The Ultimate Guide to Animal Photopuncture

photopuncture practitioner doing a session with a horse

It is a proven fact that electromagnetic radiation (light energy) and light wavelengths affect the health of all living beings. It can even affect the mood of both animals and humans. We also know that our bodies soak up sunlight radiation to create vitamin D. Light is essential to life on earth. Both plant and animal cell mitochondria absorb light energy to function.

The science of healing through light is not new to us. It is very well understood and vastly applied knowledge. However, some people do not know about the wonders of photopuncture in animals. We will tell you how photopuncture can heal wounds, relieve pain, increase collagen production, increase blood flow to reduce inflammation, and more in your pet animals.

What is Photopuncture Therapy?

Photopuncture therapy is also known as red light therapy, low level laser therapy (LLLT), phototherapy or LED light therapy. It is an non-invasive, pain free, healing therapy which is gaining traction in the animal industry. It is a form of photo biomodulation therapy that helps heal by supporting the body's cells ability to heal.

using red light therapy for photopuncture on a dog

Photopuncture therapy is the future of healing in animals because this method works on scientific grounds. Light energy alters the chemical procedures that are taking place on the cellular levels inside the animal body. The light wavelengths promote rapid wound healing in animals after surgery. Near infrared light enhances the production of bone cells in the animal body.

How Does Photopuncture Therapy Work?

Light is a natural source of energy, just like heat or water. The scientists further subdivide the light energy into many wavelengths based on intensity. Each wavelength has its usefulness. However, the infrared or the red-light wavelength is the best light wavelengths that can promote healing in the animal body.

an acupressure point on a horse that is being activated by light therapy

Photopuncture therapy is a combination of acupuncture and phototherapy. In this process, we apply the healing wavelength of red light on the pressure points used in acupuncture. When you expose the animal skin to a red or infrared light, mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, start harnessing this energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This energy improves the metabolic activities taking place in the mitochondria.

Utilizing this energy, the cells in the skin work more efficiently and start functioning better. The newly growing cells continue replacing the older cells and rejuvenating the skin. The wonders of this light are not limited to the skin. This therapy also helps recover muscle and bone injuries in animals.

Photopuncture therapy is effective for the treatment of many conditions of animals. Below are some of the benefits we can use red and near infrared light therapy for!

Sore Muscles

Most humans and animals experience sore muscles after exercise. The soreness comes from when the tissues become stressed and causes inflammation in the muscle. This is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. Photopuncture can provide the muscle tissues with the energy they need to repair quickly. It can also stimulate the pain relief hormones, called endorphins, to release.

Bone Health

The light therapy can penetrate the skin and reach the muscles, tendons, and bones. They enhance the production of progenitor cells that are present in blood and bone marrow of animals. These cells help in the remodeling of broken bones and the efficient growth of new bones in young animals.

using red and near infrared light pad on a horses wound for healing

Wound Healing

Photopuncture promotes wound healing because it enhances collagen production in the body. Collagen is a natural body protein. Its production in the animal body occurs by breaking down the protein in food. The enhanced cellular metabolism due to red light therapy also increases collagen production. Hence it promotes wound healing in the body. Along with the collagen production, it also increases vasodilation in the body allowing it to increase the blood and nutrients the wound needs for healing. Endorphin release, stimulated by the light therapy, offers pain relief while the body heals.

Skin Conditions

It is known to improve skin conditions in humans and animals suffering from stretch marks, alopecia, psoriasis, eczema, etc. The collagen levels of the skin increase due to exposure to red light. Therefore, it increases the hydration and stretchability of the skin. The increased collagen production and improved elasticity also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles!


The Infrared and red light wavelength penetrates deeper into the tissues. This penetration helps it to heal soft tissues and bones as well. It corrects the pain and inflammation in the tendons and ligaments in the body. Many animals suffer from swollen and inflamed joints due to overactivity. This therapy improves the blood supply and helps reduce the inflammation and help the body to heal quickly. Also very beneficial for animals experiencing arthritis.

Dental Health

Pratitioners can also use photopuncture therapy in animals after oral and dental procedures. This therapy can help to reduce the pain and inflammation after many surgeries like salivary gland surgery or tooth extractions. The gum tissues also heal with the help of collagen. In addition, it also reduces inflammation from any procedure and the associated pain.

dog relaxes during a photopuncture session

Stress, restlistness, and anxiety

The wonders of photopuncture are not only limited to the body. It also heals many psychological and behavioral problems in animals. This light therapy is known to reduce stress and anxiety in animals. It also can be a relaxing experience and provide a calming moment for the animal. The light can also stimulate melatonin to be released to help relax the body before sleep.

What is Acupressure Therapy?

Acupressure is a Chinese technique that uses manual pressure applied to relieve many conditions such as muscle pain and tension, emotional imbalances, allergies, and so many more. The acupressure practitioners use different pressure points to stimulate the chi in the body which increases the body's ability to heal itself. These pressure points are the neuromuscular junctions where muscles and nerves meet. Therefore, the pressure applied to these points helps reduce pain and other conditions in the body.

Photopuncture Vs. Acupressure

Both acupressure and photopuncture are known to reduce stress and pain in animals suffering from injury or disease. In acupressure therapy, we apply weight to various pressure points on the body. However, in photopuncture therapy, we use red and infrared radiations on the same pressure points in the body. The light therapy on these pressure points provides energy instead of pressure to stimulate the points.

photopuncture Practitioner using both hand held device and pad device on a dog for their session

Devices in Photopuncture

Red light therapy practitioners use devices that use specific light wavelengths for red and infrared radiations. The most common device used for photopuncture is the hand held light. This device is similar to a flashlight in the aspect of looks, but it emits red light by LED technology. The other device is a pad system that offers both red and near infrared light. This device can be used over larger areas of the body and not a specific acupressure point.

Both type of devices use LED diodes to emit the light. This allows skin penetration to a greater surface area than a laser light. More dispersed light can cover more surface area and prevents the light from producing the heat and cauterizing effects of lasers.

diagram of light penetration depth in skin tissue