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Panels or beds for photobiomodulation

Which option to choose?

There are several factors to determine which system is most effective in this type of therapy. Obviously the number of lights and the intensity of each of them are decisive. Also the nanometers and the frequency at which they emit.

But all these parameters can be the same, both in panels and beds, if the same lights are used.


For this reason, we will focus this article on two physical principles that are decisive in affirming that photobiomodulation therapy in beds is much more effective than with panels.


The principles of light reflection and the inverse square law.

Both significantly affect the amount of light that is actually absorbed by the skin regardless of what they emit.

How reflection influences photobiomodulation


Reduced light absorption:

When light reflects off the skin or other tissues, less of it is absorbed into the cells where it can exert its therapeutic effects. This means that the actual dose of light reaching the target tissues is less than the dose emitted by the device, potentially reducing the effectiveness of the treatment.


Uniformity of treatment:

Uneven reflection in different areas of the body leads to a distribution of

the light during treatment is uneven. This may result in some areas receiving less than the intended dose, leading to inconsistent therapeutic results.


Skin properties:

Factors such as skin color, thickness, humidity, and the presence of hair can influence the amount of light that is reflected. Darker skin tones, for example, may absorb more light, reducing reflection, while lighter skin may reflect more light. The presence of hair also increases surface reflection, which can be particularly challenging when treating hair-covered areas.


Understanding the principle of reflection helps to design more effective photobiomodulation devices, ensuring that a sufficient amount of light reaches the target tissues to stimulate the desired biological responses.

Unlike panel devices, the beds' fully enclosed array literally bathes the body in therapeutic light, and what bounces back to the body when a highly reflective surface of the LED strips is incorporated. This provides optimal coverage in a remarkably short session time.

How the Inverse Square Law influences photobiomodulation

Inverted square law in photobiomodulation


The inverse square law is a simple but powerful concept that helps explain how the intensity of things, like light, decreases as you move away from the source.

Imagine you have a light bulb in the center of a dark room. The light emitted by the bulb spreads in all directions. The further you get from the bulb, the weaker the light appears. This is because the same amount of light has to cover more area as it travels farther. This scattering reduces the intensity or brightness of the light.

In more practical terms, think about being right next to a light bulb: it looks very bright. If you take a few steps back, it doesn't seem so bright anymore. The light has not changed; It has simply been dispersed over a larger area, so there is less light hitting any one point.

The "inverse square" part of the law states that if you double the distance from the light source, the intensity of the light at that new point is not just reduced by half; It is reduced to a quarter of what it was. If you triple the distance, the intensity becomes one-ninth of the original, and so on. Essentially, intensity decreases much faster than distance increases.

The inverse square law is crucial to understanding how distance affects light therapy.

This law explains why the intensity of light decreases dramatically as you move away from the light source.


Distance and Intensity:

When using light sources such as LEDs or lasers, the distance between the light source and the skin is crucial. According to this physical law, if you double the distance from the light source to the target area (for example, a body part), the intensity of the light reaching that area is reduced to a quarter of its original intensity. This means that small changes in distance can have big effects on how much light energy actually reaches the tissues that need treatment.


Treatment Efficacy:

For photobiomodulation to be effective, a certain intensity of light must reach the target tissues to trigger the biological processes necessary for healing. If the light source is too far from the skin, the light may not be intense enough to have the desired therapeutic effect. That is why the position of the light source in relation to the skin is a critical aspect of treatment protocols.


Dosage Calculation:

Photobiomodulation users and practitioners must carefully calculate light dosage, including considerations of both light intensity (how much energy the light source emits) and exposure duration. The inverse square law plays a key role in these calculations because it helps determine how much light actually reaches the target area based on distance.


Uniformity of Treatment:

The inverse square law also explains why it can be challenging to deliver a uniform dose of light over a larger area. As light scatters from the source, its intensity decreases, which can lead to uneven treatment effectiveness unless the light source is systematically moved over the treatment area or multiple sources are used strategically.


Practical application:

Whole-body photobiomodulation therapy offers several advantages over using panels that only cover specific areas. These are some of the advantages of full body use:


Uniform Coverage:

Integral bed systems ensure more uniform exposure to therapeutic light throughout the body. Additionally, some systems use lights that are positioned closer together, the loss of intensity is significantly reduced as the light beams cross each other.

Distance between LEDs in photobiomodulation

Efficiency and Convenience:

Using a whole body delivery system may be more time efficient. Instead of moving a panel to treat different parts of the body sequentially, whole-body systems allow for simultaneous treatment of multiple areas, which can save time and improve patient flow in a clinical setting.


Enhanced Systemic Effects:

Whole-body PBMT is believed to provide systemic benefits, not just localized effects. This includes better circulation, reduced inflammation throughout the body, and improved overall energy levels. These systemic effects may be particularly beneficial for conditions that affect multiple body systems or for general well-being and recovery.


Greater Comfort:

For many patients, lying on a full-body PBMT system can be more relaxing and comfortable compared to using panels, where positioning and repositioning may be required to target specific areas. Comfort can play a significant role in a patient's overall treatment experience and satisfaction.


Best for treatments on large areas:

For conditions that involve large areas of the body or multiple affected areas, such as general skin problems, fibromyalgia, or whole-body muscle pain, full-body delivery ensures that no area is overlooked, which is difficult with delivery systems. panels that have limited coverage.


Greater Impact:

Exposure of greater body surface area to therapeutic light may improve the body's overall photobiomodulatory response. This could, theoretically, lead to more pronounced benefits, although specific results may vary depending on the individual and the condition treated.



In summary, full-body photobiomodulation systems offer more comfortable treatments and effectiveness compared to panels, especially for systemic conditions or when care is needed in multiple areas of the body.

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