Evidence supports light therapy for post-concussion syndrome and much more!

I have a few clients with post-concussion syndrome resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

I’ve been using laser and LEDs  (light-emitting diodes) to treat their body pain, with significant success.

For a couple of those clients, I have also started to use light therapy — red and near infra-red lights, or what is now referred to as photobiomodulation (PBM) — to treat their post-concussion symptoms.

There are no standardized protocols for dealing with post-concussion symptoms. However, I believe that PBM can be a good treatment to help reduce the many symptoms of the syndrome, including headaches, light sensitivity, sleep disorders, brain fog, reduced focus and concentration, and decreased memory.

And I am not alone. I was very pleased to come across a recent podcast featuring a world-renowned researcher on PBM, who promoted the use of such light therapy for brain injuries.

Dr. Michael Hamblin, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, is widely regarded as the world’s top expert on this subject.   Not only does Dr. Hamblin discuss the use of light therapy for traumatic brain injuries, but also for neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s).

In the podcast,  Dr. Hamblin states that there are more than 5,000 peer-reviewed papers on PBM — or what was previously referred to as low-level laser therapy — supporting its many amazingly beneficial uses.  (He, himself, has published 430 peer-reviewed papers.)

Light therapy is more commonly known for its use in skin anti-aging, treating hypothyroidism, enhancing athletic performance and recovery,  helping with fat loss, pain relief,  and recovery from acute injuries and chronic conditions, such as arthritis and stenosis.

However, in the podcast, Dr. Hamblin says that he believes that “the biggest single area of application is the brain,” particularly for people who have suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen from events such as a stroke, heart attack, traumatic brain injury or complications of childbirth.

He explains that shining near infra-red light on the head so that it penetrates the skull and scalp to increase oxygen, among other physiological processes, results in “increasing cognitive performance, improving memory, improving sleep, improving emotional regulation and other things which happen as a result of brain damage.”

My two clients on whom I’ve used PBM to help with their post-concussion symptoms have, after just a couple of sessions, begun to experience a decrease in both headaches and light sensitivity.

I look forward to the possibility of more positive results on these and other symptoms from an evidence-based treatment that is definitely worth using.

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