Benefits of LED Light Treatment and How It Really Works

January 31, 2021 LED light treatment

Many people believe that a more expensive LED light therapy device must mean it is more effective, or that a device that emits more power than Celluma must mean it is more effective. 

 But nothing could be further from the truth. Let me explain how LED light treatment really works. There are three critical aspects of physical optics at play into delivering an effective dose of light therapy. The first aspect is the Bi-Phasic Dose Response Curve, which teaches us that a light energy dose of 2 – 10 joules per centimeter squared will trigger the up-regulation of ATP which is the desired effect of LED light therapy treatment.  And delivering such a dose of light energy is a function of three things: the power of the light therapy device, the distance the device is from the surface of absorption and the treatment time. Delivering below 2 joules per centimeter squared is not enough to trigger ATP production, and more than 10 joules per centimeter square risks the triggering of toxic oxidative events.   

 That then leads us to the second critical aspect, the Inverse Square Law, which teaches that a specified physical quantity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of that physical quantity. The practical effect of this law is that the closer light energy is emitted to the surface of the skin, the greater the dose being delivered. That being the case, a less powerful light therapy device can deliver a greater dose of light energy than a more powerful device, depending on the position from the skin.   This is the “secret sauce” of the Celluma. Because the device flexes and keeps it shape, we are able to deliver a dose of light energy comparable to more powerful and more expensive light therapy devices.  More power and more expense just don’t equate to more results.   

 Finally, the third critical aspect is the Law of Reciprocity, which teaches that the rate of the overall photochemicaly initiated process is proportional to the light intensity such that the overall amount of the process that occurs will depend only on the dose. That would lead you to believe that a greater dose leads to a shorter treatment time, which is true, but limited by the Bi-Phasic Dose Curve explained above.  Increasing the dose delivery will reduce treatment time, as long as the dose does not exceed 10 joules per centimeter squared. Above that level you risk damaging the skin.  This is why the vast majority of LED light therapy devices that have regulatory credentials treat in 20 – 30 minutes per session. The bottom line is that more power isn’t necessarily better, and sometimes, it’s bad. 

All of the above is well cited and demonstrated in the more than 5,000 clinical papers on Low-Level Light Therapy. So yes, there are more powerful LED light therapy devices on the market and they do cost more, but given that a less powerful and less expensive device can deliver a comparable therapeutic effect, why would you waste your money. The truth is in the science. 

Stephen Freeland