What is Phototherapy: A Guide to Phototherapy Devices and Patches

Imagine treating illnesses with just a flash of light! Phototherapy is a medical treatment that uses the healing properties of light to tackle various health conditions. By exposing the body to specific wavelengths of light, phototherapy can reduce inflammation, promote healing, and even regulate your body’s internal clock. From clearing up stubborn skin problems to lifting your winter month blues, phototherapy offers a versatile and non-invasive option for many health issues.

The History of Phototherapy

The use of light in healing goes way back—centuries, in fact—with ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Greeks recognizing the therapeutic properties of sunlight.

Back in the day, sunshine was the go-to remedy for many ailments, but it wasn't until the 19th century that scientists began to understand why. In the late 1800s, researchers discovered that sunlight could stop certain bacteria from growing. The big leap came when Niels Finsen, a Danish physician, started using ultraviolet (UV) light to treat skin diseases. His groundbreaking work earned him the Nobel Prize in 1903, cementing phototherapy's place in medical history​​.

Light Therapy in 1901 Historic Sketch

Benefits of Phototherapy

Why should you care about phototherapy? For one, it’s packed with health benefits in the realms of:

  • Wounds: Infrared light therapy promotes tissue repair and reduces pain and inflammation in chronic wounds and injuries, speeding up wound healing.
  • Skin Disorders: Phototherapy is great for managing psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, and other skin conditions by reducing inflammation and slowing the rapid growth of skin cells​.
  • Newborn Jaundice: Blue light phototherapy helps break down bilirubin in newborns, preventing severe jaundice and its complications.
  • Mood Disorders: Light therapy, particularly the sort that uses bright white light, can help chase away the winter blues. It’s beneficial for treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other mood disorders by regulating melatonin and serotonin levels.

Different Types of Phototherapy

Phototherapy isn’t really a one-size-fits-all sort of treatment. It comes in many forms, each tailored to specific needs:

  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) Phototherapy is perfect for skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It involves exposing the skin to UVB light, which helps reduce inflammation and slow down cell growth.
  • Psoralen + UVA (PUVA) combines UVA light with a naturally-occurring, light-sensitive substance called psoralen. It is effective in treating more severe skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo.
  • Red and Near-Infrared Light Therapy is great for pain relief, reducing inflammation, and promoting tissue repair. It’s a popular choice for reducing the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and redness.
  • Blue Light Therapy is ideal for treating newborn jaundice and certain types of acne.

Phototherapy Patches and Devices

What are Phototherapy Devices?

Phototherapy devices are tools that harness the healing properties of light to treat various conditions. They emit light at specific wavelengths to specific parts of the body, stimulating cellular processes that promote healing.

Phototherapy devices come in all shapes and sizes. These devices encompass handheld units for home use, specialized lamps for mood disorders, and lasers for targeted skin treatments, and large LED panels for clinical settings. 

What are Phototherapy Patches?

Phototherapy patches are small, wearable devices that emit specific wavelengths of light to target specific areas of the body. They’re designed for ease of use, allowing for continuous treatment without the hassle of bulky equipment. These nifty patches deliver light therapy to help manage pain, aid in wound healing, and treat various skin conditions.

How Phototherapy Patches and Devices Work

Human skin cells have photoreceptors that absorb specific wavelengths of light. Phototherapy patches and devices emit light at specific wavelengths that penetrate the skin and interact with cells, triggering biochemical reactions that enhance your body’s ability to heal and recover. This light can reduce inflammation, promote cell regeneration, and boost the immune system—it’s like giving your body’s natural healing processes a turbocharge.

Most Popular Phototherapy Patches and Devices

Taopatch Photonic Cap

Best for: Enhancing physical performance, reducing pain, and managing symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.

Taopatch Photonic Cap phototherapy device

The Taopatch Photonic Cap is a cutting-edge device that combines light therapy and nanotechnology to improve overall well-being. This wearable cap emits red and infrared laser light through miniature Taopatch Start devices, which stimulate the central nervous system. This stimulation enhances the connection between the central and peripheral nervous systems, optimizing cellular function and promoting improved focus, memory, movement, and chronic pain relief. Users typically wear the cap for 20-30 minutes daily, making it a convenient addition to any routine.

LightStim Patch

Best for: Fine lines, wrinkles, and skin rejuvenation.

LightStim Phototherapy Device for Acne

The LightStim Patch uses multi-wave light technology to deliver therapeutic light to the skin. This patch helps to increase blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and accelerate the body’s natural healing processes. It's especially effective for shrinking fine lines and wrinkles, reducing pain, and speeding up recovery from injuries. The device is user-friendly and can be applied directly to problem areas for targeted treatment.

Light Therapy Lamps

Best for: Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and improving mood.

Light Therapy Lamp for SAD

Light therapy lamps mimic natural sunlight and are primarily used to treat SAD. These lamps deliver bright white light, which helps to regulate melatonin and serotonin levels in the body, improving mood and energy levels during the darker months. They are typically used for about 30 minutes each morning to provide a mood boost and increase alertness.

Infrared Therapy Devices

Best for: Deep tissue healing and reducing pain and inflammation.

Red Light Therapy Blanket by Magelin

Infrared therapy devices use infrared light to penetrate deep into the tissues, promoting blood flow and reducing pain and inflammation. These devices are excellent for treating chronic pain conditions, muscle soreness, and joint stiffness. Infrared therapy can enhance the healing process for injuries and improve overall physical recovery. These devices come in various forms, including handheld units, lamps, mats, and sauna blankets.

Miniature Phototherapy Patches

Best for: Improving muscle performance, increasing focus, and relieving pain and fatigue symptoms.

Taopatch Start Miniature Phototherapy Patch

Taopatch Start capitalizes on the power of specific light wavelengths. It engages the body's cells to promote healing, alleviate inflammation, and offer non-invasive pain relief. Phototherapy assists in tissue repair, enhancing blood circulation, and reducing swelling and stiffness. Light wavelengths, when absorbed by the skin, trigger cellular reactions that facilitate healing. 

Choosing the Right Phototherapy Patch or Device

Choosing the right phototherapy patch or device depends on your individual needs. Consider what condition you’re treating, the type of light that works best, and how easy the device is to use. Always talk to a healthcare provider to help find the best option for you.

The Future of Phototherapy

The future of phototherapy is bright! With advancements in light technology and nanotechnology, treatments are becoming more effective and accessible, and new applications are being explored. The possibilities are endless, and smart patches are just the beginning.

FAQs about Phototherapy

What is phototherapy used for?

Phototherapy is used to treat many conditions, including skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema, jaundice, mood disorders such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and some types of pain and inflammation.

Does phototherapy have side effects?

Phototherapy can have side effects, such as skin redness, itching, or dryness. In rare cases, it can increase the risk of skin aging and skin cancer with prolonged use.

Who should not use light therapy?

People with conditions that make them sensitive to light, such as lupus or porphyria, should avoid light therapy. People taking medications that increase light sensitivity should also consult a healthcare provider before using phototherapy.