Photobiomodulation Therapy

A light therapy that uses low-level lasers or LEDs to stimulate cellular function and promote healing.


Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) is a non-invasive treatment that utilizes low-level lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to deliver light energy to cells and tissues. This light energy is absorbed by cellular photoacceptors, triggering a series of biochemical reactions that can improve cellular function, reduce inflammation, and promote tissue repair. PBMT is used to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, wound healing, and musculoskeletal disorders.

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The origins of photobiomodulation therapy can be traced back to the 1960s when Hungarian physician Endre Mester discovered that low-level laser light could stimulate hair growth and wound healing in mice. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, researchers continued to explore the therapeutic potential of low-level laser therapy (LLLT), now known as photobiomodulation therapy. In the 1990s, NASA began investigating the use of LED technology for PBMT, leading to advancements in the field. Today, PBMT is used in various medical and dental applications, with ongoing research expanding its potential uses.


  1. Pain Relief PBMT can reduce chronic and acute pain by modulating inflammatory responses and promoting the release of endorphins.
  2. Accelerated Healing The therapy stimulates cellular processes involved in tissue repair, leading to faster healing of wounds, injuries, and surgical sites.
  3. Reduced Inflammation PBMT can decrease inflammation by modulating inflammatory mediators and reducing oxidative stress.
  4. Improved Circulation Light therapy can enhance blood flow and lymphatic drainage, promoting better circulation and reducing swelling.
  5. Non-Invasive Treatment PBMT is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy with minimal side effects, making it a safe alternative or complement to traditional treatments.
  6. Versatile Applications The therapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including musculoskeletal disorders, skin conditions, and neurological issues.

How It Works

Photobiomodulation therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or light therapy, uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular function and promote healing. The light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by photoacceptors in the cells, triggering a cascade of biochemical reactions. This process can increase ATP production, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the production of growth factors, leading to improved tissue repair and reduced pain. The therapy is non-invasive, painless, and has minimal side effects.


While photobiomodulation therapy is generally safe, there are some considerations to keep in mind. The therapy may not be suitable for individuals with certain conditions, such as active cancer or photosensitive skin disorders. It is essential to consult with a qualified practitioner to determine if the therapy is appropriate for your specific needs. Additionally, the effectiveness of the treatment may vary depending on the individual, the condition being treated, and the type of device used. Multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

How Much It Costs

The cost of photobiomodulation therapy can vary depending on the provider, location, and the number of sessions required. On average, a single session can range from $50 to $200. A series of treatments may be recommended, which can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,500 or more. Some insurance plans may cover the therapy if it is deemed medically necessary, but it is best to check with your provider for specific coverage details.

Virtual & Online Options

While some at-home photobiomodulation devices are available for purchase online, it is essential to exercise caution and consult with a qualified practitioner before using them. Online options may be more convenient and cost-effective, but they may not be as powerful or targeted as professional treatments. In-person sessions with a trained practitioner can ensure proper device selection, optimal treatment parameters, and targeted application for your specific needs. Additionally, a practitioner can monitor your progress and make adjustments as necessary.


Practitioners offering photobiomodulation therapy should have relevant certifications and training in the use of the specific devices and techniques. These may include certifications from organizations such as the American Board of Laser Surgery (ABLS), the World Association for Laser Therapy (WALT), or the North American Association for Laser Therapy (NAALT). Additionally, practitioners should have a background in a medical or allied health field, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, or nursing, and be licensed or certified in their respective disciplines.

Complementary Practices

Photobiomodulation therapy can be combined with other practices for enhanced effects. These include acupuncture, which can help regulate energy flow and reduce pain; massage therapy to improve circulation and relaxation; and nutritional support to optimize cellular function and healing. Incorporating stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga may also complement the benefits of photobiomodulation by promoting overall well-being and reducing inflammation in the body.

Practitioner Types

Various healthcare professionals can administer or recommend photobiomodulation therapy. These include chiropractors, who may use it to address musculoskeletal issues; physical therapists for pain management and tissue repair; dermatologists for skin health and wound healing; dentists for oral health applications; and naturopathic doctors or integrative medicine practitioners who incorporate it into holistic treatment plans. Some wellness spas and fitness centers may also offer photobiomodulation therapy under the supervision of trained staff.

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  • Q: What is photobiomodulation therapy?

    • A: Photobiomodulation therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-level light to stimulate cellular function and promote healing. It involves exposing the body to specific wavelengths of light, typically from LEDs or low-level lasers, to trigger beneficial biological processes.
  • Q: How does photobiomodulation therapy work?

    • A: When light energy is absorbed by the cells, it stimulates the mitochondria to produce more ATP, the primary energy source for cellular processes. This boost in cellular energy can enhance tissue repair, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and modulate pain signaling pathways.
  • Q: What conditions can photobiomodulation therapy treat?

    • A: Photobiomodulation therapy has been studied for a wide range of applications, including chronic pain, arthritis, tendinitis, wound healing, skin rejuvenation, hair loss, oral health issues, and brain disorders like traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer's disease. However, more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits and limitations.
  • Q: Is photobiomodulation therapy safe?

    • A: Photobiomodulation therapy is generally considered safe when performed by a trained practitioner using appropriate devices and protocols. The light energy used is non-ionizing and does not generate heat, minimizing the risk of tissue damage. However, it's essential to follow proper safety guidelines, such as wearing protective eyewear and avoiding direct exposure to the eyes.
  • Q: How many photobiomodulation therapy sessions are needed?

    • A: The number of sessions required can vary depending on the condition being treated, its severity, and individual response to the therapy. Some acute conditions may improve with a few sessions, while chronic conditions may require a longer course of treatment. A typical protocol might involve 2-3 sessions per week for several weeks, followed by maintenance sessions as needed.


Photobiomodulation therapy is a promising non-invasive approach to promoting healing, reducing pain and inflammation, and improving overall cellular function. By harnessing the power of light energy, this therapy offers a drug-free and safe option for a wide range of health applications. As research continues to evolve, photobiomodulation therapy may become an increasingly important tool in the integrative healthcare landscape. Its potential to complement other therapies and support the body's natural healing processes makes it an attractive option for those seeking a holistic approach to wellness. As with any therapy, it's essential to consult with a qualified practitioner to determine if photobiomodulation therapy is appropriate for your individual needs and health goals.