An image of a man's knee with light therapy tool which is effective for wound healing.

Accelerating Wound Healing with Light Therapy: A Review of Photobiomodulation Research

Wound healing is a complex and critical process that involves various actions, including inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling.

Photobiomodulation, commonly known as light therapy, has shown promise in promoting faster and more efficient wound healing. From this first being discovered by NASA to the growing accessibility of light therapy treatments worldwide, accelerated wound healing has never been more possible than today.

We’re looking at the science behind light therapy for wound healing and discussing five influential research papers that have shaped our understanding of its effectiveness.


How Light Therapy Supports Wound Healing


Light therapy uses specific wavelengths of light, typically in the red and near-infrared spectrum, to stimulate cellular processes within the body.

When the skin absorbs light at these wavelengths, it triggers a series of events at the cellular level that enhance the body's natural healing processes.

Key mechanisms involved in wound healing through light therapy include:


Stimulated Cell Proliferation


Light therapy promotes the production of new skin cells by stimulating cell division and growth, leading to faster wound closure.



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The Effect of Wavelength on Low-Intensity Laser Irradiation-Stimulated Cell Proliferation in Vitro

When looking to determine the effect of low-intensity laser light on cell reproduction, researchers studied primary cell cultures after irradiation with various laser wavelengths.

The results have shown that fibroblasts (a type of cell) multiplied faster than endothelial cells (another type of cell) in response to laser irradiation.

The cells increased the most when exposed to light with wavelengths of 665 and 675 nanometers. Whereas light with a wavelength of 810 nanometers actually slowed down the multiplication.

With the Kineon MOVE+ Pro, we use a combination of 660nm deep red LEDs and 808nm infrared lasers. These lasers help with the increase of cells which can contribute to faster healing.

When cells, such as fibroblasts, multiply, it means the body is generating more of these cells to repair and replace damaged or injured tissue.




Enhanced Collagen Production


Light therapy increases the production of collagen, a structural protein essential for tissue strength and integrity during the wound healing process.


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Collagen Production in Diabetic Wounded Fibroblasts in Response to Low-Intensity Laser Irradiation at 660 nm Collagen Type 1 (Col-1) is a major component in the wound healing process. In an effort to see if laser treatment could influence collagen production in diabetic wounds, researchers conducted a study on isolated human skin fibroblasts.

Two types of cells were used - one representing normal skin and the other simulating skin with diabetes. In the study, the cells were exposed to light at a specific energy level and wavelength and then were left to grow for either 48 to 72 hours. Some cells were left unexposed and kept as a control group.

When looking at how the cells survived, multiplied, and their apperance, researchers found that skin cells with diabetes (when exposed to light at 660nm) experienced a notable improvement in their ability to move, survive, multiply, and produce collagen.

This is an incredible example of how light therapy can aid wound healing, joint function, and overall skin health for a range of conditions.


Reduced inflammation

Light therapy can decrease the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation and promoting a more efficient healing process.

Improved blood circulation

Light therapy enhances blood flow and circulation, providing tissues with more oxygen and nutrients while removing waste products. This improved circulation supports the healing process and further reduces inflammation.


Red Light Therapy Accelerates Various Types of Wounds

Intro this section about how RLT can help a range of wound types.

Open wounds


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The Efficacy of Carbone Dioxide Laser Debridement along with Low-Level Laser Therapy in Treatment of a Grade 3 Necrotic Burn Ulcer in a Paraplegic Patient

A case study about a 20-year-old girl’s experience with a severe burn wound shows the ability of low-level laser therapy as an alternative to surgery.

The patient had a grade 3 necrotic burn ulcer for three weeks. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), along with a 808nm infrared laser, Co2 laser, and trichloroacetic acid , was used on the open wound. After 25 sessions, the wound had healed completely - showing just how powerful light can be.


Post-Surgery Incisions


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Laser Therapy for Incision Healing

It’s not just humans which can feel and see the benefits of laser therapy…dogs can too!

In a recent study, researchers looked at how wounds heal in dogs after surgery. 12 Dachshunds had surgery for back problems, with nine dogs receiving laser therapy treatment for a week shortly after.

The ones with laser therapy had better looking scars by the seventh day and significant improvement by day 21. 

The laser therapy seemed to make the wounds heal faster and look better too.


Scar Tissue


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Photobiomodulation for Modulation of Neuropathic Pain and Improvement of Scar Tissue

Scar tissue can be incredibly frustrating, with its appearance often red, sore, and inflamed for a long time to come. But this can be eased with light therapy. 

A case report highlighting the effects of photobiomodulation, otherwise known as light therapy, has shown how a 15cm linear scar from a cholecystectomy improved in both appearance and pain symptoms following therapy.

Photobiomodulation increases cellular activity which promotes the production of energy-rich molecules, including those involved in tissue repair and regeneration. It also has anti-inflamamtory effects and can stimulate collagen production. For scars, this means a quicker recovery time, reduced pain, and less swelling.


Raised Scar Tissue


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Low-Energy Laser Irradiation Reduces Formation of Scar Tissue After Myocardial Infarction

Understanding how low-energy laser irradiation (LELI) works on animals is a helpful way to predict the results it’ll have on humans too.

With the aim of investigating the effect of LELI on the formation of scar tissue in rats and dogs with heart attacks, researchers found that those with laser treatment had a much lower chance of dying.

The size of the damaged heart tissue (from the heart attack) was significantly smaller in the laser-treated dogs too.

In rats, the laser treatment helped preserve more of the cell structures and energy in the heart.


Diabetic’s Experience Faster Wound Healing with RLT


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Combined Treatment of Photobiomodulation and Arginine on Chronic Wound Healing in an Animal Model

The combined treatment of photobiomodulation and arginine, in a study on rats, has shown how slow-healing wounds improved with high light therapy. This, along with arginine, helped wounds close faster by day 10 and made the slow-healoing wounds stronger too.

This research explains how high photobiomodulation and low light therapy, with the addition of arginine, has positive effects on slow-healing wounds by promoting faster healing, making wounds stronger, and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.

The Effect of LED on Blood Microcirculation During Chronic Wound Healing in Diabetic and Non-Diabetic Patients

Healing long-term wounds, especially people in diabetes, has been an ongoing problem for many.

Regular treatments don’t always work well, so exploring methods like light therapy can be a worthy alternative.

In a study involving 79 patients with chronic leg wounds, the group that got LED therapy showed a substantial increase in blood flow, indicating better healing, while the other group didn’t show much change.

These results suggest that LED phototherapy can be a helpful additional treatment for chronic wounds in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients.


Best red light therapy for wound healing

As proven by research and case studies, light therapy and LED between 650 nm and 808 nm wavelengths is incredibly effective for wound healing, accelerating recovery after surgery or injury, and boosting collagen and much-needed nutrients.

Inspired by hundreds of reports, Kineon created the MOVE+ Pro. With its advanced technology, the device helps people to recover faster, reduce pain and ease inflammation.

The MOVE+ uses low-angle emission LEDs and Infrared lasers to penetrate joint tissue and provide support for chronic and acute conditions. This means you get the benefits of both wavelengths - the LEDs for helping to stimulate collagen production, improve circulation, and treat surface-level inflammation, and the laser diodes for deeper tissue healing.

Our customers report an 80% reduction in pain within 1-4 weeks of use and it’s beneficial for a whole range of conditions and can be used on any part of the body. To join the thousands of people worldwide who are finding relief with the MOVE+ Pro, try the device in a risk free 30 day at-home trial.



Five Influential Research Papers on Light Therapy and Wound Healing


  1. Whelan, H. T., Smits, R. L., Buchman, E. V., Whelan, N. T., Turner, S. G., Margolis, D. A., ... & Stinson, H. (2001). Effect of NASA light-emitting diode irradiation on wound healing. Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine & Surgery, 19(6), 305-314.

This groundbreaking study, conducted in collaboration with NASA, investigated the effects of light-emitting diode (LED) therapy on wound healing in both animal models and human subjects. The results demonstrated that LED therapy significantly increased the rate of wound closure and tissue growth, paving the way for further research in the field of photobiomodulation.

  1. Barolet, D., Roberge, C. J., Auger, F. A., Boucher, A., & Germain, L. (2009). Regulation of skin collagen metabolism in vitro using a pulsed 660 nm LED light source: clinical correlation with a single-blinded study. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 129(12), 2751-2759.

This study examined the effects of pulsed 660 nm LED light on collagen metabolism in vitro and correlated the results with a single-blinded clinical study on wound healing. The researchers found that light therapy stimulates collagen production and accelerates wound healing in both in vitro and clinical settings.

  1. Minatel, D. G., Frade, M. A. C., França, S. C., & Enwemeka, C. S. (2009). Phototherapy promotes healing of chronic diabetic leg ulcers that failed to respond to other therapies. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 41(6), 433-441.

This clinical study investigated the effectiveness of light therapy in promoting the healing of chronic diabetic leg ulcers that had not responded to other therapies. The results demonstrated that light therapy significantly improved wound healing and reduced the size of ulcers, highlighting its potential as a valuable treatment option for challenging wounds.

  1. Kuffler, D. P. (2016). Photobiomodulation in promoting wound healing: a review. Regenerative Biology, 4(1), 1-7.

This review article provides a comprehensive overview of the role of photobiomodulation in promoting wound healing. The author discusses the various cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in light therapy's effects on wound healing, including cell proliferation, collagen production, inflammation reduction, and improved blood circulation. The review also highlights numerous studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of light therapy in accelerating wound healing across various types of wounds.

  1. Landau, Z., Migdal, M., Lipovsky, A., Lubart, R., & Breitbart, H. (2011). Visible light-induced healing of diabetic or venous foot ulcers: a placebo-controlled double-blind study. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, 29(6), 399-404.

In this placebo-controlled double-blind study, the authors investigated the effects of visible light therapy on the healing of diabetic and venous foot ulcers. The results showed that light therapy significantly improved wound healing in comparison to the placebo group. The study further supports the potential of light therapy as an effective treatment option for various types of wounds, including those associated with chronic conditions like diabetes.


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Red Light Therapy for Wound Healing Proven by Studies


The research papers discussed in this article provide strong evidence for the effectiveness of light therapy in promoting wound healing across a range of wound types, including burns, surgical incisions, and chronic ulcers. 

Through its ability to stimulate cell proliferation, enhance collagen production, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation, light therapy offers a promising non-invasive and drug-free treatment option for wound management.

As our understanding of photobiomodulation and its potential applications in wound healing continues to grow, healthcare professionals and patients can consider incorporating light therapy into their wound care plans to support faster and more efficient healing.

For more articles on red light therapy, read:

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