Light Therapy Research – The Brain

A collection of light therapy research articles on how light therapy affects the brain.

NOTE: Researchers use several terms to describe “light therapy”. Photobiomodulation, low level light therapy (LLLT), phototherapy, photon therapy, photo energy, heliotherapy, and sometimes red, blue or (near)infrared radiation are synonymous; they all refer to light therapy.


Photobiomodulation and the brain: a new paradigm.

June 19, 2017

This study focused on treating Traumatic Brain Injury with LLLT. It found that after treatment, mice with TBI had improved memory & learning, increased neuroprogenitor cells, and multiple highly beneficial effects on the brain, indicating that LLLT applications are much broader than originally thought.

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Low level light therapy helps protect cortical brain cells

Light therapy (infrared wavelength at 810 nm) has shown benefits for a wide variety of neurological conditions, like strokes, TBI’s, neurodegenerative diseases, and even spinal cord injuries. This study may explain how this therapy can have such a diverse application, as researchers noted that the localized light application to the cortical region of the brain, produced a very significant increase in ATP. It was also found in these regions that there was a raising mitochondrial membrane potential, reducing intracellular calcium concentrations, reducing oxidative stress and reducing nitric oxide levels. These changes that were found are associated with protecting the brain cells from excitotoxicity (which is normally seen following brain injuries or in neurodegenerative disorders, and even in spinal cord injuries).

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Brain stimulation with low level light therapy

Many studies have clearly demonstrated benefits of trans-cranial application of low level light therapy (red and infrared wavelengths). This article goes over the main mechanisms involved which is based on photon energy absorption of cytochrome oxidase (a photoreceptor) Once these high energy photons transfer their energy to the these photreceptors of the brain, now allowing for cognitive enhancement and higher-order brain functioning. In addition, this energetic transference from these high energy light particles allows for neuroprotection, which can explain many previous studies on the benefits of light therapy for neurological conditions.

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Light therapy shown to penetrate through skull

This study demonstrated that infrared and red light clearly penetrated through the skull and exerted its positive benefits directly on the brain tissue.

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