We know that PBM offers both short- and long-term health benefits. In the long term, the photochemical reaction that releases ATP at the cellular level is the long-term solution to many different problems. In the short term, the big advantages of PBM are pain and inflammation reduction. In some ways, these 2 are almost inseparable. Because PBM systems rapidly reduce inflammation, this can trigger a reduction in pain because joints fit together more normally and other systems in the body operate more efficiently. Luckily, almost all applications require both.
Although research into dosage for best pain control are limited, we definitely see trends in the market that indicate that higher dosage result in better pain relief. We see that as the market transitions from low dosage class 1m to medium-dosage class 3b laser and then to high-doage class 4 laser system that deliver dosage about 10 times the average class 3b and 100 times a class 1m. Although there is some negative press (mainly generated from lower power laser manufacturers that are trying to scare people into buying lower power devices), the overall trend in PBM is that the technology is evolving to safely deliver higher dosages and that these higher dosage are delivering faster results than we see at medium and low dosages.
All the PBM products used at Light House Health are FDA cleared for the treatment of acute and chronic pain.
One of the main drivers of chronic inflammation comes from one of our cells' components that produce energy, the mitochondria As humans, we require oxygen to power our mitochondria, and when these cellular components make energy, they create a waste product called reactive oxygen species (ROS) . A buildup of these ROS leads to oxidative stress in our cells, interfering with their ability to regulate inflammation.
Scientists have found that near-infrared light can pass harmlessly through our skin, neutralizing ROS buildups, As these ROS are neutralized, they can no longer cause damage to our cellular structures, reducing oxidative stress and relieving chronic inflammation.
Light therapy (PBM) has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and lactic acid build-up from the body and thus speed up recovery and healing times. Many top professional athletes are now using PBM as part of the pre/post workout routines to help shorten recovery times, decrease likelihood of injury, and achieve peak performance.
"As a professional tennis player, recovery after training and workouts is very important to keep my body performing at the highest level. I have found a quick and effective way to speed up my recovery. After each session of the RegenPod light therapy pod, I can begin to feel it working right away. I immediately feel less sore and tired from my workouts, and feel rejuvenated after the session. I have begun to use the RegenPod multiple times a week as part of my recovery, and can definitely feel an improvement on the court." - Rob Galloway
In a recent meta-analysis of local options, we found that there are hundreds of successful laser and PBM neuropathy centers across the US with most of them being in larger cities that focus mainly on providing PBM to people with autonomic, peripheral, proximal, and focal neuropathy. In Denver, we were able to find over a dozen PBM neuropathy specialty centers, with one claiming a 90% Patient satisfaction rate. In some cases, the laser or LED system is used to simply reduce pain, which it does very effectively but in many cases, the main goal of the PBM is to increase circulation and cellular energy level. This may result in a more normal feeling in the area and may help keep the cells more active in these starved areas resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of life.
In our research library, we found many successful research papers including: “Low-level laser therapy alleviates neuropathic pain and promotes function recovery in rats with chronic constriction injury: possible involvements in hypoxia-inducible factor 1α” by Hsieh et all they concluded that PBM “may also be used as a novel and clinically applicable therapeutic approach for the improvement of tissue hypoxia/ischemia and inflammation in nerve entrapment neuropathy, as well as for the research promotion of nerve regeneration.”
In cases where the neuropathy effects one small area, laser can be the best solution but for people with more widespread neuropathy, a whole body PBM systems allow people to get a high dosage in multiple areas at a much lower cost than using the laser for hours all around the body.
Although there are lots of successful studies about PBM and general wellness, one of our favorite studies is: “Near-infrared light increases ATP, extends lifespan and improves mobility in aged Drosophila melanogaster” by Rana Begum et All. This study is based on treating Drosophila melanogaster (fruit Flies) which are very small so the dosage requirements are lower and test duration is short since the fruit flies have a max lifespan of about 12 weeks.
When they compared untreated versus treated subjects, they found the following changes
• The treated population had ATP levels increased by up to 80%.
• Although the PBM did not extended their maximum lifespan, the treated groups did have a longer average lifespan meaning that at some points during the study, there were up to 80% more PBM flies alive than in the untreated group.
• Up to twice as many PBM flies climbed above 50 ml (9 cm) compared with controls and these travelled twice the distance in 1 min compared with controls showing a significant increase in mobility.
Their conclusion shows that the “hallmarks of ageing are reduced cellular energy and progressive systemic inflammation” and that PBM significantly increases cellular activity resulting in higher average lifespans and increased mobility.
The use of PBM on people with autoimmune disease is another up-and-coming yet controversial research area. The theory of why PBM can be a good support mechanism is that the chronic inflammation associated with most autoimmune disorders can be one of the worst parts of the condition. The human body just doesn’t operate efficiently when it is inflamed. This inflammation and sometimes pain makes a significant negative impact on quality-of-life. PBM, especially at higher dosage and over larger areas, can temporarily reduce inflammation in the whole body and could allow people to live a much more enjoyable life. In our PBM research database, have compiled a combination of research and anecdotal evidence with some positive results regarding Hashimito’s, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Lyme’s Disease.
Although PBM is not FDA cleared to treat any autoimmune disease, there is much successful research and anecdotal evidence that it can be successful in reducing the inflammation associated with these diseases and provide a significant increase in the quality-of-life.
One of the most exciting areas of development is research is using PBM for treating people with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), stroke damage and other forms of brain disfunction. Because the blood brain barrier and skull provide so much protection for the brain, it is a challenge to make significant changes to these conditions without extremely invasive procedures. Recent research by some of the leaders in PBM, including Dr Hamblin in Massachusetts, David Tate in Utah, and Henderson/Morries in Colorado, is showing some promise. Henderson and Morries operate the Neurolaser Institute, where they focus totally on using PBM to treat brain issues and they also documented some of the critical factors in using PBM in this field.
In the publication, “Low-level light emitting diode therapy promotes long-term functional recovery after experimental stroke in mice” by Hae In Lee et All, they showed that using LEDs to treat mice that were given stokes. They concluded that “LED technology is a promising candidate as a neurorestorative therapy after stroke.” You can find this study and more at Light House Health Research Tool
Light therapy in its modern form has been in use for decades and is used
by hospitals, clinics, professional athletes, sports institutions, even NASA.
Photobiomodulation (PBMT) traces back to heliotherapy, disease treatment by sunlight. But technology has come a long way as we capture the benefits of light while leaving the risks in the past. 5,000+ studies over 40 years verify the clinical value and overall success of PBMT, as well as the principles behind that success.
Employing either laser or LED emitors to produce therapeutic light, the fundamentals of an extraordinary treatment center around these concepts:
“Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring” by Avci et all. Showed positive results for skin rejuvenation, Acne, Protoprotection, Herpes Lesions, Vitilago, Burns, Depigmentation, scars and Psoraisis
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Like Anything, frequency of use is different for each individual. For first time users we recommend 3 times a week on average. For those who have more serious and urgent health issues, once a day will provide the maximum benefit.
You should refer to our Blog & Research Page. Here we have highlighted blog posts as well as one of the largest data bases for studies in relation to all things PBMT.
Most people are familiar with tanning beds that use UV light to darken the skin and to release vitamin D. This wavelength of light is also well known for its ability to cause skin damage, accelerate aging and help cancer grow. This is why the American cancer association recommends sunscreen to block this portion of the sun’s spectrum. Although it has some positive applications, humans should avoid this wavelength in general.
The ReGen Pod avoids these wavelengths and uses both Red (637nm) and Near Infra-Red (NIR). Red is the wavelength used for most cosmetic applications, but it is also commonly used for therapeutics including wound management, dermatitis, and collagen production. It is also nice that it is visible so you can see when a therapy device is turned on.
Invisible NIR light, especially at 810 nm, has the best depth of penetration in tissue of any wavelength. This energy is within the “therapeutic window” so it is very efficient at being driven deep into the tissue where is forms a photo-chemical reaction (not a photo-thermal reaction). We also use 850nm and 940nm as they are within the “therapeutic window” and add some wavelength diversity.
Infra-Red light (starting around 950 nm) light is commonly used in surgical lasers because it is rapidly turned into thermal energy (heat) that can be used to cut tissue. Any photons that are converted into thermal energy cannot be converted into chemical energy, which is what we really want. Most Saunas operate above 950 nm so they are really heaters and not PhotoBioModulation (PBM) devices.
PBMT is FDA registered as an inflammation control device so this will be the primary benefit received. That being said, shorter recovery times, reduction in pain, increases in energy, and improved sleep are some of the main benefits you should expect to see.
There are short and long term results we achieve when using the ReGen Pod. Following your appointment it is common to receive a boost in energy and mood, this can be as immediate as 5 minutes after your treatment. Longer term results like pain reduction and inflammation control are most often achieved after using the device 3-6 times.
Our Blog & Research section of our site as well as online videos can be great sources of information when learning about Photobiomodulation. We are also more than happy to speak over the phone and in person about any questions you may have regarding PBMT.