NASA is conducting studies to determine if near-infrared light emitted by LEDs can help astronauts and military personnel recover from injuries that would normally take much longer to recover from based on their environment (space vehicles, submarines, etc.). Potential benefits to NASA, military, and civilian populations include treatment of serious burns, crush injuries, non-healing fractures, muscle and bone atrophy, traumatic ischemic wounds, radiation tissue damage, compromised skin grafts, and tissue regeneration.
Here’s what we know so far about the use of near infrared treatment:
The use of light therapy with LEDs can help prevent bone and muscle atrophy as well as increase the rate of wound healing in a microgravity environment, reducing the risk of treatable injuries becoming mission catastrophes.
Cell growth increased 150-200% over untreated controls.
LED-technology developed for NASA plant growth experiments in space shows promise for delivering light deep into tissues of the body to promote wound healing and human tissue growth.
The light absorbed by the cells stimulated the metabolism in muscle and bone as well as skin and subcutaneous tissue. What people and animals had felt through utilizing this technology in real life, NASA was proving to be true in the laboratory. The LEDs stimulate the basic energy processes in the mitochondria (energy compartments) of each cell, particularly when near-infrared light is used to activate the color sensitive chemicals (chromophores, cytochrome systems) inside.