How Light Therapy Works

The FlexBeam light peaks out from under the device.

Light therapy heals with photons. A red incandescent bulb throws more heat than light, so it’s not likely to have a light therapy effect. Yes, you can use light therapy to reduce acne scars. Traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s and dementia respond to red and infrared light therapy.

Near Infrared Transcranial Treatment Improves Some Disorder of Consciousness Patients

Red light therapy brain dose

Researchers compared “frontal near infrared laser stimulation (N-LT)” [photobiomodulation] with transcranial focused shock wave therapy (F-SWT) on patients with severe disorders of consciousness (DOC). Light therapy subjects received 10 minute infrared sessions of 0.1 mJ/mm2 five times per week for four weeks. A patient in the shock wave group suffered a focal seizure in week 3. Both groups had some members with significant improvements on the revised Coma Recovery Scale (r-CRS), but there were no significant differences between the groups.

Both Low and High Intensity Bright Light Treatment Reduce Epilepsy Correlated Anxiety and Depression

Red light therapy brain dose

Because depression and anxiety have “common psychiatric comorbidities in epilepsy,” researchers tested depression treatment with light on epileptic patients. 101 subjects had “medically intractable focal epilepsy.” Researchers treated 51 subjects with a high-intensity light box, and 50 subjects with a low-intensity light box. Each subject received one treatment per day. Only 58 subjects completed the trial. Depression and anxiety scores were significantly better for both groups. The study included no placebo controls.

Infrared Sinus Delivery the Most Efficient Choice to Stimulate the Brain

Red light therapy brain dose

Researchers tested 671 nm and 808 nm 1 mW/cm^2 laser photon delivery in a severed cadaver head. They compared sinus (transsphenoidal), oral, and head (transcranial) light delivery at both wavelengths. 808 delivered more energy than 671 to a 40 mm target inside the brain tissue. They found that sinus delivery delivered 20 times more photons than transcranial delivery. Comparing oral, sinus and head delivery, and comparing 671 nm to 808 nm delivered at the same power density, the 808 nm diode transferred the largest quantity of photons to the farthest parts of the brain.