Red and near-infrared light therapy, LEDs

Johannes

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Has anyone tried red and near-infrared therapy (also called photobiomodulation) for CFS? Combined redlight (660nm) and near-infrared (850nm) light LED lamps are now quite affordable especially in chinese internet markets. They are not cheap but cheaper than earlier.

I am not talking about nasal red light therapy but whole body photobiomodulation. If you have CFS/ME and if you have tried this therapy, could you, please tell how it helped? Or did it actually help you?

Some CFS patients have been writing in the internet that it has provided them more energy. Some say that it doesn't help you right away but one needs some weeks treatment until you notice its effects.

Any experiences using photobiomodulation? How ofter you use it? How many minutes each time? How many milliwatts does your device provide?
 

Johannes

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My energy levels rise up conciderably in summer. I thought it might be vitamin D that causes it. But not solely. Vitamin D has helped with many of my MCAS symptoms but it has not helped my cognitive problems. Methylcobalamin injections have helped with my cognitive problems a lot. But there is something in the sunshine that gives me energy. Maybe it is this red and near-infra red light that you get from the sunhine too. During winters I am 22/7 bedridden and during summertime I can do light home work, go in for hobbies and even sail, which is quite physical hobby but sometimes I do get fatigue if I do too much.
 
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@Johannes
There's a voluminous thread on this topic, some 31 pages, just loaded with pages and pages of info and links, that was started back in 2013, and in spite of the thread title, there's also info on other kinds of phtobioodulation .... here;s a link to it:


LED red intranasal light therapy
https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/led-red-intranasal-light-therapy.24195/


There's also a great book on it, but it doesnt address the specifics of red and NIR LED light for CFS/ME. If you're interested anyway, just tag me and I'll post a link to it for you on Amazon, yes?
 
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Combined redlight (660nm) and near-infrared (850nm) light LED lamps are now quite affordable especially in chinese internet markets
I'd be cautious about sourcing from Chinese internet, which is essentially unregulated and a sort of Wild West of whatever you're looking for. With everything I'm already dealing with, adding in some unexpected reactions to an unregulated device would be unfortunate.

Worse, if it does nothing, you can't be sure whether phtobiomodulation is a useless therapy or if you got a phony mechanism
How ofter you use it? How many minutes each time? How many milliwatts does your device provide?
Generally, the units I've been looking at vary from recommending 20 min's at a time to 5 min's at a time, with multiple uses during the day OK on at least one of them, which also says that 5 times a week is OK. So you could do 5 minutes on your back, then your chest, then your legs, etc etc etc several times a week .....

Milliwatts vary from unit to unit, and the manufacturers to avoid are the ones that won;t answer questions like that. Do a little googling and you'll come up with more info on what's regarded as state of the art.


Full-body red and NIR is extremely expensive, ranging from $3000 - 25,000 or more.

Or try the book. It's full of general info which might help you make up your mind about this, and possibly steer you in the right direction, unit-wise.
 

Johannes

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@Johannes
Wow !!!! You've already hit the link I posted for you .... glad to be of service.
Yes, thanks for the link! At least the first 10 pages are about nasal red light therapy. Then along comes nasal near-intra red light therapy. I will continue reading later. Too many pages ;)

What comes to chinese equipment, ofcource there can be good equipment and not so good equipment. But many European red light resellers are selling chinese equipment. So, I contacted one of the manufacturers, whose internet page looked convincing and whose equipment I found in the European market. They confirmed their quality with a quality certificate according to which their device is in accordance with European union electrical equipment safety standards. So I ordered a unit from them. They are also tested equipment. I know some people in Finland, where I live, who have tested that this specific model actually produce 660nm and 850nm light and that their power in milliwats are what the manufacturer claims. But you are right, there are risks if you don't know what you are buying.

BUT totally another thing is, how much they produce electromagnetic radiance. Atleast one unit was interfering with a videocamera, when it was ON during the recording. So that tells me that this unit was not designed well. However, my friend is an electrician and he promised to improve my unit if necessary. I expect to receive it a couple of weeks.

About the price. A chinese unit I bought can produce 115mW when 15cm (6 feet) from the unit. The calculated area of light is then approximately 120cm x 60cm, which means that I need to radiate my back and front once and if I need more therapy, then additionally the front and the back of the lower parts of my feet (from my kness to toes). The price was a bit more than 600 euros including tax and vat, which equals a bit more than 650 USD. So if one would want, one could buy two of them and couple of smaller units for feet and it wouldn't cost more than maybe 1800 euros for whole boby. Well, to be exact, the sides of the body would require additional equipment.

I have no experience or knowledge of how full body equipment would effect CFS patient. Hope some one knows and hope that they would share their info with me.
 
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@Johannes
This seems like a stupid question, but I've learned to never make assumptions. or at least to avoid them when I can: have you posted your question in the other thread? There are several posters who appear to be extremely knowledgeable about LED, and who of course also have CFS/ME ....

I can only guess about the effects of PBM, which is that since it increases the availability and activity of ATP and ADP and boosts the action of your mitochondria, it should be capable of boosting your energy, or at least reducing the severity, frequency, and duration of PEMs episodes. Add to that it's purported capacity to heal tissues, bones, glandular systemas, etc and it could be really life-changing.

You've done your homework vis a vis the products available on the Chinese market really well, and it definitely helps to have an electrician for a friend.

Do keep posting here about your experiences with, and expanding knowledge of, your red and NIR use and the effects, the length of treatment time it took to get them, the frequency of treatments, etc, yes? It could be enormously helpful to others on this site. All of us are on a constant search for something, anything, that will help, since the medical community, at least over here, is often clueless and unwilling to expand their knowledge regarding an illness that they frequently view as either imaginary or psychologically engendered . I could riff on that for several pages, but will spare you.

Onward and upward :rocket: :rocket:!!! You're doing great :) :woot::woot: :thumbsup: !!!
 

Hip

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Any experiences using photobiomodulation? How ofter you use it? How many minutes each time? How many milliwatts does your device provide?
One forum member experienced a substantial and permanent improvement in his ME/CFS symptoms after applying near infrared light to the back of his head. See this post.

I tried red and near infrared myself, but did not notice much. But I found that applying near infrared to my forehead would slightly improve brain fog and sharpen cognition, in a way that SelfHacked explains here.

If you want to experiment with near infrared, I would suggest buying an LED infrared illuminator spotlight, as these provide a flood of infrared light at 850 nm, but cost only around $10, a tiny fraction of infrared LEDs sold for medical purposes.
 

Johannes

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The sun is not shining here in Finland between September and April to get enough vitamin D. It must mean that one doesn't get enough red light either. My symptoms usually began to become worse starting on September. But I start to get more sunshine in the beginning on April again. It takes about three months to get enough energy from the sunshine so that I can walk, sail, and do light home work. With out that I am bedbound 22/7.

So, my ques is that a small lamp is not enought. Since red and near-infrared lamps typically provide 20 times more red light than sun can ever do, I calculated from my experience from the sunlight, that I would need 20 minutes worth of 100mW/cm2 treatment every day to most parts of my body. Therefore I have ordered a full body light panel like this: http://www.sgrowled.com/productshow.asp?ArticleID=9T9141ZP2V&id=1508 I hope to get it in a couple of weeks.
 

PatJ

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Some CFS patients have been writing in the internet that it has provided them more energy. Some say that it doesn't help you right away but one needs some weeks treatment until you notice its effects.
PBM can have some effects within minutes (such as fatigue) but generally it's a long term therapy.

Any experiences using photobiomodulation? How ofter you use it? How many minutes each time? How many milliwatts does your device provide?
I've used a CMVision CM-IR130 security light (see end of quoted section below) as a low-cost substitute for a medical grade device. It has 198 IR LEDS that emit at 850 nm. I don't know the milliwatts. I've used it over my kidneys, my liver, and my pancreas. If there have been any benefits they've been too small to notice. The only thing I've noticed related to energy is more fatigue if I use it for too long. I've tried it up to 1-2 times per day for a month at a time and have done that a few times.

Here is some information I've collected and summarized about LLLT/PBM:
General Summary
From a good document at https://valtsus.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-therapeutic-effects-of-red-and-near.html:
* Red light and near-infrared irradiation produce measurable changes locally in cells/tissues/organs. This form of light therapy is called photobiomodulation (PBM).
* Animal studies show that photobiomodulation therapy could be beneficial for over 100 different diseases. Evidence from human studies is also emerging in a fast pace.
* Over 3000 photobiomodulation papers have been published in PubMed-indexed journals, over 120 of which have a good impact factor (> 3.0). Research has been conducted in 40 different countries.

Dose and duration:
* Dose is difficult to adjust when using a DIY approach (eg. security light) but a light meter can help (eg. Tenmars TM-206 ~$130-150)
* Duration: Try 10 minutes per day. Takes quite awhile for healing to take place.
* Dosing is bi-phasic, too little doesn't work, too much doesn't work. "Low-to-moderate doses of light are often described as stimulating and high doses as inhibitory, because some markers that can be increased by low doses of light, have been shown to decrease with excessive light doses." (https://valtsus.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-therapeutic-effects-of-red-and-near.html)

Signs of overdoing it:
* "If the benefits go away after continual usage, that’s a sign of overuse."
* Headaches
* Excess fatigue

Criticism is usually outdated
(from https://valtsus.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-therapeutic-effects-of-red-and-near.html):
Many skeptic websites and blogs also have claimed that photobiomodulation (LLLT) is mostly a form of quackery. These sites include Science-Based Medicine, Skeptic North, SkeptVet, Device Watch and also the Wikipedia page on LLLT. These criticisms present some of the weaknesses of the photobiomodulation (PBM) research fairly, but since most of the PBM research has been published since the 2010, most of these criticisms are outdated and I would trust recent systematic reviews more than these articles that are mostly based on some quick internet searches.

Use for kidney disease
Full article: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/02/26/photobiomodulation.aspx
A Harvard specialist in phototherapy (Dr. Hamblin) has said:
"Kidney failure is the third leading cause of death. These are old folks who are dying from kidney failure. You can’t really give them transplants because they’re elderly. You put a near-infrared LED array where their kidneys are and it seems to work like a dream. [But] it’s hardly been studied at all..."

Excerpts from an interview with Dr. Hamblin
(https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/int...arvard-professor-and-infrared-therapy-expert/):
* Photons are absorbed by chromophores in the mitochondria.
* Nitric oxide increases,
* Mitochondria changes that are good,
* Signaling – from ROS, Non cAMP,
* Burst of ROS,
* cAMP from extra ATP,
* Activates transcription factors to create new proteins.

Light has effects days or weeks after.

* He puts it on in the morning on some part of his body, elbow (if sore), knee (if sore), eyes, forehead, and any part of his anatomy that could use some boosting…..
* He uses it on his forehead for 15 minutes 2X a week (forehead because hair blocks a lot of the light).
* Light therapy reduces glutamate, so it stops the parts of the brain that are overexcited.
* LLLT [low-level light therapy] only increases inflammation transiently in people without any baseline inflammation. In people with inflammation, LLLT only has an anti-inflammatory effect.
* Causes a small increase in cellular calcium.
* LEDs seem to work better than lamps but he doesn't understand why.
* NIR and FAR are both effective [in different ways presumably].
* Doesn't think IR LEDs can damage eyesight. "LEDs and light therapy can be good for autoimmune thyroid antibodies. It probably works by decreasing systemic inflammation."
* Not aware of any negative studies.

Useful low cost IR emitter
https://www.amazon.ca/CMVision-IR13...1535905894&sr=8-1&keywords=CMVision+IR130-198
* CMVision CM-IR130
* 198 IR LEDS
* 850 nm
* Amazon.com review: "You'll also be glad to know that it was my doctor, who is more a friend, and is into natural healing, that told me about it and said that this was the Right one for the proper healing! He has used it, this exact model, and it helped him immensely, so he told me to get it for my problem..."
* Other Amazon.com reviewers have used the same model for LLLT as well.
 
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The only thing I've noticed related to energy is more fatigue if I use it for too long.
There's a careful balancing act between too little and too much R/NIR light, generally bundled under the term hormesis.

Too much R/NIR exposure will have the same effect as either too little or none at all. The tough part is finding that thin slice of "perfect", because as you already noted, it's generally speaking a longer-term treatment. You may have exposed your cells to too much light treatment, which would negate its positive effects.

The good news is that over-exposure, unlike other treatment modalities, won't result in damage, just a negation of the beneficial effects.
 
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@PatJ
PS .... Thank you for the very good and blessedly brief (I'm going thru one of those limited focus/cog periods, one of the things I'm hoping to treat with R/NIR light) summation of the benefits of R/NIR light .... I keep waiting for you to post anything that I dont find either helpful or supportive to whatever it relates to, or both.
 

Johannes

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PBM can have some effects within minutes (such as fatigue) but generally it's a long term therapy.



I've used a CMVision CM-IR130 security light (see end of quoted section below) as a low-cost substitute for a medical grade device. It has 198 IR LEDS that emit at 850 nm. I don't know the milliwatts. I've used it over my kidneys, my liver, and my pancreas. If there have been any benefits they've been too small to notice. The only thing I've noticed related to energy is more fatigue if I use it for too long. I've tried it up to 1-2 times per day for a month at a time and have done that a few times.

Here is some information I've collected and summarized about LLLT/PBM:
I have moderate kidney insufficiency. It will be interesting to see how red light works when having CFS. Also, my friend has red lichen and father has inflammation in his fingers and hand joints. We will try red light and near-infrared light to see how it work on these.
 

Johannes

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@YippeeKi YOW !! Finally red the thred you linked. It seems, that some benefit from photobiomodulation, others don't. But here were no one in that thred that had tried whole body photobiomodulation.

My quess is one would have to tryit for longer time and for whole body in order to get good effects. It may also be that photobiomodulation may help only some people like methylcobalamin injections do. With metcob it seems that people with genemutation in their methylation, may benefir from B12 injections as others that don't have these mutatuons don't react to B12. The body that is suffering ATP problems may not be able compensate these gene mutations, hence the symptoms typical to mutation in question. This is my educated quess.

I have asked many CFS patients whether they get more energetic at summer. Only some say they do. But is this because CFS patients in general spent their time indoor. It hasn't been easy for me to go out for sunshine. Almost every day lay down for a couple of hours untill only in two months to notice difference. I start in the beginning of April. And like some people described with nasal red light therapy, I too get very tired after the first doses of sunshine. Not only tired but nausiated. So, at first I have to be outside only 15 to 20 minutes. But the longer I exposure to sunshine during the first weeks, the less I have fatigue and nausea. In a month or so I can increase my time to one hour. And in June, I can stay at sunshine for two hours without any problems. In August even 5 to 6 hours is no problem.

So it may be that only few people benefit from photobiomodulation but it may also be that many, if they just had a change to try it for longer and for the whole body it would help. It would be possible to try this with sunshine if ones energy levels permit going outside and if one would have a possibility to lay down in a sunshine.
 
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Apologies for the length of this response, but I'm having a series of not great focus-and-brain-days, which makes it harder to condense stuff down to the meat of the issues.

I have moderate kidney insufficiency
I don;t know if you read all of @PatJ 's post, above, but it touches on kidney disease and NIR ..... here's that section, copied and pasted (quote won't work with something that's already a quote):

Use for kidney disease
Full article: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/02/26/photobiomodulation.aspx
A Harvard specialist in phototherapy (Dr. Hamblin) has said:

"Kidney failure is the third leading cause of death. These are old folks who are
dying from kidney failure. You can’t really give them transplants because they’re elderly.
You put a near-infrared LED array where their kidneys are
and it seems to work like a dream.
[But] it’s hardly been studied at all..."

my friend has red lichen and father has inflammation in his fingers and hand joints
The NIR should work for both, but remember that less (in terms of time exposure) is often more with red /NIR light ...
We will try red light and near-infrared light to see how it work on these.
My quess is one would have to tryit for longer time
Not necessarily ..... from everything I've read, and I have an annoyingly OCD habit of reading deep and wide when I'm researching something, the duration of the exposure is critical, and should probably start with shorter sessions, like 5 minutes, and build slowly from there, not exceeding 15 -20 min's, depending on the red/NIR system you're using and its nm/2cm capacity, etc. This can apparently be repeated several times during a given day, or several days a week. You'll have to figure out what works best for you.
The body that is suffering ATP problems may not be able compensate these gene mutations, hence the symptoms typical to mutation in question.
This is my educated quess.
It's a very good, and interesting, guess, and explains why some people react positively and others just don't. Worth going a little deeper on if you ever get the time and brain agility...
I have asked many CFS patients whether they get more energetic at summer.
Oddly, in spite of shorter days and less light, I'm better in the late Fall and Winter.
And like some people described with nasal red light therapy, I too get very tired after the first doses of sunshine. Not only tired but nausiated. So, at first I have to be outside only 15 to 20 minutes. But the longer I exposure to sunshine during the first weeks
How much D3 are you taking? Are you taking it with enough magnesium to increase its bioavailability, and with some form of fat (for the same reason)?
So it may be that only few people benefit from photobiomodulation but it may also be that many, if they just had a change to try it for longer and for the whole body it would help.
Possibly. But you'd be amazed at how many people don't read all the info and instructions, or the small print, before diving into a new protocol, and then are deeply disappointed when it doesn;t work and dismiss it as hokum.

We're all driven to one extent or another by desperation to find anything that helps. There's also the problem, stemming from the same root cause, that a lot of us think that if a little is good, a WHOLE lot more is even better, which isn't the case with red/NIR ...
It would be possible to try this with sunshine if ones energy levels permit going outside and if one would have a possibility to lay down in a sunshine.
Keep in mind that unless you get a full-spectrum set-up, which is inadvisable for a lot of reasons, you're only getting two small slices of a much larger spectrum: red and near infra red. NOT the same as lying in the sun, which IS a full spectrum light source, and comes along with a lot of reasons to avoid over-exposure.

AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:
As an aside and an unsolicited hint about posting, it helps if you hit the 'Like' button after a post someone has left you, especially one that's proven to be helpful, so they know that you found it and read it, or at least are aware of its existence.

Keep on exploring and discovering .... it's really pretty much all any of us have in terms of treatment and improvement. Doctors are often clueless, and worse, angry when confronted with something they dont understand. At least that's been the experience of a lot of us in these threads ....
 

Johannes

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@YippeeKi YOW !! Thank younfor the link and discussion. I have listened Dr. Mercolas video earlier. That's why I mentioned the kidneys.

When I said longer, I ment that testing should last atleast 2 to 4 months, not only a month or even less. I agree with you about max 20 minutes to one spot each day.

I have to use vitamin D3 injections because I have so bad intolerace for drugs and many foods too. I inject 2500 micrograms every 14 days. That is 178 micrograms per day. My doctor would like to rise it up to 250 micrograms a day to test for more positive effects. Many of my MCAS symptoms disappeared when I started to use more than 80 micrograms per day and may vitamin D level in my blood was more than 100nmol/l (40ng/ml). My vitamin D level in my blood is now 201nmol/l, which is 75ng/ml. During summer it is 250nmol/l (100ng/ml). Yes, I use fat, perhaps too much vegetable oils. Magnesium I take every now and then.

Yes sunshine contain much more wavelenghts than red and near-infrared. For example green light has totally opposite reaction to cell calsium levels. But the sunshine provided me the glue, that there is something in the sunshine that helps me and I am hopefull it is just red and NIR light that could help me.
 
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My vitamin D level in my blood is now 201nmol/l, which is 75ng/ml. During summer it is 250nmol/l (100ng/ml).
That's an extremely good D level Johannes, so that's done and dusted.
Yes, I use fat, perhaps too much vegetable oils. Magnesium I take every now and then.
There's so much controversy over vegetable oils, and as always, last year it's great for you this year it's the devil's own invention, next year back probably to being great for us.


I use modest amounts of coconut oil, which I tolerate well, and a small amount of butter (butyric acid). At this point, given the contradictory bellowings from the scientific and medical communities, I just ignore them totally and stick to what seems to work for me.

It seems that you do the same, probably for the same reasons.

I'm a strong believer in magnesium. I use magnesium glycinate since it avoids the unfortunate intestinal stress that most other forms create, and it allows me to take way more than the RDA or UL, in small divided doses throughout the day. I've found it to be immensely helpful, but then we're dealing with different expressions of this crummy little buzz-saw of an illness.

Our systems burn thru a huge amount of our stores of magnesium every time we take D3, either orally or in a shot, maybe you might consider boosting your mag intake for a few days before, and a few days after, your injection?
Yes sunshine contain much more wavelenghts than red and near-infrared. For example green light has totally opposite reaction to cell calsium levels. But the sunshine provided me the glue, that there is something in the sunshine that helps me and I am hopefull it is just red and NIR light that could help me.
Oh Johannes, I'm hopeful with you !!! Nothing is more uplifting or exhilirating than finding something, anything, that helps us grope our way to a better, higher baseline with this illness, or even the Holy Grail: total remission/recovery.


The mysteries of red and NIR light still haven't been more than minimally probed, beyond what we already know, and I think it has numerous and still uncatalogued benefits, some subtle, some probably vivid and obvious. SInce it's clear that sunlight has an extremely beneficial effect for you, I'm hoping that can be replicated and even amplified in your experiments with it !!!

The book I mentioned in my first post to you is sort of a bible for those of us interested in this therapy, along with anything written by Hamblin. I can imagine how difficult it is to read even marginally science-y stuff in a second language, no matter how well you manage in it, but I'm posting the title and author for you here, just in cse. It goes into a lot of detail, and while some of it sometimes feels like a pep talk or a sales pitch, it's filled with good info:

Red Light Therapy
By Ari Whitten

It's available from AMazon in the US, UK and Canada, and probably anyplace in Europe. I'd post a link, but I'm battling a wave of exhaustion and fuzzy-headedness right now, and my computer is behaving like a spoiled 2 year old. Let me know if the Amazon link would be helpful to you and I'll post it for you late tomorrow, OK?

You're on the right track, keep on punchin', and ..... onward and upward :rocket::rocket: !!!
 
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When I said longer, I ment that testing should last atleast 2 to 4 months, not only a month or even less.
PS ..... Couldnt agree more !!! I think a lot of the fails with this therapy result from people being hopeful for a radical change in a week or two, and it just doesn't happen that way..... and lot of us have been disappointed so many times, in so many ways, that we may overreact to what we perceive as a 'fail' abd cut off a potentially valuable therapy way too soon ....


Again, sorry for the long ramble .... just a bit unfocused right now .....