Reduce Inflammation with Light Therapy

Medicine and wellness are increasingly looking to utilize natural biological functions within the human body to result in pain relief and increase wellbeing. Light therapy increases bodily healing and relieves pain by reducing chronic inflammation1. The body has a natural response when certain substances or activities harm tissue in the form of inflammation14. Inflammation is how the body protects itself from harm and from injury and is essential to starting to repair any cellular damage. 

Inflammation can be harmful in certain situations. In small amounts, inflammation is healthy and essential for repairing injuries in the body. However, chronic inflammation3 can be damaging to our bodies and can compromise our daily functioning. Chronic inflammation is associated with chronic pain, morbidity and mortality in older folks, and aging, and an overall decrease in quality of life3. A bodily process that is helpful in the right situations can also cause harm in its chronic form.

Current drug treatments, such as NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen, etc.) and steroids, are marginally effective but have harmful side effects if used frequently13. Cryotherapy, while gaining popularity, is not effective at dealing with chronic inflammation and can be very dangerous11. Similarly, ice can offer temporary pain relief but does nothing to reduce chronic inflammation at the cellular level2. Other current treatments can offer short term relief but do not offer the same proven side-effect-free alleviation of chronic pain and inflammation as photobiomodulation.

Photobiomodulation (PBMT)14 (i.e. Light Therapy) uses red and near-infrared light directed at inflamed tissue to alleviate the harmful effects of acute and chronic inflammation7. Oxidation, or the buildup of reactive oxygen species (ROS)9,2, occurs naturally as our bodies and cells produce energy. This oxidative buildup can lead to inflammation and result in adverse effects, including damage to cells, damage to DNA and damage to RNA (our genetic code)4. Light therapy can reverse this buildup of ROS and reduce the risk of tissue damage and oxidative stress7.

The usage of light therapy is extraordinarily safe and easy to administer. There are no side effects from the use of this treatment, and the mechanisms underlying the therapy are based on natural processes. This means that light therapy offers a way to reduce chronic inflammation and chronic pain without having adverse effects on health. Light therapy is an FDA listed treatment5 and works in conjunction with our body’s healing mechanisms to improve health and wellbeing while having no side effects. Light therapy is a great alternative to current treatments for chronic inflammation and its negative health outcomes.

  1. Avci, P., Gupta, A., Sadasivam, M., Vecchio, D., Pam, Z., Pam, N., & Hamblin, M. R. (2013). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: Stimulating, healing, restoring. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, 32(1), 41–52.
  2. Cadet, J., & Wagner, J. R. (2013). DNA Base Damage by Reactive Oxygen Species, Oxidizing Agents, and UV Radiation. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a012559
  3. Chronic inflammation—Latest research and news | Nature. (n.d.). https://www.nature.com/subjects/chronic-inflammation
  4. DNA Damage—An overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2019, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/dna-damage
  5. Establishment Registration & Device Listing. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfRL/rl.cfm?lid=554271&lpcd=ILY
  6. Franceschi, C., & Campisi, J. (2014). Chronic inflammation (inflammaging) and its potential contribution to age-associated diseases. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69 Suppl 1, S4-9. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glu057
  7. Hamblin, M. R. (2017a). Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophysics, 4(3), 337–361. https://doi.org/10.3934/biophy.2017.3.337
  8. Inflammation—Latest research and news | Nature. (n.d.). https://www.nature.com/subjects/inflammation#targetText=Inflammation,swelling%20and%20disturbance%20of%20function.
  9. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms [NciAppModulePage]. (2011, February 2). Retrieved September 9, 2019, from National Cancer Institute website: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms
  10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00093
  11. Photobiomodulation (PBMT) vs. Cryotherapy? - Light Lounge (2018, June 23). https://lightlounge.life/how-does-photobiomodulation-compare-to-cryotherapy/
  12. Singh, D. P., Barani Lonbani, Z., Woodruff, M. A., Parker, T. J., Steck, R., & Peake, J. M. (2017). Effects of Topical Icing on Inflammation, Angiogenesis, Revascularization, and Myofiber Regeneration in Skeletal Muscle Following Contusion Injury. Frontiers in Physiology, 8.
  13. Sostres, C., Gargallo, C. J., Arroyo, M. T., & Lanas, A. (2010). Adverse effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, aspirin and coxibs) on upper gastrointestinal tract. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Gastroenterology, 24(2), 121–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpg.2009.11.005
  14. What is Photobiomodulation Therapy (PMBT)? – Light Lounge. https://lightlounge.life/what-is-photobiomodulation-therapy-pmbt</a

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