Photobiomodulation therapy (PMBT), a 50-year-old technology, also known as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), happens when wavelengths of light at 630 nanometers (nm), 660 nm, and 850 nm are applied to the body to create a therapeutic change. Essentially, when light that is in the red, near infrared, and infrared spectrum is properly applied on a body part (or the whole body). This can decrease inflammation, pain, and accelerate healing. It does this by reducing excessive oxidative stress at the cellular level. By reducing excessive oxidative stress in your body, cells are now able to function better by producing more energy and repairing the damage done by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Notably, Photobiomodulation therapy can do all this without negative side effects.
Why Do We Care About Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)?
We are aerobic creatures, meaning we respire oxygen. It is the ability to use oxygen that allows humans to perform all the miraculous things we do, because oxygen gives us the ability to produce much more energy, than our bacterial predecessors. What gives us the ability to produce all this energy? The mitochondria do, humans have co-evolved with them, technically they are endosymbionts (organisms that live within another for mutual benefit). At some point along our evolutionary history, humans have incorporated the mitochondria into themselves, mitochondria even have their own genetic code! Mitochondria take fuel (the food you eat and the air you breathe) and create energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), and ROS as a byproduct. ATP is used all over the body to perform virtually all tasks. In healthy amounts, ROS is actually beneficial. ROS is used to stimulate healing, destroy pathogens, and acts as signaling molecules within the body. There are natural processes within the body, which use antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes, that eliminate excessive ROS. The problem is that when we get injured, sick, sleep-deprived, and work-out too much we create more than a healthy amount of ROS, this is known as excessive ROS. What happens then is these ROS can damage cells and our genetic code, and importantly cause inflammation. Inflammation underlies many diseases. In short excessive ROS causes oxidation which leads to inflammation. Oxidation is a natural process that happens all around us. Think of the browning of an apple or the rusting of metal, these are all examples of oxidation. Excessive (unhealthy amounts of) ROS has been implicated in premature cell death, uncontrolled cell proliferation (a similar process to cancer growth), aging, and chronic inflammation.
Does Excessive ROS Have Any Negative Implications For Mitochondria?
Yes! NO (Nitric Oxide) not to be confused with the Nitrous Oxide that you get at the dentist, binds to one of the key mitochondrial enzymes, cytochrome c oxidase (CCO), the same enzyme that oxygen binds to; in cruel twist of fate cytochrome c oxidase can be attracted to NO more than to oxygen! Although NO is a whole-body signaling molecule with cardio-protective effects, among other things, excessive NO can bind to CCO when we have disease, exercise too much, are fatigued, and when our body is unhealthy. This process can dislodge oxygen at the mitochondrial level. When oxygen is dislodged at the mitochondria, the mitochondria create excessive ROS leading to inflammation and eventually cell death. PBMT can reverse this process.
How Does PBMT Stop ROS Generation At The Mitochondria?
When Nitric Oxide (NO) binds to the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase (CCO), the mitochondria begin to generate excessive ROS. Using PBMT we can actually remove the NO from that enzyme. This results in three beneficial things:
The displaced NO is readily metabolized by the cell, and can also lead to increased circulation.
Oxygen binds to CCO and allows the affected mitochondria to increase energy production, resulting in an increase in total energy available for the body.
When oxygen binds to CCO, the process of excessive ROS creation in stopped, this stops the inflammation generation process as well. PBMT in concert with antioxidant enzymes and antioxidants eliminate excessive ROS.
What Are The Side Effects of PBMT?
To date, there are no known nor reported negative side effects. In fact, this technology was developed in the 1930s and has a long history to draw from. It operates at a very low intensity that is impossible to feel. It works best on cells that are stressed from damage, inflammation, and/or disease. Of course, everyone is different, and sometimes people may feel a little bit worse after treatment but that changes for the better in a few hours.
What Has PBMT Been Used For?
PBMT has been used in thousands of clinics, hospitals, and leading sports institutions in over seventy nations. Over 400 randomly controlled trials and 4000 clinical studies have shown successful:
Acceleration of tissue repair, leading to an increase in sports performance.
Blockade/reduction of pain post-surgery.
Blockade/reduction of pain due to myofascial pain syndrome.
Slowing of the aging process.
How Can I Experience The Results For Myself?
Light Therapy is now available at our new location in Evergreen, CO. Light Lounge uses the ReGen Pod full body “light-pod” and the ReGen Pod handheld, which have been shown to increase muscle performance, reduce fatigue and pain. To book your therapy session, please click here. And do connect with us on Facebook and Twitter where we post our updates as well as the latest news in the PBMT world! We encourage anyone interested to come to talk to us and check us out.