Photobiomodulation as a promising new tool in the management of psychological disorders: A systematic review

Abstract: Photobiomodulation is a brain modulation technique that has become a promising treatment for multiple pathologies. This systematic review collects studies up to 2019 about the beneficial effects of photobiomodulation as a therapy for treating psychological disorders and a tool for modulating cognitive processes. This technique is mostly used for the treatment of depression and stress, as well as to study its effects on psychological variables in healthy subjects. Despite the lack of parameters used, photobiomodulation seems to achieve enough brain penetration to produce beneficial effects in healthy subjects and patients with multiple pathologies. The best parameters are the wavelengths of 810 nm for the treatment of depression and 1064 nm for cognitive enhancement, along with a scalp irradiance of 250 mW/cm2 and a scalp yield of 60 J/cm2. It weekly application on the bilateral prefrontal area and the default mode network seems to be ideal for the maintenance of the effects. Photobiomodulation could be used as an effective and safe therapy for the treatment of multiple psychological pathologies. 


Unilateral transcranial photobiomodulation is a novel treatment of opioid cravings.

Opioid use disorders (OUDs) are an epidemic causing catastrophic consequences to individuals, families, and society despite treatments including psychotherapy, substitution therapy or receptor blockers, and psychoeducation. We have developed a novel treatment that combines unilateral transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) to the hemisphere with a more positive valence by Dual Brain Psychology (DBP).

Frontiers in Psychiatry


Study on the efficacy and safety of near infra-red light in the treatment of opiate use disorders.

Investigators will test, for safety and efficacy, a novel treatment for opiate addiction that applies a 4-minute treatment of intense near infra-red light to stimulate a side of the brain that the investigators determine to be healthier, more mature, and less traumatized. Investigators will compare an active and a sham treatment given twice weekly for 4-weeks. Investigators hope this will lead to a significant weapon in the battle against the opioid epidemic as well as lead to psychological and physiological insights into possible relations among trauma, cerebral laterality, and addiction.

Mclean Hospital
Harvard Medical School
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


Why Photobiomodulation Might be the Answer to the Opioid Crisis

PBM addresses three components that are typically present in Opioid Use Disorder including reduction of pain, regeneration and decreasing depression and anxiety, and can be used exclusively or as an adjunct to existing treatments.

Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America


Transcranial Photobiomodulation for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder.

The objective was to test the antidepressant effect of transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) with near-infrared (NIR) light in subjects suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD). t-PBM with NIR light demonstrated antidepressant properties with a medium to large effect size in patients with MDD.

Photomedicine and Laser Surgery


Ending Opioids by Photobiomodulation

Photobiomodulation (PBM) Therapy previously known as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the application of monochromatic light which means light of one color, and if we have light at the right color (or to use the technical phrase the right wavelength) and if the light is of the right intensity, and if we aim it in the right place, for the right amount of time, then we can increase the speed of tissue repair, we can reduce inflammation and edema, and we can induce an analgesic effect. We believe that Photobiomodulation therapy can help reduce the prescribing of opioid medication for pain relief.

Congressional Briefing on Ending Opioid Use


Photobiomodulation: Taking the Next Step in Treating Opioid Use Disorder

At the Annual Scientific Conference, NAALT 2018, in Detroit Michigan outlined several important roles for clinicians in combating the opioid epidemic with a focus on using photobiomodulation to breach the gap between opioid use and opioid free pain management. During the 2018 NAALT conference a call for clinicians to train to prescribe and utilize photobiomodulation therapy that can be used in conjunction with behavior therapy to treat opioid use disorder.

North American Association for Laser Therapy (NAALT)


Study on the effect of LASER photobiomodulation therapy on chronic pain and opioid weaning

The primary objective of this study is to determine if treatment with LASER photobiomodulation therapy reduces pain and facilitates opioid pain medication (OPM) reduction (weaning). The subject group includes patients with chronic pain who are undergoing OPM weaning and are candidates for LASER photobiomodulation therapy. This is a prospective interventional study using a double-blind 4-period crossover design to assess the efficacy of HIGH POWER LASER photobiomodulation therapy compared to sham (LOW POWER LASER) therapy in reducing pain and improving compliance with OPM weaning.

LiteCure LLC


Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety



Many studies have reported beneficial effects from the application of near-infrared (NIR) light photobiomodulation (PBM) to the body, and one group has reported beneficial effects applying it to the brain in stroke patients. We have reported that the measurement of a patient’s left and right hemispheric emotional valence (HEV) may clarify data and guide lateralized treatments. We sought to test whether a NIR treatment could 1. improve the psychological status of patients, 2. show a relationship between immediate psychological improvements when HEV was taken into account, and 3. show an increase in frontal pole regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), and 4. be applied without side effects.