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Brain Photobiomodulation in San Jose CA

What is Brain Photobiomodulation? 

The brain is the most important and complex human organ. Within every brain cell are mitochondria, which are best understood as energy-producing “powerhouses” or “batteries”. Through biochemical reactions, the mitochondria create fuel for brain cells.

Your brain’s mitochondrial performance can be improved by absorbing light energy (photons) of specific wavelengths. This process is called photobiomodulation (PBM). Scientific research shows our brain’s mitochondria respond positively to light energy within the NIR wavelength range.

Thor Brain Photobiomodulation

Why near infrared light energy for brain photobiomodulation?

The optical window is the range in the electromagnetic spectrum where light has a maximum depth of penetration in tissue. This is because the optical window is defined by the absorption of photons by blood at the shorter wavelengths and by water at the longer wavelengths. NIR light energy, within the optical window, also derives the greatest mitochondrial response out of the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

In particular, visible light (wavelength 400 to 700 nm) is substantially absorbed by hemoglobin and other organic matter. On the other hand, absorption by water increases at wavelengths longer than near infrared light (1000+nm). This implies that wavelengths outside of the near-infrared window cannot penetrate deeply through tissue.

We chose the 810nm wavelength because it has the lowest absorbance by hemoglobin and water – maximizing penetration through the cranium and into the brain.

Example of 1000+nm infrared light energy absorbance: When you hold your hand out to a burning fire you feel heat being emitted by the fire. What is happening? The fire emits infrared radiation, which the water molecules absorb in your skin. Then, this is perceived as heat because the nerves in your skin detect the raised temperature.

Brain Photobiomodulation (PBM) is an exciting new area of research showing tremendous promise for a wide range of conditions associated with brain dysfunction.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) uses red and near-infrared wavelengths of light, which can penetrate the skull when applied with the right amount of power at a close distance. PBM is very safe, with no negative side effects or contraindications. Red and near-infrared light applied to tissue where there is degeneration or injury, has the ability to improve repair and reduce inflammation and pain, by stimulating mitochondria to produce more cellular energy (ATP).

There is a notable lack of therapeutic alternatives for what is fast becoming a global epidemic of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Photobiomodulation (PBM) can stimulate healing, protect tissue from dying, increase mitochondrial function, improve blood flow and tissue oxygenation, and many people are finally getting relief from symptoms that they have just “learned to deal with”.

“Near infrared light can penetrate quite deep into the body. So, if you shine it on your head, it will penetrate your skull and a lot of it is absorbed by your brain. Once you understand this, it’s amazing to think of the various diseases of the brain that need regeneration and healing, which could potentially be treated with light therapy.”

Dr. Michael Hamblin, MD, Harvard Medical School and Principal Investigator at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine

Therapeutic Outcomes of Brain Photobiomodulation

  • CCO upregulation The absorption of red to NIR photons by mitochondria CCO triggers a series of cellular and physiological effects occur in the brain, also known as CCO upregulation.

  • Metabolic effects and brain oxygenation The metabolic effects of PBM in the elderly have been shown to increase cerebral blood flow (CBF) due to the increase in CCO activity, leading to an increase in brain oxygenation. Photobiomodulation of the prefrontal cortex was able to increase the resting-state EEG alpha, beta and gamma power, and more efficient prefrontal fMRI response, facilitating cognitive processing in the elderly.

  • Brain PBM and anti-inflammatory effects In addition to the above findings, PBM may be a promising strategy for improving aging brains because of its anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Brain PBM leads to a reduction in neuronal excitotoxicity  PBM balances excitatory stimulation with inhibition, indicating that PBM may reduce excitotoxicity which is relevant to the maintenance of a healthy brain. 

  • Brain PBM increases cerebral vascularity and oxygenation Aging is accompanied by changes in tissue structure, often resulting in functional decline. The blood vessels within the brain are no exception. As one ages, a decrease in blood flow to the brain is caused by a loss of cerebral vascularity, leading to cognitive decline when neurons cannot obtain sufficient oxygen. Brain photobiomodulation has also been shown to increase cerebral blood flow due to the vasodilation that occurs after the release of nitric oxide.

Brain Photobiomodulation Can Be Helpful For The Following Symptoms 

  • Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

  • Cognitive Function/Memory & Focus

  • Neurodegenerative Conditions (Parkinson’s, etc)

  • Depression, Anxiety and Mood Disorders

  • Brain Fog

  • Migraines – Headaches

  • Stroke Recovery

  • Cognitive Enhancement and Preventative Health


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