Use of Light Therapy to Support the Brain

So many of the benefits of light therapy and the Visum Light focus on the physical benefits: reduced inflammation, reduced pain, the stimulation of cellular repair. But there are numerous studies that prove the benefit of light therapy on treating the brain. By using 10hz and 40hz light therapy, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia; traumatic brain injuries; and depression and PTSD can all benefit.

What is Light Therapy?

Photobiomodulation (PMB) therapy aka “light therapy” uses focused light (from ultraviolet to near-infrared), often in varying colors, on tissues to trigger a response that results in an increase in cellular metabolism. This has been shown to lower pain and inflammation, repair tissues, and other benefits on the cellular level. As of April 2022, there have been over 6,500 published papers proving therapeutic relief in these ways from PMB therapy. Though there are currently fewer studies, there is growing evidence that this same light therapy can be used to treat neurological disorders ranging from depression to Alzheimer’s to PTSD.

What is 40hz light therapy and how is it different from 10hz light therapy?

Light therapy in the 40hz range refers to the number of light flashes (40) per second; studies have shown that 40hz appears to restart the natural gamma rhythm of the brain and improves brain functioning. By using low-power lasers and light-emitting diodes in the far-red to near-infrared ranges, this therapy can stimulate neurological activities by increasing oxygen consumption and ATP production. Gamma is associated with focus and activity. Many of these studies also show promising results through the use of 10hz light therapy, which activates the brain’s natural alpha rhythm, or the state of rest.

Treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Dementia with Light Therapy


The treatment of dementia-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (the two most common neurodegenerative disorders) has been notoriously elusive. Neurodegenerative disorders are the result of dying neurons in the brain; many of the current treatments are meant to alleviate symptoms, but not to stop the pervasive neuron death that will continue to occur over time. Studies are beginning to show the promise of using light therapy to stop this neuron death.

A pilot study conducted on ten healthy subjects who were delivered continuous, pulse, and sham light therapy to the frontal areas by four LED clusters in the 10hz range. EEG and diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) recordings were made weekly before, during, and after each session. The results showed significantly boosted gamma and beta brain waves.

Another study on five patients with mild to moderately severe dementia (or possibly Alzheimer’s disease) was conducted after seeing promising results in animal studies with the same method. The patients underwent 12 weeks of active treatment using 10hz pulsed, light-emitting diode devices on a weekly, in-clinic basis and daily at-home use of an intranasal-only device. The results showed significant improvement after the 12 weeks, including increased function, better sleep, fewer outbursts, less anxiety, and less wandering.

Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries with Light Therapy


Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are typically the result of an outside force to the head that results in varying neurological symptoms from confusion to blurred vision to difficulty concentrating. The use of light therapy to treat TBIs has been explored as it may reduce inflammation, stimulate neurogenesis, and activate neuroprotection.

A 2015 case study of ten patients with chronic TBI (with an average time of 9.3 years since their injury) found that symptoms of TBIs (headaches, problems sleeping, cognition, mood swings, anxiety, and irritability) improved after receiving ten high-power NIR laser treatments over the course of two months. Results were measured by depression scales and a novel patient diary system developed specifically for the study.

Blue Light Therapy and Mild TBI

Mild TBIs, or concussions, are much more common that traumatic brain injuries, so the use of light therapy to help these patients has more impactful implications. Problems with sleep occur for up to 50% of patients with concussions; in a study of 28 individuals, both male and female and ranging in age, with documented mild TBIs, were exposed to regular morning blue light exposure therapy in an effort to retrain their circadian rhythms to help improve sleep and possibly enhance brain repair and neuropsychological recovery. Study participants were exposed to 30 minutes of blue or amber wavelength light devices for six weeks. The results showed that the exposure led to earlier bedtimes and rise times, less sleepiness during the day, and improved balance.

Treatment of Depression and PTSD with Light Therapy.

Psychological therapy of post traumatic stress disorder

Included in the wide range of neurological and psychological conditions that light therapy has been shown to benefit are depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


In terms of depression, some 30-40% of patients to not respond to antidepressants, making them ideal candidates to experiment with the use of light therapy for treatment. Depression can be the result of different neurological factors such as an imbalance in neurotransmitters, neuroinflammation, or mitochondrial dysfunction. Just as laser therapy’s ability to increase neuron capacity and ATP production can be helpful in improving neurological disorders, it similarly can help target those neurological factors contributing to depression.

A 2017 study published in Front Psychiatry found that multi-Watt light therapy could treat TBIs and was being explored as a treatment for depression. Thirty-nine patients previously treated for TBIs provided a Quick Inventory of Depression Symptomatology Self Report (QIDS) before and after treatment where they received multi-Watt light therapy lasers applied to the forehead and temporal regions for 9-12 minutes in each area. All were assessed to have mild to severe depression. For 36 of the 39 patients, their QIDS total score went down by 50% of more and remained in remission for up to 55 months after a single course of treatment.


Fewer studies seem to be available on the efficacy of light therapy in humans, though promising results have been shown in studies using rats as its subject. A 2021 study published in Molecular Psychiatry aimed to identify whether the use of light therapy could help treat or even reverse PTSD. The cause of PTSD is an impaired fear memory, also known as “contextual amnesia,” in which the subject is unable to feel safe when subjected to trauma-associated cues. This study found that a single dose of light therapy applied immediately after fear conditioning in which the rats were subjected to a traumatic event had the ability to reverse contextual amnesia.

Another 2021 study, this one published in Translational Psychiatry, also studied rats and the efficacy of early light therapy interventions to prevent PTSD and its comorbidities. Rats were subjected to underwater trauma and then later multiple swimming sessions to recall the traumatic memory. After both the initial trauma and subsequent triggering events, the rats were restrained with or without light therapy treatment. The results concluded that light therapy can positively affect brain activity in response to traumatic events and that early light therapy intervention can prevent the onset of PTSD comorbidities such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.

The Visum Light is the most versatile light therapy device available to healthcare professionals and self-care enthusiasts. Because it offers a wide spectrum of wavelengths and customizable color combinations, it is one of the few, if not the only, devices to keep up with newly discovered applications for photobiomodulation.

Visum Light offers a 45-day No-Worries Guarantee and affordable financing options so that anyone can enjoy the benefits of this lightweight, hand-held device risk-free.

Join the Newsletter

Light therapy is a growing area of research. That’s why we stay up to date with the latest trends in PBM, emerging studies, and the latest applications for light therapy. Join our newsletter, and we’ll deliver high-value content to your inbox, along with exclusive offers that are only available to mailing list members.


Henderson, T.A., & Morries, L.D. (2017). Multi-Watt Near-Infrared Phototherapy for the Treatment of Comorbid Depression: An Open-Label Single-Arm Study. Frontiers in Pyschiatry, 8(187).

Huang, Y.Y., Gupta, A., Vecchio, D., Bil de Arce, V.J., Huang, S.F., Xuan, W., & Hamblin, M.R. (2012). Transcranial low level laser (light) therapy for traumatic brain injury. Journal of Biophotonics, 5(11–12).

Johnstone, N., Moro, C., Stone, J., Benabid, A.L., & Mitrofanis, J. (2016). Turning On Lights to Stop Neurodegeneration: The Potential of Near Infrared Light Therapy in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9.

Killgore, W., Shane, B., Vanuk, J., Franco, J., Castellanos, A., Millan, M., Grandner, M., & Bajaj, S. (2017). Light Therapy Facilitates Thalamo-Cortical Brain Recovery from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Biological Psychiatry, 81(10,S385).

Li, Y., Dong, Y., Yang, L., Tucker, L., Zong, X., Brann, D., Hamblin, M.R., Vazdarjanova, A., & Zhang, Q. (2021). Photobiomodulation prevents PTSD-like memory impairments in rats. Molecular Psychiatry, 26(11).

Li, Y., Dong, Y., Yang, L., Tucker, L., Yang, B., Zong, X., Hamblin, M.R., & Zhang, Q. (2021). Transcranial photobiomodulation prevents PTSD-like comorbidities in rats experiencing underwater trauma. Translational Psychiatry, 11.

Morries, L.D., Cassano, P., & Henderson, T.A. (2015). Treatments for traumatic brain injury with emphasis on transcranial near-infrared laser phototherapy. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 11, 2159–75.

Salehpour, F., & Rasta, S.H. (2017). The potential of transcranial photobiomodulation therapy for treatment of major depressive disorder. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 28(4).

Saltmarche, A.E., Naeser, M.A., Ho, K.F., Hamblin, M.R., & Lim, Lew. (2017). Significant Improvement in Cognition in Mild to Moderately Severe Dementia Cases Treated with Transcranial Plus Intranasal Photobiomodulation: Case Series Report. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, 35(8).

Spera, V., Sitnikova, T., Ward, M.J., Farzam, P., Hughes, J., Gazecki, S., Bui, E., Maiello, M., De Taboada, L., Hamblin, M.R., Franceschini, M.A., & Cassino, P. (2021). Pilot Study on Dose-Dependent Effects of Transcranial Photobiomodulation on Brain Electrical Oscillations: A Potential Therapeutic Target in Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 83(4).