Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT), also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), is a therapy that utilizes light to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and accelerate tissue repair. Did I mention, it stimulates collagen production in the skin, leading to fewer wrinkles and a younger-looking complexion? You can buy your own device and use it daily in the comfort of your own home. Check out the benefits of photobiomodulation therapy.
How Photobiomodulation Therapy Works
Photobiomodulation is a form of red light therapy where photons, or fundamental particles of light, are absorbed through the skin, and taken up by the mitochondria. Light, within the wavelengths of 630-880 nm, are used. These wavelengths are significant because light within this range is able to penetrate deep within the layers of the skin, up to 10 millimeters in fact.
Not only does this benefit each layer of the skin, but also favorably affects the blood vessels, lymph, and nervous systems. Red and infrared light therapy, is used for a variety of conditions. It’s extremely therapeutic for the skin, and also treats hair loss, due to its effect on the hair follicles.
Red and near-infrared light increases ATP synthesis by targeting the cytochrome oxidase enzyme in the mitochondria of the cells, increasing mitochondrial function. These powerhouses produce ATP, which is the energy currency of the human body. If you don’t have enough of it, you won’t feel well. When your body makes adequate amounts, your body functions properly, and you feel great!
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Benefits Of Light Therapy
- Better circulation
- Accelerates wound healing
- Cold sore prevention
- Shrinks pores
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps scars to fade
- Boosts collagen and reduces wrinkles
- Increases fibroblasts
- Tightens skin
- Helps to decrease stretch marks
- Repairs damaged tissue
- Prevents hair loss and stimulates regrowth
- Alleviates pain
- Increases energy production
- Promotes detoxification
Tthere are many reasons to take advantage of what photobiomodulation therapy has to offer. Now I would like to talk in more detail about my three favorite ways it specifically benefits the skin:
1. Promotes Better Blood Flow
Gorgeous skin relies on optimal circulation. Healthy blood flow delivers life-giving oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the skin. Adequate nutrition is vital for the skin to repair and rebuild. Remember the cytochrome oxidase enzyme I referred to above? This enzyme is photosensitive, which means it has the ability to absorb red and infrared light.
It then converts this energy into ATP, which the body can use to heal, detoxify, and perform its daily functions. It’s the same idea behind how plants absorb light from the sun, converting it into energy via photosynthesis. The processes are similar. Light energy is turned into energy that the cells can use. Just as we metabolize food to nourish the body, light can be metabolized to create healing energy.
The mitochondria release nitric oxide (NO) during photobiomodulation. This initiates a flood of anti-inflammatory compounds and proteins that aid in tissue repair. Vasodilation of the blood vessels, caused by nitric oxide, increases circulation, and stimulates healing.
Light therapy also increases circulation by forming new capillaries. Better circulation leads to a more beautiful and toned complexion. It also promotes detoxification, increasing the skin’s ability to secrete waste, such as toxins and byproducts of metabolism. Light therapy enhances lymph activity as well, reducing swelling and inflammation.
2. Stimulates Collagen
The more collagen you have, the less wrinkles and sagging you’ll notice. This is because collagen is the main structural protein found in tendons, ligaments, and skin. Like many things in the body, collagen declines with age. When it does, you’ll start to see visible signs of aging on your face, in the forms of fine lines and wrinkles, you’ll also feel it in your joints and tendons.
With age, changes occur within the dermis of the skin, leading to a loss of thickness. This happens due to changes in the fibroblasts, primary connective tissue that’s responsible for the synthesis of elastin and collagen.
Light therapy stimulates fibroblast production, which in turn, leads to more collagen and elastin. The more collagen you have, the younger, more supple, and vibrant your skin will look, and the more elastin you have, the more resilient and elastic your skin will be.
Red light therapy improves collagen levels, naturally, because it stimulates the body to produce more of it, making photobiomodulation an incredible anti-aging therapy. Nitric oxide, also a neurotransmitter, as well as a vasodilator, promotes collagen synthesis and energy production within the cells. This energy can then be taken to areas of the body that have been injured or are in need of repair.
3. Quells Inflammation
Acne can be disfiguring and heartbreaking for people who have to deal with it. Both red and near-infrared light are beneficial for the treatment of acne. If you’ve ever had a few zits, and gone out in the sun for the day, you know how healing light can be. Sunlight contains a wide spectrum of light, some of which are good for the skin, while others, notably ultraviolet light, are damaging.
Red light kills a wide range of bacteria, among them the bacteria responsible for acne, Propionibacterium acnes. Beyond eradicating bacteria, red light quells inflammation by controlling cytokines. It also reduces scarring, promotes healing, decreases pore size, while minimizing the frequency and severity of acne flares.
Red light therapy is becoming increasingly popular for a variety of skin conditions, and may even reverse sun damage. Excess sebum is a contributing component of acne. Red light is a viable treatment for acne due to its impact on sebum production.
Red light therapy has virtually no side effects. It’s a natural therapy that is safe. NASA astronauts first discovered photobiomodulation as a method to grow plants in space and for wound healing. They are now using it in the field of oncology. Red light therapy is used for a variety of ailments and requires no down time. It’s non-invasive, painless and widely available. It’s also FDA approved.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Results are cumulative with red light therapy. Three to four sessions weekly, for three months, is generally recommended to fuel cellular activity, and activate the regeneration of collagen and elastin. Sessions can be reduced to once or twice weekly after that. Rather than paying someone else to apply treatments, I prefer using my own device daily for just a few minutes. It’s also more time-effective.
Red light therapy is beloved for both its cosmetic and healing properties. It improves circulation, promotes detoxification, stimulates collagen production, and treats acne, and that’s just a short list.
It’s also non-invasive, anti-inflammatory, and can be done in your own home at your convenience.
Light therapy has been used for years to reduce arthritis and back pain, heal sport injuries, and prevent hair loss. Investing in a photobiomodulation device makes a lot of sense because of its multi-faceted benefits. Tap into the power of light to heal, restore, repair, and rejuvenate.
If you haven’t tried photobiomodulation therapy, would you like to? Let me know in the comments:)
(1) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase
(2) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Phototherapy with Light Emitting Diodes
(3) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Efficacy of phototherapy to treat facial ageing when using a red versus an amber LED: a protocol for a randomised controlled trial
(4) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring
(5) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: The impact of wavelengths of LED light-therapy on endothelial cells
(6) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: A Preliminary Study of the Safety of Red Light Phototherapy of Tissues Harboring Cancer
(7) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Light-based therapies in acne treatment