same knee ligament on people that often gets torn as we play aggressive sports and/or get older and step off a curb wrong. It hurts, and it takes a long time to heal. For at least eight weeks, it means short leash walks only, followed by another 8 weeks of no all-out-running. That’s 16 weeks total of keeping an active, non-human speaking mammal from re-injuring his leg. While he’s a dog rather than a baby, parents with babies and toddlers understand how hard it is when a little one gets hurt and doesn’t understand the purpose or extent of the recovery process after an injury.
When the diagnosis came in, I set off on a quest to figure out what alternative options there are to help him get back on his feet faster than normal, or at least as quickly as possible. I wanted to be prepared to help his body heal itself. In addition, I wanted to have a plan in place that would help him stay calm during post-surgery healing. His squirrel-chasing dreams were going to have to wait until he healed.