Effect of low-level laser therapy (808 nm) on markers of muscle damage: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial

Lasers Med Sci. 2014 May;29(3):933-8. doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1430-2. Epub 2013 Sep 5.


The aim of this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study was to investigate the effect of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase (CK) and strength performance) in the biceps brachii. Twenty-two physically active men were randomized into two groups: placebo and laser. All volunteers were submitted to an exercise-induced muscle damage protocol for biceps brachii (biceps curl, 10 sets of 10 repetitions with load of 50% of one-repetition maximum test (1RM)). Active LLLT (808 nm; 100 mW; 35.7 W/cm(2), 357.14 J/cm(2) per point, energy of 1 J per point applied for 10 s on four points of the biceps brachii belly of each arm) or placebo was applied between the sets of the biceps curl exercise. CK activity and maximum strength performance (1RM) were measured before, immediately after, 24, 48, and 72 h after the exercise-induced muscle damage protocol. There was an increase in CK activity after the muscle damage protocol in both groups; however, this increase was attenuated in the laser group compared to the placebo group at 72 h (placebo = 841 vs. laser = 357%; p < 0.05). Maximum strength performance was decreased immediately after the muscle damage protocol in both groups (p < 0.05), but at 24, 48, and 72 h, and it returned to the baseline level in both groups. In conclusion, the LLLT attenuated CK activity 72 h after the muscle damage protocol but did not have a positive effect on the recovery of strength performance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / radiation effects*
  • Placebos
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Placebos
  • Creatine Kinase