Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy at 904 nm mitigates effects of exercise-induced skeletal muscle fatigue in young women

Lasers Med Sci. 2018 Aug;33(6):1197-1205. doi: 10.1007/s10103-018-2454-4. Epub 2018 Feb 17.


Muscle fatigue is a process influenced by several mechanisms such as concentration of metabolic substrates, changes in blood flow, and increases in reactive oxygen species that impair contractile muscle function. In this context, photobiomodulation has been investigated for preventing muscle fatigue, with reports of positive effects on muscle performance. This study aimed to investigate the effects of 904-nm LASER photobiomodulation on rectus femoris muscle performance in young women. Eighteen young women participated in a randomized, participant and assessor-blinded crossover trial with placebo control. Active LASER (904 nm, 60 mW, 250 Hz, 3.6 J per diode, total dose of 129.6 J) intervention was applied prior to an isokinetic fatigue protocol consisting of a set of 60 concentric quadricep contractions at a constant dynamometer angular velocity of 180°/s. Compared to placebo, LASER photobiomodulation significantly reduced muscle fatigue across a range of indicators including reduced ratings of perceived exertion (P = 0.0139), and increased electromyographic fatigue index (EFI) (P = 0.005). The isokinetic dynamometer performance analysis demonstrated that LASER photobiomodulation increased peak torque (P = 0.04), time to peak torque (P = 0.042), total work (P = 0.032), average power (P = 0.0007), and average peak torque (P = 0.019) between both experimental conditions. No significant difference was observed for work fatigue index (P = 0.29) or for lactate concentration (P > 0.05). Photobiomodulation at 904 nm was effective in reducing fatigue levels and increasing muscle performance in young active women but had no effect on lactate levels.

Keywords: Electromyography; Lactate; Laser; Muscle fatigue; Muscle performance; Photobiomodulation therapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle Fatigue / radiation effects*
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / radiation effects*
  • Torque
  • Young Adult


  • Lactic Acid