Light therapy has been used for thousands of years.
Even before ancient cultures understood the science of the sun and its light rays, they understood it was special. They recognized it, and in many cases deified it, as the bringer of life and energy for the planet. Stonehenge is widely thought to be a site of sun worship; ancient Greeks built roofless buildings to expose themselves to light.
- The earliest medicine understood light had special properties.
- Hippocrates, a father of modern medicine, encouraged sitting in sunlight as a cure for various disorders.
- Herodotus believed it helped heal muscles and nerves.
- Ancient Egyptians believed bathing in various colored light would promote healing of associated ailments.
- According to Indian medical literature from around 1,500 BC, light therapy was used to treat skin disorders.
- Chinese texts dating from 1,000 - 2,000 years ago describe a range of color and light therapies for the treatment of skin and mental disorders.
In modern science, the earliest work in studying light was by Niels Ryberg Finsen in the late 19th century. Awarded the Nobel prize for his work in 1903, his was the first device that generated artificial sunlight to treat several conditions.
Three decades later, a lack of vitamin D, normally produced by the skin’s exposure to sunlight, was identified as the cause of Rickets, a disorder that weakens and softens the bones. In the 1950s, Eastern European researchers began publishing case reports “soft” laser light helped relieve arthritis pain with Endre Mester of Hungary demonstrating the first early tests of laser phototherapy.
Then in the early 1990s, NASA conducted a study using LED light, specifically to figure out how to help plants grow in space. The result was a new understanding of how light interacted with biology. Research soon turned to understanding light’s effect on animal and human cells, with astounding results.
Today, QBMI is conducting research that is pioneering a new direction for medical treatment in the areas of wound healing, oral mucositis and macular degeneration along with relieving chronic pain.
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This website is intended for healthcare professionals and clinical researchers only. All of the treatments using LED phototherapy devices that are discussed on this website are in various stages of investigation and have not been approved by the FDA except where specifically stated.