Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) uses infrared lasers, red lasers, and other types of light absorbed by biological tissues to elicit a therapeutic response. It is an alternative physical therapy that uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to remedy or heal different types of illnesses. When exposed to different frequencies of light, these LEDs release different wavelengths that serve as antioxidants, helping in mitigating tissue inflammation. They are also responsible for activating ATP production, which is responsible for cell growth, recovery, and proliferation.
When Are Photobiomodulation Treatments Used?
PBM can be used to repair muscles and tendons after injuries, such as pulled hamstrings in runners, rotator cuff injuries in baseball players, and tendonitis of the elbow. It can also be used to improve impaired circulation, relieve chronic pain by acting on neuronal cilia in damaged tissue, and enhance wound healing after surgeries or minor burns.
The treatments are also used to improve leg cramps at night caused by poor blood flow to muscles (intermittent claudication), reduce inflammation in joints, reduce muscle spasms, and treat nerve pain in feet or legs.
It can also help with overuse injuries of the arms in swimmers, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot), carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis of the shoulder, common bursitis of the hip, and more.
How Do Photobiomodulation Treatments Work?
There are five colors of light emitted during photobiomodulation therapy:
What Are the Benefits of Photobiomodulation Treatments?
Photobiomodulation treatments are effective for chronic pain reduction, non-invasive, and have no major side effects. They are safe enough to be used on all body parts except during pregnancy or if one is taking blood thinners. Patients may see an improvement in mood or sleep after a few days of therapy due to a reduction in pain and inflammation.
What Are the Risks of Photobiomodulation Therapy?
Photosensitivity (light sensitivity) is the main side effect of the treatment. This side effect may cause patients to feel like they are sunburned for 1-2 hours after treatment. The amount of exposure and the color of light emitted (red, infrared, or blue) determine how much sunburn patients may experience.
The Bottom Line
Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a relatively new form of treatment that can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. PBM uses low-level laser or LED light to photoactivate cell response mechanisms to promote healing and tissue repair without inducing damage.
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17 November 2021
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