What is Light Therapy?
What is Light Therapy
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is the application of light (usually a
low power laser or) to a pathology to promote tissue regeneration, reduce inflammation and relieve both acute and chronic pain.
The use of low levels of visible or near-infrared (NIR) light for reducing pain, inflammation and edema, promoting healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves, and preventing tissue damage has been known for almost forty years since the invention of lasers. Originally thought to be a peculiar property of laser light (soft or cold lasers), the subject has now broadened to include photobiomodulation and photobiostimulation using non-coherent light.
Much of the early work and indeed much of the available data on light therapies is based on laser light. In recent years, LEDs have become a popular choice for delivering light therapy based on safety, cost and large area of coverage. A number of prominent researchers have examined the question of whether there is a clinical difference in light sources. They have concluded that source of light is not as important as wavelength, energy dose and frequency. LLLT is now often referred to as phototherapy, photon therapy or as photobiomodulation, the use of photons to modulate biological activity, these terms can be used interchangeably.
How does LLLT Work?
Since 1967 over 100 phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, clinical trials (RCTs) have been published and supported by over 1,000 laboratory studies investigating the primary mechanisms and the cascade of secondary effects that contribute to a range of local tissue and systemic effects.
The mechanisms by which LLLT works is discussed in this document by Michael Hamblin:
and in the following video:
What Research Has Been Done in the Area of LLLT?
Over 3,000 studies have been completed in the use of LLLT and with the increasing interest in this technology, many more studies continue to be conducted.