Pre-Exercise Infrared Photobiomodulation Therapy (810 nm) in Skeletal Muscle Performance and Postexercise Recovery in Humans: What Is the Optimal Power Output?

Photomed Laser Surg. 2017 Nov;35(11):595-603. doi: 10.1089/pho.2017.4343.


Background: Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) has recently been used to alleviate postexercise muscle fatigue and enhance recovery, demonstrating positive results. A previous study by our research group demonstrated the optimal dose for an infrared wavelength (810 nm), but the outcomes could be optimized further with the determination of the optimal output power.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of PBMT (through low-level laser therapy) on postexercise skeletal muscle recovery and identify the best output power.

Materials and methods: A randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial was conducted with the participation of 28 high-level soccer players. PBMT was applied before the eccentric contraction protocol with a cluster with five diodes, 810 nm, dose of 10 J, and output power of 100, 200, 400 mW per diode or placebo at six sites of knee extensors. Maximum isometric voluntary contraction (MIVC), delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and biochemical markers related to muscle damage (creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase), inflammation (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α), and oxidative stress (catalase, superoxide dismutase, carbonylated proteins, and thiobarbituric acid) were evaluated before isokinetic exercise, as well as at 1 min and at 1, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h, after the eccentric contraction protocol.

Results: PBMT increased MIVC and decreased DOMS and levels of biochemical markers (p < 0.05) with the power output of 100 and 200 mW, with better results for the power output of 100 mW.

Conclusions: PBMT with 100 mW power output per diode (500 mW total) before exercise achieves best outcomes in enhancing muscular performance and postexercise recovery. Another time it has been demonstrated that more power output is not necessarily better.

Keywords: exercise performance; parameter optimization; photobiomodulation therapy; phototherapy; postexercise recovery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle Fatigue / radiation effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / radiation effects*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / radiation effects*
  • Soccer / physiology*


  • Biomarkers