Transcranial Brain Photobiomodulation – Laser for Fertility and overall well-being and mood.
“Why are you putting lasers on my head when my ovaries are in my lower body? How is this going to help my fertility?” I can see why my patient was questioning me, as it seems like I am way her target area when treating the head and neck. We actually do use photobiomodulation (also known as low-level laser therapy / LLLT) over and around the ovaries too as part of our updated Laser baby program.
But why LLLT on the head? (known as transcranial brain photobiomodulation)
In recent years, research into transcranial brain photobiomodulation (low-level light therapy) is showing some hope for conditions such as:
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Parkinson’s disorder
- Traumatic brain injuries (stroke, concussions, TBI)
- The overall mood, focus, and wellbeing
If you think about it, the brain is often considered the master commander of the body and is involved in reproduction. It is the hypothalamus in the brain, that releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) that communicates to the anterior pituitary gland (also part of the brain) to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which then stimulates the follicles in your ovaries to grow follicles each menstrual cycle. It is also the brain (anterior pituitary gland) where luteinizing hormone (LH) is released which is required for the final maturation of your follicle and for it to be released (ovulated) from the ovary.
Our brain plays an important role in our well-being, mood, and fertility through the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian/adrenal axis (HPOA) which includes the thyroid, adrenals, and ovaries. It is in our best interest to have a healthy brain for general quality of life and for fertility.
I have been working with LLLT/photobiomodulation to maximize embryo quality by optimizing both egg and sperm quality and uterine receptivity, I have learned that applying photobiomodulation therapy and laser acupuncture to different areas of the body, in addition to the lower abdomen (above the ovaries), may have some benefit to overall well-being and fertility.
The mechanism hypothesized for how laser for fertility may benefit embryo quality includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Increases mitochondrial function and cellular ATP (energy) to repair the effects of aging and wear & tear.
- Regulates inflammation
- Defending cells against damage caused by oxidative stress (follicles and sperm)
- Improving blood circulation which can benefit ovaries, testes, and uterine receptivity
- Speed tissue healing
- Normalizes and softens scar tissue and adhesions (from earlier surgeries or infections)
- Decreases stress and promote parasympathetic relaxation response
- Decreases edema
- Increase in IVF Implantation
- Enhance nutritional absorption (Co Q10 absorption – Synergistic effect with LLLT)
- Improved gut microbiome health
- Increased brain well-being
In this post, I will focus on brain photobiomodulation and how I think it may impact well-being and be beneficial to your reproductive health.
There is growing evidence by using brain photobiomodulation with certain frequencies and wavelengths can aid in meditation, biohacking, and support general brain wellness. Using a frequency in the alpha range (example 10hz), is intended to lead to calming state and is associated with improved recovery, and is desirable for a resting brain state. Using a frequency in the gamma range (example 40Hz) is associated with a state of heightened awareness and mental focus.
Brain photobiomodulation is an up-and-coming field in neuroscience and brain stimulation.
What is transcranial brain photobiomodulation?
Neurons are cells that contain mitochondria (the battery of the cell). By delivering light photons to a light-sensitive enzyme(cytochrome c oxidase) found within neuronal mitochondria in brain cells, triggers a cascade of beneficial and energizing cellular events known as brain photobiomodulation. This leads to increased energy (ATP) from improved mitochondria function, increased blood flow, and regulation of inflammation. LLLT has also been shown to improve the function of neurons, therefore strengthening the communication between our enteric (gut) nervous system and our central (brain) nervous system.
I had the pleasure of discussing altered states of consciousness using Brain photobiomodulation with Dr. Sanjay Manchanda, licensed psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher. We discussed his presentation on “Altered States in Photobiomodulation and other Extraordinary Observations in Brain PBM”. He observed, by pulsing near-infrared light on the skull that it entrains the brain measured with an electroencephalogram (EEG – a test that detects electrical activity in your brain) and has physiological effects and changes in altered states of mind such as:
- Energy increases
- Body awareness decreases
- Arousal increases
- Focus increases
- Increased self-observation, equanimity
- Joy, feeling of expansion
The stress of infertility and anxiety around infertility treatments has been shown to slow the time to pregnancy or can lead to IVF drop out before achieving an ongoing healthy pregnancy. Photobiomodulation (PBM) appears to be a promising treatment for depression and anxiety that is safe and well-tolerated. Plus, a small pilot study demonstrated transcranial photobiomodulation (light on the scalp) twice a week for 8 weeks increased sexual arousal and libido. So, being able to use transcranial brain PBM to improve overall mood, well-being and libido can be a welcomed addition to one’s fertility treatment.
We have added brain photobiomodulation (transcranial and transnasal photobiomodulation) to our Updated Laser Baby Program with the goal to improve overall well-being and mood and support the optimization of fertility.
- Dosage for mood would be 2-3 sessions per week for 8 weeks and then reassess.
- Dosage for fertility would be 2-3 sessions per week for 3.5 cycles (14 weeks or 100 days).
Conditions that may benefit can benefit from LLLT (Low-Level Laser Therapy) for fertility:
- Women who have not responded to conventional therapies
- Women who have egg quality issues due to age include 1. low AMH, 2. high FSH, 3. poor responders
- Women 36 and over
- Women diagnosed with PCOS or ovulatory disorders
- Women diagnosed with endometriosis or painful menses
- Women who have issues with their uterine lining such as 1. Endometriosis, 2. History of abdominal surgery or D and C, 4. Thin lining during IVF cycles
- Women going through IVF fresh or frozen cycle to support implantation
- Quality of motility in semen
- Selective photobiomodulation for emotion regulation: penetration study: Harvard Psychiatry Department, Harvard Medical School : [ Link ]
- Effects of transcranial photobiomodulation with near-infrared light on sexual dysfunction [ Link ]
- Red and NIR light dosimetry in the human deep brain: Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Switzerland : [ Link 1 | Link 2 ]
- Review of transcranial photobiomodulation for major depressive disorder: targeting brain metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurogenesis [ Link]
- Transcranial Photobiomodulation For The Management Of Depression: Current Perspectives [ Link ]
- Brain Photobiomodulation Therapy: a Narrative Review: Department of Medical Physics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences : [ Link]
- Review of brain photobiomodulation: targeting brain metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurogenesis: Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital : [ Link]
- Shining light on the head: Photobiomodulation for brain disorders: Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital : [ Link]
- Augmentation of cognitive brain functions with transcranial lasers: Department of Psychology and Institute for Neuroscience, University of Texas : [ Link ]
- Neurological and psychological applications of transcranial lasers and LEDs: Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, University of Texas : [ Link ]
- Novel Methods
- A novel method of applying NIR light intracranially, impact on dopaminergic cell survival: University of Sydney, CEA-Leti : [ Link ]
- Huang YY, Gupta A, Vecchio D, de Arce VJ, Huang SF, Xuan W, Hamblin MR. Transcranial low-level laser (light) therapy for traumatic brain injury. J Biophotonics 2012;5:827-837.
- Brain Photobiomodulation Vielight