Photobiomodulation for

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a serious accident, war, natural disaster, assault, or other life-threatening events. 

PTSD can have a significant impact on a person's mental well-being and daily life functioning.

People with PTSD may experience symptoms such as intrusive memories or flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of reminders of the event, negative changes in mood or thoughts, and increased arousal or reactivity, including difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

Traditional treatments for PTSD include medication and psychotherapy, but red light therapy for PTSD appears to be a non-invasive alternative.

Although the use of red light therapy for PTSD is a new area of research, these results suggest that light theraoy may be an effective treatment option for individuals with PTSD who have not responded to traditional therapies:

PBM offered a reduction in PTSD symptoms on veterans with PTSD

A randomized controlled trial (Martin et al. 2021) studied the effects of PBM on cognition and PTSD symptoms for Gulf War veterans that were deployed to Kuwait in 1990-1991. Participants were assessed using multiple psychosocial tests before and after a 7.5 week treatment period, where some participants were randomly assigned a sham device.

Veterans who received a sham device treatment showed an initial improvement in PTSD symptoms at week one, but their PTSD symptoms regressed after a month. On the other hand, participants that received active PBM treatments showed a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms at week one post-treatment and symptoms continued to improve after a month. 

PBM can improve cognition in veterans with PTSD and GWI

Another study by Hipskind, S. G. (2019) demonstrated that 48 veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI) saw improvements in cognitive tests and physical health measures after being treated with photobiomodulation.

1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing.

2.Martin, P. I., Chao, L. L., Krengel, M., Ho, M., Yee, M. K., Lew, R. A., Knight, J., Hamblin, M. R., & Naeser, M. A. (2021). Transcranial Photobiomodulation to Improve Cognition in Gulf War Illness. Frontiers in Neurology, 11.

3. Hamblin, M. R. (2018). Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS biophysics, 5(4), 337-361.

4. Naeser MA, Zafonte R, Krengel MH, Martin PI, Frazier J, Hamblin MR, Knight JA, Meehan WP 3rd, Baker EH. Significant improvements in cognitive performance post-transcranial, red/near-infrared light-emitting diode treatments in chronic, mild traumatic brain injury: open-protocol study. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Jun 1;31(11):1008-17. 

5. Hipskind, S. G., Grover, F. L., Jr, Fort, T. R., Helffenstein, D., Burke, T. J., Quint, S. A., Bussiere, G., Stone, M., & Hurtado, T. (2019). Pulsed Transcranial Red/Near-Infrared Light Therapy Using Light-Emitting Diodes Improves Cerebral Blood Flow and Cognitive Function in Veterans with Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Series. Photobiomodulation, photomedicine, and laser surgery, 37(2), 77–84.

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Continue reading below to learn more about photobiomodulation on a cellular level and understand the difference between wavelength and frequency.


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