The thyroid is a gland located in the neck that secretes hormones that travel to every tissue in the body. There are many different types of disorders of the thyroid, including hyper- and hypo- thyroidism, as well as autoimmune conditions related to the thyroid.
Thyroid issues can affect multiple systems in the body including the brain, heart, muscles and other organs (American Thyroid Assoc, 2019). Many people with thyroid issues struggle with weight gain/loss, depression, and fatigue. Treatments usually include medication to even out the these hormones, but this can be difficult and often requires frequent testing and dose changes.
Infrared light has long been used to gain images of the thyroid and diagnose problems. Current research is now exploring the uses of infrared light to treat thyroid conditions. One group of researchers in Brazil led by Dr. DB Hofling examined Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), a delivery method of near infrared radiation (NIR), as a treatment for Chronic Autoimmune Thyroiditis (CAT), the most common cause of hypothyroidism. In this randomized placebo study, researchers followed 43 patients for 3 years, and found that the infrared treatment significantly increased thyroid function, allowing some patients to decrease, and in some cases even stop their medications (Hofling et al, 2012). This same group of researchers has since published three other studies showing similar effects of improved thyroid function (Hofling et al, 2013; Hofling et al, 2014; Hofling et al, 2018).
A separate study measured the effects of NIR lasers on damaged thyroid tissues in animals, finding that this treatment improved not only thyroid function, but also liver function and antioxidant levels (Morcos et al, 2015). Currently the LLLT near infrared treatment is only offered at the Thyroid Outpatient Clinic in Brazil where Dr. Hofling works. However, some physicians are beginning to recommend NIR as an “off label” approach to treating thyroid issues (Wentz, 2017).
The Salt Oasis Kingsport offers several different IR delivery methods including lamps, pads and a sauna.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. Do not make any changes to your healthcare or treatment without consulting your physician.
American Thyroid Association, 2019. www.thyroid.org.
Höfling DB, Chavantes MC, Juliano AG, Cerri GG, Knobel M, Yoshimura EM, Chammas MC. 2013. Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Lasers Med Sci. 2013 May;28(3):743-53. doi: 10.1007/s10103-012-1129-9.
Höfling DB, Chavantes MC, Buchpiguel CA, Cerri GG, Marui S, Carneiro PC, Chammas MC. 2018. Safety and Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy in Autoimmune Thyroiditis: Long-Term Follow-Up Study. Int J Endocrinol. 2018 Nov 4;2018:8387530. doi: 10.1155/2018/8387530. eCollection 2018.
Höfling DB, Chavantes MC, Acencio MM, Cerri GG, Marui S, Yoshimura EM, Chammas MC. 2014. Effects of low-level laser therapy on the serum TGF-β1 concentrations in individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis. Photomed Laser Surg. 2014 Aug;32(8):444-9. doi: 10.1089/pho.2014.3716.
Höfling DB, Chavantes MC, Juliano AG, Cerri GG, Knobel M, Yoshimura EM, Chammas MC. 2012. Assessment of the effects of low-level laser therapy on the thyroid vascularization of patients with autoimmune hypothyroidism by color Doppler ultrasound. ISRN Endocrinol. 2012;2012:126720. doi: 10.5402/2012/126720. Epub 2012 Dec 17.
Morcos N1, Omran M2, Ghanem H1, Elahdal M3, Kamel N2, Attia E2. 2015. Phototherapeutic Effect of Low-Level Laser on Thyroid Gland of Gamma-Irradiated Rats. Photochem Photobiol. 2015 Jul-Aug;91(4):942-51. doi: 10.1111/php.12465. Epub 2015 Jun 4..
Wentz, I. 2017. Lasers for thyroid tissue regeneration. Apr4, 2017. https://thyroidpharmacist.com/articles/lasers-thyroid-tissue-regeneration/