Health & Wellness

Red light therapy’s effects are foundational to optimized wellness, as it optimizes our cellular functions. One of the keys is the energizing effect red & near-infrared light therapy has on the cells’ mitochondria. Mitochondria are the tiny organelles in human cells that generate energy. Called the “powerhouses of the cell,” mitochondria convert nutrition into ATP (adenosine-5’-triphosphate), which is essentially cellular rocket-fuel! [A]

Any dysfunction in the mitochondria, whether by aging or disease, has reciprocal effects on the body. The effects reduce energy production and access to oxygen, which can have a cascading of negative effects on the rest of our bodies. In fact, many researchers believe that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the root of all chronic diseases, and has recently been proposed as the key to longevity & increased lifespan.

One area that has seen a positive impact is in the brain, with injuries like traumatic brain injury (TBI) and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Damage to the mitochondria can also reduce the body’s ability to manage pain, which is evident in conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Red and near-infrared light therapy, with its ease of application and lack of side effects, is an invaluable tool for sustaining overall health and wellness because it stimulates the production of ATP energy in the mitochondria. It also works specifically on brain cells, making it an increasingly popular tool for doctors treating mental illness or traumatic brain injury.

Combine that with its already proven effects on pain, inflammation, and healing, and you begin to see what makes red light therapy such a preferred option for overall wellness.

medical grade light therapy

Health & Wellness

Red light therapy’s effects are foundational to optimized wellness, as it optimizes our cellular functions. One of the keys is the energizing effect red & near-infrared light therapy has on the cells’ mitochondria. Mitochondria are the tiny organelles in human cells that generate energy. Called the “powerhouses of the cell,” mitochondria convert nutrition into ATP (adenosine-5’-triphosphate), which is essentially cellular rocket-fuel! [A]

Any dysfunction in the mitochondria, whether by aging or disease, has reciprocal effects on the body. The effects reduce energy production and access to oxygen, which can have a cascading of negative effects on the rest of our bodies. In fact, many researchers believe that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the root of all chronic diseases, and has recently been proposed as the key to longevity & increased lifespan.

One area that has seen a positive impact is in the brain, with injuries like traumatic brain injury (TBI) and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Damage to the mitochondria can also reduce the body’s ability to manage pain, which is evident in conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Red and near-infrared light therapy, with its ease of application and lack of side effects, is an invaluable tool for sustaining overall health and wellness because it stimulates the production of ATP energy in the mitochondria. It also works specifically on brain cells, making it an increasingly popular tool for doctors treating mental illness or traumatic brain injury.

Combine that with its already proven effects on pain, inflammation and healing, and you begin to see what makes red light therapy such a preferred option for overall wellness.

Brain Health

In the brain, damage to the mitochondria can cause impairments in attention, memory, and overall brain function. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other anxiety-related diseases. Red and near-infrared light therapy is emerging as a treatment on many of these fronts, especially because the treatment is non-invasive.

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is marked in part by cell death, or apoptosis. BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) plays a key role in the growth and survival of neurons, and it is thought to be under active in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, studies have shown that light therapy helps to boost BDNF, reducing neuron death and degeneration. [X]

Additional studies also suggest red & near-infrared light therapy can help relieve the burden of amyloid beta in the brain. Amyloid beta is in the amino acids that form the plaques thought to be responsible for Alzheimer’s. Reducing the substance improves neuron health, enabling the brain to resume essential functions. [Y]

Light therapy has also been shown to boost memory. Participants in a human study had longer attention spans and performed better on memory tests after red light therapy than those in the placebo group. [AA]

Stroke

During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is blocked, depriving the brain of oxygen and nutrients. Quickly restoring oxygen flow is essential to preventing cell death and minimizing the long-term effects.

Depending on which part of the brain is affected, a stroke can cause weakness, paralysis, and problems with vision, speech, memory, and comprehension.

Red & near-infrared light therapy is an effective treatment immediately after a stroke because it boosts oxygenation and encourages the growth of new brain cells, helping the brain to return towards normal functionality.

In one study, patients were given red light therapy less than 24 hours after having a stroke. Researchers found that the patients had higher scores than their counterparts on vision tests, limb mobility, language, and overall consciousness 90 days later. [BB]

Depression

Researchers have found evidence that red & near-infrared light therapy can aid in brain function and mood enhancement.

A 2009 pilot study on the effects of photobiomodulation on depression and anxiety yielded positive results. Among 10 patients receiving near-infrared red light therapy, the majority scored lower on depression and anxiety rating scales after four weeks. [M] In a separate study, 10 patients with major depressive disorder and/or anxiety were treated with near-infrared light therapy. Six reported decreased depression two weeks later, while seven reported decreased anxiety. None reported any side effects.

Another study focused specifically on attention bias, or hyper-attention on negative or threatening stimuli. It found that red light therapy reduced negative attention bias as measured one and two weeks later. A separate study on 20 college students showed improved cognition and fewer negative emotions after the treatment. [N, O]

So what’s happening? Researchers have found that throughout the body, red light therapy increases capillary and blood vessel diameter, leading to improved blood flow and circulation. It also leads to increased oxygenation of brain tissue and improved metabolism. The therapy essentially kick-starts oxygen consumption by cells’ mitochondria, leading to more energy production and improved function. [P]

Those physical improvements can lead to a myriad of mental improvements. Many studies have shown red light therapy applied to the forehead can boost memory retention, attention and overall brain function, in addition to decreasing symptoms of depression. [Q]

Red light therapy regulates blood flow in the temporal artery and helps control 5-HT levels in patients suffering with tension-type headaches. In addition, studies show boosted serotonin levels which lead to less pain and tension. [R]

A 2009 pilot study on the effects of photobiomodulation on depression and anxiety yielded positive results. Among 10 patients receiving near-infrared red light therapy, the majority scored lower on depression and anxiety rating scales after four weeks. [M] In a separate study, 10 patients with major depressive disorder and/or anxiety were treated with near-infrared light therapy. Six reported decreased depression two weeks later, while seven reported decreased anxiety. None reported any side effects.

Chronic Disease

As researchers continue to link mitochondrial dysfunction with myriad chronic diseases, red light therapy continues to gain favor as a potential treatment. Combined with its ability to combat inflammation and promote healing, the treatment is even more appealing for a variety of chronic conditions.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal pain disorder marked by amplified tender points throughout the body, often accompanied by mood and memory issues and fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome is another disorder with unknown origins. Like fibromyalgia, it is often marked by pain sensitivity, memory issues and fatigue. It often follows an illness or infection and can leave patients bedridden for extended periods of time. The disease has been tentatively linked to the central nervous system and energy metabolism.

Red & near-infrared light therapy has been used as a treatment for musculoskeletal diseases for decades and continues to gain preference for its pain-reducing capabilities. It all starts with the mitochondria, the “powerhouses of the cell,” where red light therapy helps to reduce oxidative stress and boost energy production.

In one randomized clinical trial, researchers found that fibromyalgia patients treated with red light therapy for four weeks showed a reduction in tender points and overall pain, and patients reported having less difficulty with everyday tasks. Another study of fibromyalgia patients found the effects to be long lasting. Patients given near-infrared light therapyl reported less tenderness, pain and morning stiffness six months after treatment. They also reported more energy and increased ease in completing everyday tasks. [B, C]

A larger study involving 160 patients showed similar results from red light therapy, especially when paired with an exercise regimen. [D]

The treatment’s success lies partially in boosting energy production at the cellular level, but multiple studies have linked chronic fatigue syndrome to cytokines, which encourage inflammation. One of the strengths lies in its ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body’s tissues, helping with issues from chronic disease to post-workout recovery. [E]

Hypothyrodisim

Hypothyroidism is the result of a low-performing thyroid gland, resulting in too few thyroid hormones.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT), in which the body mistakenly attacks thyroid hormones. Red light therapy, which can penetrate into the thyroid gland through the skin, has shown promise in slowing those attacks. Patients given light therapy treatment in one clinical study showed improved thyroid function and required less hormone replacement therapy than those given a placebo. [F]

CAT also can cause thyroid vascularization, or excessive production of blood vessels. Red light therapy helps to normalize vascularization in patients, leading to decreased autoimmunity and improved thyroid function. The therapy also was shown to reduce cytokines known to cause inflammation. [G]

Improved Immunity

Studies have shown increased immune response in cancer patients after treatment with red & near-infrared light therapy. In a study of 60 human cancer patients, those treated with red light therapy showed an increase in white blood cells, T-cells and immunoglobin, an antibody that helps protect against pathogens like viruses and bacteria. [LL]

Another study found that red light therapy was most effective when applied to the thymus gland, behind the sternum, and is particularly effective in activating T-cells. When applied to the thymus, cytokine production and activity increased, which had a positive impact on overall immune health.

The state of the thymus gland is a major factor in immune health, to the point that its degeneration has been referred to as “programmed aging.” [MM] Because it encourages regeneration and healing, red & near-infrared light therapy can help keep the thymus gland healthy. One theory suggests this helps stimulate bone marrow stem cells, which not only helps the thymus gland but also counters the effects of aging and can extend lifespan.

Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is marked in part by slowed movement of mitochondria and other proteins to and from neurons. Red & near-infrared light therapy has been shown to speed up that movement, thereby improving neuronal function in patients with Parkinson’s. That improved function can lead to a reduction in tremors and stiffness. [PP]

ALS

ALS is another neurodegenerative disease that red light therapy might be able to help mitigate.  ALS is marked by the degeneration of motor neurons, leading to restricted movement and muscle loss.  Red & near-infrared light therapy can reduce symptoms by reducing mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress.

Autism

Mitochondrial dysfunction also plays a role in autism. Clinical research has shown that in children with autism, the mitochondria in cells called granulocytes are underactive and consume far less oxygen than normal. Granulocytes are immune cells that help protect the body against infection, and in autistic children, they are only about one-third as effective as they should be. Researchers found similar defects in lymphocytes, another type of immune cell. [QQ] Researchers also have found cytokine imbalances in children with autism, which can cause inflammation and neural dysfunction. Because red & near-infrared light therapy promotes mitochondrial function and reduces inflammation, it is currently being studied as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders.

Bipolar

Mitochondrial and oxidation deficiencies also have been linked to bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. One study revealed mitochondrial mutations were 22 percent higher than normal in patients with schizophrenia. These and other psychiatric disorders have been linked to overactive cytokines and neuroinflammation, or inflammation of the nervous tissue. [RR, SS]. Because it promotes mitochondrial function, red & near-infrared light therapy is currently being assessed as a potential non-invasive treatment for a myriad of psychiatric disorders.

Addiction

A study on nicotine addiction found that after red light therapy treatment, over half of the treated patients quit smoking after other attempts to quit had proven unsuccessful. Patients noted that after treatment, they experienced reduced cravings for cigarettes. [TT] Another study treated alcoholic patients with the application of red light therapy. Those patients reported less depression and higher endorphin levels than the placebo group. [UU] Similar results were observed in patients with opiate addiction.

Body

In the body, it’s been widely reviewed that red & near-infrared light therapy has the ability to affect tissues like nuscles, nerve, bone & tendons. Based on the clinical trails that have shown positive results, red light therapy treatments for body specific ailments is positive.

Bone Healing

Bones heal differently and more slowly than other types of tissue. Increased blood flow to the area clots and becomes fibrous tissue and cartilage (soft callus) before eventually forming into new bone (hard callus). [H]

One study examining fracture healing in a human tibia showed that light therapy treatment sped up healing time, decreasing the time and cost of treatment. A review of 19 journal articles on bone healing confirmed the findings. The review stated that in each study, light therapy boosted cellular metabolism and protein synthesis, encouraging bone regeneration. [I]

The therapy can be especially useful after surgery, when patients often are already experiencing pain and inflammation. A study of patients who had a portion of jawbone removed found quicker and denser bone regeneration at one, two, three, four and seven months post-op.

Using the therapy to treat periostitis (swelling of the connective tissue surrounding the bone) also yielded positive results, with patients showing increased stability and decreased pain after treatment. In another study, red light therapy treatment resulted in decreased pain and increased grip and function in patients who had suffered breaks in their wrists and/or hands. [J]

Arthritis

Red light therapy’s ability to reduce inflammation noninvasively makes it an appealing treatment for joint pain and swelling that typically accompanies arthritis.

In one study, when red light therapy was applied locally, patients experience a decrease in pain and swelling and improved overall blood vessel functions. Another study resulted in less swelling and an overall reduction of the inflammatory marker prostaglandin. [GG]

Eye Health

The combination of lasers and eyes sounds dangerous — and it can be — but home red light therapy is safe for personal use and in fact can be beneficial to the eyes and your overall vision. While you shouldn’t look directly into the light during home treatments, the therapy is safe to use without protective eyewear.

One area of promise for red light therapy lies in the treatment and prevention of some retinal conditions. One study found that treatment with near-infrared light therapy actually helped to reverse the harm caused by the bright light. Untreated subjects experienced cell death in their photoreceptors, which are the cells that convert light into understandable signals. However, those treated before, during or after experienced less cell death and inflammation, protecting them from retinal degeneration. [K]

One clinical trial examined the effects of red light therapy on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss among people over 60. The study involved over 200 patients with AMD, with or without cataracts. Results showed improved visual acuity and fewer visual defects in 95 percent of patients with cataracts. For those without cataracts, 97 percent showed improvements after treatment with red light therapy on the macula, the affected part of the retina. For some patients, the improved vision lasted at least three years. [L]

Increased Fertility

As if stimulating ATP production, blood flow and healing weren’t enough, new research suggests red light therapy can be used to produce something else entirely: babies!

As in the brain and the rest of the body, light therapy appears to encourage blood flow and energy production in the reproductive organs. The eggs women carry contain about 200 times more mitochondria than other cells, so they require much more energy production to remain healthy, and the jolt red-light therapy provides could be the key.

Studies in Canada, Japan and Denmark indicate that light therapy works. A Danish report showed 68 percent of women who had been unable to conceive for at least four years became pregnant after receiving red light therapy. As the average age of first-time mothers continues to increase, the therapy can be especially valuable for women over 40, who typically face more difficulties with infertility and birth defects. One Japanese doctor used phototherapy on about 700 patients whose average age was 40 and who were thought to be infertile. After the treatment, 23 percent became pregnant. [EE]

And it’s not just the ladies. Studies also have shown an increase in sperm motility and viability after men received red light therapy. In one study of previously infertile men, phototherapy reduced the number of degenerative sperm and resulted in pregnancies for about half of the partners of patients receiving the therapy. [FF]

Diabetic Wound Healing

Light therapy has been shown not only to reduce inflammation but to spur ATP production and oxidation in diabetic patients suffering chronic wounds. In one study, patients with diabetic foot ulcers were treated with red light therapy for four weeks. After the treatment, patients’ wounds were significantly smaller and their pain scores far lower than in the placebo group. [HH]

Oral Health

Red light therapy also has been shown to help treat another chronic ulcer: canker sores. In a study of 30 patients with canker sores, half were treated with red light therapy, while the other half were untreated. Healing time for the untreated wounds was about nine days, while those treated with red light therapy healed in just over three. Of the 30 receiving treatment, 28 reported complete pain relief. [II]

The therapy also might help reduce herpes outbreaks, both oral and genital. In one study, a patient with recurrent oral outbreaks remained in remission for 17 months after treatment with red light therapy. In another study, a woman who had been suffering from recurrent genital herpes outbreaks over a five-year period had no relapses during a 17-month observation period, following treatment with red light therapy. [JJ]

Respiratory Health

Another place red light therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation is in the lungs, a useful treatment in a time of increasing exposure to pollutants. In one study where patients were exposed to formaldehyde, red light therapy helped reduce lung inflammation and mast cell degranulation. The therapy also has seen success in treating patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [KK]

Increased Fat Loss

Red light therapy also is gaining attention as a tool for body contouring, with researchers confirming its effectiveness at reducing fat and cellulite. In a study of 67 people with a body mass index between 25 and 30, those receiving a treatment of red light therapy to the waist, hips and thighs had a greater reduction in circumference than the placebo group. Treated participants lost an average of 3.51 inches combined, while the placebo group lost an average of 0.68 inches in circumference. [OO]

Stem Cell Improvements

Stem cells are a dream tool for doctors because not only can they become different types of cells, but they can replace damaged cells and encourage regeneration after injury or disease.

Bone marrow stem cell transplants have shown potential in treating patients with hypoxic-ischemic brain damage, meaning their brains haven’t received enough oxygen or blood flow for some period of time. Scientists have discovered that the treatment is even more effective when paired with red light therapy. In one study, the transplanted stem cells migrated toward the damaged brain cells at a higher rate when they received 40 hours of red light therapy. In another study, red light therapy boosted stem cell viability and numbers without producing high levels of free radicals, which typically have been shown to cause cell damage or death. [NN]

medical grade light therapy

Brain Health

In the brain, damage to the mitochondria can cause impairments in attention, memory, and overall brain function. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases such as depression, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, chronic fatigue syndrome and other anxiety related diseases. Red and near-infrared light therapy is emerging as a treatment on many of these fronts, especially because the treatment is non-invasive.

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is marked in part by cell death, or apoptosis. BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) plays a key role in the growth and survival of neurons, and it is thought to be under active in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, studies have shown that light therapy helps to boost BDNF, reducing neuron death and degeneration. [X]

Additional studies also suggest red & near-infrared light therapy can help relieve the burden of amyloid beta in the brain. Amyloid beta is in the amino acids that form the plaques thought to be responsible for Alzheimer’s. Reducing the substance improves neuron health, enabling the brain to resume essential functions. [Y]

Light therapy has also been shown to boost memory. Participants in a human study had longer attention spans and performed better on memory tests after red light therapy than those in the placebo group. [AA]

Stroke

During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is blocked, depriving the brain of oxygen and nutrients. Quickly restoring oxygen flow is essential to preventing cell death and minimizing the long-term effects.

Depending on which part of the brain is affected, a stroke can cause weakness, paralysis, and problems with vision, speech, memory and comprehension.

Red & near-infrared light therapy is an effective treatment immediately after a stroke because it boosts oxygenation and encourages the growth of new brain cells, helping the brain to return towards normal functionality.

In one study, patients were given red light therapy less than 24 hours after having a stroke. Researchers found that the patients had higher scores than their counterparts on vision tests, limb mobility, language and overall consciousness 90 days later. [BB]

Depression

Researchers have found evidence that red & near-infrared light therapy can aid in brain function and mood enhancement.

A 2009 pilot study on the effects of photobiomodulation on depression and anxiety yielded positive results. Among 10 patients receiving near-infrared red light therapy, the majority scored lower on depression and anxiety rating scales after four weeks. [M] In a separate study, 10 patients with major depressive disorder and/or anxiety were treated with near-infrared light therapy. Six reported decreased depression two weeks later, while seven reported decreased anxiety. None reported any side effects.

Another study focused specifically on attention bias, or hyper-attention on negative or threatening stimuli. It found that red light therapy reduced negative attention bias as measured one and two weeks later. A separate study on 20 college students showed improved cognition and fewer negative emotions after the treatment. [N, O]

So what’s happening? Researchers have found that throughout the body, red light therapy increases capillary and blood vessel diameter, leading to improved blood flow and circulation. It also leads to increased oxygenation of brain tissue and improved metabolism. The therapy essentially kick-starts oxygen consumption by cells’ mitochondria, leading to more energy production and improved function. [P]

Those physical improvements can lead to a myriad of mental improvements. Many studies have shown red light therapy applied to the forehead can boost memory retention, attention and overall brain function, in addition to decreasing symptoms of depression. [Q]

Red light therapy regulates blood flow in the temporal artery and helps control 5-HT levels in patients suffering with tension-type headaches. In addition, studies show boosted serotonin levels which lead to less pain and tension. [R]

A 2009 pilot study on the effects of photobiomodulation on depression and anxiety yielded positive results. Among 10 patients receiving near-infrared red light therapy, the majority scored lower on depression and anxiety rating scales after four weeks. [M] In a separate study, 10 patients with major depressive disorder and/or anxiety were treated with near-infrared light therapy. Six reported decreased depression two weeks later, while seven reported decreased anxiety. None reported any side effects.

Chronic Disease

As researchers continue to link mitochondrial dysfunction with myriad chronic diseases, red light therapy continues to gain favor as a potential treatment. Combined with its ability to combat inflammation and promote healing, the treatment is even more appealing for a variety of chronic conditions.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal pain disorder marked by amplified tender points throughout the body, often accompanied by mood and memory issues and fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome is another disorder with unknown origins. Like fibromyalgia, it is often marked by pain sensitivity, memory issues and fatigue. It often follows an illness or infection and can leave patients bedridden for extended periods of time. The disease has been tentatively linked to the central nervous system and energy metabolism.

Red & near-infrared light therapy has been used as a treatment for musculoskeletal diseases for decades and continues to gain preference for its pain-reducing capabilities. It all starts with the mitochondria, the “powerhouses of the cell,” where red light therapy helps to reduce oxidative stress and boost energy production.

In one randomized clinical trial, researchers found that fibromyalgia patients treated with red light therapy for four weeks showed a reduction in tender points and overall pain, and patients reported having less difficulty with everyday tasks. Another study of fibromyalgia patients found the effects to be long lasting. Patients given near-infrared light therapyl reported less tenderness, pain and morning stiffness six months after treatment. They also reported more energy and increased ease in completing everyday tasks. [B, C]

A larger study involving 160 patients showed similar results from red light therapy, especially when paired with an exercise regimen. [D]

The treatment’s success lies partially in boosting energy production at the cellular level, but multiple studies have linked chronic fatigue syndrome to cytokines, which encourage inflammation. One of the strengths lies in its ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body’s tissues, helping with issues from chronic disease to post-workout recovery. [E]

Hypothyrodisim

Hypothyroidism is the result of a low-performing thyroid gland, resulting in too few thyroid hormones.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT), in which the body mistakenly attacks thyroid hormones. Red light therapy, which can penetrate into the thyroid gland through the skin, has shown promise in slowing those attacks. Patients given light therapy treatment in one clinical study showed improved thyroid function and required less hormone replacement therapy than those given a placebo. [F]

CAT also can cause thyroid vascularization, or excessive production of blood vessels. Red light therapy helps to normalize vascularization in patients, leading to decreased autoimmunity and improved thyroid function. The therapy also was shown to reduce cytokines known to cause inflammation. [G]

Improved Immunity

Studies have shown increased immune response in cancer patients after treatment with red & near-infrared light therapy. In a study of 60 human cancer patients, those treated with red light therapy showed an increase in white blood cells, T-cells and immunoglobin, an antibody that helps protect against pathogens like viruses and bacteria. [LL]

Another study found that red light therapy was most effective when applied to the thymus gland, behind the sternum, and is particularly effective in activating T-cells. When applied to the thymus, cytokine production and activity increased, which had a positive impact on overall immune health.

The state of the thymus gland is a major factor in immune health, to the point that its degeneration has been referred to as “programmed aging.” [MM] Because it encourages regeneration and healing, red & near-infrared light therapy can help keep the thymus gland healthy. One theory suggests this helps stimulate bone marrow stem cells, which not only helps the thymus gland but also counters the effects of aging and can extend lifespan.

Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is marked in part by slowed movement of mitochondria and other proteins to and from neurons. Red & near-infrared light therapy has been shown to speed up that movement, thereby improving neuronal function in patients with Parkinson’s. That improved function can lead to a reduction in tremors and stiffness. [PP]

ALS

ALS is another neurodegenerative disease that red light therapy might be able to help mitigate.  ALS is marked by the degeneration of motor neurons, leading to restricted movement and muscle loss.  Red & near-infrared light therapy can reduce symptoms by reducing mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress.

Autism

Mitochondrial dysfunction also plays a role in autism. Clinical research has shown that in children with autism, the mitochondria in cells called granulocytes are underactive and consume far less oxygen than normal. Granulocytes are immune cells that help protect the body against infection, and in autistic children, they are only about one-third as effective as they should be. Researchers found similar defects in lymphocytes, another type of immune cell. [QQ] Researchers also have found cytokine imbalances in children with autism, which can cause inflammation and neural dysfunction. Because red & near-infrared light therapy promotes mitochondrial function and reduces inflammation, it is currently being studied as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders.

Bipolar

Mitochondrial and oxidation deficiencies also have been linked to bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. One study revealed mitochondrial mutations were 22 percent higher than normal in patients with schizophrenia. These and other psychiatric disorders have been linked to overactive cytokines and neuroinflammation, or inflammation of the nervous tissue. [RR, SS]. Because it promotes mitochondrial function, red & near-infrared light therapy is currently being assessed as a potential non-invasive treatment for a myriad of psychiatric disorders.

Addiction

A study on nicotine addiction found that after red light therapy treatment, over half of the treated patients quit smoking after other attempts to quit had proven unsuccessful. Patients noted that after treatment, they experienced reduced cravings for cigarettes. [TT] Another study treated alcoholic patients with the application of red light therapy. Those patients reported less depression and higher endorphin levels than the placebo group. [UU] Similar results were observed in patients with opiate addiction.

Body

In the body, it’s been widely reviewed that red & near-infrared light therapy has the ability to affect tissues like nuscles, nerve, bone & tendons. Based on the clinical trails that have shown positive results, red light therapy treatments for body specific ailments is positive.

Bone Healing

Bones heal differently and more slowly than other types of tissue. Increased blood flow to the area clots and becomes fibrous tissue and cartilage (soft callus) before eventually forming into new bone (hard callus). [H]

One study examining fracture healing in a human tibia showed that light therapy treatment sped up healing time, decreasing the time and cost of treatment. A review of 19 journal articles on bone healing confirmed the findings. The review stated that in each study, light therapy boosted cellular metabolism and protein synthesis, encouraging bone regeneration. [I]

The therapy can be especially useful after surgery, when patients often are already experiencing pain and inflammation. A study of patients who had a portion of jawbone removed found quicker and denser bone regeneration at one, two, three, four and seven months post-op.

Using the therapy to treat periostitis (swelling of the connective tissue surrounding the bone) also yielded positive results, with patients showing increased stability and decreased pain after treatment. In another study, red light therapy treatment resulted in decreased pain and increased grip and function in patients who had suffered breaks in their wrists and/or hands. [J]

Arthritis

Red light therapy’s ability to reduce inflammation noninvasively makes it an appealing treatment for joint pain and swelling that typically accompanies arthritis.

In one study, when red light therapy was applied locally, patients experience a decrease in pain and swelling and improved overall blood vessel functions. Another study resulted in less swelling and an overall reduction of the inflammatory marker prostaglandin. [GG]

Eye Health

The combination of lasers and eyes sounds dangerous — and it can be — but home red light therapy is safe for personal use and in fact can be beneficial to the eyes and your overall vision. While you shouldn’t look directly into the light during home treatments, the therapy is safe to use without protective eyewear.

One area of promise for red light therapy lies in the treatment and prevention of some retinal conditions. One study found that treatment with near-infrared light therapy actually helped to reverse the harm caused by the bright light. Untreated subjects experienced cell death in their photoreceptors, which are the cells that convert light into understandable signals. However, those treated before, during or after experienced less cell death and inflammation, protecting them from retinal degeneration. [K]

One clinical trial examined the effects of red light therapy on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss among people over 60. The study involved over 200 patients with AMD, with or without cataracts. Results showed improved visual acuity and fewer visual defects in 95 percent of patients with cataracts. For those without cataracts, 97 percent showed improvements after treatment with red light therapy on the macula, the affected part of the retina. For some patients, the improved vision lasted at least three years. [L]

Increased Fertility

As if stimulating ATP production, blood flow and healing weren’t enough, new research suggests red light therapy can be used to produce something else entirely: babies!

As in the brain and the rest of the body, light therapy appears to encourage blood flow and energy production in the reproductive organs. The eggs women carry contain about 200 times more mitochondria than other cells, so they require much more energy production to remain healthy, and the jolt red-light therapy provides could be the key.

Studies in Canada, Japan and Denmark indicate that light therapy works. A Danish report showed 68 percent of women who had been unable to conceive for at least four years became pregnant after receiving red light therapy. As the average age of first-time mothers continues to increase, the therapy can be especially valuable for women over 40, who typically face more difficulties with infertility and birth defects. One Japanese doctor used phototherapy on about 700 patients whose average age was 40 and who were thought to be infertile. After the treatment, 23 percent became pregnant. [EE]

And it’s not just the ladies. Studies also have shown an increase in sperm motility and viability after men received red light therapy. In one study of previously infertile men, phototherapy reduced the number of degenerative sperm and resulted in pregnancies for about half of the partners of patients receiving the therapy. [FF]

Diabetic Wound Healing

Light therapy has been shown not only to reduce inflammation but to spur ATP production and oxidation in diabetic patients suffering chronic wounds. In one study, patients with diabetic foot ulcers were treated with red light therapy for four weeks. After the treatment, patients’ wounds were significantly smaller and their pain scores far lower than in the placebo group. [HH]

Oral Health

Red light therapy also has been shown to help treat another chronic ulcer: canker sores. In a study of 30 patients with canker sores, half were treated with red light therapy, while the other half were untreated. Healing time for the untreated wounds was about nine days, while those treated with red light therapy healed in just over three. Of the 30 receiving treatment, 28 reported complete pain relief. [II]

The therapy also might help reduce herpes outbreaks, both oral and genital. In one study, a patient with recurrent oral outbreaks remained in remission for 17 months after treatment with red light therapy. In another study, a woman who had been suffering from recurrent genital herpes outbreaks over a five-year period had no relapses during a 17-month observation period, following treatment with red light therapy. [JJ]

Respiratory Health

Another place red light therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation is in the lungs, a useful treatment in a time of increasing exposure to pollutants. In one study where patients were exposed to formaldehyde, red light therapy helped reduce lung inflammation and mast cell degranulation. The therapy also has seen success in treating patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [KK]

Increased Fat Loss

Red light therapy also is gaining attention as a tool for body contouring, with researchers confirming its effectiveness at reducing fat and cellulite. In a study of 67 people with a body mass index between 25 and 30, those receiving a treatment of red light therapy to the waist, hips and thighs had a greater reduction in circumference than the placebo group. Treated participants lost an average of 3.51 inches combined, while the placebo group lost an average of 0.68 inches in circumference. [OO]

Stem Cell Improvements

Stem cells are a dream tool for doctors because not only can they become different types of cells, but they can replace damaged cells and encourage regeneration after injury or disease.

Bone marrow stem cell transplants have shown potential in treating patients with hypoxic-ischemic brain damage, meaning their brains haven’t received enough oxygen or blood flow for some period of time. Scientists have discovered that the treatment is even more effective when paired with red light therapy. In one study, the transplanted stem cells migrated toward the damaged brain cells at a higher rate when they received 40 hours of red light therapy. In another study, red light therapy boosted stem cell viability and numbers without producing high levels of free radicals, which typically have been shown to cause cell damage or death. [NN]

Sources & References

[A] https://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/blog/

[B] Lasers Med Sci. 2014 Nov;29(6):1815-9. doi: 10.1007/s10103-014-1566-8. Epub 2014 May 7. Low-level laser therapy to treat fibromyalgia. Ruaro JA1, Fréz AR, Ruaro MB, Nicolau RA

[C] Long-term efficacy of low level laser therapy in women with fibromyalgia: A placebo-controlled study Onur Armagan∗, Funda Tascioglu, Ayse Ekim and Cengiz Oner Osmangazi University, Faculty of Medicine, Departments of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Eskisehir, Turkey

[D] Randomized, blinded, controlled trial on effectiveness of photobiomodulation therapy and exercise training in the fibromyalgia treatment Mariana Moreira da Silva, Regiane Albertini, +8 authors Andrey Jorge Serra, Published in Lasers in Medical Science 2017.  DOI:10.1007/s10103-017-2388-2rbakir, Turkey. alig@dicle.edu.tr

[E] Inflammation correlates with symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome.  Anthony L. Komaroffa

[F] Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Höfling DB1, Chavantes MC, Juliano AG, Cerri GG, Knobel M, Yoshimura EM, Chammas MC

[G] ISRN Endocrinol. 2012; 2012: 126720. Published online 2012 Dec 17. doi: 10.5402/2012/126720 PMCID: PMC3534372 PMID: 23316383 Assessment of the Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy on the Thyroid Vascularization of Patients with Autoimmune Hypothyroidism by Color Doppler Ultrasound

[H] Laser Evoked Bio-stimulation for Bone Fracture Healing (Case Report Study) Emad Hamdy Guber*, Osama Fekry Ahmed**

[I] (Effect of Low-Level Laser Therapy on Bone Regeneration During Osseointegration and Bone Graft. Zein R1, Selting W1, Benedicenti S1.)

[J] Hambin – PBMT Text Book.  Chapter 12. Utilize conclusions and skip through the ‘heavy scientific’ research sections.

[K] Photobiomodulation protects the retina from light-induced photoreceptor degeneration. Albarracin R1, Eells J, Valter K. Author information 1 Research School of Biology, National University, Canberra, Australia.

[L] Low-level laser therapy improves vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Ivandic BT1, Ivandic T.

[M] Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near-infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety.

[N] Transcranial Laser Stimulation as Neuroenhancement for Attention Bias Modification in Adults with Elevated Depression Symptoms.

[O] Dose-Response Effects of Low-Level Light Therapy on Brain and Muscle Prof. Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Lima The University of Texas at Austin

[P] Transcranial laser stimulation improves human cerebral oxygenation

[Q] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775815

[R] Light therapy modulates serotonin levels and blood flow in women with headache. A preliminary study.

[S] https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html

[T] SPECT Perfusion Imaging Demonstrates Improvement of Traumatic Brain Injury With Transcranial Near-infrared Laser Phototherapy.

[U] Treatments for traumatic brain injury with emphasis on transcranial near-infrared laser phototherapy.

[V] Significant improvements in cognitive performance post-transcranial, red/near-infrared light-emitting diode treatments in chronic, mild traumatic brain injury: open-protocol study.)

[W] (Improved Cognitive Function After Transcranial, Light-Emitting Diode Treatments in Chronic, Traumatic Brain Injury: Two Case Reports)

[X] Low-level laser therapy rescues dendrite atrophy via upregulating BDNF expression: implications for Alzheimer’s disease.

[Y] Low-level laser therapy ameliorates disease progression in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

[Z] Emotional responses and memory performance of middle-aged CD1 mice in a 3D maze: effects of low infrared light.)

[AA] Transcranial infrared laser stimulation produces beneficial cognitive and emotional effects in humans.

[BB] Infrared laser therapy for ischemic stroke: a new treatment strategy: results of the NeuroThera Effectiveness and Safety Trial-1 (NEST-1).)

[CC] Transcranial near-infrared laser treatment (NILT) increases cortical adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) content following embolic strokes in rabbits.

[DD] Low-level laser therapy applied transcranially to rats after induction of stroke significantly reduces long-term neurological deficits.

[EE] Acubalance Wellness Centre First in Western Canada to Offer Revolutionary New Laser Acupuncture for Fertility Treatment

[FF] (Effect of 830-nm diode laser irradiation on human sperm motility.).

[GG] Anti-inflammatory effect of low-level laser and light-emitting diode in zymosan-induced arthritis.

[HH] Effects of the Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in the process of healing diabetic foot ulcers.

[II] Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in treatment of recurrent aphthous ulcers – a sham controlled, split mouth follow up study.

[JJ] Recurrent herpes simplex infections: laser therapy as a potential tool for long-term successful treatment

[KK] Low Level Laser Therapy Reduces the Development of Lung Inflammation Induced by Formaldehyde Exposure

[LL] (Original Articles PREOPERATIVE ACTIVATION OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM BY LOW REACTIVE LEVEL LASER THERAPY (LLLT) IN ONCOLOGIC PATIENTS : A PRELIMINARY REPORT)

[MM] Aging of lymphoid organs: Can photobiomodulation reverse age‐associated thymic involution via stimulation of extrapineal melatonin synthesis and bone marrow stem cells?

[NN] (660 nm red light-enhanced bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for hypoxic-ischemic brain damage treatment.

[OO] Low-level laser therapy as a non-invasive approach for body contouring: a randomized, controlled study.

[PP] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19534794/

[QQ] https://health.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/8932

[RR]  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0004913

[SS] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3626880/

[TT] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNMdMepQF1k&list=PL26B6CF28C5BE3E88

[UU] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15674998/

[VV] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19995444