Photobiomodulation therapy can be defined as a photochemical reaction where light energy of a certain wavelength, duration, and intensity can be absorbed at a cellular level and improve local circulation, oxygenation, and enzyme activity. It has been clinically tested and is shown to improve tissue repair while reducing inflammation and pain. It increases cellular energy and has a wide variety of applications. One of the most popular applications is to reduce inflammation, and also proves useful in pain relief, skin care, and sports performance.
PBM treatments are used to increase the speed, relieve pain, quality, and tensile strength of tissue repair and resolve inflammation. It is popularly used for joint conditions, soft tissue injuries, pressure ulcers, neuropathic pain, and non-healing legs. The effects of this therapy are photochemical, similar to the photosynthesis procedure in plants.
- Temporary relief from pain
- Improved blood circulation
- Fast healing procedure
- Relaxed muscles
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved cellular function, especially stressed cells
PBM therapy treatments aid in the reduction of muscle damage caused by exercise and the improvement of muscle recovery, particularly in high-intensity training athletes. Other useful tools used for accelerating muscular recovery after doing intense exercises might include a contrast bath and cold water immersion (CWI), which can be compared with PBMT from a research perspective. PBM promotes tissue regeneration due to its cellular and anti-inflammatory biomodulation actions, relieving pain and promoting healing.
Application of PBM Therapy
Modern Photobiomodulation therapy has a wide variety of applications. One of the most popular applications is to lessen inflammation and is useful in skin care, pain relief, and sports performance.
Inflammation can happen due to numerous causes and is a normal part of the body’s immune response. The problem occurs when inflammation is chronic or will last for a long period of time. Lasting inflammation can cause permanent damage, while Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT) reduces inflammation through increased cellular energy and activity that promotes relief.
Relief from Pain
This therapy decreases sensitivity of nerves by decreasing levels of the pain-eliciting chemical, bradykinin, and provides a pain-blocking effect on certain nerve fibers. It also helps reduce pain by normalizing ion channels, releasing endorphins and enkephalins from the brain and adrenal glands, which reduce pain.
PBM therapy also previously known as low level laser therapy helps increase circulation and promotes collagen production, elastin, and fibroblasts. These components comprise essential materials that make up your skin and other connective tissues. Increased blood circulation combined with the production of these materials helps improve skin elasticity and quality. This helps in dealing with the formation of wrinkles, speeding up wound healing and repairing damage caused by scarring.
This therapy helps in a few ways to help with sports performance. Increased body circulation from photobiomodulation therapy helps athletes have a better warmup. Increased production of ATP provides more energy for cells to spend, leading to less muscle fatigue. Using this therapy after a workout helps in preventing delayed onset muscle soreness by healing minor tissue damage caused during a workout, which contributes to soreness.
You can consider PBM therapy as a substitute method for traditional methods for pain and inflammation as it activates the body’s healing process to repair damage. Traditional methods to treat pain relief like over-the-counter or prescription medications only mask symptoms. This therapy has minimal side effects, while medications can cause more damage when taken on a long-term basis.
How long does it take for photobiomodulation therapy to work?
It might take several light therapy chamber treatments for the results to work and become evident. It requires anywhere between 8 to 30 sessions for this treatment to be fully effective, while some patients might find it necessary to undergo this treatment at least 2 to 4 times every week.
Several people who have opted for this treatment have not experienced any adverse effects. Some of them have experienced temporary lightheadedness from vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, which is a vital part of increased circulation. It is a non-invasive treatment with no downtime. After taking this therapy, a person can follow their routine as usual. There are some treatments, like cold therapy, which require multiple applications each day to prove their effectiveness.
PBM therapy is warm and comfortable and doesn’t involve needles or harmful chemicals like some types of skin treatments. Sessions should be for 15 minutes only, so you can do this therapy during your lunch break and return to work.