Photobiomodulation therapy, also referred to as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and red light therapy (RLT), uses red and near-infrared light to promote healing, alleviate pain, and lower inflammation. This therapy has been applied to different diseases as a significant alternative medicine and has become increasingly popular all over the globe. PBM therapy is a good method to alleviate pain—and it can also help eliminate the cause of the pain itself.
This therapy increases the process of tissue repair, and resolves inflammation and relieves pain. The red and near-infrared light, commonly referred to as PBM, can be produced by laser or high-intensity LEDs. PBM works on individual body cells. We see a number of benefits with this therapy, and it can help people with a wide variety of health concerns. It is non-toxic, non-invasive, and has no side effects. PBM therapy is usually applied multiple times a week for several weeks, which will provide you immediate relief.
When is Photobiomodulation therapy useful?
The applications of this therapy are numerous and can be explored experimentally at the basic science, preclinical, and clinical level. The current uses include immediate relief for pain, inflammation, and sports injuries. Devices used in this therapy are approved by the FDA and help with stimulating hair growth and decreasing fat deposits.
Before opting for photobiomodulation therapy treatment for treating acute or chronic pain, a provider will help in diagnosing the whole condition to confirm that the pain has occurred from a neuromusculoskeletal condition caused due to injury or aging.
For inflammation, it causes the smaller arteries and lymph vessels of the body to increase in size, which is known as vasodilation. It allows swelling, edema, and inflammation to be completely cleared. Vasodilation in lymph nodes helps promote lymphatic drainage, which aids in the healing procedure. Basic research has demonstrated that this therapy can help decrease the pro-inflammatory cellular response factors and helps in increasing the anti-inflammatory response.
It can be considered an essential pain management tool used by athletic trainers in several major league sports franchises in the United States and Olympic teams. In has been claimed by trainers that elite athletes make a comeback faster after they are injured when this therapy is a part of the treatment process. PBM therapy is also used to treat weekend athletes who have suffered from common injuries like plantar fasciitis, hamstring pulls, and different muscular sprains.
What are the outcomes of Photobiomodulation therapy?
Unlike high-intensity lasers, this therapy does not heat body tissue. It increases blood circulation, which gives you a warming sensation that can be experienced often. The following outcomes have been reported by clients; these outcomes may not be applicable to every person and are not intended to guarantee similar results for everyone:
Some responses include discomfort, mild fatigue, and aches after a session. However, you could observe a reduction of responses after 24-48 hours, and if these responses still persist, then you should notify the specialist about it.
Are there any risks involved in this therapy?
Photobiomodulation therapy is a safe and non-invasive therapy that has no side effects. For this therapy, a class 3B laser works on the cellular level for healing purposes, along with LED and near-infrared light.
Some of the guidelines that need to be followed:
- Wear protective sunglasses at the time of receiving treatment with a PBM laser because looking directly at the laser can cause damage to your retina. However, PBM LEDs will not cause any harm to your eyes and provide a healing effect.
- Avoid receiving treatment if you are on medication for thyroid issues.
Success rate/complications involved in PBM therapy
Treatment parameters for this therapy were originally established using cells in-vitro in small animal models. These parameters have a low irradiance and fluence and work well for cutaneous applications. Recent advancements in laser therapy devices and in-depth research into the appropriate dosages have dramatically improved results of photobiomodulation therapy.
To treat deep tissues, the wavelength of light is used to determine the depth of penetration into a tissue. Infrared light penetrates deeply into the shorter wavelengths of red light. It is essential that a clinician makes use of the most appropriate wavelength of light and parameters to treat a condition. Having just one wavelength and one set of treatment parameters is not effective for all conditions. All in all, no negative side effects have been reported from the use of photobiomodulation therapy.