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LLLT (Low-Level Laser Therapy)

lllt low level laser therapy

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#1 OpaqueMind

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 02:33 PM

Props to Lostfalco for bringing this to our attention! This is a divergence from the original thread in which he brought it up which can be found here. I thought it would be worthwhile making a new thread for this topic as a) I don't want to clog up his other one with too much laser stuff and b) I can see this taking off in the future. This thread will be concerned with anything and everything LLLT, studies, anecdotes, experiences etc...

Here is a short description of the therapy and it's potential uses in the context of the brain

Low level laser (or light) therapy (LLLT) has been clinically applied for many indications in medicine that require the following processes: protection from cell and tissue death, stimulation of healing and repair of injuries, and reduction of pain, swelling and inflammation. One area that is attracting growing interest is the use of transcranial LLLT to treat stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The fact that near-infrared light can penetrate into the brain would allow non-invasive treatment to be carried out with a low likelihood of treatment-related adverse events. LLLT may have beneficial effects in the acute treatment of brain damage injury by increasing respiration in the mitochondria, causing activation of transcription factors, reducing key inflammatory mediators, and inhibiting apoptosis.

Though only TBI patients are mentioned here, it has been also trialled and found beneficial in healthy individuals. Through lostfalco's experimentation it has been established that the vetrolaser is an effective laser to use for these purposes. However this thing is pretty damn expensive, and there are currently efforts to find and use cheaper alternatives. Naturally this is undertaken at the user's discretion, and hopefully a safe, cheap and effective model will be found (without any brains/wallets being fried in the process).

There are quite a few good studies out there, which I can't find right now.. But here are a few of interest.. If you guys find any feel free to link them here :)


We gave one 8-minute treatment with NIR-PBM to 10 patients with major depression, including 7 with a history of substance abuse (6 with a past history of opiate abuse and one with a past history of alcoholism), and 9 with an anxiety disorder, including 3 with PTSD. We found significant reductions in both mean HAM-D and HAM-A rating at 2 and 4 weeks following treatment. At 2-weeks post treatment 6 of 10 of patients had a remission (a score ≤ 10) on the HAM-D and 7 of 10 on the HAM-A. We observed no side effects. This small feasibility study suggests that follow-up double blind randomized placebo-controlled trials of NIR-PBM for the treatment of psychological disorders are indicated.


Low-level light therapy improves cortical metabolic capacity and memory retention.

Rojas JC, Bruchey AK, Gonzalez-Lima F.


Department of Psychology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.


Cerebral hypometabolism characterizes mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Low-level light therapy (LLLT) enhances the metabolic capacity of neurons in culture through photostimulation of cytochrome oxidase, the mitochondrial enzyme that catalyzes oxygen consumption in cellular respiration. Growing evidence supports that neuronal metabolic enhancement by LLLT positively impacts neuronal function in vitro and in vivo. Based on its effects on energy metabolism, it is proposed that LLLT will also affect the cerebral cortex in vivo and modulate higher-order cognitive functions such as memory. In vivo effects of LLLT on brain and behavior are poorly characterized. We tested the hypothesis that in vivo LLLT facilitates cortical oxygenation and metabolic energy capacity and thereby improves memory retention. Specifically, we tested this hypothesis in rats using fear extinction memory, a form of memory modulated by prefrontal cortex activation. Effects of LLLT on brain metabolism were determined through measurement of prefrontal cortex oxygen concentration with fluorescent quenching oximetry and by quantitative cytochrome oxidase histochemistry. Experiment 1 verified that LLLT increased the rate of oxygen consumption in the prefrontal cortex in vivo. Experiment 2 showed that LLLT-treated rats had an enhanced extinction memory as compared to controls. Experiment 3 showed that LLLT reduced fear renewal and prevented the reemergence of extinguished conditioned fear responses. Experiment 4 showed that LLLT induced hormetic dose-response effects on the metabolic capacity of the prefrontal cortex. These data suggest that LLLT can enhance cortical metabolic capacity and retention of extinction memories, and implicate LLLT as a novel intervention to improve memory.

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#2 macropsia

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 12:53 AM

I'm sure this has been discussed somewhere, but I'm only about half-way through the relevant Falcothread and am presently a little lacking in stamina and patience:

In terms of effect, how does the vetrolaser (808 nm) compare to the LED array (850 nm) mentioned on Lostfalco's profile? If someone could direct me to the relevant (part of the) discussion I would be most obliged.

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#3 Balfi

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:29 PM

Same here.


#4 Lobotomy

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:31 PM

This is one of those things that I'm interested in, but seems really, really hokey. Like meditation.

Edited by Lobotomy, 27 June 2014 - 10:32 PM.

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#5 OpaqueMind

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 12:37 AM

You're entitled to your skepticism, but I'd advise against it if it is not counterbalanced with openness. The mechanisms of LLLT have been thoroughly sketched out and are deeply understood; basically it upregulates a specific part of the mitochondrial energy production chain, which has all sorts of positive downstream effects. The wavelengths that we're working with (IIRC it was around 808nm) resonate with the optimal frequency of these parts of the metabolic machinery and thereby impart energy to them, in the same way that the chlorophyll in plants absorbs certain wavelengths of sunlight which is then used in all sorts of biochemical processes. There are also man positive reported user experiences which confirm the effectiveness, and it's quite cheap (at least the LEDs are)... so it could be worth a try?


Also I have to step in and defend meditation here, it is supremely powerful stuff when done correctly and practice is maintained over time. As far as how it works, I believe that part of the reason it works is that it integrates the cortical feedback loops which drive perception/action and all the mental structures which mediate the two, like judgement, emotion, memory etc. The constant 'doing' that many people's lives have become, the constantly falling ahead of ourselves, can literally fragment the mind into disparate pools of data-processing wherein one part of the mind is working on this, another on that, another on something else. We only realise the chaos of our common state when we come to attempt to rest in the stillness that is the natural state of the mind, when it is unperturbed by the ensnarings of our emotional investments, be they paying bills, chasing tail, climbing corporate ladders or a whole bunch of other things. Many people's entire lives consist in running away from the only moment they ever inhabit. As we can see by the experience of the mind coming to rest in stillness when we disidentify with all things passing through the mind, this mind naturally wants to integrate with itself, as is the way the wider universe functions - it is in some ways a giant harmonic oscillator (and brains, especailly human brains, are a special case of these, wherein oscillations get magnified massively).


As I understand it, almost all connections in the brain compose feedback loops of one sort or another, which is to say, information travels in both directions simultaneously, so cognitive processes adjust and align themselves in relation to one another. A highly important collection of these feedback loops can be found leading to and from the prefrontal cortex, which is densely interconnected to almost the entire brain. It is the master regulator, the editor of the newspaper, the harmoniser of inputs. In long-time meditators this area has been shown to be up to 50% more active (via IIRC blood perfusion analysis, which relates to metabolic rate), so we can reasonably assume that training in meditation increases prefrontal activation in a graded manner. My idea about the unification of feedback loops relates to the repeated observations of the synchronisation of the entire EEG spectrum by long-term meditators in state. When cortical firings are synchronised in a controlled manner, this represents increased information tranfer within and between regions, but also, crucially, increased feedback between regions. If you didn't have such tight feedback, the waves would be more chaotic as information wouldn't ripple as evenly throughout the network, as neighbouring neurons (which nest at progressively higher levels into clusters, hubs, systems etc) are constantly constraining and synchronising each others actions by feeding information back to one another. When this doesn't happen so effectively, when too many or integral feedback loops get closed off or severed all together, we see strange things happen, like obsessive-compulsive thoughts and actions, extreme emotions which aren't called for in a situation (think Bipolar disorder), paranoia/paranoid delusions, endless rumination, stuck emotions, inability to learn from experience, self-delusion and many many more psychological problems. Here we see that information is going one way, but it's not getting integrated contextually, so for example, someone prone to panic attacks may feel really nervous for a very small reason, such as strange light in this room... a reaction is triggered which in a healthy brain ie a highly integrated, optimally feedback looping brain, if it occured at all, would quickly correct itself by updating information from the body and surrounding environment that things were going okay and the stress response needn't go nuts. This is the kind of thing that happens when neural feedback loops get closed off from wider systems, they feedback on themselves causing crazy distortion. An exactly analagous situation is when you play a mic through an amp too loud or too closely, and you can hear the signal quickly ramping up into a chaotic screech as it cyclically feeds back into itself and increases in intensity. If you listen carefully you can hear that the elevation in the feedback is exponential, and follows the same extreme and sudden non-linear pattern as a panic attack - hence why they call it an 'attack'. There seems to be a sudden critical threshold at which point the system goes nuts and the recurrent signal reaches critical mass and explodes in intensity.


Essentially, I believe that the disintegration of feedback loops and their subsequent uncontrolled or self-feeding activity in important parts of the brain could underlie most if not all cases of mental illness. This is also a scale, and we're all on it somewhere (unless you're an enlightened master). In a way, thoughts, emotions and other common mental events are manifestations of feedback disturbances which come to consciousness. They may even be attempts by the mind to retain its homeostatic balance of deep feedback integration. However, they do not work as our linguistic and symbolic faculties, due to their over-use, have become somewhat closed feedback loops in themselves. A thought was, in an evolutionary sense, a survival mechanism, much like running from a predator. Closed feedback loops are not all bad then, and they can make life interesting, but they can also trap us. They aren't intrinsically pathological, as long as they are only temporary and not habitual, in which case they sow the seed for great emotional pain, and possibly, eventually, insanity, in one form or another. I find it interesting that meditation also reverses the cognitive decline associated with ageing, and also has been found to be helpful in remediating the symptoms of dementia. One side effect of disintegrated neural feedback loops is that the brain doesn't grow as effectively, and the mind doesn't learn so effectively, because for this occur the whole brain has to continually adapt, to its environment and to itself. Pools of dis-integration will then be pools of either poor or non-adaptation, and we know that as an autopoetic system, life is something which must overcome itself, again and again. Life is self-overcoming (to quote the great Nietzsche). In this intrinsically dynamic universe, something either assimilates and grows, or decays and disperses. A static structure which does not grow will sooner or later disintegrate further until it succumbs to wider forces, which in this case might be amyloid beta plaques or whatever other structures come to disfigure and already disintegrating mind. The point here, though I may not have made it very clearly, is that in the instances of neurodegeneration, the common factor is the lack of growth, the lack of a will towards something, the lack of intellectual or social stimulation or some kind, which leads to and/or is seeded by (another feedback loop) the progressive disintegration of the brain-mind structure, which in turn lowers the levels of activity within each region that is not so interconnected, and when ceasing to grow, steadily becomes chaos. Possibly the feedback loops of phenotype-genotype expression which are tightly regulated throughout life also become chaotic and breakdown at this point, leading to further degeneration.


Anyway, all this to say that meditation is a way to reintegrate the mind with itself, as it naturally 'wants' to do, and is a direct antidote to the negative psychological and neurological effects of the high-speed high-stress pressures of modern living, as well as a practice which brings greater peace, intelligence and harmony into ones life, both internally, with oneself, and externally, with others. Again though, don't take my word for it... there are literally thousands of studies which have been done one the positive psychological changes which occur with meditative practice, as well as the profound neurological alterations which occur (of which the increased PFC volume and metabolism I mentioned above is just the very tip of the iceberg). Sorry for the derail, I felt a duty to disabuse Lobotomy of his sense that meditation is hokey. It is far from hokey; I would go so far as to say that it is one of the most important things you could possibly do for your psychological and neurological health.

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#6 Nattzor

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 09:37 AM

I'm sure this has been discussed somewhere, but I'm only about half-way through the relevant Falcothread and am presently a little lacking in stamina and patience:

In terms of effect, how does the vetrolaser (808 nm) compare to the LED array (850 nm) mentioned on Lostfalco's profile? If someone could direct me to the relevant (part of the) discussion I would be most obliged.





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#7 Flex

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 03:09 PM

Does anybody know, whether I can buy just cheap 850nm infrared laser diodes and solder it on a platine

or is there something else to consider ?



Edited by Flex, 28 June 2014 - 03:10 PM.

#8 Balfi

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 04:35 PM

Does anybody know, whether I can buy just cheap 850nm infrared laser diodes and solder it on a platine

or is there something else to consider ?



lostfalco mentioned this laser on eBay and said he would be testing it along with some other people. I PM'ed himasking if there are any updates on that. That one is 808nm.

I just bought two LED lamps 850nm. Used last night for first time. Everything seems OK and more than OK. Awaiting further responses.  :)


96 LED Rectangle w/ PSU (for whole side, rear, top of head)
48 LED Circle w/ PSU (for hairline on front)

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#9 resveratrol_guy

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 11:53 PM

I have a uniquely ignorant perspective on LLLT, which sounds about as credible as healing power crystals, except for the annoying data that says it works. Some leverage points jump out at me:


1. On wavelength, e.g. 650 vs 805 vs 850 nm, we're dealing with quantum systems here. If all you're trying to do is warm up your head, then "any old" IR wavelength will do, but a hat would be cheaper. If, on the other hand, you're trying to hit the electron transport chain or some other pathway at a particular point, then you need to be very precise about wavelength. That said, I'm not sure which is best; empiricism would be most useful in this respect. (Many molecules -- even H2O -- resonate with many different frequencies insofar as phonon transport is concerned, but chemical and even morphological (e.g. protein folding into energetically excited topologies) changes are very sensitive to incident wavelength.)


2. The mouse experiment in this video implies that LLLT does not have a saturating effect -- in the sense of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, for example. To the contrary, after repeated doses, the benefits disappear (or reverse?). I'm open to the possibility that this is an aberration, but it sure begs the question of optimal regimen.


3. Modulation frequency (distinct from the actual light frequency) matters; I suspect most practitioners are using CW (continuous unmodulated wave). In the video, they liked 10 Hz because it resonated with theta waves and therefore(?) produced maximum benefit. I think 40 Hz (ambient gamma synchrony) and 80 Hz (meditative gamma synchrony) would be interesting targets. (In particular, could we induce heightened mental states by applying a driving frequency of 80 Hz? Merely listening to 80 Hz monotonic audio while performing LLLT might be sufficient. I wish I had the equipment to test this.)


#10 Debonaire_Death

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 04:11 PM

Is anyone else getting a crash at some point after LLLT administration? I can't seem to determine exactly when it will happen. I think it might be around 6-7 hours. It's annoying because I can't seem to find anything on the internet discussing when to do the LLLT, if it interferes with sleep (which it seems to if done too late) and if it interferes with wakefulness (which the crash seems to if done too early).

#11 Cosmicalstorm

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 04:11 PM

I wonder how a vetrolaser would combine with C60? I've done laser-therapy in the past but I'm reluctanct now that my body is tainted with C60. 


#12 Alin Samson

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 07:22 AM

Anyone experienced a serious crash after a session of LLLT while having gluthatione suplement in his system?I was thinking that because of the antioxidant proprietes of gluthatione,LLLT will produce more ROS in the cell .More or less ,like the negative effects of C60 combined with LLLT?

#13 pleiotropic

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Posted 04 October 2015 - 09:47 AM



Thoughts on this 8 led NIR device?  For security purposes it's advertised as having the same lighting range/distance and power consumption as the 96 led one.  




#14 lostfalco

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Posted 04 October 2015 - 10:56 PM

Hey Pleiotropic, it is the proper wavelength (850nm) but I couldn't find any output info on each LED. Could be worth a try though. =)

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#15 csimon02

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:33 PM

I am using the 48 led unit in 16 different spots across my head for 1 minute each, every other night. Results are pretty good in helping with my depression. I'd like to hear what protocall others are using.

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#16 Heisok

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 07:44 PM



I have been using LLLT for about 5 weeks now. I am still trying to find the best treatment time for me. I think it could vary greatly depending on each individuals skin thickness, brain dysfunction and possible physical damage.  I started with 1 minute at each of 9 positions using the 96 led array. 2 days on, and 1 day off. I incremented up to 2 minutes per location. I added the 48 led array to the 96 array by targeting the areas where the 96 array did not have full contact. Total 9 positions using 96, and 9 using 48 leds. I figure that for the same area treated by the 48 led units has about twice the dose as the 96, if each led is the same power. When I treat with the 48 led units I use less time per location. I am currently at 2 minutes per 96, and 90 seconds per 48 every other day. I have completed a total of 20 treatments. I have many factors-nutrients, damage, skin thickness, blood glucose issues and others that I doubt that my protocol would translate directly to others. Due to possible issues related to the effect of glucose issues effects on the brain, I am considering intra-nasal insulin as an addition.


I have had multiple severe to minor head injuries starting as a child, including complete loss of consciousness as an adult from bicycle, skateboarding and motorcycle accidents, so this process might take higher treatment times similar to what it appears some of the T.B.I studies used if I read correctly. At this stage, I doubt that I will go much higher than what I am at, if at all higher. I had been considering LLLT for a long time, but I finally started due to further deterioration of my short to long term memory. I was at the point that I was considering the defense mechanism of a complete acceptance of the problems, to make getting along emotionally easier.


I can not speak to mood changes, although it is possible. What I can say is that I am remembering things better, including the full names of individuals whom I worked with around 40 years ago. As minor as it seems, after looking the names over a few times, I can remember the names of 9 plants we planted about 1 year ago. No way that I could do this 2 months ago.


Good luck.

Edited by Heisok, 17 January 2017 - 08:40 PM.

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