What Is PBM Light Therapy?

PBM is a non-thermal application of light that penetrates tissues and induces measurable biological effects through the absorption of photons by specific intracellular chromophores. Light absorbed by these chromophores assumes an excited state and can trigger biochemical events at different molecular scales. The most well-studied chromophore is the mitochondrial complex cytochrome c oxidase (CCO), which causes electron transport and oxygen consumption, resulting in increased adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. This increase in ATP can be used for cell repair and survival mechanisms to alleviate oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.

Is photobiomodulation same as laser?

In addition to cellular processes, pbm also activates a variety of pathways that promote tissue healing and regeneration. It accelerates wound healing including cutaneous, vascular and benign pigmented lesions, as well as burns and radiation therapy-induced skin damage. It can decrease inflammation and hyperpigmentation following laser resurfacing, microneedling or chemical peels, and it is often utilized to treat patients with erosive mucositis in oncology.

Several preclinical animal models of retinal disease support the effectiveness of pbm, particularly in reducing AMD and other disorders that involve a compromised retinal endothelium or dysfunctional mitochondria. In a study of mice with aging-induced retinal degeneration, irradiation with 670 nm Pbm light therapy reduced retinal cell death and improved visual acuity. The authors suggested that the PBM-induced reduction in oxidative stress and improved cellular metabolism may be a significant contributing factor to these clinical improvements.

The term “pbm” has also been applied to non-dermatologic applications, such as musculoskeletal and neurologic conditions, neuropathic pain, chronic pelvic pain syndrome and slow-healing ulcers of the foot or leg. In fact, the FDA recently approved a pbm-based device that is designed to relieve chronic musculoskeletal pain by stimulating the production of nitric oxide in the body, which can help improve blood flow to the area and reduce inflammation.

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