What is Photobiomodulation?
2017 Nov 27 By Shelley Whittington 2 comment

Not Just Terminology

Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT)  is the safe non-thermal use of focused and isolated light-waves applied near or against the skin to create changes in the cells, causing reactions to damaged and diseased tissues to begin healing, triggering increased circulation, and reduced inflammation and pain. Photobiomodulation allows for accelerated return to normal cellular function and has been found to enhance performance in normal tissues and cells as well.

As of 2016, the term Photobiomodulation was added to the National Library of Medicine’s controlled vocabulary thesaurus in response to the lack of consistency, and consensus, within the therapy with light (lasers) terminology, and the need to better incorporate newer safer technology.

Previous terminology for therapy with light included low-level laser (or light) therapy(LLLT), cold-laser, biostimulation, and Photobiostimulation. Terminology was vague and not accurate. Improvements to devices, including Super-Pulsing, has eliminated the by-product of heat, enabling  double-blind studies to be done, and allowing specific knowledge as how light effects the cells and, which wave-lengths penetrate to the depth that is required for a specific treatment.

This breakthrough in technology has allowed many photobiomodulation therapy devices to achieve the safest classification of Laser safety with the FDA,  (Class 1) while eliminating those devices that are dangerous due to the capability of burns, blindness and radiation exposure(Class 4). Distributors and manufactures of high power Low Light Laser Therapy devices (Class 4 ) are often heard promoting their devices as more powerful and therefore better. This, however is not the truth. Class 4 units produce heat and therefore are not considered PBM units, While the Super pulsing of Class one units, gives them equal or greater ability to reach deep into tissues where healing is needed.

FDA classification is based solely on how safe any light therapy unit is, with a Class 1 listed as the safest, and a Class 4 the most dangerous, with the ability to cause burns and cellular damage. FDA Classification DOES NOT indicate or determine how each unit works or how effective it is at healing tissue, reducing inflammation or relieving pain . Each manufacturer is responsible for providing comprehensive studies  that reflect how their unit works. Class 4 and most class 3 units should only be used by experienced professionals in their field.

Photobiomodulation units may or may not include a laser. Some units  that are specific for certain uses, like growing hair, use LED lights only, while medical grade Super-Pulsed units used by sports teams, veterinarians and chiropractors,  for pain and injuries, and  are available to the public, use a combination of light waves that include a laser, ultra bright infrared and red LEDs along with a magnetic field.

Super Pulsed: The Game Changer for Power without Heat

PainAway PostOp™ by MultiRadiance Medical, is a cordless, ultra-portable laser therapy system. It consists of a multi-wavelength, synchronous multi-light source PBM device that incorporates a Super Pulsed Laser (GaAs 905 nm), and ultra-bright infrared and red LEDs (875 nm and 640 nm) with a mean output of power of 133 mW. The combined wavelengths of the light “core” optimize the biological effects of the entire phototherapeutic window to accelerate recovery and reduce pain.

MultiRadiance Medical’s proprietary  Super Pulsed technology is one of the advancements that have allowed this equipment to become safe, studied and understood.  With the pulsing lights working in a proprietary  algorithm of billionth-of-a-second pulses, and interacting with the frequencies of the wavelengths to create the ability  to penetrate the skin barrier and send the light energy where it is needed most. A static magnetic field enhances the bodies potential to absorb energy. The Super Pulsing in the Multi Radiance Medical units, eliminates heat and has allowed these units to be graded as a safe Class 1 unit, yet powerful enough that they are being used in medical practices all across the world.

The Bottom Line

Photobiomodulation  is a non thermal process (no heat is produced) that has been approved for OTC use by the FDA (The Premarket Notification / 510(k) process) as adjunctive devices for the temporary relief of pain. These clearances were based on the presentation of clinical data, studies and research to support such claims.

Depending on what you need a Photobiomodulation unit (PBM or PBMT) for, a good place to start  is with The American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, Inc.

All  light is good light, but not all light will give you the results you are looking for, as different wavelengths travel at different frequencies, reaching different depths, and giving  you different results. It is important to do your research, look at wavelengths that are being used and see what results have been proven, and don’t compare apples to oranges.  Make sure that any unit your are interested in has done their own research and can answer your questions.

It is a complicated task for light / laser devices to get FDA approval for their units, and those who claim results for their product, by citing others research are often not credible.  Many of the more innovative devices have also gone to great lengths to have their technology patented, which means copycats will be trying to capture sales, so please be careful.

Personally, I believe in research. I believe in Science and facts, and if the manufactures are unable to back up their claims.. I move on..

Light is the answer. We would not be on this earth if it were not for light. We have become far to removed from our roots and from the mother earth that provides for us.   Please spread the word of healing light and speak up for the lost and wandering on our planet when ever you can.



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2 thoughts on “What is Photobiomodulation?

    1. HI Jean, Multi Radiance Medical Laser technology is amazing, and scientifically proven medical devices. how do you currently use your light units? What can I tell you about the My Pet Laser or Pain Away?

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