Light Emitting Diodes (LED's)
What are Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s)?
Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) are electronic semiconducting devices that emit light when charged with electrical voltage. This light is not like a laser; it is diffuse in nature and cannot travel long distances.
How do LED’s work?
LED’s basically emit a single colored light in a forward direction. The color depends on the conducting medium and the bands or wavelengths can fall in the ultraviolet, visible or infrared spectrum of energy.
What are the benefits of LED’s?
LED systems offer the ability to treat a larger area of the head or body at one time. With the correct wavelength and intensity settings for the condition, the LED phototherapy has proven to be a low-cost, effective treatment.
Basic research has shown that when red (600’s nm wavelengths) and near-infrared wavelengths (mostly 800’s nm wavelengths) are applied to cells that are compromised (hypoxic or low on oxygen), there is improved cellular respiration and function due to an increase in production of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) by the cell’s mitochondria. There is also improved blood circulation near the area treated, due to release of nitric oxide from parts of the mitochondria in the hypoxic cell.
What are LED’s commonly used for?
LED’s are commonly used in medical and aesthetic practices for reducing inflammation, skin rejuvenation, enhancement of wound healing, acne therapy, sports injuries, and joint pain.
Newer areas include:
- Prevention of mouth sores in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
- Research with LED’s applied to the scalp, to improve thinking and memory in some brain disorders - e.g., dementia and traumatic brain injury.
Updated July 11, 2016
Margaret Naeser, PhD, Lac