Photobiomodulation (tPBM) has been a field of research over the last 15+ years. Like electrical stimulation, tPBM modulates the brain. Unlike electrical stimulation, this approach is noninvasive. tPBM goes well beyond electrical modulation by initiating metabolic processes. The LEDs operate at near-infrared frequencies which are mostly invisible to the human eye. The light energy is absorbed by photoreceptors in your brain cells and initiates metabolic processes in your brain. These processes include the stimulation of your mitochondria and an increase in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis which encourages blood flow and oxygen distribution. The result is improved circulation and oxygen utilization. This health boost for your brain cells is experienced as an energy lift and an accelerated ability to learn.
Transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM), a form of neuromodulation, uses infrared light to boost cerebral oxygen metabolism. The way that near-infrared lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) interact with brain function is based on bioenergetics. In random controlled studies, tPBM has been found to modulate the function of neurons in cell cultures, brain function in animals, and cognitive and emotional functions in healthy persons and those with clinical conditions. Photoneuromodulation involves the absorption of photons by specific molecules in neurons that activate bioenergetic signaling pathways after exposure to the red-to-near-infrared light. The 600–1150nm wavelengths allow for best tissue penetration.
Photon energy absorption by cytochrome oxidase is well-established as the primary neurochemical mechanism of action of tPBM (transcranial photobiomodulation) in neurons. The more the enzymatic activity of cytochrome oxidase increases, the more metabolic energy that is produced via mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.
tPBM supplies the brain with metabolic energy in a way analogous to the conversion of nutrients into metabolic energy, but with light instead of nutrients providing the source for ATP-based metabolic energy . If an effective near-infrared light energy dose is supplied, it stimulates brain ATP production and blood flow (Uozumi et al., 2010), thereby fueling ATP-dependent membrane ion pumps. Near-infrared light stimulates mitochondrial respiration by donating photons to cytochrome oxidase, because cytochrome oxidase is the main acceptor of photons from red-to-near-infrared light in neurons.