The Benefits of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and Photobiomodulation

“LLLT supplies the brain with metabolic energy in a way analogous to the conversion of nutrients into metabolic energy, but with light instead of nutrients providing the source for ATP-based metabolic energy.” (R)

LLLT is The Best Cognitive Enhancer Around. (notice the period)


Whether you’re healthy or not, Low-Level Laser Therapy or LLLT is probably the single most effective tool for cognitive enhancement

The studies cited in this article are based on LLLT usage in various parts of the body, but LLLT works very similarly no matter where it’s pointed.  I’ve come across many studies that talk about the same mechanism’s no matter which cells/tissues are involved.

The studies are all over the map here when it comes to quality.   The point is it’s safe and reason to experiment with and see if it works for you.  This post isn’t meant to prove anything, as none of my posts are.  They are to give you some food for thought.

What Devices I Use

I use Vielight devices, which are more powerful and can reach in deeper places like the hypothalamus.

I bought these 4 Vielight devices and they are better than the cheaper ones.  The Vielight Neuro is pretty good for brain function, and I like using it.

Use discount coupon code JOSEPHCOHEN for 10% off all Vielight products.  Vielights are better than the cheaper ones.

What LLLT is Used For In The Scientific Literature

There are too many studies to list all of them, so I just referenced the ones I found first.  So while maybe dozens of studies demonstrate a reduction of inflammation, I just referenced the ones I found first.

  • In general, lowering inflammation where ever applied (RR2). Specifically, by reducing levels of PGE(2), Cox 2, IL-1b, TNF, neutrophil cell influx and oxidative stress (R)
  • Wound healing/Tissue growth and repair (R)
  • Depression (R)
  • Anxiety (R)
  • Pain relief in various syndromes (RR2R3)
  • Arthritis (RR2)
  • Back pain (R), neck pain (R)
  • Autoimmune conditions like thyroiditis (R) and others
  • Traumatic brain injuries (R), strokes (R) and other brain injuries (R)
  • Tooth repair (RR2), pain from orthodontics (R)
  • Hair growth and male pattern baldness (R) – different wavelength and power are required.
  • Acne (RR2)
  • Heart attack – hastens healing of the damage (RR2)
  • Fractures (R) – seemingly not sprains, though (R)
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis and others (R)
  • Fibromyalgia (R)
  • Improving bone density (RR2)
  • Increasing testosterone (R)
  • Enhancing liver regeneration (R) and protection (R)
  • Allergic rhinitis (R)
  • Neuropathy (R)
  • Candida infection (RR2R3)
  • Vision disorder like macular degeneration (R) and retinitis pigmentosa (R)
  • Hearing problems such as tinnitus (R) – in the short term or when combined with rTMS (R)
  • Muscle tissue for performance, fatigue and repair (RR2)
  • Spinal cord injury (R)
  • Parkinson’s (R)
  • Alzheimer’s (RR2)
  • Injuries in connective tissue/joints (R), Achilles tendon (R), Elbow tendinopathy (R)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (R)
  • Burns (R, R2)
  • Smoking Cessation (R)
  • Laryngitis/Hoarseness (R) Laryngitis can be hoarseness, globus, chronic cough, voice fatigue, throat pain, and dysphagia. 
  • Some migraines and headaches (R) – may make them worse too if you have vasodilatory headaches.
  • Weight loss? (R) – probably with infrared sauna (have not used).
  • Peptic ulcers (R), Venous Leg Ulcers (R), Pressure ulcers (R), Oral Mucositis (R) Aphthous stomatitis (R)
  • Edema (R, R2)
  • Lung inflammation (R), COPD (R)
  • Alcohol addiction (R)
  • Narcolepsy based on theory (R).  Narcolepsy is likely an autoimmune disorder (R)
  • Oral Lichen Planus (R)
  • Cancer: Various tumors, when used with a photosensitizer (R)
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes (R, R2/R2) “It should be well noted that the common thought, that it is impossible for the pancreas to restore its function and morphology in case of diabetes mellitus, has definitely come to an end in the history of this disease and mankind…….Secondly, it has been ascertained from this study that the quantum energy of laser rays is capable of stimulating and causing the regeneration of pancreatic tissues, including the B-cells of the Islets of Langerhans, even in advanced disease states.”  I can’t find these studies in any journal, but it’s quite intriguing.  Skepticism is always advised, although I don’t see the harm in trying it on the pancreas.
  • Based on the mechanism’s involved I’d expect it to help for cognitive-based disorders like Autism, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar disorders.  Autism, for example, is in part a result of mitochondrial dysfunction (R) and inflammation (R).  Deficiencies in the cells’ ability to fuel brain neurons might lead to some of the cognitive impairments associated with autism and higher levels of free radicals also might contribute to autism severity (R).  Mitochondrial abnormalities also occur in bipolar and schizophrenia (R), as well as inflammation (RR2)
  • It should also help with inflammatory gut problems like Crohn’s and Colitis.

Biological Mechanisms: How Laser Therapy Enhances Cognitive Function

LLLT works by hormesis and invoking your body’s stress response, specifically nitric oxide/free radicals.  Therefore, like any kind of hormetic tool, use it wisely and prudently.

LLLT increases free radicals (ROS), but the level of ROS produced by LLLT in normal cells are beneficial (R).

I mainly use LLLT on my brain, but I also use it for many other things.  For this section, I speak about its mechanism with regard to the brain.


You can see my interview with Dr. Hamblin, the world expert on Light Therapy.

  • Suppresses inflammation: PGE(2), COX2, IL-1b, TNF, IL-8, IL-6, neutrophil cell influx, etc.. (RR2, R3)
  • Increases internal antioxidants (SOD) (R)
  • Decreases free radicals and oxidative stress in neurons (R)
  • Increases brain Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor  (VEGF) (R).   HIFs are normally increased under low oxygen conditions.  This is the body’s stress response.  HIF-1 increases several genes to promote survival in low-oxygen conditions. These include enzymes that allow ATP (cellular energy currency) synthesis in an oxygen-independent manner, and VEGF, which promotes the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the brain.    This makes sense because when the brain is starved for energy it will try to make up for it.
  • Increases stem cells (R, R2, R3)
  • Increases Nerve growth factor (NGF) (R)
  • Increases Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (R)
  • Increases Neurotrophin-3-contradictory (NT-3) (R)
  • Increases IGF-1, TGF-b (R, R2), PDGF, FGF2 (R)
  • Increases ATP production (R)
  • Increases the number of mitochondria (R) i.e mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Promotes the synthesis of DNA and RNA (R)
  • Increases neuronal mitochondrial metabolism by photostimulation (stimulation by light) of an enzyme (cytochrome oxidase) involved in increasing mitochondrial oxygen usage (R) and increases mitochondrial membrane potential (R)
  • Increases blood flow and circulation (R)
  • Decreases amyloid-β aggregates in human brain cells (in-vitro) (R), the protein responsible for Alzheimer’s.
  • Activates PKC (R)
  • Upregulates heat shock proteins (R)
  • Stimulates mast cell degranulation (R)
  • Modifies extracellular matrix components (R)
  • Prevents neuronal death by greater membrane stability and resistance to depolarization, which has been shown to transiently reduce neuronal excitability (R)
  • Prevents cell death, improves cell proliferation, migration, and adhesion (R)
  • Increases the expression of genes in the brain by increasing the transcription factors Nf-kb (R), AP-1 and CREB (R). Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA and supports growth and repair.  See this video animation on how these proteins bind to DNA.
  • Increases expression of antioxidant gene MnSOD (second most expressed gene after Nf-kB). (R, R2)
  • Increases our body’s natural opioids (R).

Interestingly, in normal neurons, LLLT  increased oxidative stress/ROS. In oxidatively stressed cells, LLLT reduced high ROS levels and protected cultured cortical neurons from death (R)

Some of the mechanisms are similar to methylene blue.  Read my post about how to use it.

What Effects Did I Experience?

  • Increases higher order cognitive function
  • Improves memory via growth factors and brain metabolism (R, R2)
  • Improves attention (R)
  • Improves working memory (R)
  • Improves mood (R)
  • Improves motivation
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Increases sports performance (via sensory and motor improvements) (R)
  • Decreased need for sleep

LLLT Goes Well With

LLLT Doesn’t Go Well With

  • Antioxidants (like NAC) within a few hours of applying it.   Part of the mechanism that LLLT works is by increasing ROS, so NAC will prevent this.  Taking antioxidant supplements the next day probably won’t diminish the benefits.

I used to caution about C60, but not anymore.  I asked Dr. Hamblin, the world expert on Light Therapy.

Where To Use It On The Head

  • If you suffer from fatigue, you want to use it all over the head (including back), because you are targeting your hypothalamus, which is close to the center of your brain.
  • Use on the forehead and on top of the forward part of your head for increased focus and increased analytic ability.  Dr. Hamblin uses it on his forehead for ~15 minutes.
  • Use on upper and side portions of the head for creativity.
  • If you have CFS then do it in the back, as there’s evidence that CFS is as a result of brain stem inflammation.

Other Places I Use it

I mainly use it on my brain, but sometimes other locations.

  • Sports injuries/other injuries.  I’ve had one on my finger, my shoulder, etc.. (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my thymus to increase my immune system and immune tolerance (used it maybe 20 times in total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my thyroid to increase thyroid hormones (used it maybe 20 times in total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my liver to increase liver regeneration (maybe 15 times total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my stomach to increase stomach acidity, GI repair (maybe 10 times).  (Effective)
  • I use it in my teeth to increase dentin.  One tooth has some dentin that’s been worn away.  (Effective)
  • I’ve used it once on my testes to increase testosterone.  I’ve only used it once there because I’m a bit scared to use it there as I don’t understand its interaction with sperm enough. (Unable to determine effectiveness.)
  • I use it sometimes on the side of my face to heal nerve damage as a result of bells palsy as a kid. (Effective)
  • Massive sting.  I was recently attacked by a flying creature that was massive – bigger than a queen bee.  It attacked a spot in my foot and injected a poison that caused a large portion of my foot to swell.   I put LLLT on it and it practically disappeared in like 2 days.
  • Although I don’t use it for my skin, it can very well be used for it (R)

How To Use It

I recommend using this before bed, as it causes fatigue in many.  I believe the mechanism is by increasing TNF-alpha acutely (R).  While it may acutely increase TNF-alpha, it down-regulates the production chronically (R).  Read my posts about how inflammation and TNF-alpha are related to fatigue.

First use: Place on each spot on the head for 10 seconds and switch to a different spot.  Cover the whole head, except the back.  Total time should be 2 min.

Second use: If you felt tired after the first usage then continue at that dosage for a week.  If not increase by 10 seconds to a total of 20 seconds per a spot and 4 minutes in total.

If you feel tired and groggy the next day, you had too much.  If not, keep on increasing the dosage by 10 seconds until you hit 2 minutes per a spot and a total of 15 minutes.

If you feel groggy the next day and only took 30 seconds per a spot (less than 6 minutes in total) then it means you have an inflammatory and/or mitochondrial issue.  LLLT will help with it.

If you feel tired after 2 minutes of putting it on your head this also means you likely have an inflammatory and mitochondrial issue.  Again, LLLT will help with it.

Use every other day.  I recommend every third day if you’re generally functioning pretty well.  If you’re taking  a lot of other supplements then use once a week perhaps.  That’s what I do.  The benefits are abolished if used daily for a few weeks.

An alternative way of using it is to put it on your head in the daytime for two minutes in total.   This isn’t enough to make most people tired, but it still stimulates Cytochrome C Oxidase.  I would definitely recommend using it this way if your sleep is disturbed by LLLT.

Last, don’t worry about the detailed instructions or screwing up.  This is very safe if you use it even somewhat right. The reason I give these instructions is so that people with underlying inflammatory issues aren’t scared off if they see some negative effects.

When Will You See Results?

LLLT is like exercise  – benefits are accrued and realized after the healing stage, but there’s usually a noticeable effect the next day.

If you don’t notice anything from laser therapy then congratulations – you likely have healthy mitochondria and low levels of inflammation.  It still can help you, though.  Gwern didn’t notice any effect, but still had significant increases in productivity the days he used it.

You may not notice a difference right away, just like how you may not notice an increase in muscle size after a single weight lifting session.

Devices To Buy

I recommend using devices in the 850nm range on your brain so that it can reach in deeper places like the hypothalamus.   This wavelength was found to penetrate tissues most deeply.

I actually have all of the devices here and decided to list them all, because they are each good in different ways.  The Vielight devices are more expensive, but also more powerful.  The light relief is good to use on the testes to increase testosterone and on the thyroid to increase thyroid hormones.

I like using the Vielight Neuro for brain function.

Use discount coupon code JOSEPHCOHEN for 10% off all Vielight products.  Vielights are better than the cheaper ones.

Other, cheaper devices:

  • Infrared – Intranasal LLLT (AMZN)
  • Infrared – LLLT (light relief) -850nm-  I like that you can take off the rubber part and more easily use it over broader areas of the head/thyroid.  I use this on various parts of the brain and on my thyroid and thymus. Good for arthritis, too.   The ratings are bad because of bad customer service and over-hyping their product.  It definitely has an effect, though.  My only problem with this is the blue light it gives off…so I use Black tape to cover it.
  • Infrared  -LLLT 660nm….Has different effects than the other one that I recommend.  Get both.  This is a good 660nm grow light.
  • Infrared – LLLT – 850nm (CCTV camera) (AMZN). Put on a head. Make sure to take off glass cover.  This one only has infrared, as opposed to the light relief.  I like both of them.  Here’s a plug for it.  I like the light relief device better, but you need to cover the blue light on it with black tape.  If you have hair, the CCTV is better for your head because the LEDs can comb through your hair….I use both…
  • Infrared Sauna (I have this one)….Very happy with the sauna purchase.
  • Infrared Light
  • Infrared Pants
  • Infrared Shirt
  • Infrared Mat

Possible Side Effects and Theoretical Long-Term Risks

The following are side effects only if you’ve used too much:

  • Degraded sleep
  • Cognitive laziness/grogginess the day after
  • More relaxed feeling
  • Headache
  • Eye pain

Theoretical long-term risks for usage on the brain:

Long term risks are unknown since there’re no human studies that have been going on for decades.  However, there’re reasons to think that brain cancer risk is both decreased and increased.  I haven’t seen this discussed anywhere, but my knowledge of cancer research leads me to this opinion.

Brain cancer risk is possibly increased in my opinion as a result of the growth factors and stem cell increase.    LLLT also increases a transcription factor (NF-kb), which is implicated in cancer initiation and progression (R).

Since it decreases inflammation, oxidative stress and improves mitochondria, it may decrease your risk of developing a tumor, to begin with, but if you already have a tumor or get a tumor, the increase in growth factors will make it spread more quickly.

Again, there’re reasons to think it will cause and prevent cancer, but I’m leaning more towards causing it (where ever it’s used in the body).  Obviously using it once won’t matter, but every other day for the rest of your life might be significant.

For every 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 221 are living following the diagnosis of a brain tumor, but only 20-25% of that number is malignant (R).

Approximately 0.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with brain and other nervous system cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2008-2010 data (R).

If you have a very high incidence of cancer in your family, specifically brain cancer, then this might not be a risk you want to take, since we don’t have long-term studies on people yet who use it on their brain.

I’m extremely cautious, even though I probably don’t come off as such.   For me, I feel the risk is worth it.   I think the increased cancer risk is small at the end of the day and the benefits outweigh the risks by a good margin.  That said, it’s likely wise to take breaks if your brain is already functioning well.

If you think about it another way, however, intelligence is highly correlated with lifespan (R, R2) and disease reduction (R).  This is probably because more intelligent people make more money and can take better care of themselves better (R) (by understanding health information, etc..).  Neuroticism is also associated with increased mortality (risk of dying) (R) and LLLT decreases neuroticism.

So life is one big trade-off and this is a risk I’m willing to take and I think most of the population should also take since it’s such a powerful tool.  It’s only a risk insofar as we don’t know the long-term effects.

I also take supplements that inhibit cancer growth, so hopefully this balances the risk increase.  In general, my genetics makes me more prone to autoimmune conditions rather than cancer, so the risk is especially worthwhile for me.

A Primer On The Mitochondria, How It Makes Energy and Cytochrome C Oxidase

The mitochondria are the main source of oxygen free radicals in cells, which are very reactive and can harm cellular structures and DNA. Cells can repair typical levels of oxidative damage.

Notice that the mitochondria have an “outer” membrane and an “inner” membrane.  In between is the intermembrane space.   H+’s/protons get pumped out of the inner membrane into the intermembrane space.    They then go through a protein (ATPase) to spin it into producing ATP.

A protein on the inner membrane of the mitochondria called Cytochrome C oxidase (unit IV – see pictures) is capable of absorbing light, which increases its activity or ability to pump H+’s, which leads to increased ATP production.  This process of producing ATP is known as “oxidative phosphorylation.”

Research Snippets

-Cytochrome oxidase is an ideal target for cognitive enhancement, as its expression reflects the changes in metabolic capacity underlying higher-order brain functions. Brain photobiomodulation with LLLT is paralleled by pharmacological effects of low-dose USP methylene blue, a non-photic electron donor with the ability to stimulate cytochrome oxidase activity, redox, and free radical processes. Both interventions provide neuroprotection and cognitive enhancement by facilitating mitochondrial respiration, with hormetic dose-response effects and brain region activational specificity.

-We found that at low fluences (0.3–3Jcm2) mitochondrial respiration was stimulated, as shown by the increase in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), Ca2+, and mitochondrial membrane potential. This, in turn, generated low amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) that activated signaling pathways and gene transcription without causing cytotoxicity


  1. Jane

    Is it advisable to use a vielight (633) on the same day with PEMF, or do the two therapies need to be separated by a period of time? Days, hours…? Thanks!

  2. Lisa

    I am looking through your post and cannot find the place where you define: R, R2, R3

    What do each of these mean?

  3. Hi Joe,

    I’m curious about how you estimate and assess risk of cancer for LLLT (and also Uridine, which has similar risks). I’ve tried and had excellent results with both, but I’m highly concerned about the cancer risk and so haven’t used either for long periods.

    What leads you to believe that the risk is low rather than high, and how do you determine whether a risk is worth taking?

  4. Shalom S Fisher

    I have a Vetrolaser (808 nanometer 100 milliwatt) that I recently purchased. I am considering trying it out on my thyroid. I have had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for a long time and some very, very high TPO readings in the past. I would really like to find something that would correct this condition or at least improve it significantly.
    I got very excited when I read some of the interesting statements that you made about some research that has been done where people have been able to stop taking their thyroid medication. I am concerned now, though, that the laser that I own is too high-powered for this self hack. I am curious what your take is on my thoughts to give this a try. I did already do 15 seconds on the center and each wing of the thyroid (total 45) one time with no noticeable effects. I was thinking about twice a week or something like that.
    I have also tried the laser on various transcranial locations and I believe that I am having some positive results. Again I am concerned that this laser may be too high-powered for that selfhacked. But I don’t know so I am wondering if you or anyone else should give me some guidance. I know you’re not a doctor and that’s a good thing in my book. I am not asking for medical advice comma I am only asking what you would do in my shoes.
    Oh, and thank you so much for all that you have done and shared. May you be greatly blessed for it.

  5. What kind of lamp do people put the red bulb in? Will it be too hot for a regular lampshade? Also, when using this light and the LLLT (light relief) -850nm should I cover my eyes? From what I’ve read sunglasses aren’t sufficient but one needs an eye mask.

  6. kas

    In your description you mention that LLLT doesn’t go well with anti oxidants. Would this mean acetyl-L-carnitine is something that cannot be taken?

  7. Lllt user

    I have been receiving treatment at a Neropathy clinic for a fibromyalgia flare-up due to an injury.. I have severe pain in legs and feet and also numbness in feet and part of left leg. They are using the Intranasal Vielight 633 as the boot for my feet and legs is too powerful..causing more pain. I now have my own unit. Is this the best one for total body pain ? Does this model also have the same total detox benefits of others? If not..which should I consider as I have a number of health issues such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, hashimoto disease, anxiety/panic disorder, GRD and IBS . And see the benefit of the detox ability Thank you

  8. Dan

    About using it to increase the testosterone I never understood if you use it or not?
    First you wrote: “I’ve used it once on my testes to increase testosterone. I’ve only used it once there because I’m a bit scared to use it there as I don’t understand its interaction with sperm enough. (Unable to determine effectiveness.)”

    Then: “The light relief is good to use on the testes to increase testosterone and on the thyroid to increase thyroid hormones.”

    These two statements seem to conflict though, since why do you say it is good to use on the tests to increase testo, while at the same time saying that you only used it once and can not determine how effective it is?

  9. B A

    Hello selfhacked,

    How can I be sure that 48 LED Near Infra Red Light is on? Can I use the device during the day time? Your response will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

  10. Electric Lady

    Hi Joseph, newbie here! Great work! Theoretically speaking, if I had a class 3b infra red single laser treatment probe, small enough to to fit into the tip of my nasal cavity that was 850nm, 100mw (average) 1000mw (peak) with adjustable hertz options of, 2.5, 5, 20, 100hz (and above), could this theoretically be used as an intra-nasal type device? How long per session? Or would you think it was too powerful? Thanks! EL

  11. Electric Lady

    Hi Joseph, newbie here! Great work! Theoretically speaking, if I had a class 3b infra red single laser treatment probe, small enough to to fit into the tip of my nasal cavity that was 850nm, 100mw (average) 1000mw (peak) with adjustable hertz options of, 2.5, 5, 20, 100hz (and above), could this theoretically be used as an intra-nasal type device? How long per session? Or would you think it was too powerful? Thanks! EL

  12. Cas

    Ok so what I don’t understand is the following:

    You advise us to use a CCTV for example max 2 min on every spot we want to use it on, like different spots on the head.
    But how come Dr.Hamblin uses it 15min on his forehead? If I’m correct this is just one spot and not added up to a 15min in total by doing different spots on the head for 2 min.

    Could you elaborate on this?

  13. Steven

    I use the Vie light 810 and within a few minutes I will have small aches all around from head to toe. I sleep deeper and feel more engaged the next day for sure. I think it depends on how clean your blood is already. When I use the LLLT pad on my lower back I can feel my nerves tingling down my legs and around my back. I’m in athletic shape and have lower back issues I believe because it tightens up frequently when running. Im not sure if my experience would be similar to a typical user.

    Using it on your stomach would have the best affect I would think. Would this enhance digestion?

    I even put the LLLT pad under a glass water bottle for 20 min, forgot I did this later in the day and drank from it. I felt it went beyond therapeutic because I started to get those same aches and a hybrid feeling of energy and fatigue like it was too much. I may experiment with it again but try a lower amount of time. I think the wavelength has a lot to do with what it does to your blood.

    It “irradiates” the blood

    I think my aches may have something to do with a dormant infection of sorts. Ive dealt with off and on digestive/cognitive issues. Apparently a pathogen absorbs too much of the irradiated blood and dies off creating vaccine like reaction that jumpstarts your immune systems.

    What ever it does its certainly doing something. I had a TBI and apparently low grade infections are common in the brain. Infections consume brain energy and metabolize waste products. That’s a left and right hook for brain fog/neuro issues. Paul Jaminet talks about using a Keto diet to starve possible infections x 2 months then Doxycycline to kill x 10 days- followed with probiotics. I cant get my hands on Doxy.

  14. Crystal

    When I’ve use lllt my ears started ringing and I would get tightening of the chest and heart area. I really want to use this, but I’m concerned. Has anyone else experienced this? Am I having a psychosomatic response because I’m fearful? Or is this legit? Can’t find anyone else having these issues. I’m a healthy 40 year old.

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      Sounds Psychosomatic because LLLT is used to cure ringing in the ears. Tightening of the chest and heart area is not possible.

  15. Robin

    Hi Joe, I’m considering purchasing the Vielight 810 to increase cognitive ability and motivation. I went through a weird health crisis last year. A lot has improved due to following a ketogenic diet, eating 9 cups of vegetables a day, and taking various supplements. But I’m still experiencing cognitive impairment and an area I’m still having a lot of trouble is motivation… There was a time when if anything went wrong I’d just get up, look for a solution and move on. That’s a lot harder for me now. It’s like I’m moving in slow motion and it takes talking to myself all the time just to get anything done. I’m having financial troubles from the health issues: not being able to work, not being able to look for work, impaired cognition. The Vielight 810 is very expensive for me considering my financial state, but if it is likely to increase my ability to motivate and work it would be worth it. Do you think this is a good investment considering these issues? Also, can the 810 be used on other parts of the head, not just in the nasal cavity? Thanks for any help or advice.

    • Electric Lady

      Hi Robin, how are you progressing? Did you end up getting the Vielight 810 in the end or did you take another route? Your experinces sound a little similar to mine so any update on your journey would be great to hear. Thanks Ada

  16. j

    out of curiosity, which LLLT device do you use most regularly?

    I just bought the 96 led cctv, but went with a 2amp power supply, instead of the 1amp you listed, since that’s what its graded for. I figure this may have a little stronger output, even though the device still appeared to work fine with the 1amp.

  17. Jonathan

    Avoid the antioxidants. Light makes the body create it’s own. And light also guides electrons to clean up.

    What he meant by next day dosage was, the light has had time to do it’s thing, 2-4h is usually the peak time.

    Source: I’m a light therapist

  18. Jason

    Hi Jeff- I was also a little confused by this. So if you are getting light/laser therapy is it good to take an antioxidant before and after application to help scavenge free radicals? Thank you for your help

    LLLT Doesn’t Go Well With
    Antioxidants (like NAC) within a few hours of applying it. Part of the mechanism that LLLT works is by increasing ROS, so NAC will prevent this. Taking antioxidant supplements the next day probably won’t diminish the benefits.

  19. G


    I watched your Michael hamblin discussion and read your lllt info. I bought the cheap light relief 850nm device. On third day, using it four areas – wrist/hand and side of knee/IT band area due to bike accident injury, lower back for squatting injury area and also tried now stopped on brain. I used it on top of neck and forehead and over both ears for approx fifteen mins each on first two days. I read after this that you use lllt on skull for very brief sub two min periods. Anyway, I tried on skull due to having headpain/intracranial pressure for the last five years after a severe adverse reaction to a quinolone antibiotic (ciprofloxacin)… Dave Asprey had a podcast on Quinolones recently, they are extremely dangerous…. … So after the first head use of the ‘light relief’ device I could feel an unusual sensation in my brain, odd but not unpleasant. However after yesterday’s use my head has felt strange, tired, more headache type pain and buzzy heavy circulatory feeling. I m sure this will pass and I ll be fine, but will only use for very brief periods if at all over my skull again! Thanks for the site/research, fascinating stuff!!!

  20. Kari

    Hi! Does the infrared light (850nm) used on the head cause hair loss? I’m asking because I read that wavelengths higher than 810 are used for hair removal…Thanks

  21. Jane

    I purchased the light relief model you recommend from amazon. It is for my daughter that has suffered multiple concussions and has cognitive issues and short term memory issues. You say to cover the blue light. Should I take black tape and cover each of the 4 blue bulbs? What would happen if I don’t cover them? thank you

  22. Mike

    This is very interesting. I have Type 1 diabetes.
    I was recently very intrigued by studies of GABA on mice that was able to restore β cell function after GABA administration for a duration of time.
    What other steps for diabetes are you referring to in your post? I’m very interested in these LLLT devices after reading this.

  23. Philip

    Hello Joe,

    I am bit confused about your recommendations:

    Dr. Hamblin said that the lamps, thus the infrared bulbs probably don´t work and he recommends LEDs instead.

    But in the devices to use u mention bulbs as a possible device.

    What is right now? Can bulbs be used effective on brain, skin etc?

    Best regards

  24. Santino

    Hey Joe,

    I researched some of your references and was very surprised to find that LLLT has effects on the autoimmune diseases vitiligo and alopecia areata which both manifest as local inflammatory diseases where immune cells attack either skin pigmentation cells or hair follicles.

    Because I have both vitligo and alopecia areata I want to try that out.

    Now in the study they say that they still cannot say which wavelength is the best but they say this:

    “Wavelengths in the range of 390 nm to 600 nm are used to treat superficial tissue, and longer wavelengths in the range of 600nm to 1,100nm, which penetrate further, are used to treat deeper-seated tissues (Figure 2).4 Wavelengths in the range 700 nm to 750 nm have been found to have limited biochemical activity and are therefore not often used”

    I already bought this one:

    There is no information about which wavelength that is.

    Do you know which device would be optimal to treat superficial inflammation like it occurs in vitiligo and alopecia areata and if this simple infraredlamp I bought is good for that purpose or if it is just for deep influence or both??

    Thanks a lot!

    • Santino

      Yesterday I used in for 8 minutes on the back of my head, 2 min front of my head and 10 min on the place where I have the vitiligo…

      I did it before sleep and my night was horrible…
      I woke up at 3 am with night sweats.

      After that I sleep anymore but if I felt asleep I had sleep apnea which I normally never have. I woke up because of reaching for oxygen…

      Now I have a bad headache And I feel more anxious/depressed.

      I get the same reaction to some foods and especially to active b vitamins, even in ultra low dose…

      I ask myself what that means. Of course now I feel like I should stay away from it.

  25. Barry White

    I have a 6 year son that is Autistic. He is twin B. His brother is typical. Davis was a patient of Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, a well known MAPS doctor. Prior to Dr. B’s death in June of this year, my son was receiving one treatment each week. At our last meeting, he was convinced that the LLLT treatment was helping to reduce the water (inflammation) on his brain. He suggested we buy a machine and start doing therapy at home. He wanted it done every day! He went on to talk about how he believed that the Lymphatic system is where all the fluid from his brain would need to pass through the Lymph nodes. I believe he wanted us to apply the laser to the nodes at the cheek/neck/ear area to help the nodes flush the excess fluid. Because of Dr. B’s death, we never re-visited the subject. We purchased an LLLT machine from Multi-Radiance for $6,300. I believe it is the top of the line model. What would you suggest his protocol be? We have continued once a week on Sweep Program 1 (it says Chronic). We apply the laser to his forehead and both temples for 5 minutes each. Should we try doing every day? Should we also do the treatments with his Lymph nodes themselves.

    • Kenneth Bednar

      Add one teaspoon of coconut oil to one of his meals. I have been using the oil since February 2015 and I have reversed my Alzheimer’s dementia using it. I made it a point to do research on the oil and by produced an interactive file on my research. ADD and ADHD was among the things the oil helps. To receive a copy of my file email me at the file may surprise you as the oil treats or cures a multitude of things. I also have started using lilt in an attempt to benefit my hearing. P.S. my brain fog disappeared within a week and my comprehension skill increase remarkably fast. Elsewise the research would never had happened.

  26. Thomas2


    Do you recommand the same short time of exposure for physical injuries (10-20s) ?
    I plan to use it on a rotator cuff injury, and 20s seems small.


  27. Deltrus

    Why do you not recommend putting it on the back of your head? Is there a reason we would not want the occipital cortex to work better?

  28. Dr. Hamblin expressly recommends 10hz settings or 10 pulsing lights per seconds rather than Continuous Wave.
    When using the Light Relief, there is a Start mode that uses pulsing light. Their instruction manual says never to use the Start mode (although I know Light Relief is intended for pain relief). When using for the brain, would you recommend using the Start mode ? It seems this would be preferential. Or is it at a lower nm range that won’t work for this purpose? I tried calling their customer support which is worthless.

  29. Luiz Fernando

    Hi Joe, thanks for sharing this knolwedge, i´m pretty excited to buy an infrared flashlight with 850nm wave lenght, it´s ok this on the photo??

    In this range it´s better for cognitive purposes??

    And what about the 660nm, wich you previously talked, it´s better for what??

    How can i create EZ water with infrared?? just to point the light straight to the water for a few minutes??

    Thanks… and again, congratulations for your work!

  30. LK5

    The time protocol is the same for other places like liver? Begin with 10 secs, and later increase or just for the brain? Thanks.

  31. Maureen

    Hi Joe!

    I just ordered the ICES machine. Pretty excited! Now want to order the LLLT, but I hesitate since there were so many 1 star ratings on the product. Just double checking with you before I order.
    My 90 y.o. dad fell and injured his back and is anxious to try these devices out too, along with other family members,
    Thanks again for all you do! : )

  32. Eduardo C.

    Hi, thank you very much, It is a very useful information and the references are good compilation of diverse studies.

    I hope you can answer me the following, as I saw not much studies on this.
    1) Can this be used to treat varicose veins?
    or otherwise
    2) Could LLLT worsen already existing varicose veins?
    3) If LLLT produces vasodilation, can this contribute in the formation of varicose veins in people with predisposition to develop this?

    I’ve tried to find information about LLLT and varicose veins but I haven’t found much. I don’t know if this can be effective, inffective, or contribute to the formation of varicose veins

    Thank you.

  33. ella m

    Technical- Bought the lllt you recommend from amazon. Sice it covers all upper and frontal head when you place it above and cover whole of each side when you place it on the sideway, how do you reach 2 min of total exposure if you only place it 10sec per spot (for each of the 4 sidesc) ?

  34. Thomas

    Is the infrared from the lightrelief product (the one you use) going to cause damage to your eyes if you have them closed and have the pad laying across them?

  35. Thomas

    Are photosensitizing herbs contraindicative with LLLT only when combined with methylene blue and oxygen, or even by themselves?

  36. AJT

    I noticed in your blog post you mentioned the less than synergistic effect of LLLT treatment and oxygen.

    What did you notice that you felt was not a good outcome.

    Do you think this is due to hightened ROS response?

  37. Thomas

    Something I’ve wanted to ask/let you know about is the Buteyko method.

    It’s quite a game changer once you realize that it works and what the implication is (how gas exchange in respiration actually works, as opposed to how we are told).

    My question: if you do Buteyko breathing exercises, thereby increasing your body’s oxygen at the cellular level, do you think that would contraindicate LLLT?

    If you ever get around to trying it out and combining it with LLLT then please let me know how it goes.

    Some benefits I’ve had from it:

    – Nerve stabilization (calmness, parasympathetic activation)
    – Mental clarity; decisiveness, focus
    – Improved cardio/VO2 max

  38. Lucas

    Hey there! What do you think about the effects of an infrared 250w lamp? Similar effects? 30 seconds per spot every morning? Thank you!

  39. How about a 100w infra red lamp for 30 seconds on all sides except for the back? I have tried this twice and I get the same happy feeling as when I’ve been out in the sun for a while. I notice better focus and no fatigue at all.

  40. Stuart

    Great info! Just wondering: is there a good video showing how to do this/where to use the laser? Someone mentioned a video of yours in a previous comment, but I can’t seem to find said video (?)

  41. Kjartan

    So in short, LLLT on the brain is like a brain upgrade? The same way exercise upgrades your body?
    Do you believe the positive effects require maintenance sessions, also just like physical exercise? I read about this study where LLLT was used in patients with TBI and this one patient said she started reverting back to poor mental function when she did not use LLLT for two weeks.
    I am ordering the same light as you and will let you know how the LLLT turns out for me

  42. Wil Boyce

    So Joe, out of curiosity, what factors made you choose recommending 10 seconds per spot for exposure, and limiting it to every other day? How does more abolish the benefits? Thanks…

  43. Have you had any experience with Infrared saunas? Perhaps this is different to the laser effect, but I find this makes me feel fantastic. Ive been doing them regular for 3 months now and have noticed some drammatic effects. Finding one with low EMF is important. Sorry if this is off topic but thought it might be relevant.

  44. J

    hey, I was just wondering if you remove the glass on this laser prior to using it? Also, have you experimented much on areas besides the head, such as the major muscle groups/quads or the gut?


    • Selfhacked

      Yes. I’m experimenting with gut, liver, thyroid, thymus, supraclavicular fossa and testes. I’m developing cutting edge protocols for using LLLT for various health issues.

      • J

        fascinating. My LED arrives monday, and i’m eager to begin my trial. I look forward to reading more in-depth about your protocols whenever you decide to post a follow up.

  45. I’ve been doing the 850nm 48 LED / the exact same device as yours /

    for 3 sessions @2 minutes/spot EOD now. NAC is supplemented too. So far – nothing, no sides, no benefits.
    What bothers me is that when i take it in my palm in the dark it doesn’t shine through it (used my camcoder). So how is this supposed to penetrate my head if it doesn’t get through my hand?

    Appreciate all your hard work

    • Selfhacked


      It definitely goes through the head. If you don’t feel anything up the dosage. Keep upping it gradually and methodically until you feel something.

  46. Kieron

    if it causes next day cognitive laziness does that not defeat the proposehe man, or are the poistives out weighing the negatives? like exercise the longer the better, progressive benefits I mean. joe the dude.

  47. Paul

    How do you turn in on? I just recently bought the LLLT device that you are using and I don’t see any light coming out of it. Can it only be turned on when it is charging?

    At 1:08 I can clearly see light coming out of the device in your video. Do you think my product is defective?

    • Selfhacked

      No guarantees. The risks in my opinion are extremely low if used according to my directions, but use at your own risk. If it’s any consolation, my protocol uses a small fraction of the dosage of what’s used in most studies and what other healthy people are using.

    • Martin Pierce

      I don’t know of any guarantees that this light would be safe. It’s all about the wattage, and this appears to be a high wattage when it comes to therapeutic use.

      Also, people are saying they can’t tell if the light is on or off. That seems like a real concern since the light is only designed to come on when the lights are out.

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