About LED Light Therapy

Light, as a form of energy, has been shown to have powerful therapeutic benefits for living organisms.  Different wavelengths stimulate biological effects in diverse tissues and cell types according to the unique light absorption qualities of their proteins.  

Light energy, in wavelengths from about 640nm to 900nm (far red to near infrared), penetrates the body and stimulates the cellular production of Adenosine-Tri-Phosphate (ATP). ATP is a coenzyme that transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism.  Energetic cells promote repair/healing in living tissues.

Red light wavelengths penetrate living tissue to a depth of about 8-10 mm (3/8”) and are very beneficial in treating surface wounds, cuts, scars, and infections. Infrared light wavelengths penetrate to a depth of about 30-40 mm (1.5”) which makes light therapy effective for treating of bones, joints, and deeper muscle and connective tissues. Far red and near infrared light waves penetrate tissue because they are not blocked by blood or water in the body as much as other wavelengths. Wavelengths shorter than 630nm are blocked by the hemoglobin in blood and wavelengths longer than 900nm are blocked by the water in skin and tissue.

Light therapy is a natural source of energy, in the same way that sound therapy (ultrasound / lithotripsy) has proven to be a safe, effective and non-invasive method of directing energy waves into the body for a therapeutic benefit.

This process is called Photo-Biostimulation: the conversion of light energy to cellular energy.  The light therapy device we use for this purpose is called HealthLight.


About HealthLight (HL):

HealthLight (HL) provides safe and effective light therapy for a range of health conditions. HL light therapy uses an array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) imbedded into treatment pads connected to a programmable controller to deliver FDA approved power levels for light therapy. The efficiency of HL light therapy to pulse through the full spectrum of Nogier frequencies in the therapeutic far red and near infrared wavelengths cannot be matched by cold laser or other light therapy devices.


The effect of light therapy on living tissue is mainly determined by the properties of wavelength (nm), power (mW/cm2 or Joules), light source (sunlight, laser, LED), and pulsed frequency (Hz).

  •  Wavelength: HL emits electromagnetic energy in the far red and near infrared wavelengths of 650nm-880nm, which has been shown to be the most therapeutically beneficial range of light therapy.
  •  Power: The HL light pad has 90 diodes over a surface area of 15 sq. inches which delivers 72mW/cm2 (power per unit of area) near infrared energy and 5mW/cm2 far red energy, or 1 joule/52 seconds (energy per unit of time) of light therapy.
  •  Light source: Sunlight reaching the earth’s surface mainly consists of the ultra-violet, visible light, and infra-red spectrums. For most therapeutic purposes, due to known damaging effects from over-exposure, the ultra-violet wavelengths and the medium to far infra-red wavelengths are not indicated.  Lasers use focused (collimated) and amplified light to deliver a very high amount of energy in a short period of time. LED light therapy typically emits far red and near infrared uncollimated, naturally diffuse light in wavelengths known to have therapeutic benefits.  Therefore, HL LED light therapy is a natural application of the most beneficial qualities of light electromagnetic energy to promote health in the human body.
  •  Pulsed frequency: Generally, lower frequencies are used for stimulation (healing response) and higher frequencies are used for sedation (pain control).  Specifically, the French neurologist Paul Nogier, MD identified certain frequencies that resonate with body tissue types according to their embryologic origin (ectoderm, endoderm, mesoderm). This allows HL light therapy to more precisely target specific tissues with treatment frequencies ranging from 73 Hz to 4698 Hz.


About LED Light Therapy Research:

NASA.gov news release 11/13/03: “Biologists have found that cells exposed to near-infrared light from LEDs, which is energy just outside the visible range, grow 150 to 200 percent faster than cells not stimulated by such light. The light arrays increase energy inside cells that speed up the healing process.”

Rehab Management: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Rehabilitation, January/February 2004: “Light is a form of energy that behaves like a wave and also as a stream of particles called photons. The development of monochromatic light sources with single or a narrow spectra of wavelengths paved the way for studies, which continue to show that appropriate doses and wavelengths of light are therapeutically beneficial in tissue repair and pain control. Evidence indicates that cells absorb photons and transform their energy into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy that cells utilize. The resulting ATP is then used to power metabolic processes; synthesize DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, and other products needed to repair or regenerate cell components; foster mitosis or cell proliferation; and restore homeostasis.”


About LED Light Therapy in Our Office:

LED light therapy has been shown in studies to accelerate healing.  Many of the musculo-skeletal conditions we treat successfully with Active Release Techniques, collectively known as enthesopathies (fascia / tendon / ligament attachment site injuries) are known to be slow healing because connective tissue is thicker, stiffer, and less vascular than muscle tissue.  Therefore, LED light therapy can be helpful for accelerated healing in common conditions such as “tennis elbow” or lateral epicondylitis, “golfer’s elbow” or medial epicondylitis, plantar fasciitis, “runner’s knee” or chondromalacia / patellar tendinitis, “frozen shoulder” or adhesive capsulitis, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, hamstring pulls, strains, and tears, chronic tendinosis or tendinopathies, and rotator cuff syndrome, to name a few.

In particular, conditions affecting the joints of the thumb and fingers and the tendons of the hand and wrist are responsive to LED Light Therapy.  This includes tendonitis, tendinitis, tendonosis, tendinosis, tendonopathy, tendinopathy, tenosynovitis, and De Quervain's Syndrome. Since the joint and tendon structures of the hand are fairly superficial and small in comparison to other body structures they can readily be penetrated and fully absorb the LED light for maximum therapeutic response. 


About FDA Regulation of LED Light Therapy:

HL LED light therapy is a regulation Class II device. Indications for use are to provide temporary relief of minor pain, stiffness and muscle spasm, and temporarily increase local blood circulation.


About Risks of LED Light Therapy:

LED Light therapy is not indicated in cases of pregnancy, malignant skin tumors, or people using medication that produces photosensitivity. Conducted heat due to the temperature increase in the semiconductor junction of the light pad may cause a local increase in skin temperature. No topical lotions should be used during light therapy.  LED light therapy has been regarded safe for eye exposure by a number of studies. LEDs are different from laser diodes and are not subject to the Federal laser product performance standard.


About LED Light Therapy in Chiropractic Practice:

CALIFORNIA BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC EXAMINERS, TITLE 16, Section 302. Practice of Chiropractic: Scope of Practice. As part of a course of chiropractic treatment, a duly licensed chiropractor may use all necessary mechanical hygienic, and sanitary measures incident to the care of the body, including, but not limited to air, cold, diet, exercise, heat, light, massage, physical culture, rest, ultrasound, water and physical therapy techniques in the course of chiropractic manipulations and/or adjustments.