What is Photobiomodulation?
Photo- meaning photons or light particles; bio- meaning organic life; modulation- meaning to regulate. So in essence, PBM therapy is the means of regulating organic matter through the use of light particles.
Think of how we as humans absorb sunlight and that generates cellular changes such as Vitamin D production and the release of serotonin. PBM uses the red (660nm) and near-infrared (830-840nm) light of the spectrum to stimulate a cellular response without the harmful effects of UV or thermal heating.
But what are the cellular changes that we see? Inside in our body, within each of our cells are mitochondria. These are the powerhouses that provide energy for our cells to conduct their pre-programmed tasks. In states of tissue trauma, the cells can become less efficient in their energy production, therefore such tasks as healing damaged tissue and regulating inflammation become somewhat impeded. PBM assists in stimulating energy production within the cells, signalling for immune cells to migrate to the area and also reduces the pro-inflammatory markers.
Other effects of PBM include:
Analgesia (by temporarily inhibiting transmission from pain receptors to the nervous system)
Provide structural framework for repair by synthesising and laying down collagen
Increase macrophage activity
Increase Chondrocyte and Osteocyte activity - the 2 cells responsible for new cartilage and bone formation
Re-establish sensory and motor impulses by increasing Schwann cell activity thus regenerating peripheral nerve tissue.
How is it used?
Photobiomodulation therapy is highly effective in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, arthritis, sports injuries, wound healing and a wide range of dermatological conditions. BioFlex Therapy Systems are currently being used in over 50 countries by a broad spectrum of healthcare professionals including physicians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, naturopaths, dentists, veterinarians, athletic trainers, etc.
Photobiomodulation therapy represents the first advance in rehabilitation science since the introduction of ultrasound, interferential current, tens, etc. and is rapidly replacing those modalities. Moreover, it provides treatment alternatives for patients that have not responded to conventional treatments and can be administered without risk in the treatment of many disease entities.
Generally it obviates the need for pharmaceutical solutions and frequently makes surgical interventions redundant.
How long does a treatment take?
Treatments are typically thirty minutes to one hour in duration depending on the nature and chronicity of the condition being treated. Your therapist will discuss with you your treatment plan at your initial consult.
How many treatments are required?
The number of treatments will depend on the chronicity and the extent of the pathology involved. Based on the genetic makeup of the cells, an individual’s response to PBM will vary to some degree. A recent clinical review, including 1,000 consecutively treated patients, reveals the average number of treatments to be 9.4. Your therapist will discuss with you a treatment plan at your initial consult.
Are there any side effects?
Unlike most pharmaceutical solutions and other therapeutic options, PBM is non-toxic, non-invasive and in over one million individual treatments, no signicant adverse effects have been noted. You may however, experience an exacerbation of symptoms and fatigue following treatment due to high sensitivity tissue response. This is mild and self-limiting to less than 24 hours post treatment.