How Modern Light Therapy Devices Came to Be
The market that caters to wearable devices which can emit light that are therapeutic is indeed growing at a very steady rate. There are modern light therapy devices in the market that can help with a whole host of things. This ranges from afflictions such as seasonal affective disorder to depression to skin issues. Research in this area is moving at a very fast pace and that is allowing us to better understand the healing effect lights have on our bodies.
Introduction: How It Started
It was in the late 1880s when fluorescent and incandescent lamps were made use of for general lighting purposes. That was also the time when light delivery that was consumer focused was introduced. Prior to this, most uses of light as a healing mechanism was done mainly through the use of natural sunlight. It was after 1900 that light therapy became a thing and was used in the treatment of conditions such as lupus, skin lesions and also tuberculosis. It was around the late 1990s when light therapy became an at-home treatment option.
How it came to be
Low-level laser treatments were initially discovered by an accident. This happened during an experiment on mice that was meant for tumor reducing purposes. In 1961, when Dr. Endre Mester found out that one of the lasers he involved in was faulty and was emitting low level red light, he also noticed some positive results on the mice. He noticed that the areas where this faulty light was shone, there was a growth of hair when compared to the other areas that weren’t exposed to this light. While there have been many advancements in photomedicine since that time, it was until the turn of the 21st century that the delivery of light remained completely unchanged.
In December of 2000, NASA published a report that showed many positive aspects of LED technology. They noticed this when they used red light therapy in order to treat ulcers that were borne out of chemotherapy in patients with cancer. That was the turning point. That is what really helped launch the commercial use of LEDs with medical grade healing properties.
The Science Behind It
The physics behind the light of LLLT and LED are pretty similar. 1 milliwatt of power equals that amount of power, does not matter what the source of the power is. What can be different, however, is the uniformity of the light and also the depth the light can penetrate, can be drastically different. In fact, a lot of the light therapy devices that are currently in the market have very quickly become outdated and need to be replaced. This is all because of the fact that light therapy technology has evolved so much in recent years. To use a device that has become outdated, is to put the patient at risk. Therefore, this practice should be avoided at all possible costs.
Using an outdated device on a patient has the likelihood of there being a much greater chance of non-compliance. It can also lead to a loss in patient freedom and also increase the chances of getting much poorer results.
One method of delivery of this kind happens with the use of low-level lasers in order to treat the hair and the skin. These devices normally tend to be wearable devices. They make use of more precise lasers in order to deliver coverage that is spotty. They also tend to be a lot bulkier than you would like them to be. The amount of laser light that is required in order to properly treat anything ends up being too much for these devices. As a result of this, they end up requiring larger batteries or sometimes even direct power from an electrical outlet. In the span of the last 20 or so years, the more well known manufacturers of these products have all made the fact clear that lasers are the only type of light that is strong enough to penetrate the skin. But as years are going by, more and more researchers are pointing to that being simply not the case at all.
The older devices of the years gone by are only able to provide a fraction of the light power needed in order to be an effective form of treatment. They are only able to provide a margin of the quality of light that newer and more advanced devices are able to provide. It is by design that laser diodes, and also because of how they form energy, are normally able to deliver a spread of around 6 degrees. Also, the industry standard of these types of laser diodes are normally about 3-4mm in height if they are not larger. This means that the source will be even closer to the site of application and thus will result in a very short beam spread.