Most Popular in:
Medical Esthetics Treatments
Lighting the Way to Beautiful Skin
By: Wendy Reichert
Posted: June 24, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
page 4 of 5
Light therapy also has been effective as a remedy for depression; in combination with photosensitive chemicals to treat brain cancer; to heal mouth and skin ulcers for children undergoing chemotherapy; for gum diseases, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome; for muscle and joint pain, and inflammation; in conjunction with acupuncture; to increase wound healing for astronauts on long space missions; for collagen synthesis; to ease rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; and for blood cleansing and treating infections. These various therapeutic uses are due to the many beneficial tissue and cellular effects of photomodulation.
Photomodulation stimulates fibroblasts to produce collagen, improving elasticity, fine lines, scar tissue and skin thickness. After a series of LED treatments, fibroblasts can continue to produce new collagen for up to
six months and lymph activity is increased, helping to reduce edema, or fluid buildup. Increasing lymph activity also can help to quicken the healing process, because the lymph system is responsible for helping the body to eliminate waste products and bacteria. Macrophages are stimulated by LED light therapy. Within the lymph nodes, macrophages destroy microorganisms—this process is called phagocytosis—so that the lymph system can begin the process of removing them from the body.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production is stimulated by certain light wavelengths. ATP is found in muscle fibers and in all cells, and can be considered the fuel, or energy source, needed for all cellular functions. In order to be used by the cells for energy, ATP is broken down and must be replenished constantly. You think of food as your energy source, but it needs to be converted to ATP before your cells can use it. Increased ATP translates into enhanced cellular metabolism and proliferation. Anabolism (one aspect of metabolism—the synthesis of complex compounds from simpler ones) and catabolism (anabolism’s opposite—the breaking down of large molecules into smaller ones) are both increased. Additionally, RNA and DNA synthesis in cells is increased, improving the reproduction of healthy cells. Photomodulation has been shown to activate the release of growth factors that stimulate cell growth and metabolism.
In all, various studies have reported therapeutic benefits targeting the circulatory, lymphatic, immune and nervous systems, in addition to recent studies reporting on beneficial cosmetic results.