Skill Level  4

Relevance:5 Technical Level:3

Page Synopsis: One of the most effective therapies in symptom reduction

There are many types each with their own advantages


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Though not a cure it facilitates healing and restoration as well as alleviating symptoms. There are so many versions the limit is merely the budget

Page Table of Contents

1) FIRS Far Infrared Sauna


2) Low level laser therapy led light therapy LLLT, Low power laser therapy LPLT, Red light therapy, and Near Infrared Irradiation, is also called Photobiomodulation


    a. infrared light of 808 nm

    b. Red light

       i. Red light therapy 620 nm to 630 nm range

          1. intranasal

    c. Blue light

    d. LED and low-level laser therapies

        i. LED red intranasal light therapy

       ii. nasal near-intra red light therapy

    e. LED red intranasal light therapy


3) LED red intranasal light therapy


4) Nasal near-intra red light therapy

1) FIRS Far Infrared Sauna. A sauna you sit in, at clinic or spa otherwise home systems very expensive around $5,000

From: 'The Health Benefits of Far Infrared Therapy'


Far Infrared therapy (FIR) involves the use of Far Infrared rays to gently heal, soothe, stimulate and detox the physical body, as well as the mind.


Far Infrared Rays are invisible waves of energy that have the ability to penetrate all layers of the human physical body, penetrating into the inner-most regions of the tissues, muscles and bone.


An ancient technique, Far Infrared Therapy uses these waves, or rays, of energy to slightly elevate the surface temperature of the body. When we slightly induce a very small temperature increase, we can enhance our body’s functioning on multiple levels. Our hands, bodies and the sun emit FIR energy at all times. In Ancient China, palm healing was used to pass these infrared rays from one person to another.


In modern times, it is commonly referred to as Reiki. The Yogis of Ancient India also used FIR in palm healing, and particularly found it useful to place palms over the eyes in the case of eye dryness or strain. Many types of thermal healing have been used in ancient civilizations including Japan, China, India, the Americas, Northern Europe and ancient Rome.


Far Infrared Health Benefits


I am a huge proponent of using Far Infrared as an aid in detoxification. In my practice, I have found that this type of therapy may help in fat loss, chronic fatigue 1, water retention, skin disorders, as well as in the elimination heavy metals, poisons, and carcinogenic material from our bodies.


Whenever we process food, and particularly when we have processed unhealthy food or meats, our bodies create lactic acids and free fatty acids, as well as excess sodium and uric acid. In my patients who have skin problems, I have often found that this type of therapy can help clean the liver and kidneys, instead of overworking the skin in processing our toxins out through the dermis.


Far Infrared therapy very gently increases blood flow 2 by expanding the capillaries that carry blood. It also increases oxygenation and regeneration of the blood, deeply detoxifying it for the improved functioning of all of the major organs in the body, which depend on blood for energy. This detoxification is on the deepest level, allowing hidden toxins in the blood and tissue to be dissolved or immobilized.


Through the subtle heating, Far Infrared boosts your immune system, increasing the amount of white blood cells and killer T-cells. It is an excellent therapy for promoting healing, reducing muscle soreness, muscle spasms and relief for rheumatoid arthritis 3. Research by NASA has shown that far infrared on the cardiovascular system was a great way of keeping astronauts hearts’ in optimal condition.


Far Infrared can also increase the processing enzyme activity in our digestive tract, as well as boost metabolism. An hour of this therapy can burn up to 900 calories, showing excellent results in breaking down trapped fat, waste, cellulite and other forms of toxic substances. The rejuvenating effects of Far Infrared has been shown to help heal scar tissue such as burn scars, acne scars and other forms of dermatological scarring.


The sweating quality that comes from Far Infrared Therapy truly helps us detox from the enormous levels of pollution in modern times. It also is crucial for discomfort relief and the reduction of redness and swelling. Clinical studies done in both the United States, and in Japan, found, “Much of the stiffness, aches and soreness that comes with aging is reduced or eliminated” and, “Whole body far infrared heat relieved pain from burns and decreased healing time with less scarring.”


Heart studies done by The Mayo Clinic and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology 4 found that infrared sauna therapy significantly improved blood vessel functioning in high-cholesterol, diabetes and smoking patients. The therapy also was found to increase circulation, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and help in weight loss.


Far infrared saunas are available as units for your home and in spa settings for you to take advantage of these health benefits. Investing in a personal sauna is an investment to your long-term health and well-being. I also recommend using products at home that utilize the same far infrared technology to assist the body in detoxification. I formulated my Detox Foot Pads™ to contain amethyst and tourmaline gemstones for the benefit of releasing far infrared rays to promote the natural detoxification of chemicals, toxins, and toxic metals from your body while you sleep.

Clinics nearby and home systems

2) Low level laser therapy led light therapy LLLT, Low power laser therapy LPLT, Red light therapy, and Near Infrared Irradiation, is also called Photobiomodulation


Clinics nearby

home systems


2a) Infrared light of 808 nm


Intranasal 810 Infrared $350

The Vielight 810 Infrared is engineered for gentle brain stimulation. This device complements the systemic effects of the Vielight 633 and 655.


The 810 nm near-infrared wavelength is ideal for diffusing through the intranasal channel to reach the deep ventral brain areas.


Note: The Vielight 810 and Vielight Neuro use different diode technology. The Vielight 810’s intranasal power density is approximately 50% of the Vielight Neuro’s intranasal power density.



No other red light device available provides our multi-wave R+|NIR+ spectral output, harnessing five different red and near infrared wavelengths of lights for next level therapy




Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that may help skin, muscle tissue, and other parts of your body heal. It exposes you to low levels of red or near-infrared light. Infrared light is a type of energy your eyes can’t see, but your body can feel as heat. Red light is similar to infrared, but you can see it.


How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

With red light therapy, you expose your skin to a lamp, device, or laser with a red light. A part of your cells called mitochondria, sometimes called the “power generators” of your cells, soak it up and make more energy. Some experts think this helps cells repair themselves and become healthier. This spurs healing in skin and muscle tissue.


Red light therapy uses very low levels of heat and doesn’t hurt or burn the skin. It’s not the same type of light used in tanning booths, and it doesn’t expose your skin to damaging UV rays.


What Does It Treat?

Researchers have known about red light therapy for a while. But there aren’t a lot of studies on it, and they don’t know if it’s better than other types of treatment used to help you heal. Red light therapy may help with:


Dementia. In one small study, people with dementia who got regular near-infrared light therapy on their heads and through their noses for 12 weeks had better memories, slept better, and were angry less often

The red light may have a similar effect as the more expensive oxidation therapy in improving (raising) the redox (oxidation/reduction) status of your cells. In fact, other research has shown that the light works best where the redox status is actually faulty, and the light doesn’t help at all if the redox status is optimal....China is well ahead of us in light research and treatment. One study found that intranasal light therapy for 60 minutes per session, once daily over 10-14 days, improved insomnia for 82% of patients.


Different wavelengths of light in LED lights, including blue and red, penetrate the skin at different depths. This penetration may trigger biological processes that help the skin rejuvenate and heal.


2) Red light

Red LED light may improve scarring and signs of aging, such as wrinkles. It may do this by acting on fibroblasts, which are skin cells that are responsible for collagen production.


Collagen is a protein in the skin and other connective tissues. It plays a role in skin healing. The body produces less collagen as a person ages, which causes the skin to show signs of aging.


Red light also reduces skin inflammation


2bi) Red light therapy 620 nm to 630 nm range


2bii) Intranasal Red light


Intranasal 810 Infrared $350

The Vielight 810 Infrared is engineered for gentle brain stimulation. This device complements the systemic effects of the Vielight 633 and 655.


The 810 nm near-infrared wavelength is ideal for diffusing through the intranasal channel to reach the deep ventral brain areas.


Note: The Vielight 810 and Vielight Neuro use different diode technology. The Vielight 810’s intranasal power density is approximately 50% of the Vielight Neuro’s intranasal power density.


Why intranasal?

The nasal cavity is a pathway to the ventral prefrontal cortex. The distance between the nasal bridge and the ventral prefrontal cortex is relatively short and permeable.


Vielight intranasal devices combine solid state technology with intranasal diodes built from transparent high impact polycarbonate. The design ensures quality and durability, turning this purchase into a life-long investment.


This device can be used in combination with the Vielight 633 and 655 : (Link)


The scientific reasoning behind the difference between the 655 nm and 810 nm wavelengths can be found in this independent study : (Link)


Note for users

Near-infrared photons are nearly invisible to the naked eye, making the beam appear much dimmer than it actually is. Additionally, the beam is pulsed at 10 Hz.


Sleepiness is a common side effect of using this device due to the pulse rate correlating with alpha brain waves and neuronal stimulation


2c) Handy Cure Laser LLLT 808nm Cold Laser Therapy Device $120

2d) Blue light


Blue light

Experts believe that blue LED light reduces activity in the sebaceous glands, which are small oil-producing glands in the skin. This reduction in activity causes the glands to produce less oil, possibly improving acne symptoms.


Blue light may also kill a type of bacteria that contributes to acne by causing inflammation.


Animal research indicates that blue light can improve the healing of third degree burns.


2e) LED and low-level laser therapies

2ei) LED red intranasal light therapy

2eii) nasal near-intra red light therapy


LED and low-level laser therapies

Similarities: Both LED and LLL therapies rely upon targeting energy at injured tissue to begin a photochemical process that can alleviate pain and inflammation, as well as speed wound healing and regeneration.1,2


This energy generation is done with the use of diode technology that emits wavelengths within the red or near-infrared spectrum. In comparison, surgical lasers operate within the ultraviolet spectrum, making them capable of cutting into the skin.


Differences: The biggest difference between LED and LLL therapies are in terms of the depth each can reach. LEDs only emit light within a small band of wavelengths, generally approximately 20 nm. They also operate at a significantly-lower power level than do most therapeutic lasers.


Both wavelength and power can affect how deep into the tissue the light from either an LED or an LLL can reach. As a result, LED therapy is better suited for treating surface conditions, while LLLT is optimal for addressing issues that occurs deeper within the tissue.3,4


Case examples

A 2004 article in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine & Surgery studied the use of LED therapy for healing wounds by using both in vitro and in vivo (rat and human) models.3


A variety of LED wavelengths, power levels, and energy parameters were tested. The researchers found that the LED therapy increased cell growth by 140-200% in rat muscle cells and by 155-171% in human epithelial cells. Furthermore, wound size decreased by 36% in the rat model and by more than 40% among human test subjects.3


A 2014 article in the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery studied the effect of LLLT, in conjunction with exercise, on the reduction of low-back pain.4


A group of 100 patients were randomized to receive either LLLT three times a week with daily exercise, or placebo LLLT with daily exercise. At the end of the three-week study, those patients receiving active LLLT showed significantly greater decrease in pain than did the placebo LLLT group. The researchers concluded that LLLT “might be considered a valid therapeutic option within rehabilitation programs for nonspecific CLBP chronic low-back pain

LLLT lowers inflammation wherever it is applied 1. Specifically, it accomplishes this by reducing levels of PGE(2), COX-2, IL-1b, TNF, neutrophil cell influx, and oxidative stress 2.


  • Wound healing/Tissue growth and repair 3


  • Depression 4


  • Anxiety 4


  • Pain relief in various syndromes 2, 5, 6


  • Arthritis 7, 8


  • Back pain 9, neck pain 10


  • Autoimmune conditions like thyroiditis 11 and others


  • Traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and other brain injuries 12


  • Tooth repair 13, 14, pain from orthodontics 15


  • Hair growth and male pattern baldness 16 – different wavelength and power are required.


  • Acne 17


  • Heart attack – hastens the healing of the damage 18, 19


  • Fractures 20 – seemingly not sprains, though 21


  • Skin conditions like psoriasis and others 22


  • Fibromyalgia 23


  • Improving bone density 24, 25


  • Increasing testosterone 26


  • Enhancing liver regeneration 27 and protection 28


  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) 29


  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) 30


  • Candida infection 31, 32, 33


  • Vision disorders such as macular degeneration 34 and retinitis pigmentosa 35


  • Hearing problems such as tinnitus 36 – in the short term or when combined with rTMS 37


  • Muscle tissue for performance, fatigue, and repair 38, 39


  • Spinal cord injury 40


  • Parkinson’s 41


  • Alzheimer’s 42, 43


  • Injuries in connective tissue/joints 44 such as the Achilles tendon 45 and “tennis elbow” (elbow tendinopathy) 46


  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 47


  • Burns 48, 49


  • Laryngitis/Hoarseness 51 – Laryngitis can manifest as hoarseness, a lump in the throat (globus pharyngis), chronic coughing, voice fatigue, throat pain, and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).


  • Some migraines and headaches 52 – may make them worse too if you have vasodilatory headaches.


  • Weight loss? 53 – probably with infrared sauna (have not used).


  • Peptic ulcers 54, Venous Leg Ulcers 55, Pressure ulcers 56, Oral Mucositis 57 Aphthous stomatitis 58


  • Edema 59, 60


  • Lung inflammation 61, COPD 62


  • Alcohol addiction 63


  • Narcolepsy based on theory 64. Narcolepsy is likely an autoimmune disorder 65.


  • Oral Lichen Planus 66


  • Cancer: Various tumors, when used with a photosensitizer 67


Type 1 and type 2 diabetes 68 “It should be well noted that the common thought, that it is impossible for the pancreas to restore its function and morphology in case of diabetes mellitus, has definitely come to an end in the history of this disease and mankind. Secondly, it has been ascertained from this study that the quantum energy of laser rays is capable of stimulating and causing the regeneration of pancreatic tissues, including the B-cells of the Islets of Langerhans, even in advanced disease states.” I can’t find these studies in any journal, but it’s quite intriguing. Skepticism is always advised, although I don’t see the harm in trying it on the pancreas.


Based on the mechanism’s involved I’d expect it to help for cognitive-based disorders like Autism, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar disorders. Autism, for example, is in part a result of mitochondrial dysfunction 69 and inflammation 70. Deficiencies in the cells’ ability to fuel brain neurons might lead to some of the cognitive impairments associated with autism and higher levels of free radicals also might contribute to autism severity. Mitochondrial abnormalities also occur in bipolar and schizophrenia, as well as inflammation.


It should also help with inflammatory gut problems like Crohn’s and Colitis.


Biological Mechanisms: How Laser Therapy Enhances Cognitive Function

Note: For an even more in-depth look at the mechanisms and benefits of LLLT, check out my interview with Dr. Hamblin, the world’s leading expert on Light Therapy.


LLLT works by hormesis and invoking your body’s stress response, specifically nitric oxide/free radicals. Therefore, like any kind of hormetic tool, use it wisely and in moderation.


LLLT increases free radicals (ROS) — but the level of ROS produced by LLLT in normal cells is actually beneficial 71.


I mainly use LLLT on my brain, but I have also used it for many other things. For this section, I’ll be focusing primarily on its mechanisms with regard to the brain.




  • Suppresses inflammation: PGE(2), COX2, IL-1b, TNF, IL-8, IL-6, neutrophil cell influx, etc. 2, 72
  • Increases internal antioxidants (SOD) 73
  • Decreases free radicals and oxidative stress in neurons 71
  • Increases brain Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF-1α) and VEGF 74.
  • Increases stem cells 75, 76, 77
  • Increases Nerve growth factor (NGF) 1
  • Increases Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) 1
  • Increases Neurotrophin-3-contradictory (NT-3) 1
  • Increases IGF-1, TGF-b 39, 78, PDGF, FGF2 72
  • Increases ATP production 77
  • Increases the number of mitochondria 79 i.e mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Promotes the synthesis of DNA and RNA 77
  • Increases neuronal mitochondrial metabolism by photostimulation (stimulation by light) of an enzyme (cytochrome oxidase) involved in increasing mitochondrial oxygen usage 80 and increases mitochondrial membrane potential 72
  • Increases blood flow and circulation 81
  • Decreases amyloid-β aggregates in human brain cells (in-vitro) 82, the protein responsible for Alzheimer’s.
  • Increases heat shock proteins 72
  • Stimulates mast cell degranulation 72
  • Modifies extracellular matrix components 72
  • Prevents neuronal death by greater membrane stability and resistance to depolarization, which has been shown to transiently reduce neuronal excitability 83
  • Prevents cell death, improves cell proliferation, migration, and adhesion 84
  • Increases the expression of genes in the brain by increasing the transcription factors Nf-kb 85, AP-1 and CREB 42. Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA and supports growth and repair. See this video animation on how these proteins bind to DNA.
  • Increases expression of antioxidant gene MnSOD (second most expressed gene after Nf-kB) 86, 87.
  • Increases our body’s natural opioids 88.
  • Interestingly, in normal neurons, LLLT increased oxidative stress/ROS. In oxidatively stressed cells, LLLT reduced high ROS levels and protected cultured cortical neurons from death 71


Some of the mechanisms are similar to methylene blue. Read my post about how to use it.


What Effects Did I Experience?

  • Increases higher-order cognitive function
  • Improves memory via growth factors and brain metabolism 80, 83
  • Improves attention 83
  • Improves working memory 83
  • Improves mood 83
  • Improves motivation
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Increases sports performance (via sensory and motor improvements) 83
  • Decreased need for sleep


Goes Well With

  • Exercise for lactate (read about the cognitive benefits of lactate). I’ve never seen this reported, but my experience suggests this.
  • Hi-maize resistant starch, based on my experience.
  • PQQ
  • Nicotinamide Riboside


Doesn’t Go Well With

  • Antioxidants (like NAC) within a few hours of applying it. Part of the mechanism that LLLT works is by increasing ROS, so NAC will prevent this. Taking antioxidant supplements the next day probably won’t diminish the benefits.
  • I used to caution about C60, but not anymore. I asked Dr. Hamblin, the world expert on Light Therapy.


Where To Use It On The Head

If you suffer from fatigue, you want to use it all over the head (including back), because you are targeting your hypothalamus, which is close to the center of your brain.


Use on the forehead and on top of the forward part of your head for increased focus and increased analytic ability. Dr. Hamblin uses it on his forehead for ~15 minutes.


Use on upper and side portions of the head for creativity.


If you have CFS then do it in the back, as there’s evidence that CFS is as a result of brain stem inflammation.


Other Places I Use it

I mainly use it on my brain, but sometimes other locations.


  • Sports injuries/other injuries. I’ve had one on my finger, my shoulder, etc. (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my thymus to increase my immune system and immune tolerance (used it maybe 20 times in total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my thyroid to increase thyroid hormones (used it maybe 20 times in total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my liver to increase liver regeneration (maybe 15 times total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my stomach to increase stomach acidity, GI repair (maybe 10 times). (Effective)
  • I use it in my teeth to increase dentin. One tooth has some dentin that’s been worn away. (Effective)
  • I’ve used it once on my testes to increase testosterone. I’ve only used it once there because I’m a bit scared to use it there as I don’t understand its interaction with sperm enough. (Unable to determine effectiveness.)
  • I use it sometimes on the side of my face to heal nerve damage as a result of bells palsy as a kid. (Effective)
  • Massive sting. I was recently attacked by a flying creature that was massive – bigger than a queen bee. It attacked a spot in my foot and injected a poison that caused a large portion of my foot to swell. I put LLLT on it and it practically disappeared in like 2 days.
  • Although I don’t use it for my skin, it can very well be used for it 22.


How To Use It

I recommend using this before bed, as it causes fatigue in many users.


I suspect that the reason for this is because it acutely increases TNF-alpha. However, while it may increase TNF-alpha levels in the short term, in the long run it actually down-regulates the production of TNF-alpha, leading to better health. Read my posts about how inflammation and TNF-alpha are related to fatigue.


First use: Place on each spot on the head for 10 seconds and switch to a different spot. Cover the whole head, except the back. Total time should be 2 min.


Second use: If you felt tired after the first usage then continue at that dosage for a week. If not increase by 10 seconds to a total of 20 seconds per spot and 4 minutes in total.


If you feel tired and groggy the next day, you had too much. If not, keep on increasing the dosage by 10 seconds until you hit 2 minutes per spot and a total of 15 minutes.


If you feel groggy the next day and only took 30 seconds per spot (less than 6 minutes in total) then it means you have an inflammatory and/or mitochondrial issue. LLLT will help with it.


If you feel tired after 2 minutes of putting it on your head this also means you likely have an inflammatory and mitochondrial issue. Again, LLLT will help with it.


Use every other day. I recommend every third day if you’re generally functioning pretty well. If you’re taking a lot of other supplements then use once a week perhaps. That’s what I do. The benefits are abolished if used daily for a few weeks.


An alternative way of using it is to put it on your head in the daytime for two minutes in total. This isn’t enough to make most people tired, but it still stimulates Cytochrome C Oxidase. I would definitely recommend using it this way if your sleep is disturbed by LLLT.


Last, don’t worry about the detailed instructions or screwing up. This is very safe if you use it even somewhat right. The reason I give these instructions is so that people with underlying inflammatory issues aren’t scared off if they see some negative effects.


When Will You See Results?

LLLT is like exercise – benefits are accrued and realized after the healing stage, but there’s usually a noticeable effect the next day.


If you don’t notice anything from laser therapy then congratulations – you likely have healthy mitochondria and low levels of inflammation. It still can help you, though. Gwern didn’t notice any effect, but still had significant increases in productivity the days he used it.


You may not notice a difference right away, just like how you may not notice an increase in muscle size after a single weightlifting session.


Side Effects and Theoretical Long-Term Risks

The following are side effects only if you’ve used too much on the brain:

  • Degraded sleep
  • Cognitive laziness/grogginess the day after
  • More relaxed feeling
  • Headaches
  • Eye pain


Theoretical long-term risks for usage on the brain:


Long-term risks are unknown since there’re no human studies that have been going on for decades. However, there’re reasons to think that brain cancer risk is both decreased and increased. I haven’t seen this discussed anywhere, but my knowledge of cancer research leads me to this opinion.


Brain cancer risk is possibly increased in my opinion as a result of the growth factors and stem cell increase. LLLT also increases a transcription factor (NF-kb), which is implicated in cancer initiation and progression 89.


Since it decreases inflammation, oxidative stress and improves mitochondria, it may decrease your risk of developing a tumor, to begin with, but if you already have a tumor or get a tumor, the increase in growth factors will make it spread more quickly.


Again, there’re reasons to think it will cause and prevent cancer, but I’m leaning more towards causing it (where ever it’s used in the body). Obviously using it once won’t matter, but every other day for the rest of your life might be significant.


For every 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 221 are living following the diagnosis of a brain tumor, but only 20 – 25% of that number is malignant.


Approximately 0.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with brain and other nervous system cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2008 – 2010 data 90.


If you have a very high incidence of cancer in your family, specifically brain cancer, then this might not be a risk you want to take, since we don’t have long-term studies on people yet who use it on their brain.


I’m extremely cautious, even though I probably don’t come off as such. For me, I feel the risk is worth it. I think the increased cancer risk is small at the end of the day and the benefits outweigh the risks by a good margin. That said, it’s likely wise to take breaks if your brain is already functioning well.


If you think about it another way, however, intelligence is highly correlated with lifespan 91 and disease reduction 92. This is probably because more intelligent people make more money and can take better care of themselves better 92 (by understanding health information, etc.). Neuroticism is also associated with increased mortality (risk of dying) 92 and LLLT decreases neuroticism



There is currently a lot of discussion in rehab circles surrounding the efficacy and therapeutic potential of light-based modalities. From professional sports teams to private practices, these technologies are starting to be used on a daily basis to treat injured tissue. Light-based therapy used to treat pain and inflammation can be delivered by both lasers and LEDs, and consumers often want to know the operational and therapeutic differences between them. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two.


Both laser and LED therapies rely on being able to deliver an adequate amount of energy to the target tissue in order to precipitate a photochemical process known as photobiomodulation (PBM). PBM “is a nonthermal process involving endogenous chromophores eliciting photophysical and photochemical events at various biological scales. Some processes that are impacted include, but are not limited to, the alleviation of pain or inflammation, immunomodulation, and promotion of wound healing and tissue regeneration.”1


Both sources of light share the same mechanism of action and are both commonly generated using diode technology. When used and studied in therapeutic applications, both lasers and LEDs are often built to emit similar wavelengths, either in the red or near-infrared spectrum, and have been shown to have pain and inflammatory reduction properties.2 Significant differences between the two do exist, however; including the power generated, the specificity of wavelength, and the physical characteristics of the beam generated from the diode.


Laser light is unique, in that it is monochromatic, coherent, and collimated. These traits make it well-suited to many medical applications.3 The monochromatic, or single wavelength, beam is ideal for stimulating chromophores in biological tissue that only respond to very specific wavelengths. Coherent photons are organized where non-coherent photons are not. This property is important to minimize photon scatter as light interacts with tissue. Lastly, since injured tissue is normally deep in the body, laser’s columnated beam helps focus energy in a narrow, direct path which is ideal for treating tissues at depth.


LEDs usually emit light in a small band of wavelengths (~20 nm wide) but cannot emit a single specified wavelength (~1 nm wide). This bandwidth impacts their ability to dial in the wavelength to optimally target desired tissues. Additionally, LEDs produce neither a collimated nor coherent beam, which is less ideal when treating deeper tissues. Lastly, LED’s operate at significantly lower power (wattage) than most lasers, which impacts their ability to reach deeper tissues in smaller windows of time.


When trying to target deeper tissues, wavelength is a critical variable that can play a significant role in the light’s ability to penetrate tissue. But it is not the only determining factor in therapeutic effectiveness. Power is a second variable that also plays a large role in determining both proper use and consistency of outcomes for light-based therapies.4 Lasers are generally capable of producing much higher powers than LEDs, which significantly impacts their ability to reach deeper tissues.


This is due to the concept of therapeutic depth, which involves getting an adequate amount of photonic energy to injured tissue to have a photobiomodulation effect. Since a significant amount of light is lost as it passes through tissue, having more initial power at the surface improves the modality’s ability to provide adequate amounts of energy at depth.


For superficial uses, such wound healing5, therapeutic effects can be achieved with a minimal amount of energy applied to the surface, for which LEDs are well suited. For deeper or more wide-spread conditions, such as fibromyalgia6 or chronic low back pain7, a greater amount of energy must be delivered for a sufficient therapeutic effect to be achieved.


Knowing what types of injuries will be treated with your light-based modality will impact which device will be most beneficial to the practice. LEDs often get a lot of initial attention because they are much cheaper than laser technology. Lasers used to treat deep tissue (that offer a wider range of power), however, give providers the most flexibility in terms of treatment capabilities as they can be used to treat both superficial and deep conditions. Weighing the considerations listed above should help you make the right decision when it comes time to purchase one of these devices

vary from recommending 20 min's at a time to 5 min's at a time, with multiple uses during the day OK on at least one of them, which also says that 5 times a week is OK. So you could do 5 minutes on your back, then your chest, then your legs, etc etc etc several times a week .....


Milliwatts vary from unit to unit, and the manufacturers to avoid are the ones that won;t answer questions like that. Do a little googling and you'll come up with more info on what's regarded as state of the art.


Full-body red and NIR is extremely expensive, ranging from $3000 - 25,000 or more


Red light and near-infrared irradiation produce measurable changes locally in cells/tissues/organs. This form of light therapy is called photobiomodulation (PBM).

  • Animal studies show that photobiomodulation therapy could be beneficial for over 100 different diseases. Evidence from human studies is also emerging in a fast pace.
  • Over 3000 photobiomodulation papers have been published in PubMed-indexed journals, over 120 of which have a good impact factor (> 3.0). Research has been conducted in 40 different countries.


Dose and duration:

Dose is difficult to adjust when using a DIY approach (eg. security light) but a light meter can help (eg. Tenmars TM-206 ~$130-150)


Duration: Try 10 minutes per day. Takes quite awhile for healing to take place.

Dosing is bi-phasic, too little doesn't work, too much doesn't work. "Low-to-moderate doses of light are often described as stimulating and high doses as inhibitory, because some markers that can be increased by low doses of light, have been shown to decrease with excessive light doses." (


Signs of overdoing it:

  • "If the benefits go away after continual usage, that’s a sign of overuse."
  • Headaches
  • Excess fatigue


Criticism is usually outdated


Many skeptic websites and blogs also have claimed that photobiomodulation (LLLT) is mostly a form of quackery. These sites include Science-Based Medicine, Skeptic North, SkeptVet, Device Watch and also the Wikipedia page on LLLT. These criticisms present some of the weaknesses of the photobiomodulation (PBM) research fairly, but since most of the PBM research has been published since the 2010, most of these criticisms are outdated and I would trust recent systematic reviews more than these articles that are mostly based on some quick internet searches.


Use for kidney disease

Full article:

A Harvard specialist in phototherapy (Dr. Hamblin) has said:

"Kidney failure is the third leading cause of death. These are old folks who are dying from kidney failure. You can’t really give them transplants because they’re elderly. You put a near-infrared LED array where their kidneys are and it seems to work like a dream. But it’s hardly been studied at all..."

Excerpts from an interview with Dr. Hamblin


  • Photons are absorbed by chromophores in the mitochondria.
  • Nitric oxide increases,
  • Mitochondria changes that are good,
  • Signaling – from ROS, Non cAMP,
  • Burst of ROS,
  • cAMP from extra ATP,
  • Activates transcription factors to create new proteins.
  • Light has effects days or weeks after.
  • He puts it on in the morning on some part of his body, elbow (if sore), knee (if sore), eyes, forehead, and any part of his anatomy that could use some boosting…..
  • He uses it on his forehead for 15 minutes 2X a week (forehead because hair blocks a lot of the light).
  • Light therapy reduces glutamate, so it stops the parts of the brain that are overexcited.
  • LLLT low-level light therapy only increases inflammation transiently in people without any baseline inflammation. In people with inflammation, LLLT only has an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Causes a small increase in cellular calcium.
  • LEDs seem to work better than lamps but he doesn't understand why.
  • NIR and FAR are both effective in different ways presumably.
  • Doesn't think IR LEDs can damage eyesight. "LEDs and light therapy can be good for autoimmune thyroid antibodies. It probably works by decreasing systemic inflammation."
  • Not aware of any negative studies.


Low cost IR emitter

CMVision CM-IR130


850 nm review: "You'll also be glad to know that it was my doctor, who is more a friend, and is into natural healing, that told me about it and said that this was the Right one for the proper healing! He has used it, this exact model, and it helped him immensely, so he told me to get it for my problem


There's a careful balancing act between too little and too much R/NIR light, generally bundled under the term hormesis.


Too much R/NIR exposure will have the same effect as either too little or none at all. The tough part is finding that thin slice of "perfect", because as you already noted, it's generally speaking a longer-term treatment. You may have exposed your cells to too much light treatment, which would negate its positive effects.


The good news is that over-exposure, unlike other treatment modalities, won't result in damage, just a negation of the beneficial effects, except with Intranasal short wavelength (blue) light is believed to be a major pathogenic factor in AMD. In contrast to this, infrared (IR) light was found to possess a regenerative potential in many situations of tissue repair and risks of light entering the eye HWR

Robert O. Poyton & Kerri A. Ball


From the abstract : "Three recent findings provide important new insight. First, nitric oxide has been implicated. Second, cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme known to reduce oxygen to water at the end of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, has been shown to have a new enzymatic activity -- the reduction of nitrite to nitric oxide. This nitrite reductase activity is elevated under hypoxic conditions but also occurs under normoxia. And third, low intensity light enhances nitric oxide synthesis by cytochrome c oxidase without altering its ability to reduce oxygen. From these findings, we propose that cytochrome c oxidase functions in photobiomodulation by producing nitric oxide, a signaling molecule which can then function in both intra- and extracellular signaling pathways. We also propose that the effectiveness of photobiomodulation is under the control of tissue oxygen and nitrite levels


While the mechanism is largely unknown, one commonly mechanism possibility is that light of the relevant wavelengths is preferentially absorbed by the protein cytochrome c oxidase⁠, which is a key protein in mitochondrial metabolism and production of ATP⁠, substantially increasing output, and this extra output presumably can be useful for cellular activities like healing or higher performance


absorption of light by mitochondrial complex IV (also known as: cytochrome c oxidase) is thought to form the main basis of the biological effect of red / infrared low level light therapy (photobiomodulation). This study indicates how infrared light of 808 nm boosts mitochondrial complex IV

Near-infrared 808 nm light boosts complex IV-dependent respiration and rescues a Parkinson-related pink1 model


Mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) defects are observed in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and in PD fly- and mouse-models; however it remains to be tested if acute improvement of ETC function alleviates PD-relevant defects. We tested the hypothesis that 808 nm infrared light that effectively penetrates tissues rescues pink1 mutants. We show that irradiating isolated fly or mouse mitochondria with 808 nm light that is absorbed by ETC-Complex IV acutely improves Complex IV-dependent oxygen consumption and ATP production, a feature that is wavelength-specific. Irradiating Drosophila pink1 mutants using a single dose of 808 nm light results in a rescue of major systemic and mitochondrial defects. Time-course experiments indicate mitochondrial membrane potential defects are rescued prior to mitochondrial morphological defects, also in dopaminergic neurons, suggesting mitochondrial functional defects precede mitochondrial swelling. Thus, our data indicate that improvement of mitochondrial function using infrared light stimulation is a viable strategy to alleviate pink1-related defects


BDNF= Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. According to studies red light induces BDNF expression.


BDNF builds up and sustains neurones, especially myelin sheath of neurones. The lack of BDNF causes depression and neurological symptoms, causes memory problems, lowers pain treshold, causes sleep deprivation and mental stress and increases appetite. Damages in myelin sheath can cause irritation (squeamishness? I am not surea bout he right word), depression, anxiety and brainfog. Our body produces BDNF but the production increases vastly during summer months due to sunshine.


But there is also another thing that affects myelin sheaths. Excessive amounts of homocysteine also cause problems with neurones. It brakes down myelin and causes cell death. Swedish recearchers found out that CFS patients have too much homocysteine in their brain. They measured it from cerebrospinal fluid. Too high homocysteine causes depression, anxiety, irritation, problems to concentrate and remember. It also causes brainfog.


Homocysteine can be high if one has chronic heart or kidney problems but it can be high also if one has vitamin B6, B9 or B12 deficiency. Methylcobalamine injections lower too high homocysteine and helps with these cognitive problems.


Interesting, I say. I didn't know all of this last summer. I started to inject methylcobalamin at the end of the year 2018. I noticed that these injections help with my cognitive problems. I had them all. I noticed that during summer I was able to lower my B12 dosage. I thought that it had to be the sunshine that was causing it. I normally injected 5mg once a week. During summer, only once in three weeks, and that was enough. So, I think that red ligh will also help me lower the dosage. Later, I noticed that I need to double the dosage between November and perhaps June. So sunshine lowers the dosage by 80%!! Moneywise, a lot! And I don't particularly like to inject myself.


But I also have a gene mutation in COMT 472 and methylcobalamine is the cure for that. Due to it I have too much dopamine in my brain. Exessive amouts of dopamine in my brain (causing its own symptoms one of them being nervousness) can only be neutralized in secondary route which causes too much ammonium and other bad stuff in my brain yet causing me the same symptoms as high homocysteine. This is caused by lowered energy production in the brain cells. So B12 injections seem to be the key to many of my problems. But maybe NIR helps with COMT problems too


3) LED red intranasal light therapy

Dr. Robert Rowen has reported some fairly amazing success, You simply shine this red light (in the 635 nm wavelength) up your nose and reportedly it easily penetrates the thin bones at the back of the nasal cavity getting the energy into the brain where it has some powerful healing effects.


Pertinent to us it activates the enzyme cytochrome oxidase, helps to 'turn on' the mitochondria. Also, it has positive effects on redox, cognitive function, insomnia, and headaches, In a study on patients with mild cognitive impairment, intranasal red light improved red blood cell deformability compared to placebo


4) Nasal near-intra red light therapy

The effect of 808 nm and 905 nm wavelength light on recovery after spinal cord injury


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