Photobiomodulation 2017-09-06T02:58:37+00:00


LLLT is a medical technique which uses a low-level laser light or light emitting diodes to stimulate cellular functions.

What is LLLT?


Photobiomodulation is the application of the Low Level Laser over injuries or lesions which will stimulate the cell’s natural healing and pain relief processes. The term Photobiomodulation was adopted by scientists with NASA and the U.S. military. Effectiveness of LLLT is dependent on the color of the light (wavelength), intensity, frequency and total energy delivered.

All eukaryotic cells in the body have one or thousands of cellular power houses called mitochondrion. Mitochondria are responsible for providing most of the required ATP for cells energy production. ATP is the chemical responsible for energy release within cells which promote cellular and physiological functions including injury repair and pain relief.
When a cell is damaged through injury or trauma, the mitochondrion’s efficiency is inhibited or disrupted. As a result there will be a reduction of the production of ATP. The reduction of ATP will decrease the cell’s healing time dramatically. Cells exposed to infra-red light/Low Level Laser Therapy at the right frequency and intervals will assist in the stimulation of the mitochondrion to immediately begin or increase the production of ADP. The ADP then will bind with free oxygen singlets to produce ATP.

Photobiomodulation stimulates the body’s healing processes in the following ways:


  • Tissue Repair & Rapid Cell Growth: Laser light causes photoactivation of cells changing the homeostatic balance of the cells and accelerates tissue healing by accelerating cellular reproduction and growth
  • Anti-Inflammatory Action: Causes vasodilation and activates the lymphatic system to draining swelling from injury site
  • Reduced Scar Tissue Formation: Stimulates fibroblasts to lay down collagen and increases the normal fibroblastic repair process thus decreasing the formation of scar tissue. Surface scars such as from cuts, post operative procedures, burns, etc. will whiten and heal at a much faster rate if treated with laser than those left to heal without treatment and are less likely to bind down to deeper layers of tissue.
  • Wound Healing: Increases fibroblasts (laying down of more collagen), speeds up angiogenesis (increased Blood Vessel diameter) causing temporary vasodilation, speeds up reabsorption of haematoma (swelling)
  • Increased Metabolic Activity: Stimulates higher production of serotonin, calcium ion channels, RNA & DNA at the cellular level, proteins, fibroblasts, lymphocytes and leukocytes. Also increases oxygen loads for blood cells, therefore a greater production of nutrition for the cells.
  • Stimulated Nerve Function: Restores normal nerve function by stimulating the sodium-potassium pump allowing for normal nerve signal firing. Decreases scar tissue therefore lessening nerve entrapment to allow for normal gliding.
  • Anti-Pain: By stimulating lymphatic drainage vasodilation thus decreasing swelling there is an increase in the reabsorption of pain-causing products. Regulates the sodium-potassium pump and removes the transmission of pain signals from the affected area.
  • Trigger Points & Acupressure Points: Non-invasively stimulates points providing muscular-skeletal pain relief
  • The immune response is stimulated
  • Lymphatic drainage is improved
  • Production of growth hormone is increased
  • The histamine response is positively altered
  • Concussions-Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-Post Concussive Syndrome (PCS) Symptom Resolution
  • Prevention of Chronic Traumatic Encephathy (CTE)

Photobiomodulation and the Treatment of Head Injuries

The figure above is from Hamblin’s group at the Harvard-MIT LLLT research center.

  • Helps stimulate dendrite production.
  • Realigns neuro-pathways to help the brain to function more efficiently.
  • Stimulates the brain cells to function more efficiently by allowing the production of the ATP and the enzymes needed by the brain to keep the body functioning.
  • Enhances ATP production to allow the brain to function, repair and replace damaged cells.
  • Increases blood supply to the brain for increased available oxygen supply needed for repair.

Figure 1. Possible mechanisms of transcranial low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mitochondrial signaling causes increased neuronal survival; lowered edema, inflammation and excitotoxicity; and increased angiogenesis, neurotrophins, and neural progenitor cells. ROS: Reactive oxygen species. NO: Nitric oxide. NGF: Nerve growth factor. BDNF: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor. NT-3: Neurotrophin-3. [Michael Hamblin, Ying-Ying Huang, Quihe Wu, Weijun Xuan, Takahiro Ando, Tao Xu, Sulbha Sharma and Gitika Kharkwal. One exposure to a near-IR laser four hours after a head trauma significantly improves neurological performance and reduces lesion size. 5 May 2011, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.1201102.003573]

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