INTRODUCTION TO LIGHT THERAPY
LIGHT THERAPY HAS BEEN KNOWN FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS ...
Light therapy already has a very long
history, since for thousands of years people all over
the world have revered the importance of light for the
normal functioning of the human body.
The first source of light used for medical treatments
was sunlight. The use of sunlight for medical treatments
is known as heliotherapy. The first anecdotal records
indicate that the use of heliotherapy dates from about
1400 B.C. Hindus treated patients with skin disorders
using different plants followed by exposure to sunlight.
Hippocrates, who lived in the IV century B.C., recommended
sunlight to treat a variety of diseases. Ancient Egyptian,
Greek, Roman and Arab physicians integrated light therapy
in general medical treatments. Although many ancient physicians
believed that the therapeutic effect of sunlight was due
to the heat of the sun, there was no scientific explanation
for sunlight therapy at that time.
At the end of the 19th century, heliotherapy was recognised
by many physicians. In 1903 in Leysin, Switzerland, Dr.
Rollier opened the first hospital for the treatment of
tuberculosis and rachitis with sun exposure. In 1914 he
published a book “La Cure du Soleil”, in which
he reported his results with heliotherapy.
exposure to natural sunlight was widely used for the treatment
of wounds during the First World War (1914-1918) and the
Second World War (1939-1945) in the United Kingdom, Italy,
France and Germany.
A REVOLUTIONARY BREAKTHROUGH IN LIGHT THERAPY AND BIOPTRON
From Heliotherapy To Phototherapy And A Nobel Prize In Medicine
Important therapeutic effects of sunlight prompted many
researchers to develop and use filtered solar radiation
and artificial light sources. Thus, phototherapy had become
an alternative to heliotherapy.
In 1893, the Danish physician Niels Ryberg Finsen developed
one of the first devices capable of producing technically
synthesized “sunlight”. There are clear advantages
of technically synthesized light: parameters such as intensity
and emitted light spectrum are controllable. In the period
from 1895 to 1903, he treated more than 950 patients with
lupus vulgaris (tuberculosis of the skin) using filtered,
technically synthesized “sunlight”.
In 1903 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for
his research in light therapy and exceptional therapeutic
results. Dr. Finsen hence is considered to be the founder
of modern light therapy (Publication 1).
At the beginning of the development of photomedicine,
mostly infrared and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum
were used in light therapy. In early 1980s, a team of
scientists developed the idea of creating a light source
that is originally based on laser technology but works
with almost the whole range of visible light and a portion
of infrared light (Publication 2).
The polarization of light was considered an important
parameter responsible for biostimulative effects (Publication 3). The
BIOPTRON Light Therapy System was designed based on this