Does phototherapy enhance skeletal muscle contractile function and post-exercise recovery? A systematic review.

a woman does a lunge in the middle of a track

by Paul A Borsa, PhD, ATC, FACSM, Kelly A Larkin, PhD, CAT(C), and Jerry M True, DC, FIACN

Context: Recently, researchers have shown that phototherapy administered to skeletal muscle immediately before resistance exercise can enhance contractile function, prevent exercise-induced cell damage, and improve postexercise recovery of strength and function.

Objective: To critically evaluate original research addressing the ability of phototherapeutic devices, such as lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), to enhance skeletal muscle contractile function, reduce exercise-induced muscle fatigue, and facilitate postexercise recovery.

Conclusions: Phototherapy administered before resistance exercise consistently has been found to provide ergogenic and prophylactic benefits to skeletal muscle.

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