Unveiling the Truth Behind PBM (Red Light Therapy): Healthlight’s Insights

Nov 15, 2023 | Karen Wolters

Medically reviewed by Karen Wolters, RN and Joanna Fearnley, LPN

At HealthLight, our dedication to precision and accuracy in providing groundbreaking information about PBM (Photobiomodulation) is unwavering. Far too often, individuals encounter misleading or incorrect details when it comes to understanding the intricacies of PBM, especially concerning the crucial metrics like mW/cm2 (milliwatts per square centimeter) and optical power numbers. Allow us to set the record straight by addressing some frequently asked questions that shed light on the core aspects and effectiveness of PBM therapy.

Optical Power Numbers

Firstly, let’s dispel the misconception surrounding the mW/cm2 of the pad. Contrary to popular belief, the optical power numbers hold paramount importance. Many competitors base their pad power on electrical input, a metric that fails to account for LED efficiency or losses due to heat. At HealthLight, we emphasize the significance of actual measured optical output power at the skin level, which truly reflects red light therapy‘s effectiveness.

Understanding the average output power is crucial, especially considering the 50% duty cycle used by our LEDs. This cycle means that the actual peak power is double the stated numbers. Moreover, the power per square cm doesn’t entirely encapsulate the efficacy, as each HealthLight LED emits an intensity field concentrated in a cone, resulting in a higher mW/cm2 in the light cone of each LED.

However, efficacy isn’t solely dependent on total light power but on light energy density governing photon penetration into the body. Our 50% duty cycle, the maximum approved by the FDA, ensures safety and efficiency while some other products may have a lower duty cycle due to heating concerns.


Joules, the number of emitted photons at the skin, play a crucial role in penetration depth. Factors such as fat, water content, skin color, and health conditions influence the number of photons that reach the desired depth. This understanding highlights the significance of wavelength, dictating how deeply photons penetrate the tissue.

Session Duration

Regarding session duration, our research indicates that after 20 minutes, the absorption of NO (Nitric Oxide) by the mitochondria reaches its peak. Beyond this point, there are no adverse effects, but infrared light therapy becomes less effective. Studies have also suggested that a slower, more prolonged exposure might offer more substantial benefits than a quick, intense session.

At HealthLight, our commitment to providing accurate, verified information stems from rigorous testing, collaboration with engineering consultants, and data-driven insights. We strive to equip individuals with the precise knowledge needed to harness the full potential of PBM therapy. Trust HealthLight for reliable, science-backed information to navigate the realm of PBM effectively.

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