History of Light and LED Therapy

LightStim Elipsa and LightStim ProPanel

Sunlight has been touted for its restorative properties for thousands of years, and light-based technology has been used for decades in beauty, wellness, and healing everywhere from the surgeon’s office to the spa.

LightStim Elipsa and LightStim ProPanel

Sunlight as Treatment

Going back thousands of years, it is well known that the Greek “father of medicine” Hippocrates, having complete faith in the sun’s ability to heal, often prescribed sunbathing as part of his management of a variety of maladies. It has also been said that during this period in history, Olympic Athletes were required to sunbathe for healing and restorative purposes.

Fast forward to the 1900s, when Dr. Auguste Rollier, an expert on the benefits of sun exposure, began opening solaria (buildings designed to optimize exposure to the sun’s rays) throughout Switzerland. Solaria soon became popular throughout Europe for the treatment of tuberculosis as well as conditions of the joints and skin, and people came from far and wide to take advantage of nature’s restorative powers, generally in beautiful, sunny high-altitude settings. While these are great examples of the sun’s ability to heal, researchers came to understand the disadvantage that sunlight also contains UV, which can contribute to an aged appearance as well as malignancies of the skin. The takeaway – some wavelengths of sunlight do indeed have powerful healing properties, but with too much exposure others can pose significant risks.

LightStim Elipsa and LightStim ProPanel

Science & Technology Refine Light Treatment

In 1967, quite by accident, Hungarian scientist, Endre Mester, discovered that very low-powered light (as is used in LED treatments today) has vastly different effects from high-powered light (like lasers used for ablating tissue.) While experimenting with a very low-powered ruby laser and two groups of mice whose hair had been shaved off, he observed that the hair on the backs of the laser-treated mice grew back considerably faster than that of the untreated mice.

Roughly 20 years later NASA began exploring the possibility of using LEDs instead of sunlight to grow plants in space. While working under the lights to build the plant growth chamber, NASA scientists found that abrasions on their hands were healing faster than normal. This was how NASA became interested in the world of medical light therapy. They conducted several subsequent studies which demonstrated that red and near-infrared LEDs could significantly accelerate the healing of oxygen-deprived wounds and also speed the growth and proliferation of skin, bone, and muscle cell cultures.

The success of these NASA studies caught the attention of the scientific community, and there are now hundreds of studies demonstrating success in the treatment of numerous conditions related to healing, repair, beauty, and well-being.

LightStim Elipsa and LightStim ProPanel

LightStim - Making History

In today’s world, unlike the sun, low-level light therapy uses only proven beneficial wavelengths of light. Of course, there is still history to be made, and LightStim is doing so with LED devices to address a variety of concerns, and design options to fit every business, space, and budget.

LightStim was the first manufacturer to receive Full Face FDA Clearance for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles on the entire face. It was also the first to receive FDA Clearance to temporarily relieve arthritic pain, a variety of minor aches and pains, relax muscles, and increase local blood circulation.

While we love to look to the past for insight into how our therapeutic use of light has evolved, we will always look ahead to consider ways in which we can advance light therapy for an even better quality of life.


Amy Gardner

Licensed and oncology trained esthetician, international speaker, author, and light therapy subject matter expert with over 15 years of industry experience.

LightStim ProPanel

This versatile hands-free device comes in three models to suit your needs – Anti-Aging, Acne, and Pain. The ProPanel can be used as part of a targeted treatment protocol to enhance results while providing a soothing and relaxing experience that keeps clients coming back.

Patient receiving a LightStim ProPanel treatment

Dedicated Support

As always, the LightStim team is here to answer any questions and assist you. Visit our support page to contact us.