Review of Reviews,  16 (1897), 281–82.

The Influence of Light Upon Living Organisms




Publications abstracted:

S Bang Tilskueren


Light, Spectroscopy, Chemistry, Bacteriology, Disease, Medical Treatment

    Describes the treatment of dermatological diseases by light rays pioneered in Denmark by Niels R Finsen, who found that 'it was the blue-violet rays that were injurious, and the utter darkness being unpleasant to his patients and a hindrance to himself, he decided to treat his patients by red light—that is, with windows and curtains red, this colour having no ill effect upon the skin. In "Finsen's red room" it is, therefore, not the red light that is beneficial to the patient, but simply the exclusion of the blue, violet and ultra-violet rays' (281). While a similar treatment was previously used by three English doctors, 'Finsen was the first to adopt the light-cure in a scientific manner'. There is 'no pain attached' to the therapeutic treatment, but the 'cure is necessarily slow', although in the 'treatment of lupus—one of the worst and most obstinate of skin diseases—the results, we are told, have been most encouraging'. (282)

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