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Photobiomodulation, or PBM, is the use of near Infrared (nIR) light to stimulation cellular repair and blood flow in tissues.

The ways in which PBM works has been studied extensively in the last 20 years and the best-known mechanisms are:

  • Stimulation of mitochondrial activity through the activation of cytochrome C to make more ATP. This means that light activated cells will increase energy production.
  • Stimulation of Nitric Oxide (NO) production, which causes blood and lymphatic vessels to dilate and improve flow to and from the area.
  • NO also stimulates many other metabolic pathways important in wound healing and repair

Further to these immediate cellular changes are the more durable and longer lasting effects that have been proposed to come from activation of transcription factors and signalling mediators. In a review that was published in 2016 by Freitas and Hamblin, there were more than 14 different proposed mechanisms for the activity of PBM.

Some conditions that have been researched and show improvement with PBM include:

  • Non-healing wounds (such as diabetic wounds)
  • Infections
  • Dental infections
  • Fibromyalgia pain (and pain in general)
  • Arthritis
  • Neurodegenerative conditions (such as Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, stroke, concussion)
  • Depression
  • Fractures (to speed healing)
  • Surgical healing times and reduction of complications
  • Neuropathy
  • Hair loss
  • Edema

Photobiomodulation is typically applied 2-5 times per week depending on the goals of treatment the condition being managed; and consists of a 20-minute treatment. This can be done simultaneously with intravenous therapies to support the therapeutic goals.