A Novel Blue-Red Photobiomodulation Therapy Patch Effects on a Repetitive Elbow-Flexion Fatigue Task

J Sport Rehabil. 2020 Mar 1;29(3):271-276. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2018-0339.


Background: Photobiomodulation (laser/light) therapy has reduced skeletal muscle fatigue and improved performance in previous research.

Objective: To determine if the application of a novel blue (450 nm) and red (645 nm) light-emitting diode photobiomodulation therapy patch improves muscle function and decreases perceived exertion after an elbow-flexion fatigue protocol.

Participants: Thirty-four strength-trained individuals (male = 32 and female = 2, age = 22.5 [2.7] y).

Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to an active or placebo treatment. On visit 1, participants' 1-repetition maximal biceps curl was determined, and an orientation session of the fatigue task occurred to ensure no learning effects. Fifty percent of the participants' 1-repetition maximum was used during the fatigue protocol. On visit 2, participants performed biceps curl repetitions at a speed of 25 repetitions per minute until they could not physically move the weight past 90° of elbow flexion or stay with the set pace. After the fatigue protocol, a 30-minute blue/red light (wavelength = 450 and 645 nm, peak irradiance = 9 mW/cm2, duty cycle = pulsed 33%, and fluence = 5.4 J/cm2) or sham treatment was administered based on the randomized group assignment. Immediately following, the participants repeated the fatigue protocol. The number of complete repetitions was counted, and the participants rated their perceived level of exertion on the Borg scale immediately after each fatigue bout.

Results: Overall, fatigue occurred between the 2 exercise bouts (pretreatment = 44.1 [12.3] and posttreatment = 37.4 [9.6] repetitions, P = .02). However, less fatigue was noted in the number of participants of the active treatment group than the sham treatment group. During the posttreatment fatigue task, 29.4% of participants in the active treatment group improved compared to 0% in the sham treatment (P = .045).

Conclusion: Nearly 30% of participants had an increase benefit during a repeated-bout fatigue task due to the blue/red light-emitting diode photobiomodulation light patch.

Keywords: exercise recovery; laser therapy; muscle fatigue; muscle function.