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NASA Research: How Wound Healing Can Accelerate Through Near Infrared & Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Blog Post by Sunlighten

In 2001, the Medical College of Wisconsin undertook a research study on wound healing.

The study was managed and supported by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre – SBIR Program in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.

The purpose of the study was:

“…to assess the effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) and near-infrared light therapy on wound healing”.

Tests were conducted on both humans and animals. NASA utilised a variety of near infrared LED wavelengths, power intensity, and energy density parameters.

For studies on humans, the key aim was to review the effect of near infrared LED treatment on acute and chronic wounds.

Here were the findings of the study1:

Human studies examined wounds on U.S Navy officers and children with oral mucositis.

  • LED produced improvement of greater than 40% in musculoskeletal training injuries in Navy SEAL team members

  • Decreased Wound Healing time in crew members aboard a U.S. Naval Submarine

  • LED produced a 47% reduction in pain of children suffering from oral mucositis.

Examinations were also conducted on rats with ischemic and diabetic wounds.

  • Animal studies were conducted on ischemic and diabetic wounds for rats. Wound size decreased by up to 36% in conjunction with HBO in ischemic rat models.


At the conclusion of the study, researchers stated:

“We believe that the use of NASA LED for light therapy alone, and in conjunction with hyperbaric oxygen, will greatly enhance the natural wound healing process, and more quickly return the patient to a preinjury/illness level of activity”

The AirPod

The NASA study states:

“There are a variety of instances in which a patient who may benefit from HBO is unable or unwilling to be treated in a high-pressure environment. These situations include lack of access to a facility equipped with HBO, claustrophobia, and certain current or chronic medical conditions that would make HBO therapy contraindicated”.

For this reason Sunlighten introduced the AirPod, a mild-pressure oxygen therapy capsule.

The AirPod is less confronting and more comfortable than a traditional hyperbaric chamber. It uses pressure to increase the available oxygen in the blood (by increasing atmospheric pressure).

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