I don’t travel across time zones that often and I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) issues that some people get during the dreary winter months. But what I do deal with is a slight sleep deficit because I get a little less than 7 hours of sleep on weeknights. Unfortunately, I can’t do caffeine, so any gadget that might help me feel a little more energetic is something I want to try. The HumanCharger from Valkee claims to help with jetlag, the winter blues and help shift works be more focused and energetic. Let’s see if it works for me.
What is it?
What is the HumanCharger? It’s a small iPod Nano shaped light therapy device with earbuds that pump UV free blue-enriched white light instead of music into your ear canals. Wait, what? You read that correctly, there are little LEDs built into the tips of earbuds that shine light into your ears to increase energy levels, improve mood, increase mental alertness, help with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder. AKA the winter blues), reduce the effects of jet lag, and even help with food cravings.
HumanCharger has a unique and patented mechanism of action which stimulates the photosensitive proteins on the surface of the brain using a calibrated white light that passes through the ear canals. When these photosensitive areas of the brain are activated by HumanCharger, chemical compounds (Serotonin, Dopamine, and Noradrenaline) are released. The outcome: boosted energy levels, uplifted mood, and enhanced performance.
What’s in the box?
The HumanCharger main unit
Multiple ear tips in various sizes
micro USB charging cable
Quick start guide
Design and features
As mentioned above, the main unit reminds me of an old school MP3 player. But the HumanCharger does NOT play music. It has a micro USB connection on the end and a power button with a LED status ring around the button. That’s it, there are no other buttons, dials, switches, or ports.
The LEDset that come with the device look like a standard set of earbuds until you look at the ear tips where you’ll find a LED.
You can get a better look by removing the ear tip.
Let’s get lit up!
Before you use the HumanCharger for the first time, you have to charge the main unit by using the micro USB cable that was included in the package. A fully charged main unit will provide up to 10 light therapy sessions before needing to be recharged.
With the LEDset plugged into the micro USB connector on the main unit, all that’s left to do is to insert them in your ears and press the power button on the unit. The LEDs will turn on and remain on for 12 minutes, which is the length of the light therapy session. The LED around the power button fills in as the 12 minutes countdown.
I used the HumanCharger light therapy device each morning at about the same time each day for a full week. Although the LEDset earplugs are not the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever worn, they stayed in my ears long enough to complete the short 12-minute sessions.
But does it actually work?
After using the device for 7 days, I can’t say that I noticed any extra energy, focus or fewer cravings for sweets. I’m actually eating some Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies while I’m typing this 🙂
The only small thing I noticed was that on 2 of the 7 days that I used the device, I was able to convince myself to get out of bed within 10 minutes of my alarm going off instead of my usual 3 snooze bar presses and 20 minutes. I’m not going to say that this device was responsibile for giving me 20 minutes of extra time on 2 days out of 7, but I won’t say that it didn’t either.
I know that light therapy isn’t a scam because I’ve seen and read about larger therapy devices for years. Having a pocket-sized light therapy device is a great alternative to the devices that have to sit on a table.
I’m on the fence about the HumanCharger device because it didn’t’ seem to help me in a very noticeable way. That said, there are quite a few people who have left positive reviews on Amazon who really like this device. If you’ve benefited from larger light therapy devices in the past, chances are that you’ll benefit from this one too.