Why vary the wavelength?
Current photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT)
For 150 years, practitioners have used visible light to benefit their patients. Some wavelengths have known bio-chemical effects, such as for jaundice. Today, red and IR dominate photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) for musculoskeletal pain and other disorders.
However, studies typically examine one wavelength in isolation. Wavelengths in the red and IR are selected for their ability to penetrate the skin to stimulate deeper tissues. Exciting new applications include traumatic brain injury that may be accessible with certain wavelengths and power densities.
The good news is that some studies found a dose-response relationship for the examined red or IR wavelength and disorder. However, measuring imaginary pain scores for “managing” pain makes the task very challenging.
Many musculoskeletal aches, pain, and impaired range-of-motion require multiple visits to determine success or failure of the therapy. The problem remains that if the patient fails to respond, then only more of the same wavelength is available.
Currently, improvement of mitochondrial function gets the most mentions of a possible mechanism of action. However, observing the mitochondrial mechanism isn’t easy or quick.
Could the body need one, two, or a sequence of different wavelengths to resume homeostasis?
You can’t know until you try.
Silicon Valley’s quest for speed inspired PhotoMed’s therapy. Why not vary the wavelength during therapy?
The Vari-Chrome® Pro varies the wavelength during therapy. The operator of the Vari-Chrome® Pro receives feedback in real-time by observing impaired functions that may be recorded by the Instant Verification System™. Figure 1 depicts a difference between a fixed wavelength and varying the wavelength during therapy.
Are red or IR wavelengths necessary for relief from treatment-resistant pain?
PhotoMed’s team sponsored a small IRB approved study (n=29) to examine this question. The study enrolled people with dark skin (95%). These real-world people were invited sequentially with no cherry-picking. No red or IR was applied. Each volunteer came for six visits.
The volunteers had poorly-controlled diabetes with lower extremity pain and neuropathy. Some volunteers arrived for their visits in need of adjustment of their blood-sugar levels. They were given appropriate care and then they participated in the study visit.
PhotoMed’s team wanted to know:
Could the therapy work for real-world people with diabetic pain?
Could the therapy work without using red or infrared wavelengths?
Do the outcomes suggest that skin is the likely receptor for the therapy?
The team had no idea if the therapy might work for the volunteers. Either way, the study would be a success by testing the Instant Verification System™ hardware and software in a scientific study.
Each visit ran on autopilot
The treatment protocol was choreographed by computer. The computer screen directed the operator to administer the light to locations on a schedule. The operator had no control of wavelengths or adjustment of the therapy. Every person received the same treatments at the same intervals during each visit.
The study asked questions electronically. The operator had to record the volunteer’s answer to each question before advancing to the next. The statistician reported his surprise with receiving a complete data set with no missing data.
The statistician pointed out that about 1/3 these real-world people took opioid medications for their pain. Some were taking a dozen or more different medications each day. He appreciated that PhotoMed’s team designed and carried out a study without “cherry-picking’ of volunteers. That was the first time for him.
PhotoMed’s team was surprised by the statistical outcomes. More that 50% of participants reported a 50% or greater reduction in their pain.
The team had its answer. Red or IR are not necessary to achieve relief for at least some people with poorly-controlled diabetes, pain, and neuropathy.
Would the batting average have been higher if red had been included?
Here are the outcomes:
The outcomes appeared to confirm the “it’s the skin” model used in developing the Triple 2 Algorithm.