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“LLLT supplies the brain with metabolic energy in a way analogous to the conversion of nutrients into metabolic energy, but with light instead of nutrients providing the source for ATP-based metabolic energy.” (R)

LLLT is The Best Cognitive Enhancer Around. (notice the period)

Whether you’re healthy or not, Low-Level Laser Therapy or LLLT is probably the single most effective tool for cognitive enhancement

The studies cited in this article are based on LLLT usage in various parts of the body, but LLLT works very similarly no matter where it’s pointed.  I’ve come across many studies that talk about the same mechanism’s no matter which cells/tissues are involved.

The studies are all over the map here when it comes to quality.   The point is it’s safe to experiment with and see if it works for you.  This post isn’t meant to prove anything, as none of my posts are.  They are to give you some food for thought.

What LLLT is Used For In The Scientific Literature

There are too many studies to list all of them, so I just referenced the ones I found first.  So while maybe dozens of studies demonstrate a reduction of inflammation, I just referenced the ones I found first.

  1. In general, lowering inflammation where ever applied (RR2). Specifically, by reducing levels of PGE(2), Cox 2, IL-1b, TNF, neutrophil cell influx and oxidative stress (R)
  2. Wound healing/Tissue growth and repair (R)
  3. Depression (R)
  4. Anxiety (R)
  5. Pain relief in various syndromes (RR2R3)
  6. Arthritis (RR2)
  7. Back pain (R), neck pain (R)
  8. Autoimmune conditions like thyroiditis (R) and others
  9. Traumatic brain injuries (R), strokes (R) and other brain injuries (R)
  10. Tooth repair (RR2), pain from orthodontics (R)
  11. Hair growth and male pattern baldness (R) – different wavelength and power are required.
  12. Acne (RR2)
  13. Heart attack – hastens healing of the damage (RR2)
  14. Fractures (R) – seemingly not sprains, though (R)
  15. Skin conditions like psoriasis and others (R)
  16. Fibromyalgia (R)
  17. Improving bone density (RR2)
  18. Increasing testosterone (R)
  19. Enhancing liver regeneration (R) and protection (R)
  20. Allergic rhinitis (R)
  21. Neuropathy (R)
  22. Candida infection (RR2R3)
  23. Vision disorder like macular degeneration (R) and retinitis pigmentosa (R)
  24. Hearing problems such as tinnitus (R) – in the short term or when combined with rTMS (R)
  25. Muscle tissue for performance, fatigue, and repair (RR2)
  26. Spinal cord injury (R)
  27. Parkinson’s (R)
  28. Alzheimer’s (RR2)
  29. Injuries in connective tissue/joints (R), Achilles tendon (R), Elbow tendinopathy (R)
  30. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (R)
  31. Burns (R, R2)
  32. Smoking Cessation (R)
  33. Laryngitis/Hoarseness (R) Laryngitis can be hoarseness, globus, chronic cough, voice fatigue, throat pain, and dysphagia. 
  34. Some migraines and headaches (R) – may make them worse too if you have vasodilatory headaches.
  35. Weight loss? (R) – probably with infrared sauna (have not used).
  36. Peptic ulcers (R), Venous Leg Ulcers (R), Pressure ulcers (R), Oral Mucositis (R) Aphthous stomatitis (R)
  37. Edema (R, R2)
  38. Lung inflammation (R), COPD (R)
  39. Alcohol addiction (R)
  40. Narcolepsy based on theory (R).  Narcolepsy is likely an autoimmune disorder (R)
  41. Oral Lichen Planus (R)
  42. Cancer: Various tumors, when used with a photosensitizer (R)
  43. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes (R, R2/R2) “It should be well noted that the common thought, that it is impossible for the pancreas to restore its function and morphology in case of diabetes mellitus, has definitely come to an end in the history of this disease and mankind…….Secondly, it has been ascertained from this study that the quantum energy of laser rays is capable of stimulating and causing the regeneration of pancreatic tissues, including the B-cells of the Islets of Langerhans, even in advanced disease states.”  I can’t find these studies in any journal, but it’s quite intriguing.  Skepticism is always advised, although I don’t see the harm in trying it on the pancreas.
  44. Based on the mechanism’s involved I’d expect it to help for cognitive-based disorders like Autism, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar disorders.  Autism, for example, is in part a result of mitochondrial dysfunction (R) and inflammation (R).  Deficiencies in the cells’ ability to fuel brain neurons might lead to some of the cognitive impairments associated with autism and higher levels of free radicals also might contribute to autism severity (R).  Mitochondrial abnormalities also occur in bipolar and schizophrenia (R), as well as inflammation (RR)
  45. It should also help with inflammatory gut problems like Crohn’s and Colitis.

Biological Mechanisms: How Laser Therapy Enhances Cognitive Function

LLLT works by hormesis and invoking your body’s stress response, specifically nitric oxide/free radicals.  Therefore, like any kind of hormetic tool, use it wisely and prudently.

LLLT increases free radicals (ROS), but the level of ROS produced by LLLT in normal cells are beneficial (R).

I mainly use LLLT on my brain, but I also use it for many other things.  For this section, I speak about its mechanism with regard to the brain.


You can see my interview with Dr. Hamblin, the world expert on Light Therapy.

  • Suppresses inflammation: PGE(2), COX2, IL-1b, TNF, IL-8, IL-6, neutrophil cell influx, etc.. (RR2, R3)
  • Increases internal antioxidants (SOD) (R)
  • Decreases free radicals and oxidative stress in neurons (R)
  • Increases brain Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF-1α) and VEGF (R).
  • Increases stem cells (R, R2, R3)
  • Increases Nerve growth factor (NGF) (R)
  • Increases Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (R)
  • Increases Neurotrophin-3-contradictory (NT-3) (R)
  • Increases IGF-1, TGF-b (R, R2), PDGF, FGF2 (R)
  • Increases ATP production (R)
  • Increases the number of mitochondria (R) i.e mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Promotes the synthesis of DNA and RNA (R)
  • Increases neuronal mitochondrial metabolism by photostimulation (stimulation by light) of an enzyme (cytochrome oxidase) involved in increasing mitochondrial oxygen usage (R) and increases mitochondrial membrane potential (R)
  • Increases blood flow and circulation (R)
  • Decreases amyloid-β aggregates in human brain cells (in-vitro) (R), the protein responsible for Alzheimer’s.
  • Increases heat shock proteins (R)
  • Stimulates mast cell degranulation (R)
  • Modifies extracellular matrix components (R)
  • Prevents neuronal death by greater membrane stability and resistance to depolarization, which has been shown to transiently reduce neuronal excitability (R)
  • Prevents cell death, improves cell proliferation, migration, and adhesion (R)
  • Increases the expression of genes in the brain by increasing the transcription factors Nf-kb (R), AP-1 and CREB (R). Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA and supports growth and repair.  See this video animation on how these proteins bind to DNA.
  • Increases expression of antioxidant gene MnSOD (second most expressed gene after Nf-kB). (R, R2)
  • Increases our body’s natural opioids (R).

Interestingly, in normal neurons, LLLT  increased oxidative stress/ROS. In oxidatively stressed cells, LLLT reduced high ROS levels and protected cultured cortical neurons from death (R)

Some of the mechanisms are similar to methylene blue.  Read my post about how to use it.

What Effects Did I Experience?

  • Increases higher-order cognitive function
  • Improves memory via growth factors and brain metabolism (R, R2)
  • Improves attention (R)
  • Improves working memory (R)
  • Improves mood (R)
  • Improves motivation
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Increases sports performance (via sensory and motor improvements) (R)
  • Decreased need for sleep

LLLT Goes Well With

LLLT Doesn’t Go Well With

  • Antioxidants (like NAC) within a few hours of applying it.   Part of the mechanism that LLLT works is by increasing ROS, so NAC will prevent this.  Taking antioxidant supplements the next day probably won’t diminish the benefits.

I used to caution about C60, but not anymore.  I asked Dr. Hamblin, the world expert on Light Therapy.

Where To Use It On The Head

  • If you suffer from fatigue, you want to use it all over the head (including back), because you are targeting your hypothalamus, which is close to the center of your brain.
  • Use on the forehead and on top of the forward part of your head for increased focus and increased analytic ability.  Dr. Hamblin uses it on his forehead for ~15 minutes.
  • Use on upper and side portions of the head for creativity.
  • If you have CFS then do it in the back, as there’s evidence that CFS is as a result of brain stem inflammation.

Other Places I Use it

I mainly use it on my brain, but sometimes other locations.

  • Sports injuries/other injuries.  I’ve had one on my finger, my shoulder, etc.. (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my thymus to increase my immune system and immune tolerance (used it maybe 20 times in total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my thyroid to increase thyroid hormones (used it maybe 20 times in total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my liver to increase liver regeneration (maybe 15 times total) (Effective)
  • I use it rarely on my stomach to increase stomach acidity, GI repair (maybe 10 times).  (Effective)
  • I use it in my teeth to increase dentin.  One tooth has some dentin that’s been worn away.  (Effective)
  • I’ve used it once on my testes to increase testosterone.  I’ve only used it once there because I’m a bit scared to use it there as I don’t understand its interaction with sperm enough. (Unable to determine effectiveness.)
  • I use it sometimes on the side of my face to heal nerve damage as a result of bells palsy as a kid. (Effective)
  • Massive sting.  I was recently attacked by a flying creature that was massive – bigger than a queen bee.  It attacked a spot in my foot and injected a poison that caused a large portion of my foot to swell.   I put LLLT on it and it practically disappeared in like 2 days.
  • Although I don’t use it for my skin, it can very well be used for it (R)

How To Use It

I recommend using this before bed, as it causes fatigue in many.  I believe the mechanism is by increasing TNF-alpha acutely (R).  While it may acutely increase TNF-alpha, it down-regulates the production chronically (R).  Read my posts about how inflammation and TNF-alpha are related to fatigue.

First use: Place on each spot on the head for 10 seconds and switch to a different spot.  Cover the whole head, except the back.  Total time should be 2 min.

Second use: If you felt tired after the first usage then continue at that dosage for a week.  If not increase by 10 seconds to a total of 20 seconds per a spot and 4 minutes in total.

If you feel tired and groggy the next day, you had too much.  If not, keep on increasing the dosage by 10 seconds until you hit 2 minutes per a spot and a total of 15 minutes.

If you feel groggy the next day and only took 30 seconds per a spot (less than 6 minutes in total) then it means you have an inflammatory and/or mitochondrial issue.  LLLT will help with it.

If you feel tired after 2 minutes of putting it on your head this also means you likely have an inflammatory and mitochondrial issue.  Again, LLLT will help with it.

Use every other day.  I recommend every third day if you’re generally functioning pretty well.  If you’re taking a lot of other supplements then use once a week perhaps.  That’s what I do.  The benefits are abolished if used daily for a few weeks.

An alternative way of using it is to put it on your head in the daytime for two minutes in total.   This isn’t enough to make most people tired, but it still stimulates Cytochrome C Oxidase.  I would definitely recommend using it this way if your sleep is disturbed by LLLT.

Last, don’t worry about the detailed instructions or screwing up.  This is very safe if you use it even somewhat right. The reason I give these instructions is so that people with underlying inflammatory issues aren’t scared off if they see some negative effects.

When Will You See Results?

LLLT is like exercise  – benefits are accrued and realized after the healing stage, but there’s usually a noticeable effect the next day.

If you don’t notice anything from laser therapy then congratulations – you likely have healthy mitochondria and low levels of inflammation.  It still can help you, though.  Gwern didn’t notice any effect, but still had significant increases in productivity the days he used it.

You may not notice a difference right away, just like how you may not notice an increase in muscle size after a single weightlifting session.

Possible Side Effects and Theoretical Long-Term Risks

The following are side effects only if you’ve used too much:

  • Degraded sleep
  • Cognitive laziness/grogginess the day after
  • More relaxed feeling
  • Headaches
  • Eye pain

Theoretical long-term risks for usage on the brain:

Long-term risks are unknown since there’re no human studies that have been going on for decades.  However, there’re reasons to think that brain cancer risk is both decreased and increased.  I haven’t seen this discussed anywhere, but my knowledge of cancer research leads me to this opinion.

Brain cancer risk is possibly increased in my opinion as a result of the growth factors and stem cell increase.    LLLT also increases a transcription factor (NF-kb), which is implicated in cancer initiation and progression (R).

Since it decreases inflammation, oxidative stress and improves mitochondria, it may decrease your risk of developing a tumor, to begin with, but if you already have a tumor or get a tumor, the increase in growth factors will make it spread more quickly.

Again, there’re reasons to think it will cause and prevent cancer, but I’m leaning more towards causing it (where ever it’s used in the body).  Obviously using it once won’t matter, but every other day for the rest of your life might be significant.

For every 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 221 are living following the diagnosis of a brain tumor, but only 20-25% of that number is malignant (R).

Approximately 0.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with brain and other nervous system cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2008-2010 data (R).

If you have a very high incidence of cancer in your family, specifically brain cancer, then this might not be a risk you want to take, since we don’t have long-term studies on people yet who use it on their brain.

I’m extremely cautious, even though I probably don’t come off as such.   For me, I feel the risk is worth it.   I think the increased cancer risk is small at the end of the day and the benefits outweigh the risks by a good margin.  That said, it’s likely wise to take breaks if your brain is already functioning well.

If you think about it another way, however, intelligence is highly correlated with lifespan (R, R2) and disease reduction (R).  This is probably because more intelligent people make more money and can take better care of themselves better (R) (by understanding health information, etc..).  Neuroticism is also associated with increased mortality (risk of dying) (R) and LLLT decreases neuroticism.

So life is one big trade-off and this is a risk I’m willing to take and I think most of the population should also take since it’s such a powerful tool.  It’s only a risk insofar as we don’t know the long-term effects.

I also take supplements that inhibit cancer growth, so hopefully, this balances the risk increase.  In general, my genetics makes me more prone to autoimmune conditions rather than cancer, so the risk is especially worthwhile for me.

Buy Devices

Vielight devices are good to use for brain function. If you have too much hair, there will be fewer benefits.

The Joov light is better for nonbrain areas of your body.

Use discount coupon code JOSEPHCOHEN for 10% off all Vielight products.  Vielights are better than the cheaper ones.

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  • Robert Walker

    Thanks for a great report. I have GERD. Can you suggest that the therapy may be useful in that regard?

  • Kirk Yager

    Bee stings are venomous, not poisonous.

    -just saying

  • Bob

    Can you stack LLLT with hydrogen water? I’m wondering because they both upon ROS. Will the ROS scavenging ability of the hydrogen water block the ROS inducing effects of the red light? Thank you in advance.

  • Barbara

    On Joovv website, the combo unit uses 2 different wavelengths: 660 & 850

  • Stephen

    Great article!

    Since both LLLT and fasting lead to stem cell based regeneration, Im wondering if its synergistic or a contraindication to combine the two?

    And just to clarify, I’m not talking about intermittent fasting or a daily thing, but a 5 day water fast or 5 day fasting mimicking diet. I’ll be doing my first FMD and refeeding cycle soon and am wondering if i need to stop my LLLT treatments?

  • Amy

    Is LLLT the same as Photon Therapy?

  • Kase J

    I want to experiment with this however these devices are way out of price range. Any suggestions on cheaper smaller alternatives?

  • Amy

    A quick question:

    PGE 2 should increase aromatase. (Testosterone -> Estrogen)

    Thus: LLLT machine is detrimental for estrogen-deficient women?

  • Alex

    The study you cite suggests 0% penetration in ex vivo samples, not in vivo. The in vivo humans samples they studied seemed to imply that living tissue is more easily penetrated than dead tissue.

    Nevertheless, it is true that even in vivo human samples appeared to have low penetration. This raises the question of whether or not LLLT really is effective. If there are genuine effects, my guess would be that they come from systemic effects from the small amount of light that manages to penetrate tissue. This is particularly true of those devices inserted into the nose: if you can irradiate enough circulating blood in the nose, it could impact the body generally.

  • Darren Reynolds

    I’m confused. The power used in LLLT has effects in in vitro cultures. It isn’t enough to make it through the skin, let alone the skull. 100% losses. To penetrate just a tiny amount through through 3cm of skin and bone into the brain takes a 10W laser. How do you reconcile all the effects you’re describing with these measurements?

  • B Marquez

    Very cool article. As always informative and thorough. Have you written an article on supplements that inhibit cancer since you mention that you take these and thus are not to worried about potential brain cancer risks because of this supplementation?

    1. Helen

      Hi, you can look through the “Cancer” category on the site for supplements that inhibit brain cancer: Some specific ones that can protect against/kill brain cancer cells include pregnenolone, oxaloacetate, and ashwagandha.

  • Brightstar

    Hi, I have ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia as well as contact skin allergies to nickel and cobalt and possibly cellulose. I was wondering if the product has any of those metals and/or cellulose in it. I also have Polymorphic Light Eruption and so have an allergy to the sun. My dermatologist will not give me light therapy for this as it may set off a severe skin reaction, particularly if used on my face. Please advise if I could use the laser as I think it could be beneficial to me? Many thanks.

    1. Helen

      Hi, you can ask Joe inside of VIP: or over at

  • John

    Which wavelength did you use?

  • Judd Crane

    What’s your personal opinion about using LLLT on the heart?

  • ralph g laurella

    Dr. Wannissorn – you stated that sauna is better. Why? We are trying to decide between LLLT and Sauna for our son with Autism. Can you expand on your comment please.

    1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

      If you only want infrared, you get more from the sauna.

      LLLT depends on the wavelength/frequency and applications.

      I get more benefits with overall inflammation, histamine levels, and eczema healing with sauna than LLLT.
      I can’t comment on autism as I have no experience with it.

  • Doug Pearl

    What about the possible detrimental effects of flicker from all these LED devices?

  • Robin


    Did you figure out a dosing for LLLT? I, too, have the EDS/MastCell/Dysautonomia triad plus an autoimmune disease. I am unable to tolerate many medications, so I purchased the vielight 810 in Jan. and the joov combo recently to address the pain issues in my neck from a disintegrating c-spine. The vielight helps my neck pain and induces sleep. But I cannot use it daily—I begin to wake up at 3 am and the blood vessels in my nose become inflamed. I think my low production of BH4 is influencing my response. I have not begun to use the joov product yet. I am also curious what time of day and how frequently people are using the joov combo.

  • Rachel

    I’m really curious about the effects on mast cells. I have cfs which likely has arisen from eds and the pots/mast cell activation pathways. I have the neuro and the 633, and initially totally overdid it. I think the degranulation it caused led to a huge relapse. I pulled back dramatically on the use and have slowly built it up again. It’s going ok, but I’m dubious as my deterioration has continued. Do you think it’s use should be contra-indicated for those with mast cell issues, or is it just a case of continuing past the initial flare for further healing???

  • Dale

    Just wondering if resveratrol would be included in the ‘Doesn’t Go Well With’ section (antioxidant)? Thanks

  • James Dunne

    I came across an article suggesting that it’s better to do LLLT in the day as melatonin suppresses the mechanism of action. They inferred this from just one study though: .
    However, as melatonin is a powerful anti oxidant it would seem to fit with your advice not to take antioxidants at the same time. I’m fairly sure that I’m feeling more of an effect from my Vielight Neuro since doing it in the daytime rather than just before bed. I’d be interested to hear any other anecdotes/comparisons on this.

  • Ben P

    I have a Vielight Neuro alpha and was hoping it would help with my CFS. I have had to continually step down my usage time since it was knocking me around for a few days afterwards. I am now doing only 5 seconds and it still takes me 3 days to recover – do you think that will stop happening and it will start helping me soon?

  • Tom

    Glad to know so many people are trying to use the low level laser therapy instrument, it is greatly helpful.
    We have tested the low-level laser therapy on the thousands of patients, and achieve great success on arthrosis, neurological, inflammatory, vascular disease, sports Injuries also.

  • Aristotle

    Hi Joe,

    Do you perhaps know of any incandescent 850nm near infrared light sources? After listening to your interview with Alexander Wunsch I am concerned about using LED.


  • Stephen White

    I’m trying to decide between Joovv and Vielight. I’m not sure there is enough info here to help me do that. What should I be looking at?

  • Penny

    You can easily see the IR light in the dark – if it gets too hot, move it to the next spot – I’ve used both 850 and 660 and they are fantastic for aches/pains/sleep – the mitochondria are your energy cells and absorb infrared light – which means you will improve your mitochondria – which is everything IMHO – this light send a slight burst of ROS which is the signal to repair your mitochondria – it just might take a while for it to repair… this is why you keep using it.

  • Arindam Halder

    Very Informative article. Really LLLT works in many cases.


    WRONG! When you say ”The best device I use for whole body infrared therapy is the Joov light.” THE JOOV LIGHT IS NOT INFRARED! IT ONLY EMITS 660 wavelenght. THAT IS RED LIGHT WITHOUT INFRARED.

    The Joovv Light LEDs produce light at 660 nm which is in the visible (red) spectrum. Infrared light is between 700-1000 nm.

    Red light is mostly used for treating skin conditons. It does not provide the same benefits as infrared therapy. Ooops!

    1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

      There’s a model that emits 850 (infrared) AND 600. It heats up the skin, so there is infrared in there. It’s really good.

      If you want infrared therapy, though, the sauna is probably the best bet.

      1. Lindsay

        a >near< infrared sauna
        here are free plans to build one yourself. very cheap.

        I use it everyday.. it is very effective

  • Jane

    Is it advisable to use a vielight (633) on the same day with PEMF, or do the two therapies need to be separated by a period of time? Days, hours…? Thanks!

  • Lisa

    I am looking through your post and cannot find the place where you define: R, R2, R3

    What do each of these mean?

    1. Nattha Wannissorn

      Just different references listed.

  • Curt Tigges

    Hi Joe,

    I’m curious about how you estimate and assess risk of cancer for LLLT (and also Uridine, which has similar risks). I’ve tried and had excellent results with both, but I’m highly concerned about the cancer risk and so haven’t used either for long periods.

    What leads you to believe that the risk is low rather than high, and how do you determine whether a risk is worth taking?

  • Shalom S Fisher

    I have a Vetrolaser (808 nanometer 100 milliwatt) that I recently purchased. I am considering trying it out on my thyroid. I have had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for a long time and some very, very high TPO readings in the past. I would really like to find something that would correct this condition or at least improve it significantly.
    I got very excited when I read some of the interesting statements that you made about some research that has been done where people have been able to stop taking their thyroid medication. I am concerned now, though, that the laser that I own is too high-powered for this self hack. I am curious what your take is on my thoughts to give this a try. I did already do 15 seconds on the center and each wing of the thyroid (total 45) one time with no noticeable effects. I was thinking about twice a week or something like that.
    I have also tried the laser on various transcranial locations and I believe that I am having some positive results. Again I am concerned that this laser may be too high-powered for that selfhacked. But I don’t know so I am wondering if you or anyone else should give me some guidance. I know you’re not a doctor and that’s a good thing in my book. I am not asking for medical advice comma I am only asking what you would do in my shoes.
    Oh, and thank you so much for all that you have done and shared. May you be greatly blessed for it.

  • omar

    so which infrared product would you recommend for hair growth on the head?

  • pmalowe

    What kind of lamp do people put the red bulb in? Will it be too hot for a regular lampshade? Also, when using this light and the LLLT (light relief) -850nm should I cover my eyes? From what I’ve read sunglasses aren’t sufficient but one needs an eye mask.

  • kas

    In your description you mention that LLLT doesn’t go well with anti oxidants. Would this mean acetyl-L-carnitine is something that cannot be taken?

  • Lllt user

    I have been receiving treatment at a Neropathy clinic for a fibromyalgia flare-up due to an injury.. I have severe pain in legs and feet and also numbness in feet and part of left leg. They are using the Intranasal Vielight 633 as the boot for my feet and legs is too powerful..causing more pain. I now have my own unit. Is this the best one for total body pain ? Does this model also have the same total detox benefits of others? If not..which should I consider as I have a number of health issues such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, hashimoto disease, anxiety/panic disorder, GRD and IBS . And see the benefit of the detox ability Thank you

    1. Nattha Wannissorn

      You only know when you try.

  • Dan

    About using it to increase the testosterone I never understood if you use it or not?
    First you wrote: “I’ve used it once on my testes to increase testosterone. I’ve only used it once there because I’m a bit scared to use it there as I don’t understand its interaction with sperm enough. (Unable to determine effectiveness.)”

    Then: “The light relief is good to use on the testes to increase testosterone and on the thyroid to increase thyroid hormones.”

    These two statements seem to conflict though, since why do you say it is good to use on the tests to increase testo, while at the same time saying that you only used it once and can not determine how effective it is?

  • B A

    Hello selfhacked,

    How can I be sure that 48 LED Near Infra Red Light is on? Can I use the device during the day time? Your response will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      You can see it’s on in a dark room

  • Bobby

    How long did you use LLLT to increase dentine? Which device?

  • Bobby Phan

    How long did you use to increase dentin? Which device?

  • Electric Lady

    Hi Joseph, newbie here! Great work! Theoretically speaking, if I had a class 3b infra red single laser treatment probe, small enough to to fit into the tip of my nasal cavity that was 850nm, 100mw (average) 1000mw (peak) with adjustable hertz options of, 2.5, 5, 20, 100hz (and above), could this theoretically be used as an intra-nasal type device? How long per session? Or would you think it was too powerful? Thanks! EL

  • Electric Lady

    Hi Joseph, newbie here! Great work! Theoretically speaking, if I had a class 3b infra red single laser treatment probe, small enough to to fit into the tip of my nasal cavity that was 850nm, 100mw (average) 1000mw (peak) with adjustable hertz options of, 2.5, 5, 20, 100hz (and above), could this theoretically be used as an intra-nasal type device? How long per session? Or would you think it was too powerful? Thanks! EL

  • Judd Crane

    Do you use LLLT for thyroid during day or night?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen


  • Cas

    Ok so what I don’t understand is the following:

    You advise us to use a CCTV for example max 2 min on every spot we want to use it on, like different spots on the head.
    But how come Dr.Hamblin uses it 15min on his forehead? If I’m correct this is just one spot and not added up to a 15min in total by doing different spots on the head for 2 min.

    Could you elaborate on this?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      It depends on your underlying health. People should start with 2 min and work up.

      1. Cas

        Ok so working up to 15 min per spot would not be a problem? This is not seen as to much light, depending on what your threshold is in terms of side effects from exposure?

        1. Joseph M. Cohen

          Not for these devices in healthy individuals

  • Steven

    I use the Vie light 810 and within a few minutes I will have small aches all around from head to toe. I sleep deeper and feel more engaged the next day for sure. I think it depends on how clean your blood is already. When I use the LLLT pad on my lower back I can feel my nerves tingling down my legs and around my back. I’m in athletic shape and have lower back issues I believe because it tightens up frequently when running. Im not sure if my experience would be similar to a typical user.

    Using it on your stomach would have the best affect I would think. Would this enhance digestion?

    I even put the LLLT pad under a glass water bottle for 20 min, forgot I did this later in the day and drank from it. I felt it went beyond therapeutic because I started to get those same aches and a hybrid feeling of energy and fatigue like it was too much. I may experiment with it again but try a lower amount of time. I think the wavelength has a lot to do with what it does to your blood.

    It “irradiates” the blood

    I think my aches may have something to do with a dormant infection of sorts. Ive dealt with off and on digestive/cognitive issues. Apparently a pathogen absorbs too much of the irradiated blood and dies off creating vaccine like reaction that jumpstarts your immune systems.

    What ever it does its certainly doing something. I had a TBI and apparently low grade infections are common in the brain. Infections consume brain energy and metabolize waste products. That’s a left and right hook for brain fog/neuro issues. Paul Jaminet talks about using a Keto diet to starve possible infections x 2 months then Doxycycline to kill x 10 days- followed with probiotics. I cant get my hands on Doxy.

  • Crystal

    When I’ve use lllt my ears started ringing and I would get tightening of the chest and heart area. I really want to use this, but I’m concerned. Has anyone else experienced this? Am I having a psychosomatic response because I’m fearful? Or is this legit? Can’t find anyone else having these issues. I’m a healthy 40 year old.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Sounds Psychosomatic because LLLT is used to cure ringing in the ears. Tightening of the chest and heart area is not possible.

  • Robin

    Hi Joe, I’m considering purchasing the Vielight 810 to increase cognitive ability and motivation. I went through a weird health crisis last year. A lot has improved due to following a ketogenic diet, eating 9 cups of vegetables a day, and taking various supplements. But I’m still experiencing cognitive impairment and an area I’m still having a lot of trouble is motivation… There was a time when if anything went wrong I’d just get up, look for a solution and move on. That’s a lot harder for me now. It’s like I’m moving in slow motion and it takes talking to myself all the time just to get anything done. I’m having financial troubles from the health issues: not being able to work, not being able to look for work, impaired cognition. The Vielight 810 is very expensive for me considering my financial state, but if it is likely to increase my ability to motivate and work it would be worth it. Do you think this is a good investment considering these issues? Also, can the 810 be used on other parts of the head, not just in the nasal cavity? Thanks for any help or advice.

    1. Electric Lady

      Hi Robin, how are you progressing? Did you end up getting the Vielight 810 in the end or did you take another route? Your experinces sound a little similar to mine so any update on your journey would be great to hear. Thanks Ada

  • Dennis

    whats the difference between lllt and far infrared

  • j

    out of curiosity, which LLLT device do you use most regularly?

    I just bought the 96 led cctv, but went with a 2amp power supply, instead of the 1amp you listed, since that’s what its graded for. I figure this may have a little stronger output, even though the device still appeared to work fine with the 1amp.

  • Jonathan

    Avoid the antioxidants. Light makes the body create it’s own. And light also guides electrons to clean up.

    What he meant by next day dosage was, the light has had time to do it’s thing, 2-4h is usually the peak time.

    Source: I’m a light therapist

  • Jason

    Hi Jeff- I was also a little confused by this. So if you are getting light/laser therapy is it good to take an antioxidant before and after application to help scavenge free radicals? Thank you for your help

    LLLT Doesn’t Go Well With
    Antioxidants (like NAC) within a few hours of applying it. Part of the mechanism that LLLT works is by increasing ROS, so NAC will prevent this. Taking antioxidant supplements the next day probably won’t diminish the benefits.

  • G


    I watched your Michael hamblin discussion and read your lllt info. I bought the cheap light relief 850nm device. On third day, using it four areas – wrist/hand and side of knee/IT band area due to bike accident injury, lower back for squatting injury area and also tried now stopped on brain. I used it on top of neck and forehead and over both ears for approx fifteen mins each on first two days. I read after this that you use lllt on skull for very brief sub two min periods. Anyway, I tried on skull due to having headpain/intracranial pressure for the last five years after a severe adverse reaction to a quinolone antibiotic (ciprofloxacin)… Dave Asprey had a podcast on Quinolones recently, they are extremely dangerous…. … So after the first head use of the ‘light relief’ device I could feel an unusual sensation in my brain, odd but not unpleasant. However after yesterday’s use my head has felt strange, tired, more headache type pain and buzzy heavy circulatory feeling. I m sure this will pass and I ll be fine, but will only use for very brief periods if at all over my skull again! Thanks for the site/research, fascinating stuff!!!

  • Kari

    Hi! Does the infrared light (850nm) used on the head cause hair loss? I’m asking because I read that wavelengths higher than 810 are used for hair removal…Thanks

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I think only if the power is high enough, which isn’t the case in the recommended lights.

  • Jane

    I purchased the light relief model you recommend from amazon. It is for my daughter that has suffered multiple concussions and has cognitive issues and short term memory issues. You say to cover the blue light. Should I take black tape and cover each of the 4 blue bulbs? What would happen if I don’t cover them? thank you

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Yes, cover them. Nothing will happen.

    2. Carolina Escobedo

      Did it help your daughter? I’m suffering from similar things so I’d love to know!! Thank you!

      1. Jane

        Caroline, she was not willing to try it but I was optimistic that it would help. If you do try it for your condition I would love to hear how you respond. good luck.

        1. Carolina

          Why not?? You purchased it but didn’t use it at all. Feel free to email me personally.

  • Mike

    This is very interesting. I have Type 1 diabetes.
    I was recently very intrigued by studies of GABA on mice that was able to restore β cell function after GABA administration for a duration of time.
    What other steps for diabetes are you referring to in your post? I’m very interested in these LLLT devices after reading this.

  • Philip

    Hello Joe,

    I am bit confused about your recommendations:

    Dr. Hamblin said that the lamps, thus the infrared bulbs probably don´t work and he recommends LEDs instead.

    But in the devices to use u mention bulbs as a possible device.

    What is right now? Can bulbs be used effective on brain, skin etc?

    Best regards

  • Santino

    Hey Joe,

    I researched some of your references and was very surprised to find that LLLT has effects on the autoimmune diseases vitiligo and alopecia areata which both manifest as local inflammatory diseases where immune cells attack either skin pigmentation cells or hair follicles.

    Because I have both vitligo and alopecia areata I want to try that out.

    Now in the study they say that they still cannot say which wavelength is the best but they say this:

    “Wavelengths in the range of 390 nm to 600 nm are used to treat superficial tissue, and longer wavelengths in the range of 600nm to 1,100nm, which penetrate further, are used to treat deeper-seated tissues (Figure 2).4 Wavelengths in the range 700 nm to 750 nm have been found to have limited biochemical activity and are therefore not often used”

    I already bought this one:

    There is no information about which wavelength that is.

    Do you know which device would be optimal to treat superficial inflammation like it occurs in vitiligo and alopecia areata and if this simple infraredlamp I bought is good for that purpose or if it is just for deep influence or both??

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Santino

      Yesterday I used in for 8 minutes on the back of my head, 2 min front of my head and 10 min on the place where I have the vitiligo…

      I did it before sleep and my night was horrible…
      I woke up at 3 am with night sweats.

      After that I sleep anymore but if I felt asleep I had sleep apnea which I normally never have. I woke up because of reaching for oxygen…

      Now I have a bad headache And I feel more anxious/depressed.

      I get the same reaction to some foods and especially to active b vitamins, even in ultra low dose…

      I ask myself what that means. Of course now I feel like I should stay away from it.

  • Barry White

    I have a 6 year son that is Autistic. He is twin B. His brother is typical. Davis was a patient of Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, a well known MAPS doctor. Prior to Dr. B’s death in June of this year, my son was receiving one treatment each week. At our last meeting, he was convinced that the LLLT treatment was helping to reduce the water (inflammation) on his brain. He suggested we buy a machine and start doing therapy at home. He wanted it done every day! He went on to talk about how he believed that the Lymphatic system is where all the fluid from his brain would need to pass through the Lymph nodes. I believe he wanted us to apply the laser to the nodes at the cheek/neck/ear area to help the nodes flush the excess fluid. Because of Dr. B’s death, we never re-visited the subject. We purchased an LLLT machine from Multi-Radiance for $6,300. I believe it is the top of the line model. What would you suggest his protocol be? We have continued once a week on Sweep Program 1 (it says Chronic). We apply the laser to his forehead and both temples for 5 minutes each. Should we try doing every day? Should we also do the treatments with his Lymph nodes themselves.

    1. Kenneth Bednar

      Add one teaspoon of coconut oil to one of his meals. I have been using the oil since February 2015 and I have reversed my Alzheimer’s dementia using it. I made it a point to do research on the oil and by produced an interactive file on my research. ADD and ADHD was among the things the oil helps. To receive a copy of my file email me at [email protected]. the file may surprise you as the oil treats or cures a multitude of things. I also have started using lilt in an attempt to benefit my hearing. P.S. my brain fog disappeared within a week and my comprehension skill increase remarkably fast. Elsewise the research would never had happened.

      1. Henry

        Wow, the coconut oil reversed it? I thought once your at that stage it can’t be reversed. Shame it causes problems in me. Could it be a particular brand?

  • Thomas2


    Do you recommand the same short time of exposure for physical injuries (10-20s) ?
    I plan to use it on a rotator cuff injury, and 20s seems small.


    1. Thomas2

      Or should I buy a different laser than the ones you recommand ?

      Thank you 🙂

  • Deltrus

    Why do you not recommend putting it on the back of your head? Is there a reason we would not want the occipital cortex to work better?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      It’s fine…I changed the post…


    Dr. Hamblin expressly recommends 10hz settings or 10 pulsing lights per seconds rather than Continuous Wave.
    When using the Light Relief, there is a Start mode that uses pulsing light. Their instruction manual says never to use the Start mode (although I know Light Relief is intended for pain relief). When using for the brain, would you recommend using the Start mode ? It seems this would be preferential. Or is it at a lower nm range that won’t work for this purpose? I tried calling their customer support which is worthless.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I use highest setting

  • Luiz Fernando

    Hi Joe, thanks for sharing this knolwedge, i´m pretty excited to buy an infrared flashlight with 850nm wave lenght, it´s ok this on the photo??

    In this range it´s better for cognitive purposes??

    And what about the 660nm, wich you previously talked, it´s better for what??

    How can i create EZ water with infrared?? just to point the light straight to the water for a few minutes??

    Thanks… and again, congratulations for your work!

  • LK5

    The time protocol is the same for other places like liver? Begin with 10 secs, and later increase or just for the brain? Thanks.

    1. 2alman

      This is the best torch option…
      The bulb is a 5 Watt 850nm 4-chip LED assembly
      It’s only $10.

  • Maureen

    Hi Joe!

    I just ordered the ICES machine. Pretty excited! Now want to order the LLLT, but I hesitate since there were so many 1 star ratings on the product. Just double checking with you before I order.
    My 90 y.o. dad fell and injured his back and is anxious to try these devices out too, along with other family members,
    Thanks again for all you do! : )

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Ignore 1 star ratings. They are rating it for pain, not cognitive function.

      1. Maureen

        thanks : )

  • tgspdl

    How about we list amount of exposure by joules of light? That would lessen any confusion about how much or how long per location.

  • Eduardo C.

    Hi, thank you very much, It is a very useful information and the references are good compilation of diverse studies.

    I hope you can answer me the following, as I saw not much studies on this.
    1) Can this be used to treat varicose veins?
    or otherwise
    2) Could LLLT worsen already existing varicose veins?
    3) If LLLT produces vasodilation, can this contribute in the formation of varicose veins in people with predisposition to develop this?

    I’ve tried to find information about LLLT and varicose veins but I haven’t found much. I don’t know if this can be effective, inffective, or contribute to the formation of varicose veins

    Thank you.

  • ella m

    Technical- Bought the lllt you recommend from amazon. Sice it covers all upper and frontal head when you place it above and cover whole of each side when you place it on the sideway, how do you reach 2 min of total exposure if you only place it 10sec per spot (for each of the 4 sidesc) ?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Some spots get covered twice

  • Thomas

    Is the infrared from the lightrelief product (the one you use) going to cause damage to your eyes if you have them closed and have the pad laying across them?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      My eyes hurt a bit if I put them too close sometimes

      1. Thomas

        Alright fair enough. I was just asking because I wanted to use it on my sinuses. Then I realized you have a link to a lllt product meant for sinus use (it has to be copy pasted into the address bar for some reason) and holy crap what a find. $10 as opposed to 60 – 200.

        So thanks for that and for this article. LLLT is amazing. Combining it with myofascial stretching (check link below) will improve your athleticism and range of motion dramatically.

        One more question if I may. Why exactly should use be limited on the back of the head and does the reason matter for people who function well already?

  • Lucas N

    Are you still doing this on your head every other day? Do you always combine it with Ubiquinol and PQQ like Lostfalco TULIP? Thank you

  • Thomas

    Are photosensitizing herbs contraindicative with LLLT only when combined with methylene blue and oxygen, or even by themselves?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I don’t think herbs would be significant by themselves.

  • AJT

    I noticed in your blog post you mentioned the less than synergistic effect of LLLT treatment and oxygen.

    What did you notice that you felt was not a good outcome.

    Do you think this is due to hightened ROS response?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Cognitive dysfunction, but a magnified effect overall. Good chance. Brain was not shutting down for sleep.

  • Thomas

    Something I’ve wanted to ask/let you know about is the Buteyko method.

    It’s quite a game changer once you realize that it works and what the implication is (how gas exchange in respiration actually works, as opposed to how we are told).

    My question: if you do Buteyko breathing exercises, thereby increasing your body’s oxygen at the cellular level, do you think that would contraindicate LLLT?

    If you ever get around to trying it out and combining it with LLLT then please let me know how it goes.

    Some benefits I’ve had from it:

    – Nerve stabilization (calmness, parasympathetic activation)
    – Mental clarity; decisiveness, focus
    – Improved cardio/VO2 max

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Should be fine

  • Kieron

    A while ago you said to take nac to combat free rads? should you use it or not,

    1. Joe

      It can be useful for some

  • Lucas

    Hey there! What do you think about the effects of an infrared 250w lamp? Similar effects? 30 seconds per spot every morning? Thank you!

  • Andrey

    Gwern published the results of his self experiment and says that using LLLT correlates positively with improved performance. Pretty interesting, given how skeptical he was of it before.

    1. Joe


  • Jean

    How about a 100w infra red lamp for 30 seconds on all sides except for the back? I have tried this twice and I get the same happy feeling as when I’ve been out in the sun for a while. I notice better focus and no fatigue at all.

  • John

    Would this device improve iq if so how

  • Gerry

    Is this as effective as the one lost Falco uses u know the one for horses tendons?

  • Kieron

    Can this be used along side brain harmonics? thanks

  • Gerry

    So you can safely use this all over your head every where once every other day except the back, are temples ok?

  • Stuart

    Great info! Just wondering: is there a good video showing how to do this/where to use the laser? Someone mentioned a video of yours in a previous comment, but I can’t seem to find said video (?)

  • Kieron Teague

    Can I use this along side image streaming thanks

    1. Selfhacked


  • Gerry

    How close should you keep the light to your head, pressed completely or 2cm away thanks does it matter

    1. Selfhacked


  • Kjartan

    So in short, LLLT on the brain is like a brain upgrade? The same way exercise upgrades your body?
    Do you believe the positive effects require maintenance sessions, also just like physical exercise? I read about this study where LLLT was used in patients with TBI and this one patient said she started reverting back to poor mental function when she did not use LLLT for two weeks.
    I am ordering the same light as you and will let you know how the LLLT turns out for me

    1. Selfhacked

      Much of the benefits leave, but some stay

  • Megan

    If there is ‘cognitive laziness’ the day after, what is the point?

    1. Selfhacked

      It’s acting via hormesis. Your brain gets stronger the day after the cognitive laziness.

  • gerry

    what wavelength is this device?

    1. Selfhacked

      ~810nm, if I recall correctly

  • kieron

    if you have a bad ankle a weakness, can you use every day or should it be every other day like for the brain?

  • Kieron

    is this laser the same as yours

    1. Selfhacked


    2. Chris hilder

      Kieron, did this come with a charger / electrical connection or did you have to buy one of these too? If so which did you choose?

  • Jim Bean

    do you have to remove the glass on the lllt device joe the bit at the front the cover ?

    1. Selfhacked


  • Wil Boyce

    So Joe, out of curiosity, what factors made you choose recommending 10 seconds per spot for exposure, and limiting it to every other day? How does more abolish the benefits? Thanks…

    1. Joe

      Combination of research and experimentation

      1. j

        what kind of negative effects did you experience from the c60/lllt combination? ive noticed some strange effects too, since ive been using both

  • mike barnett

    Have you had any experience with Infrared saunas? Perhaps this is different to the laser effect, but I find this makes me feel fantastic. Ive been doing them regular for 3 months now and have noticed some drammatic effects. Finding one with low EMF is important. Sorry if this is off topic but thought it might be relevant.

    1. Selfhacked

      I’ve looked into them but haven’t used it. Thanks.

  • Bob

    what do you mean by remove the glass thanks

  • J

    hey, I was just wondering if you remove the glass on this laser prior to using it? Also, have you experimented much on areas besides the head, such as the major muscle groups/quads or the gut?


    1. Selfhacked

      Yes. I’m experimenting with gut, liver, thyroid, thymus, supraclavicular fossa and testes. I’m developing cutting edge protocols for using LLLT for various health issues.

      1. J

        fascinating. My LED arrives monday, and i’m eager to begin my trial. I look forward to reading more in-depth about your protocols whenever you decide to post a follow up.

  • Steve

    I’ve been doing the 850nm 48 LED / the exact same device as yours /

    for 3 sessions @2 minutes/spot EOD now. NAC is supplemented too. So far – nothing, no sides, no benefits.
    What bothers me is that when i take it in my palm in the dark it doesn’t shine through it (used my camcoder). So how is this supposed to penetrate my head if it doesn’t get through my hand?

    Appreciate all your hard work

    1. Selfhacked


      It definitely goes through the head. If you don’t feel anything up the dosage. Keep upping it gradually and methodically until you feel something.

  • kieron

    What brand of lazer/ what type do you/ would you recommend hypothetically?

  • Kieron

    if it causes next day cognitive laziness does that not defeat the proposehe man, or are the poistives out weighing the negatives? like exercise the longer the better, progressive benefits I mean. joe the dude.

  • Paul

    How do you turn in on? I just recently bought the LLLT device that you are using and I don’t see any light coming out of it. Can it only be turned on when it is charging?

    At 1:08 I can clearly see light coming out of the device in your video. Do you think my product is defective?

    1. Selfhacked

      In the video you can see it, but in real life you don’t. You can only see the light in total darkness. It must be plugged in of course…

      1. Gabriel

        Where is the video?

  • james

    Im hppy ur outta,trublr

  • rockzaozz

    Dude how you guarantee this is safe?? Pls answers this

    1. Selfhacked

      No guarantees. The risks in my opinion are extremely low if used according to my directions, but use at your own risk. If it’s any consolation, my protocol uses a small fraction of the dosage of what’s used in most studies and what other healthy people are using.

      1. Paul Koelsch

        Hi joe-have you had any exsperiance using it with osteoarthritis? Would you recommend this laser model for such a purpose?

        1. Selfhacked

          Limited persoanl experience, but there’s lots of research on it. I don’t see why not.

    2. Martin Pierce

      I don’t know of any guarantees that this light would be safe. It’s all about the wattage, and this appears to be a high wattage when it comes to therapeutic use.

      Also, people are saying they can’t tell if the light is on or off. That seems like a real concern since the light is only designed to come on when the lights are out.

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