Do you suffer from anxiety? Do you experience chronic and debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?If so, then infrared laser treatment may be able to help. Infrared light therapy is a non-invasive procedure that has been proven to reduce the effects of PTSD and anxiety when used for appropriate lengths of time. This blog gives an overview of infrared laser treatments–what they are, how they work, where they’re available, and more. Read on for more information about this promising new technology  Mitochondria were reactivated by infrared light, which subsequently triggered second messengers, DNA transcription and growth factors. The end result was the formation of new synaptites and the regeneration of existing pathways as well as the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into neurons. ​ Intramural photobiomodulation, or infrared light source treatments, may offer significant improvements in mental health to people with mental health conditions.
laser treatment


Laser therapy for PTSD and anxiety

Photobiomodulation: encouraging results for mental health conditions 

When compared to traditional therapies, such as medicine or psychotherapy alone, the beneficial effects of photobiomodulation have been encouraging. It also promotes neurogenesis, which can reduce long-term brain damage caused by inflammation.

Laser therapy: an alternative mental health treatment It is a myth that mental health is not real. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, mental health conditions are the leading cause of employee absenteeism. Mental ill-health affects one in four people, yet the topic is taboo for a considerable number of Australians, with shame and stigma preventing those who need help from seeking it. ​People with mental health conditions often do not receive adequate treatment because they are unaware of laser therapy as an alternative modality or do not have access to care due to lack of insurance coverage or cost-prohibitive treatments. This could eventually change once more mental health providers start using innovative therapies as viable options for treating mental health conditions.
Ferris Wheel Eastern Beach Gelong VIC, Australia


Geelong West

Targeting brain metabolism

Studies have shown hypometabolism in specific areas of the brain, especially those involved with regulation and emotional processing. In patients with major depressive disorder, positron emission tomography scans show disrupted glucose metabolism in several regions of the brain. Near infrared reflectance photons absorb cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. ​This mitochondrial stimulation does not only increase the production of ATP but actively activates a signalling pathway through a brief burst of ROS. This signalling activates antioxidant defences reducing total oxidative pressure. Consequently, inflammation can reduce to levels of proinflammatory cytokine and neuroinflammation. The brain derived neurotrophic factor is upregulated.


Assessment of active points on the clients ear, using the RJ diagnostic probe.

Targeting neurogenesis​

​Chronic stress can damage the dentate gyrus dg, which is responsible for learning and memory. The stress-induced inhibition of neural development in the dg is the brain’s primary neurochemical axis of depression or stress. Major depressive patients tend to have significant hippocampal atrophy. In animal models, photobiomodulation protected mitochondrial membrane potential.

​Brain derived neurotrophic factor 

​Near infrared reflectance also promotes neurite outgrowth through nerve growth factor, which may have positive implications for nerve protection. Near infrared reflectance (810nm) was beneficial in ​the animal model of traumatic brain injury. It appears that by enhancing neurogenesis and synaptogenesis in the brain, neurogenesis and synaptic synthesis is also improved.


Healing your brain with light

Mild traumatic brain injury

There is preliminary evidence suggesting the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy, shining light for treating major depressive disorder with comorbid anxiety problems, suicidal ideation, and traumatic brain injury. Based on the data so far, PBM appears to be a viable treatment for depression that is both safe and well-tolerated.

Low-level laser therapy

Laser therapy uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate the mitochondria in cells, which triggers cellular activity that can promote mental health benefits such as improved mood or reduced pain levels. The effects of laser therapy are similar to those found when someone exercises their muscles – but because mental health conditions are invisible, it is not always easy for mental health sufferers to get out and exercise or socialise. ​ Near-infrared light, photobiomodulation, phototherapy, LED therapy, LED light therapy, infrared therapy, low-level laser therapy, or low-level light therapy.


RJ Physio Laser that we use in the clinic for mental health

Near-infrared light improves bodily functions 

Laser therapy is a type of light treatment that affects the whole body and works on many levels. The cell’s primary energy source is adenosine triphosphate atp. The maturation of the mitochondrial membrane potential occurs through retrograde mitochondrial signaling, which reactive oxygen species control. This reaction requires water, opsins, chromophores, and cytochrome c oxidase.

  • Calcium, melatonin, and transcriptional regulators are all involved with the calcium-signaling pathway. Heat-shock proteins, Akt/mTOR/CyclinD1 pathway, and brain-derived neurotrophic factors are among the molecules that participate in the process.
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) plays a key role in cellular life processes. It is necessary for cellular growth and function. The mechanism of this interaction has only recently become clear. During aging or disease states that cause oxidative stress or free radical formation, mitochondria are damaged. This triggers inflammation leading to the redox state.

  • Increase in endurance, toning of density muscles boosts endurance, tone strength brain enhances memory and immunity nerves: wound healing and pain relief tissue repairing bones, tendons, and sores improved hair growth collagen network health, anti-aging, skin disorders fat reabsorption aided by increased microcirculation.

Mental health conditions and the central nervous system ​

In addition, mental health conditions can have a significant impact on the central nervous system due to changes in neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that help send signals from one nerve cell to another so it is important for mental health providers to understand how near-infrared light, photobiomodulation works with mental illness so they can work together to provide mental health sufferers with the best treatment results.

​ Can photobiomodulation help anxiety? 

​Anxiety is a mental health disorder that can be hard to treat. The mental health industry has been slow to adopt new treatments, but this could change soon if more mental health providers start using photobiomodulation as a viable option for treating mental health conditions.

​Photobiomodulation History

Health providers have used laser therapy since the 1960s to treat physical conditions such as pain. It is only recently that mental health practitioners have begun using laser therapy to treat mental health conditions.

​Treating mental health conditions with laser therapy

​Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are the most common mental health conditions that mental health providers treat using laser therapy.


Laser therapy for PTSD and Anxiety

Laser therapy can improve sleep 

​Laser therapy can help reduce pain, increase energy levels, improve sleep patterns, and boost memory function so people suffering from mental illness feel better able to cope. Researchers continue to explore the evidence of laser therapy in treating mental health conditions. Mental health professionals and those with mental health issues are becoming more aware of PBM and its beneficial effects.

Non-invasive mental health treatment

Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment option with few side effects, meaning there are no risks associated with laser treatments. This form of alternative medicine is one of the safest treatment options available. Most people who access treatment with laser therapy notice beneficial effects on their mental health.


​Auricular acupuncture laser therapy

Laser auricular acupuncture is a type of acupuncture that stimulates ear acupuncture sites. Specific bodily and psychological systems, as well as various mental health disorders such as trauma, are said to be linked to these sites. The infrared and near-infrared light used in laser therapy stimulates the healing process for any associated problems. A considerable number of individuals notice an improvement in mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. ​ Laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure that is painless with no downtime required for recuperation. This means most mental health sufferers can receive laser therapy easily and conveniently during their daily routines or at work.


Treating sleep problems with laser therapy
Research into the benefits of laser therapy/photobiomodulation According to new research, low-level laser light therapy photobiomodulation may help with a variety of mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, addiction, sleep problems/nightmares, neurodevelopmental disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Cassano et al., 2015). Learn more by watching a YouTube clip with Shannon:  HERE Laser therapy is a revolutionary therapy that uses light to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Laser therapy uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate the mitochondria in cells, which trigger cellular activity that can promote mental health benefits such as improved mood or reduced pain levels. At Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling we are leading the way in the use of laser therapy to support people with mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, all with impressive results. We believe light therapy will be a vital part of mental health treatment in the future. References Round, R., Litscher, G., & Bahr, F. (2013). Auricular acupuncture with laser. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2013, 984763. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/984763 Cassano, P., Petrie, S. R., Hamblin, M. R., Henderson, T. A., & Iosifescu, D. V. (2016). Review of transcranial photobiomodulation for major depressive disorder: targeting brain metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurogenesis. Neurophotonics, 3(3), 031404. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.NPh.3.3.031404 Cassano P, Cusin C, Mischoulon D, Hamblin MR, De Taboada L, Pisoni A, Chang T, Yeung A, Ionescu DF, Petrie SR, Nierenberg AA, Fava M, Iosifescu DV. Near-Infrared Transcranial Radiation for Major Depressive Disorder: Proof of Concept Study. Psychiatry J. 2015; 2015:352979. doi: 10.1155/2015/352979. Epub 2015 Aug 19. PMID: 26356811; PMCID: PMC4556873.


​Shannon Bowman is the Director of SJB Clinical Consulting Pty Ltd, and Create Balance Psychotherapy & Counselling VIEW HERE. ​Create Balance Laser Therapy VIEW HERE Create Balance Courses VIEW HERE Shannon has a clinical interest in treating trauma, PTSD and ADHD. He is accredited as an Mental Health Social Worker AMHSW, psychotherapist and registered EMDR practitioner. Associations below. Australian Association of Social Workers EMDR Association of Australia