Can LED Light Therapy Improve Depression?
In recent years, LED light therapy has become a cornerstone of skin rejuvenation and anti-ageing treatments. The LED light spectrum is made up of a broad range of wavelengths, and depending on the wavelength in use, LED can address a wide variety of skin needs and disorders, from skin breakouts and infections to collagen induction and accelerated healing. But can LED light improve depression?
Of this broad spectrum, there are two wavelength ranges in particular that are backed by decades of extensive scientific research – infrared and near-infrared light.
Infrared and Near-Infrared Light
Originally, infrared and near-infrared LED has been used for therapeutic purposes to heal tissue injuries and reduce inflammation, particularly for sports injuries. It is a highly evidence-based practice, with hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing LED’s amazing capacity to reduce swelling, reduce inflammatory mediators in the body, and optimise our natural healing functions. But according to emerging studies, the power of LED may extend not just to physical healing, but also psychological.
LED Light and Depression
There is still so much that we don’t yet know about clinical depression, and other psychological disorders involving depression symptoms. For example, historical and emerging studies continue to debate whether depression is simply a congenital chemical imbalance, or a more complex neurological hardwiring caused by trauma. Whatever the cause, most experts agree that all we can do for now is manage the symptoms. Therefore, we’re seeing the release of countless studies exploring various treatments and technologies that battle the symptoms of depression in new ways. Excitingly, one of the ways to improve depressive symptoms is infrared and near-infrared light.
Anyone who has experienced a clinical-grade LED treatment can describe the boost in mood and energy that they feel afterwards, and there is good reason for this. At Bobbie Charles, we want the time that you spend with us to nourish your soul as well as your body, but we also value evidence-based practice. This means that we only offer treatments and technologies that make you not only feel good, but are proven to work. So we delved into the latest studies on LED lights and depression to find out exactly how and why our light therapy treatments can help our suffering clients.
One of the most common and significant symptoms of depression and other psychological conditions associated with depression is low levels of energy and motivation. A 2023 paper in the Photonics journal (1) reports that near-infrared photobiomodulation (another term for LED light therapy) shows significant improvement in cell viability, mitochondrial membrane potential, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is our body’s form of energy, which is produced by our mitochondria. Therefore, an increase in mitochondrial activity leading to increased ATP production could benefit depression sufferers with low energy who may not always have the motivation for exercise (the leading conventional way to boost this process).
Brain fog is another major symptom in depressive disorders. A 2022 study in the Psychiatric Annals journal (2) reports photobiomodulation with near-infrared light decreasing symptoms of depression by boosting neurogenesis and synaptogenesis. In simpler terms, near-infrared enhances brain function by increasing the formation of neural (brain) pathways and the subsequent activity along these pathways.
A 2023 study in the Journal of Translational Medicine (3) flags near-infrared light as a potential leading therapy for depression (among other psychological disorders) for assisted nano-drug delivery. We are already seeing things like light-assisted drug delivery in dermatology for skin disorders – this uses the same principle, enhancing the absorption of medications to increase dopamine activity (our feel-good chemical).
Just from this snapshot, you can see why we absolutely love our LED treatments, and while the evidence in this particular field still very new, it’s exciting to see the profound role that light therapy could play to dramatically improve the lives of depression sufferers.
To read more about the amazing benefits of the Healite II device for skin and anti-ageing, check out our blog post ‘The Benefits of LED using Healite II’.
For best results and cost saving, you can purchase LED Packages of 10 x LED light facials for $790 (saving you $200). Read more about our LED Light Facial to purchase online or give the friendly team a call in-clinic to purchase a package today.
- Tang, L., Qin, H., Lin, S., & Liu, M. (2023). Effects of pulsed red and near-infrared light on neuroblastoma Cells—Pilot study on frequency and duty cycle. Photonics, 10(3), 315. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics10030315
- Cassano, P., Hurtado, A., & Caldieraro, M. A. (2022). Transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) for major depressive disorder. Psychiatric Annals, 52(11), 466-471. doi:https://doi.org/10.3928/00485713-20221018-04
- Wei-tong, P., Pan-miao, L., Ma, D., & Yang, J. (2023). Advances in photobiomodulation for cognitive improvement by near-infrared derived multiple strategies. Journal of Translational Medicine, 21, 1-21. doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-023-03988-w