Photomedicine: Definition, Types, & Examples

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What is Photomedicine?

Photomedicine is a branch of science, specifically medical, dealing with the beneficial light application. Thus, it’s a light medicine where light is required for therapeutic purpose. Light used is the electromagnetic non-ionizing radiation having a wavelength between 200nm -10000nm.

Photomedicine is used in various fields like the radiology, surgery, oncology, diagnostic and dermatology. However, photomedicine is connected to the diseases as well as the light related diseases.

History of Photomedicine

Since the old times, light has been used in healing human diseases such as skin related disorders by using sunlight. In Atharva Veda, during 1400B, people with vitiligo were consuming plant extracts and then taking sun bath.

Various other skin condition like skin ulcers have been treated using sunlight in the 17th century and even tumor and lesion have been recovered using sunlight. The use of photomedicine is shown through the work of a physician Niels Finsen, in modern biology where facial lesions were cured using UV light from carbon arc lamp.

He was also awarded Nobel prize in medicine for his work. However, further research in light and its curative properties have been studied and will be further carried out in the years to come.

Photomedicine Mechanism

The light particle are the photons, which are neither wave nor particles. They do not possess any mass and charge. When electrons move from one state to the other, photons are liberated and these photons have repercussion at molecular, atomic and biological level, thus determining the therapeutic effect of light.

Photomedicine Examples

It has been used to cure various conditions like the tumor, psoriasis, circadian rhythm disorders, tissue lesion, alopecia and cancer. It is also been used for examination purposes like PET-Scan, MRI, X-ray and others. LED therapy, photodynamic therapy, low level laser therapy are some of the other variants of photomedicine.

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