Photobiomodulation

Photobiomodulation involves the absorption of photons by the mitochondria within neurons and glia, resulting in an improvement in brain bioenergetics and a decrease in inflammatory factors. It is helpful for clients with traumatic head injuries, chronic stress, chronic fatigue, and aging.

What to Expect

We use Vielight’s Neuro Gamma to administer these photobiomodulation sessions. The device is a headset with four lasers on the scalp and a fifth intranasal laser. Typically, clients sit in our waiting area and read or listen to music during this 20-minute session. It is recommended to use the device every other day.  Clinical trials have been based on use over 12 weeks, or 36 sessions.

Clients who would like the convenience of using this unit at home can purchase one through Vielight. By using code “BHNW”, a 10% discount will be applied.

Photobiomodulation involves the absorption of photons by the mitochondria within neurons and glia, resulting in an improvement in brain bioenergetics and a decrease in inflammatory factors. It is helpful for clients with traumatic head injuries, chronic stress, chronic fatigue, and aging.

What to Expect

We use Vielight’s Neuro Gamma to administer these photobiomodulation sessions. The device is a headset with four lasers on the scalp and a fifth intranasal laser. Typically, clients sit in our waiting area and read or listen to music during this 20-minute session. It is recommended to use the device every other day.  Clinical trials have been based on use over 12 weeks, or 36 sessions.

Clients who would like the convenience of using this unit at home can purchase one through Vielight. By using code “BHNW”, a 10% discount will be applied.

Impact on Brain

Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells. Near-infrared light stimulates mitochondrial respiration by donating photons to an enzyme called cytochrome oxidase. This energetic boost leads to an increased activation, which allows the enzyme to release the coupled nitric oxide that has been inhibiting function. Since the enzymatic reaction catalyzed by cytochrome oxidase is the reduction of oxygen to water, acceleration of cytochrome oxidase activity directly causes an increase in cellular oxygen consumption.

In short, photobiomodulation therapy promotes improvement in brain metabolism via three primary physiological mechanisms.

  • Increased ATP production – increasing cellular metabolism and self-repair.
  • Increased nitric oxide production – increasing local vasodilation to improve blood flow.
  • Increased production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors – lowering inflammation.
There are numerous examples of light induced reactions in biological systems. Vitamin D synthesis in our skin is one familiar example of a photochemical reaction. What is new is that we now understand the wavelength of light (810 nm) that preferentially activates mitochondria, and the optimum intensity that needs to be delivered for sufficient light to reach the brain. If the intensity is too high, the photon energy will be transformed to excessive heat in the target tissue, and that is undesirable. If the power density is too low, prolonging the irradiation time to achieve the ideal energy density will not give an adequate final result.

Additional Reading

Karu T. Primary and secondary mechanisms of action of visible to near-IR radiation on cells. J Photochem Photobiol B 1999;49:1-17.

Wong-Riley MT, Liang HL, Eells JT, Chance B, Henry MM, Buchmann E, Kane M, Whelan HT. Photobiomodulation directly benefits primary neurons functionally inactivated by toxins: role of cytochrome c oxidase. J Biol Chem 2005;280:4761-4771.

Huang YY, Chen AC, Carroll JD, Hamblin MR. Biphasic dose response in low level light therapy. Dose Response 2009;7:358-383.

Huang YY, Gupta A, Vecchio D, de Arce VJ, Huang SF, Xuan W, Hamblin MR. Transcranial low level laser (light) therapy for traumatic brain injury. J Biophotonics 2012;5:827-837.