Blood irradiation therapy

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Blood irradiation therapy is a procedure in which the blood is exposed to low level red light (often laser light) for therapeutic reasons. Most research on blood irradiation therapy has been conducted in Germany, Russia and China,[1] while smaller-scale research has been performed in other countries such as Britain. Blood irradiation therapy can be administered through a catheter in a vein, through the blood vessels inside the nose or applied externally through the skin. It is not related to the practice of gamma irradiation of blood in transfusion medicine.


Intravenous laser blood irradiation was developed experimentally by the Russian researchers, Meshalkin and Sergievskiy, and introduced into clinical practice in 1981. Originally the method was applied in the treatment of cardiovascular abnormalities.[1][2]



An intravenous blood irradiation therapy in use.
Intravenous blood irradiation.

Intravenous or intravascular blood irradiation involves the in-vivo illumination of the blood by feeding low level laser light generated by a 1–3 mW helium–neon laser at a wavelength of 632.8 nm into a vascular channel, usually a vein in the forearm, under the assumption that any therapeutic effect will be circulated through the circulatory system.[3] The feasibility of intravascular laser irradiation for therapy of cardiocirculatory diseases was first presented in the American Heart Journal in 1982.[4] The technique was developed primarily in Asia (including Russia) and is not extensively used in other parts of the world. It is claimed to improve blood flow and its transport activities, but has not been subject to randomized controlled trials and is subject to skepticism. There have been some calls to increase research on this topic.[1]

Ultraviolet blood irradiation may also be applied, though it involves drawing blood out through a vein and irradiating it outside of the body. Though promoted as a treatment for cancer, a 1952 review in the Journal of the American Medical Association[5] and another review by the American Cancer Society in 1970 concluded the treatment was ineffective.[6] Stephen Barrett, writing for Quackwatch, lists ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy(which is different from low level light blood irradiation) as a questionable treatment.[7]


Transcutaneous therapy applies laser light on unbroken skin in areas with large numbers of blood vessels (such as the forearm). Because of the skin acting as a barrier to the blood, the power of the laser is often boosted to compensate.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Moshkovska, T.; Mayberry, J. (2005). "It is time to test low level laser therapy in Great Britain". Postgraduate Medical Journal. 81 (957): 436–441. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2004.027755. PMC 1743298free to read. PMID 15998818. 
  2. ^ Meshalkin E N, Sergievskii V S, Primenenie pryamogo lazernogo izlucheniya v eksperimental'noi i klinicheskoi meditsine (Application of Direct Laser Radiation in Experimental and Clinical Medicine), (Novosibirsk: Nauka), 1981
  3. ^ Weber, MH; Fussgänger-May TW (2007). "Intravenous laser blood irradiation". German Journal of Acupuncture and related Techniques. 50 (3): 12–23. doi:10.1078/0415-6412-00282. 
  4. ^ Lee, G.; Ikeda, R. M.; Dwyer, R. M.; Hussein, H.; Dietrich, P.; Mason, D. T. (1982). "Feasibility of intravascular laser irradiation for in vivo visualization and therapy of cardiocirculatory diseases". American Heart Journal. 103 (6): 1076–1077. doi:10.1016/0002-8703(82)90576-2. PMID 7081024. 
  5. ^ Schwartz, SO; Kaplan SR; Stengle J; Stevenson FL (1952). "Ultraviolet Irradiation of Blood in Man". JAMA. 149 (13): 1180–3. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930300006002. PMID 14938136. 
  6. ^ "Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation Intravenous Treatment". CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 20: 248. 1970. doi:10.3322/canjclin.20.4.248. 
  7. ^ Barrett, S (23 June 2010). "Index of Questionable Treatments". Quackwatch. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  8. ^ Harrington, James; Li, Junheng (1998). Biomedical optics and lasers: diagnostics and treatment: 16–18 September 1998, Beijing, China. Bellingham, Washington: SPIE. ISBN 0-8194-3009-9.