The Beginning

Constant knee pain makes it hard to be active, so in mid 2015, I did a lot of sitting and reading. One of the books was Norman Doidge’s The Brain’s Way of Healing.

Chapter 4 covered the effect of red and near infrared light on the brain and spinal cord, and there were some remarkable stories told. In passing, Doidge mentioned the positive effect of red and near infrared light on arthritic joints and damaged tendons.

I went hunting on Google Scholar and found some medical journal articles that Continue reading “The Beginning”

Photobiomodulation – what is it?

Photobiomodulation, shortened to PBM, is defined as the use of low level red and near-infrared light on the body. The intention is not to hear or burn the tissues, but to give a bigger dose than you would get from just sitting in the sunshine. 

PBM is also called LLLT (low level light/laser therapy).

Reading medical journal articles is like doing battle with a big dictionary. Lots of polysyllabic words, and lots of abbreviations.

Photobiomodulation, shortened to PBM, is defined as the use of low level red and near-infrared light on the body. The intention is not to heat or burn the tissues, but to give a bigger dose than you would get from just sitting in the sunshine.

PBM is also called LLLT (low level light/laser therapy). The very earliest experiments used laser lights, but it has now been realised that LED lights are just as good, and in some ways, better than lasers. Laser light is coherent, meaning that it is in a highly concentrated beam and doesn’t scatter. This is fine if you know exactly where to point it. LED lights are non-coherent, meaning that they happily scatter. When you don’t have a specific target then this is the best approach. As well, there is good evidence that the more that the head is bathed in red/infrared light, the deeper the penetration of the light. So LED lights are increasingly selected for PBM research – it helps that they are cheaper and easier to use.

Red and near-infrared light works in two ways – the direct effect and the indirect effect.  In some articles, the term “systemic” is used instead of “indirect”. For those who use Eliza light hats, the indirect or systemic effect is working hard, but there is some direct effect as some of the light will penetrate into the top of the brain tissue.

I’m attaching an article January 2017 called Photobiomodulation and the brain: a new paradigm by Madison Hennessy and Michael Hamblin.

download here

It covers the new research areas in PBM, and gives some interesting summaries of the findings to date.





Red lights on the hair follicles

Yesterday I caught up with one of my mates who uses an Eliza light hat for his Parkinson’s. He told me, with some quiet delight, that his grey hair had been slowly resuming its previous brown colour.

It reminded me of another mate, also using an Eliza for Parkinson’s whose previous bald head is now populated with a triumphant fuzz of hair.

Most Australians would have seen the advertisements starring Shane Warne promoting lasers as the way to rejuvenate hair. Ignore the adverts.

It seems that the hair-growing effect is nothing to do with the laser, and everything to do with the wavelength used in the laser. And of course, you can get the same wavelengths in LEDs. The Very Visible Red wavelengths (630-670nm) are the way to go.

If you have already made your Eliza with nice red LEDs, then daily use might just get that hair regrowing…


Red and near infrared lights are complex. We know only a little, but we do know about the importance of wavelengths, dose and comfort.

I’ve just added a new page – Caution .

Check it out as it collates some of the words of warning from various blog posts.





Eliza dosage – when and how long?

A few people have asked how long a light hat should be worn.

A previous post about the Goldilocks Effect is really important to read, as it describes the research on the odd effect of too much red light.

More red light is not better – it can make things worse. Neurones are finicky fellows and we must respect this.

So how long should you wear an Eliza light hat, or any kind of red/near infrared light on the head? As everyone’s light hat is different, it is impossible to give absolutely firm advice. But based on what I’ve observed over the time of making many and varied light hats, I’d suggest the following considerations.

Continue reading “Eliza dosage – when and how long?”

How to help your doctor

I’ve had a number of people tell me that conversations with their GP or specialist about red and near infrared lights haven’t gone well. One chap took his newly-made Eliza to show his neurologist, who roared with laughter and said that it would be very handy at Christmas.

I remember my reaction when patients brought in newspaper clippings about the latest and greatest cure for something – I’d keep a smile on my face and inwardly groan.

If you are getting less than supportive noises from your doctors, don’t get cranky with them, because they are trying to protect you. There are lots of charlatans and snake oil merchants out there, and people with chronic diseases are easy targets. They are worried that you and your family are going to be taken in by costly rubbish. If you read about the beginnings of my learning about red lights, here, you’ll see that I was also very skeptical.

So what can you do?

Continue reading “How to help your doctor”