Photobiomodulation for


Transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) has a wide range of wellness benefits for healthy individuals, including improved cognitive function, reduced inflammation, and enhanced mood.

In this page, we will explore the research behind these benefits and discuss the potential of tPBM for improving overall wellness.

Improved Cognitive Function:
One of the primary benefits of tPBM is improved cognitive function. Several studies have found that tPBM can enhance learning and memory in healthy individuals.The mechanism behind these cognitive benefits is thought to be related to increased blood flow and oxygenation in the brain. tPBM stimulates the mitochondria in brain cells, which produces more ATP, the energy currency of the cell. This increased energy production leads to improved cellular function and enhanced cognitive performance.

Reduced Inflammation:

Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to a range of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. tPBM has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain and other tissues.The mechanism behind these anti-inflammatory effects is thought to be related to the production of nitric oxide. tPBM stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the cells, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Enhanced Mood:
tPBM has also been shown to enhance mood in healthy individuals. The mechanism behind these mood-enhancing effects is thought to be related to increased production of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that are involved in mood regulation. tPBM stimulates the production of these neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to enhanced mood and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Improve Sleep:
tPBM may also enhance sleep quality and duration in individuals with sleep disorders or those who just want to work on improving sleep. One of the proposed mechanisms for PBM's effect on circadian rhythm is its ability to stimulate the production of melatonin, a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland in response to darkness and is suppressed by light exposure.

Another proposed mechanism is PBM's ability to activate specific receptors in the eye that are involved in regulating circadian rhythm. In particular, the melanopsin-containing ganglion cells in the retina are sensitive to light and play a critical role in regulating the circadian rhythm. By stimulating these receptors, PBM may help to reset the circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality.

Check below more studies on PBM for general wellness:

PBM improved memory in a study from 2022

A study by Xiujan et al. (2022) found that tPBM improved memory consolidation,  accuracy rate, and decreased response time in healthy  adults.

PBM enhanced cognition performance in healthy adults

Another study by Blanco et al. (2017) found that tPBM significantly improved cognitive performance and rule-based learning in healthy adults following transcranial infrared laser stimulation, compared to the placebo group.

PBM improved attention in healthy adults

A study by Jahan et al. (2018) tested EEG changes in healthy adults during a tPBM treatment period and their effects on tasks requiring attention. The effect of PBM on the reaction time was significant for the real-treatment group, as shown in EEG recordings. The tPBM treatment also had beneficial effects on attentional performance. 

Multiple studies show that light therapy can improve mood, anxiety, and sleep in healthy adults

A study by Fernandes et al. (2020) found that tPBM has the potential to improve mood and reduced anxiety. By stimulating melatonin production, PBM may help to regulate the circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality (Valverde et al. 2023).

1. Blanco NJ, Saucedo CL, Gonzalez-Lima F. Transcranial infrared laser stimulation improves rule-based, but not information-integration, category learning in humans. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2017 Mar;139:69-75. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2016.12.016. Epub 2016 Dec 27. PMID: 28039085. 

2. Cassano P, Petrie SR, Hamblin MR, Henderson TA, Iosifescu DV. Review of transcranial photobiomodulation for major depressive disorder: targeting brain metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurogenesis. Neurophotonics. 2016 Jul;3(3):031404. doi: 10.1117/1.NPh.3.3.031404. Epub 2016 Mar 4. PMID: 26989758; PMCID: PMC4777909.

3. 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. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3244. Epub 2014 May 8. PMID: 24568233; PMCID: PMC4043367. 

4. Schiffer F, Johnston AL, Ravichandran C, Polcari A, Teicher MH, Webb RH, Hamblin MR. Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety. Behav Brain Funct. 2009 Dec 8;5:46. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-5-46. PMID: 19995444; PMCID: PMC2796659. 

5. Jahan, Ali et al. “Transcranial Near-Infrared Photobiomodulation Could Modulate Brain Electrophysiological Features and Attentional Performance in Healthy Young Adults.” Lasers in medical science 34.6 (2019): 1193–1200. Web. 

6.  Qu, Xiujuan et al. “Repeated Transcranial Photobiomodulation Improves Working Memory of Healthy Older Adults: Behavioral Outcomes of Poststimulation Including a Three-Week Follow-Up.” Neurophotonics (Print) 9.3 (2022): 035005–035005. Web. 

7. Valverde A, Hamilton C, Moro C, Billeres M, Magistretti P, Mitrofanis J. Lights at night: does photobiomodulation improve sleep? Neural Regen Res. 2023 Mar;18(3):474-477. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.350191. PMID: 36018149; PMCID: PMC9727457.

8. Fernandes MP, Vidal CL, de Oliveira TT, Botelho AL, Valente MLDC, Dos Reis AC. Effects of photobiomodulation on auriculotherapy points for sleep disorders, anxiety, and temporomandibular dysfunctions. Cranio. 2020 Dec 7:1-6. doi: 10.1080/08869634.2020.1853896. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33287687. 

9. Semyachkina-Glushkovskaya O, Fedosov I, Penzel T, Li D, Yu T, Telnova V, Kaybeleva E, Saranceva E, Terskov A, Khorovodov A, Blokhina I, Kurths J, Zhu D. Brain Waste Removal System and Sleep: Photobiomodulation as an Innovative Strategy for Night Therapy of Brain Diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Feb 6;24(4):3221. doi: 10.3390/ijms24043221. PMID: 36834631; PMCID: PMC9965491. 

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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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