Near Infrared(NIR), Red Light, Blue Light, Amber Light , Green Light Emitting Diodes(LEDs)
Light Therapy is Photobiomodulation.
“Photo” means “light.” “Bio” means “Life.” “Modulation” means “a change” in something. With Photobiomodulation, light is used to cause a change in living beings, both man and animal.
Light therapy has been shown, in over 50 years of independent research worldwide, to deliver powerful therapeutic benefits to living tissues and organisms. In the same way that plants use chlorophyll to convert sunlight into plant tissue, light emitting diodes(LEDs) can trigger natural intracellular photobiochemical reactions in our bodies. Plants must have the sunlight to grow. Our cells also benefit from light therapy.
The North American Association for Photobiomodulation Therapy(NAALT), gives this technical definition of Photomodulation:
“A form of light therapy that utilizes non-ionizing forms of light sources, including LASERS, Light Emitting Diodes(LEDs), and broad-band light, in the visible and infrared(invisible) spectrum. It is a non-thermal process involving endogenous chromophores eliciting photophysical (i.e. linear and non-linear) and photochemical events at various biological scales. This process results in beneficial therapeutic outcomes including but not limited to the alleviation of pain or inflammation, immunomodulation, and promotion of wound healing and tissue regeneration.”
This can be interpreted in laymen’s terminology as: Photobiomodulation is a form of light therapy that uses harmless forms of light sources such as low level lasers, LEDs and broad-band light sources. It does not work by heat,and works because our cells contain “chromophores” which literally absorb light.
Once the light is absorbed, it sets off a complex group of physical and chemical reactions within the cell which can and do extend to cells that have not even been exposed to the light. The effects of the photobiomodulation process have been beneficial and positive.
Some of the beneficial effects include:
• alleviation of pain • alleviation of inflammation • stimulating the immune system • wound healing • tissue regeneration • wound healing • tissue regeneration
Light is energy that moves in a wave pattern. Light is also characterized by its wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum. All of Emerson WorldWide light therapy products are available Near infrared(NIR) which is invisible to the human eye, and Red wavelengths which are visible. Several come with orange, amber, green, and blue which lie in the visible spectrum.
Emerson WorldWide Photobiomodulation light therapy products treat health disorders by exposing them to specific wavelengths of light using Medical Light-Emitting Diodes(LEDs). The LED wavelengths are controlled and administered with various devices in different configurations to treat all parts of the body for a prescribed amount of time.
The technology is FDA Cleared, and is the same technology NASA uses aboard the Space Shuttle, and same technology used by the NAVY Seals. “The use of light therapy with LEDs can help prevent bone and muscle atrophy as well as increase the rate of wound healing in a microgravity environment, thus reducing the risk of treatable injuries becoming mission catastrophes.” NASA Studies.
Light Therapy, Photobiomodulation, is becoming a common treatment as people are demanding natural alternatives to drugs and surgery. Light Therapy is utilized by Medical Doctors, Veterinarians, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, and Physical Therapists to treat numerous conditions which can be prevented or reversed with light.
Here is list of common examples, already FDA approved and available:
- Diabetic Foot
- Wound Healing
- Back Pain
- Bell’s Palsy
- Scar tissue
- Degenerative osteoarthritis
- Neck pain
- Acne treatmen
- Anti-aging (collagen production & wrinkle reduction)
- Hair loss prevention & hair regrowth
- Pain relief
- Fat loss
- Stem cell production
Here are conditions in the research stages and clinical trials:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Heart Attack
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve regeneration
Near Infrared(NIR) light therapy utilizes light energy in the invisible range of light. Infrared rays are just beyond the visible red range of light in the spectrum, thus we cannot see the Infrared light emitted from the treatment unit. Virtually all light has some penetration properties; however, it is often absorbed by the outermost skin layers. Traditional thermal (hot) laser light, on the other hand, can penetrate but often destroys tissue. Since damaged cells benefit from light, the objective was to develop a non-thermal and nondestructive deep tissue delivery vehicle – hence Infrared Light Therapy.
Once delivered, the light energy promotes the process of photobiostimulation.
The positive effect of photobiostimulation on animal cells is analogous to photosynthesis in plant cells, whereby a chain of chemical reactions are set in motion. In human tissue the resulting photochemical reaction produces an increase in the cellular metabolism rate which expedites cell repair and the stimulation of the immune, lymphatic and vascular systems. The net result, observed in clinical trials to date, is the apparent reduction in pain, inflammation, edema and an overall reduction in healing time
Photobiomodulation was used in the 1960’s when European scientists began to use light beams of specific wavelengths and frequencies to treat damaged cell tissues. Today, that technology has been harnessed into portable,light-emitting diodes(LEDs) hand-held units, and full-body units.
Facts about Wavelengths/frequencies/colors
Super luminous medical LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are safe concentrated light sources used to produce the specific wavelengths of light that provide therapeutic benefits of light therapy, non-invasive and with no adverse side effects. The different types of tissue and cell types in the body all have their own particular light absorption values and characteristics. These tissue and cells will only absorb light at specific wavelengths. This is one of the reasons that we offer infrared products that have the Polychromatic Process (using more than one color; this can also mean that it contains radiation of more than one wavelength.)
- Near Infrared – 800nm – 1000nm
- Red – 660 nm
- Yellow – 590 nm
- Orange – 612 nm
- Green – 574 nm
- Blue – 465 nm
Near Infrared light (NIR) Invisible to human eye, (800 to 1000 nm) penetrates to a depth of about 30-40mm, the deepest of the wavelengths, which makes it more effective for treating organs and provide relief for ailments of bones, joints, deep muscle tissue. NIR LEDs are invisible to human eye. Infrared LEDS combats signs of aging and stimulates collagen and elastin production. Infrared lights support skin, muscle, and joint recovery. Healing the skin from sunburns, cuts, and scrapes is possible with Infrared light.
Famous TV Doctor, Dr. Perricone, says that over a period of two months using infrared LED’s, he saw thicker, more youthful skin. His findings reveal that infrared light therapy “pulls up” thinning, aging skin – resulting in diminished lines and wrinkles, more “lifted” eye lids and faded scars.
Visible Red LEDs, wavelengths from 630 to 700 nm, are very beneficial in treating problems close to the surface such as wounds, cuts, scars, trigger and acupuncture points, and is particularly effective in treating skin infections. Red LEDS reach deep down through all levels of the skin (from the epidermis, down to the dermis and beyond) stimulating cellular repair and increasing circulation. Red light therapy for anti-aging helps smooth wrinkles and fine lines resulting in a more youthful-looking, smoother, plumper and vibrant complexion. Dr. Odon from The Doctors and Dr. Eva Shamban, a top dermatologist in Los Angeles, have boasted the age defying results of red light therapy. Web M.D. Health states: The treatment is especially effective at improving the appearance of the face, neck and chest, by reducing signs of aging, wrinkles and age spots.
Although both red and infrared wavelengths penetrate to different depths and affect tissues differently, the therapeutic effects are similar. They are absorbed by the skin, muscles, tissues, bone as well as working at the physical cellular level. For years, the combination of anti-aging Red and Infrared Light Therapy has been used by NASA, the US Army, nurses, hospitals, physical therapists and professional athletes for quick healing of injuries such as lower back pain, pulled muscles, post-surgical incisions, bullet wounds, arthritis pain and more. In addition, red light and infrared light therapy has been proven to be one the most effective, yet non-invasive ways to help rejuvenate and repair aging skin. When Infrared and Red LEDs are combined, this powerful combination delivers optimal great healing and pain relief.
Blue lights wavelengths, 465 nm, are believed to be contractors and restrictors. They have reportedly help with inflammation, acne, burns, headaches, and fever. Blue LEDs have been proven to have powerful antibacterial properties that have the ability to kill acne-causing bacteria,and prevent and treat mild to moderate acne. It also purifies the skin, stabilizes oil glands, and soothes inflammation. Blue wavelengths are recommended by Dermatologists for acne. In addition to Emerson WorldWide Blue 9 LED device, other models have blue lights available in the switchable model.
Amber/Yellow light wavelengths, 590 nm, help speed the healing of burns and sunburns. reducing skin redness, giving the skin a youthful glow, stimulating the production of red blood cells for skin healing and revitalizing, calming swelling and inflammation, decreasing the look of visible blood vessels and even minimizing the damage of burns. They help calm swelling and redness associated with rosacea and postchemical facial treatments.
The orange light is considered a rejuvenating color. It can help with muscle cramps and boosts energy in the lungs and stomach.
Green diodes, 574 nm, are primarily used to improve pigmentation that has been caused by the sun and to restore similar damages.
Depth of penetration is defined as the depth at which 60% of the light is absorbed by the tissue, while 40% of the light will continue to be absorbed in a manner that is less fully understood. Treating points with light can have a dramatic effect on remote and internal areas of the body through the stimulation of nerves, acupuncture and trigger points that perform function not unlike transmission cables.
Why Use LEDS?
Our Light Therapy products use Light Emitting Diodes (LED) instead of Lasers. Lasers have a focused beam (as used for eye surgery) that produces a narrow bandwidth of radiation that generates the light. The laser light is called “coherent” because the light waves are “in step” with each other, which is called coherence. Picture the laser lights as a single column penetrating to a specific point within the target area. LEDs produce a diffuse and uniform light that penetrates deeply into the skin, causing photostimulation, which rejuvenates the epidermal cells. Unlike true lasers, LED light devices do not heat the skin and can cover a larger area of skin in one treatment. The LEDs in our products are non-coherent which is electromagnetic radiant energy not all of the same phase (not in a column, but an array), and can consist of various wavelengths. Lasers and Infrared LEDs have different wavelength configuration, but they both disburse in the body when the light enters. The difference is in the wavelength and the density of the energy. The LED array reaches a larger surface area.
The laser actually delivers substantially less energy per unit of time because of the duty cycle of the LED. The LED’s duty cycle is 2.5 million times longer than a laser of comparable wavelength. Lasers are also expensive to produce. Because lasers were used in early research, we see names such as low-level laser, infrared laser, cold laser, low level light laser, and low power laser where we read about photon therapy. The term laser therapy is not all together appropriate for the photon therapy used today. Remember what is important is the type of energy produced which creates the biological effect. Bear in mind it is the interaction of light photons and molecules within the cell that creates cellular activity.
LED’s will penetrate just as deep as a laser. Once the laser enters the skin it is no longer a columated beam of light so it does the same as the LED’s except the LED’s have a wider viewing angle and cover a larger area than a single laser beam. Most lasers produce a brilliant visible red light. The can be large and expensive. Most popular tools available today do not require this type of brilliant light emitting equipment, but use semi-conductor diodes. Our light emitting diodes are less expensive and tiny, by comparison. They are also extremely safe. Many proponents of lasers say that light must be coherent. While this may be a controversial question to some, remember living tissue has its own coherency factor. This coherency factor is much higher than that of the light therapy. We believe this cancels the coherency factor of the incoming light. This light then becomes scattered. If the coherency is lost when it passes through the first layer of tissue, then the distinctive such as the nerves, muscles, blood, and or connective tissues absorb light which are non-coherent.
Basically,the tissue at this point does not know if the light was emitted from a coherent or incoherent source.
To quote David Olszewski from the book Light Years Ahead “LED’s are increasingly replacing cold lasers, as they demonstrate comparable effectiveness without the laser’s side effects. There is concern with the use of even soft lasers in terms of potential harm around negative side effects. They can be harmful if overused or if they come in contact with the eyes.” He also is stated as follows, “LEDs give a larger light dispersion beam and allow a greater margin of error in locating and activating the acupuncture point.”
In his paper, Laser Therapy: Infrared Photo Energy May Reduce Neuropathic Pain, by Thomas J. Burke, PhD, he states that diabetic neuropathy is a common health problem today which often poses a variety of clinical challenges. Dr. Thomas J. Burke reports on the results of a study utilizing phototherapy (non-coherent light therapy) on patients with neuropathies. There is a rapidly increasing body of evidence that is demonstrating the clinical value of using non laser light therapy for a wide variety of painful conditions.
The studies of LED therapy by NASA states: “Lasers, however, have some inherent characteristics that make their use in a clinical setting problematic, such as limitations in wavelength capabilities and beam width. The combined wavelengths of light optimal for wound healing cannot be efficiently produced, and the size of wounds that may be treated by lasers is limited. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) offer an effective alternative to lasers. These diodes can be made to produce multiple wavelengths, and can be arranged in large, flat arrays allowing treatment of large wounds. Potential benefits to NASA, military, and civilian populations, include treatment of serious burns, crush injuries, non-healing fractures, muscle and bone atrophy, traumatic ischemic wounds, radiation tissue damage, compromised skin grafts, and tissue regeneration.”
LASER LIGHT VS LIGHT EMITTING DIODES (LED)
When this therapy reached the U.S. and Canada, both lasers and light-emitting diodes at 660 nanometers were being used. The LED diffuses; the single frequency laser does not. With this diffusion, the cell can actually be in control of the treatment and shut off the molecules when it was done. But with the laser, the cells are no longer in control; the doctor or the practitioner applying the laser is in control. If he does it too long or with too much strength, you would not only heal the tissue, but you would start a deterioration again. So basically, the use of light-emitting diodes eliminated the draw back of lasers, and light could be applied into such sensitive areas as the eyes and around the face.
LEDs allowed this whole area to blossom into a much larger usage by average people in their homes. Tiina Karu, Ph.D. of the Laser Technology Center in Russia, and affiliated with the University of California at Berkely, probably the top researcher in the world on the use of lasers and light emitting diodes published a study in Health and Physics Digest called “Photobiological Effects of Lasers” which discusses photobiological stimulation without laser light. The article explains that you can do laser treatment without using laser light, by using light emitting diodes(LEDss) which are much safer. Since the cells are basically in control of the process, there is no way to overuse light.
Definitions of commonly used terms used in connection with the use of light therapy devices.
1. Visible Light: light that is within the visible spectrum, 400nm (violet) to 700nm (red)
2. Infrared Light: light in the invisible spectrum below red, from 700nm to 2,000nm
3. Polychromatic: lights that are more than one color or wavelength of light
4. Monochromatic: light that is of one color, or one wavelength
5. Nanometer (nm): a unit of measure of wavelength of light (one billionth of a meter)
6. Nanosecond: one billionth of a second
7. Joule (J): unit used to measure the energy delivered
8. Watts 🙁 w) and Milliwatt (mw): units used to measure the power capability. Milliwatt is 1/1000th of a watt.
9. Peak power output: the maximum output of power, measured in milliwatts and watts
10. Average power: amount of power actually delivered in a given time
Is it safe?
Medical Infrared Light Emitting Diodes (LEDS) are so safe, in fact, that the FDA has given the technology the clearance for human infrared therapy. There are no known side effects to this treatment. Patients who are pregnant or who might be pregnant, and patients with active malignancy (cancer) should avoid this therapy.
Read the studies of LED therapy by NASA. “Long term space flight, with its many inherent risks, also raises the possibility of astronauts being injured performing their required tasks. The fact that the normal healing process is negatively affected by microgravity requires novel approaches to improve wound healing and tissue
growth in space. NASA LED arrays have already flown on Space Shuttle missions for studies of plant growth and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared human trials.”
So Many Models, How Do I Choose Right One for Me?
It is important to note that all the models have medical LEDs and work the same, and the wavelengths on each model penetrate the same depth. What causes the Price Differences? * The number of Light Emitting Diodes(LEDs) in each unit * The configuration/shape of the model (Hand-Helds are smaller, some are portable, etc) * The size of the treatment area (Wraps,Pads for larger areas,and hands free) You can determine how much pain area you need to treat at one time and how much cost you want to spend.Less LEDs, less treatment area, the unit must be moved around more, taking more time to treat your problem area. In other words, the outcome will be the same–pain relief, healing–but NUMBER of LEDs shooting into your area at one time is what is different.
Medical Disclaimer: Devices and services offered at Emerson Worldwide, are not substitutes for regular medical care, for medical assistance and treatment, see your medical doctor, or alternate health care professional. Emerson WorldWide’s products are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease.