A clinical study on human athletes showed that a red light treatment immediately prior to intense exercise may protect the muscle against minor damage and inflammation due to strenuous exercise. The researchers indirectly measured muscle damage with creatine kinase in the blood and found that there was a decrease in post-exercise creatine kinase levels in the group that were subjected to red light.
The red light used was from a bank of 35 660nm LEDs. The light was used on two points on a quadricep muscle for 30 seconds each, on both legs immediately prior to exercise.
The implication is that use of red light phototherapy directly on large muscle groups prior to strenuous work may help equine athletes recover more quickly from an intense training or competition period. Faster recovery and lower levels of muscle damage is exactly what trainers are looking for to prevent muscular fatigue and injury. This is the cornerstone of my equine therapy philosophy – see the scale of muscle use post.
Reference: Ernesto Cesar Pinto Leal Junior, Rodrigo Álvaro Brandão Lopes-Martins, Rafael Paolo Rossi, Thiago De Marchi, Bruno Manfredini Baroni, Vanessa de Godoi, Rodrigo Labat Marcos, Luciano Ramos, Jan Magnus Bjordal. 2009. Effect of cluster multi-diode light emitting diode therapy (LEDT) on exercise-induced skeletal muscle fatigue and skeletal muscle recovery in humans. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 41:8, 572-577.