Innovative “light in ear” treatment improves reaction time of top athletes: VALKEE

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A clinical study involving ice hockey players from the Finnish national league has revealed that “in ear” light therapy can boost ‘motoric’ reaction times – how quickly we react to visual stimuli and convert these into actual movements – by 20%, meaning that the players who used the light therapy as part of their training regime were able to react faster and perform better than the players in the study who only received a placebo.

Researchers at Finland’s Verve Institute used Valkee, a portable bright light headset, on 11 ice hockey players while another 11 team members received treatment from a placebo Valkee device. Invented by scientists in Finland, the Valkee bright light headset is a portable device that emits 8-12 minute doses of safe, bright light directly to light-sensitive areas of the brain via the ear canal. In trials all 22 players, split evenly into those who used the Valkee and the placebo, used their device for 12 minutes each morning for 3 weeks. Reaction times were evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the study in a laboratory setting.

For the players that used the placebo device, there was no change at all in their reaction times. But for the players that used the authentic Valkee headset, there was an impressive 20% decrease in reaction times when the 11 players were tested at the end of the 3 week period using the Valkee headset.

Mikko Tulppo, who led this study on behalf of the Department of Exercise and Medical Physiology at Verve Research, in Finland said “We undertook the study to investigate ways to improve athletic performance, particularly during the darker winter months when cognitive performance can be slower. The results of the study are interesting in that they reveal a significant impact in the motoric reaction time for top athletes using bright light via the ear canal.”

Juuso Nissilä, chief scientist at Valkee, creator of the bright light headset said ”The ice hockey players were all in prime cognitive and physical condition, and their reaction times were already extremely fast before using the Valkee. The fact that “in ear” light is proving to provide an additional edge is very promising for athletes and sports enthusiasts.”

This placebo-controlled, phycho-motoric study of Valkee bright light via ear canal on national level ice hockey players in Finland was conducted independently by the Department of Exercise and Medical Physiology at Verve Research.

Valkee launched its bright-light headset in August 2010. To purchase your Valkee and start your own Valkee story visit

About Valkee

The Valkee ( bright light headset channels safe bright light directly to the human brain via the ear canal in order to increase energy, prevent and cure depression, mood swings and treat circadian-rhythm disorders such as jetlag. In clinical trials, 9 of 10 patients suffering from severe seasonal affective disorder – also known as winter blues – experienced total relief from their symptoms after using Valkee for 8-12 minutes for up to 4 weeks. The Valkee bright light headset is based on scientific studies that have been carried out since 2007 and is a CE-marked Class II(a) medical device. For more information and for the international online shop visit

About Department of Exercise and Medical Physiology at Verve

Verve is a Finnish nationwide provider of research, rehabilitation and consulting services for occupational health, and physiology and exercise research. The Department of Exercise and Medical Physiology at Verve engages in cross-disciplinary research, which most significantly integrates exercise physiology, cardiology and mathematics. Verve’s research team is especially interested in the interrelationship of cardiac functions, exercise, stress and cognitive performance.

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