The use of low level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) has recently expanded to cover areas of medicine that were not previously thought of as the usual applications such as wound healing and inflammatory orthopedic conditions. One of these novel application areas is LLLT for muscle fatigue and muscle injury. Since it is becoming agreed that mitochondria are the principal photoacceptors present inside cells, and it is known that muscle cells are exceptionally rich in mitochondria, this suggests that LLLT should be highly beneficial in muscle injuries. The ability of LLLT to stimulate stem cells and progenitor cells means that muscle satellite cells may respond well to LLLT and help muscle repair. Furthermore the ability of LLLT to reduce inflammation and lessen oxidative stress is also beneficial in cases of muscle fatigue and injury. This review covers the literature relating to LLLT and muscles in both preclinical animal experiments and human clinical studies. Athletes, people with injured muscles, and patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy may all benefit.
Keywords: ATP; low level laser therapy; mitochondria; muscle fatigue; muscle injury; reactive oxygen species; satellite cells.