Current theories for how light therapy works in the brain
Light therapy, or photobiomodulation, is a bioenergetic process, which uses red and near-infrared (NIR) light to aid in improved cognition and memory consolidation.
Enhances mitochondrial function
Light therapy improves mitochondrial function in brain cells by modulating a photosensitive enzyme, cytochrome c oxidase.
The health of the mitochondria affects most facets of health, in part due to their role in gene transcription.
Studies show that near-infrared photons (810 nm) readily diffuse into the brain, triggering brain photobiomodulation.
“Impaired neurons respond positively to near-infrared light. Several published studies demonstrate that damaged neurons restore their structures after irradiation with red and near-infrared light…not just on cells in experiments but also on laboratory rats with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Neurons damaged by oxidative stress, which is the basis of one of the hypothesized causes of Alzheimer’s Disease, have also been found to recover in a similar fashion after irradiation with near-infrared light.” Photobiomodulation Lecture 2015, video slide
Regulates the Default Mode Network
The Vielight neuro products emit pulsed near-infrared light towards the brain’s Default Mode Network, transcranially and intranasally, using microchip LED technology.
Research is finding that networks in the brain can become dysregulated, meaning that they are not in sync with each other as a healthy brain would be.
One theory about photobiomodulation is that by focusing LED light on the head in such a way that the clusters span two parts of a brain network, the light treatments help that network get back in sync. Margaret A. Naeser proposes that the specific placement of the LED clusters may positively affect the regulation of the default mode network (DMN).
Veilight has pioneered the intranasal channel as a gateway for photobiomodulation for the brain.
Only a short, porous barrier exists between the ventral brain area and the nasal channel, ideal for near-infrared diffusion.