Photobiomodulation (PBM) has been used in clinical practice for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, conflicting literature has led to the labelling of PBM as a complementary or alternative medicine approach. However, past and ongoing clinical and research studies by reputable investigators have re-established the merits of PBM as a genuine medical therapy, and the technique has, in the last decade, seen an exponential increase in the numbers of clinical instruments available, and their applications. This resurgence has led to a clear need for appropriate experimental models to test the burgeoning laser technology being developed for medical applications. In this context, an ethical model that employs the protozoan, Paramecium primaurelia, is proposed. We studied the possibility of using the measure of oxygen consumption to test PBM by irradiation with an infrared or near-infrared laser. The results show that an 808nm infrared laser diode (1W; 64J/cm²) affects cellular respiration in P. primaurelia, inducing, in the irradiated cells, a significantly (p < 0.05) increased oxygen consumption of about 40%. Our findings indicate that Paramecium can be an excellent tool in biological assays involving infrared and near-infrared PBM, as it combines the advantages of in vivo results with the practicality of in vitro testing. This test represents a fast, inexpensive and straightforward assay, which offers an alternative to both traditional in vivo testing and more expensive mammalian cellular cultures.