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Nobel Prize Winning Science Behind Light Therapy

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

The 1998 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three American scientists for their discoveries concerning “nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system”. Both infrared and red light trigger the release of nitric oxide from blood vessels and red blood cells. Nitric oxide causes local vasodilation that lasts several hours after the therapy session has ended. Vasodilation improves blood flow which relieves pain and helps nerves to begin to carry sensations again.

Vasodilation Increases Blood Flow

There are two main factors to maximize the benefits of light therapy: the wavelength and intensity of light energy. While most devices have red lights, our devices contain both red and infrared lights. During treatment, the photons of light trigger the release of nitric oxide from hemoglobin and endothelial cells (the lining of blood vessels). Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that relaxes smooth muscle cells found in the arteries, veins, and lymph vessels. When these muscles relax, the vessels dilate, thus allowing increased blood flow. Many scientific studies have shown that light therapy is effective in improving nerve health. It works by increasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate -cellular energy) synthesis in the mitochondria, activating the electron transport system, and many other biochemical and biophysical reactions in the tissue.

Infrared light therapy to relieve pain and improve circulation is based on decades of research that found that certain wavelengths of light within the red and infrared bands were very beneficial to living tissue.

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