What is photobiomodulation?

Posted on 11.25.2020 |

Learn why you should experience the extensive benefits of photobiomodulation

Light is essential to many of our body’s systems and functions. Our ability to see is based on light interacting with photosensitive cells in our retinas, and UVB rays in sunlight are absorbed by our skin and synthesized into Vitamin D. 

This essential human need for light has led scientists to harness its healing powers through low-level light therapy called photobiomodulation (PBM). 

What is photobiomodulation?

Photobiomodulation is a non-invasive treatment that stimulates cells to generate more energy and heal themselves through the use of near infrared light (NIR).

The benefits of photobiomodulation are extensive and its use for the treatment of specific conditions are still being explored. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of photobiomodulation and the science behind its intricate healing process. 

The science behind photobiomodulation

Photobiomodulation is defined as “the utilization of non-ionizing electromagnetic energy to trigger photochemical changes within cellular structures that are receptive to photons.” [1]

The cellular structure that’s most receptive to this process is the mitochondria, often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell whose function is to produce cellular energy known as ATP.

Within the cell, the mitochondria absorbs the visible red and near infrared light (NIR) energy to convert it into ATP, which leads to healing and tissue repair. The key factor for this process to work is a mitochondrial enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase, which accepts photonic energy of specific wavelengths.

Additionally, the ATP creates mild oxidants (ROS), which signal for cellular repair and healing. It also unclogs the chain of nitric oxide (NO), which is released back into the system to improve blood circulation, cellular function, and cellular network communication.

Ref: Original: “Basic Photomedicine”, Ying-Ying Huang, Pawel Mroz and Michael R. Hamblin, Harvard Medical School. Current Design: Vielight Inc.

The benefits of photobiomodulation

At its most basic level, the light of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) effectively stimulates, heals, and regenerates tissue that has been injured or is degenerating. 

Studies show that the benefits of photobiomodulation are most effective for those suffering from brain disorders, including: 

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Cognitive impairment from trauma or injury
  • Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke, and 
  • Global brain ischemia.

PBMT has also been used for cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals as well as to stimulate hair growth and decrease fat deposits.

The current clinical uses for PBMT are pain relief, reduction of inflammation, and treatment of sports injuries. Most athletic trainers of major league sports franchises in the U.S. routinely use PBMT to help their athletes recover after injury and prepare for strenuous exercise during warm-ups. Common sports injuries such as plantar fasciitis and hamstring pulls can also benefit from PBMT. 

Related:

6 benefits of physical therapy for athletes

The treatment process

A typical photobiomodulation therapy session lasts 20 minutes. To gain the greatest benefits, it’s recommended that first time users have 5 sessions a week for 2 weeks. After those first two weeks, the frequency of maintenance therapy sessions depends on the illness or injury being treated and its severity.

There are no known side effects to PBMT, but first time users may experience a transient headache, dry mouth or tiredness. However, most patients report increased energy after their first session and no negative side effects. 

The takeaways

Photobiomodulation is an effective therapy that harnesses the power of light to heal and improve a variety of health conditions. The scientific process behind the technology is complex, but the benefits of photobiomodulation therapy can be felt almost immediately by those who experience it. 

Interested in trying photobiomodulation therapy? 

We welcome you to visit our wellness center to experience the benefits of photobiomodulation therapy for yourself! Our highly trained team of health coaches and physical therapists are prepared to provide you with PBMT to help heal your ailments or give you the extra boost of energy that you’ve been searching for.

Want to learn more?

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Sources:

1: Vielight