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Red Light Therapy

Research

With over 4000 published medical studies done on the effect of light therapy, its value as a therapeutic aid in healing is undisputed. Widespread research has studied conditions such as tendon, muscle and ligament injuries, non-healing ulcers, fungal infections, nerve regeneration, peripheral neuropathy, insomnia, depression, headaches, chronic pain, scarring, bacterial and viral infections to name but a few ….

What Scientific Research Backs up Red Light (Photonic) Therapy?

History of technology: The healing power of light has been around since ancient times. A Nobel Prize was awarded to Niels Ryberg Finsen over 100 years ago for his advancements in the use of red light therapy in treating smallpox and lupus outbreaks in the late 1890’s.

More recently, leading scientists and physicians have been learning and advancing the use of laser-based light therapy for multiple practical health applications – including wound healing in zero gravity to expedite the healing process for astronauts.

Red and near infra red light therapy benefits
Red and infra red light spectrum

How Red Light Therapy Works

THE SCIENCE OF LIGHT THERAPY

Light therapy is a process by which energy (photons)are absorbed through the skin and taken up by photoreceptors within the cell’s mitochondria. The haemoglobin in the cell is then triggered to release nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is an important signalling molecule that dilates the blood vessels thus allowing increased circulation and tissue oxygenation. This is essential for tissue regeneration on any level.

Nitric oxide is also a neurotransmitter, promotes collagen synthesis and collagen fibril alignment. Importantly, Nitric oxide stimulates the production of cellular energy - Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is then transported throughout the body to where it is needed.

Depth of Penetration

Visible red light, at wavelengths from 630 to 700 nm penetrates tissue to a depth of about 10 mm. Light at this wavelength is very beneficial in treating problems close to the surface such as wounds, cuts, scars, trigger and acupuncture points, and is particularly effective in treating infections.

Infrared light (800 to 1000nm) penetrates to a depth of about 50mm and deeper which makes it more effective for treating the deeper muscle structures, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones and organs.

** Although both red and infrared wavelengths penetrate to different depths and affect tissues differently, the therapeutic effects are similar.

Superluminous LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are safe concentrated light sources used to produce the specific wavelengths of light that provide therapeutic benefits of light therapy without adverse side effects.

In summary

  • LED’s at specific wavelengths increase circulation by increasing the formation of new capillaries. This allows more blood supply – hence more oxygen and vital nutrients to reach tissues. This increased circulation also allows for the faster removal of metabolic wastes.
  • Studies site that LED Therapy stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is an essential protein for repair to damaged tissue, including ageing skin and scars.
  • LED Therapy stimulates the release of ATP – Adenosine triphosphate. ATP is the major carrier of energy to all cells.
  • LED Therapy increases the activity of the lymphatic system thus promoting a faster elimination of swelling – oedema in tissues.
  • LED Therapy reduces the excitability of nervous tissue by stimulating the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain fighting chemicals.
  • LED Therapy increases the synthesis of RNA and DNA. This helps damaged cells to be replaced more quickly.
  • LED Therapy increases phagocytic activity hence helps fight infections. Phagocytes help to destroy and mop up dead or degenerated cells.
  • LED Therapy stimulates tissue granulation which is an important part of tissue repair.
  • LED Therapy stimulates trigger points and acupuncture points.
  • LED Therapy helps to relax muscles and reduce stress.

Scientific Research & Studies

Comprehensive Database of 1442 studies on Low level laser therapy (LLLT) / photobiomodulation (PBM) / red/NIR phototherapy studies.
by Vladimir Heiskanen

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Low level laser therapy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis.
The Journal of Rheumatology.
Aug 2000; 27(8): 1961-9. Brosseau L, Welch V, et al.

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Photobiomics’’: Can Light, Including Photobiomodulation, Alter the Microbiome?

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Incorporation of photobiomodulation therapy into a therapeutic exercise program for knee osteoarthritis:
 A placebo-controlled, randomized, clinical trial.
2018 Oct;50(8):819-828. de Paula Gomes CAF, et al.

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Short term efficacy of low-level laser therapy in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomised placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial.
Fukuda VO1, Fukuda TY2, Guimarães M3, Shiwa S3, de Lima Bdel C3, Martins RÁ4, Casarotto RA5, Alfredo PP6, Bjordal JM7, Fucs PM8.

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Low-level laser therapy induces dose-dependent reduction of TNFalpha levels in acute inflammation.
Aimbire F1, Albertini R, Pacheco MT, Castro-Faria-Neto HC, Leonardo PS, Iversen VV, Lopes-Martins RA, Bjordal JM.
A systematic review of low level laser therapy with location-specific doses for pain from chronic joint disorders. The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy.
2003; 49(2): 107-16. Bjordal JM, Couppe C, et al.


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Protection of skeletal muscles from ischemic injury: low-level laser therapy increases antioxidant activity. Photomed Laser Surg.
2005;23:273–277. Avni D, Levkovitz S, Maltz L, Oron U.

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Effect of phototherapy on delayed onset muscle soreness. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.
2006 Jun;24(3):377-82.
Douris P, Southard V, et al.

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Phototherapy in skeletal muscle performance and recovery after exercise: effect of combination of super-pulsed laser and light-emitting diodes. Lasers in Medical Science.
2014 Nov;29(6):1967-76. Antonialli FC, De Marchi T, Tomazoni SS, et al.


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Low level laser therapy before eccentric exercise reduces muscle damage markers in humans.
Eur J Appl Physiol.
2010 Nov;110(4):789-96. Baroni BM, et al.

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Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring.
Avci P, Gupta A, et al. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013 Mar;32(1):41-52.

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Improved cognitive function after transcranial, light-emitting diode treatments in chronic, traumatic brain injury: two case reports.
Photomed Laser Surg. 2011 May;29(5):351-8. doi: 10.1089/pho.2010.2814. Epub 2010 Dec 23 Naeser MA1, Saltmarche A, Krengel MH, Hamblin MR, Knight JA.


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Red light and the sleep quality and endurance performance of Chinese female basketball players.

J Athl Train. 2012 Nov-Dec;47(6):673-8. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-47.6.08. Zhao J1, Tian Y, Nie J, Xu J, Liu D.

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Traumatic Brain Injury: A Major Medical Problem That Could Be Treated Using Transcranial, Red/Near-Infrared LED Photobiomodulation
Margaret A. Naeser, PhD, LAc1,,2 and Michael R. Hamblin, PhD3,,4,,5

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Transcranial infrared laser stimulation produces beneficial cognitive and emotional effects in humans.
Neuroscience. 2013 Jan 29;230:13-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.11.016. Epub 2012 Nov 27.
Barrett DW1, Gonzalez-Lima F.


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ABC news report: Clinical trial using the red light helmet for Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
By Manika Dadson Sun February 24th 2019

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Weekend Australian October 26th 2019: Parkinson’s: Let there be light.
By Suvi Mahonen

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Effects of radiofrequency, electroacupuncture, and low-level laser therapy on the wrinkles and moisture content of the forehead, eyes, and cheek.
Hee-Kyoung Kim, PhD, PT1 and Jung-Hyun Choi, PhD, PT2,* Pesqui Odontol Bras. 2003 Oct-Dec;17(4):307-13. Epub 2004 Apr 19.


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The influence of low-level laser therapy on biomodulation of collagen and elastic fibers.
Pugliese LS1, Medrado AP, Reis SR, Andrade Zde A.


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Botulinum toxin A (BT-A) versus low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in chronic migraine treatment: a comparison.
Arquivos de neuro-psiquiatria. 2018 Oct;76(10):663-667. Loeb LM, Amorim RP, et al.


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Acute Effects of Near Infrared Light Therapy on Brain State in Healthy Subjects as Quantified by qEEG Measures.

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Declining Eyesight Improved by Looking at Deep Red Light

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