Does Zepter's Bioptron Light Therapy fall into science-based medicine (rigorously tested, proven benefits, sound principles...) or is it "alternative medicine" pseudo-science/fraud?

BIOPTRON can help:

  • Promote wound healing
  • Relief pain and decrease its intensity
  • In dermatological disorders and skin problems
  • In pediatrics
  • In Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD)


BIOPTRON Light has biostimulative effects: when applied to the skin, it stimulates light-sensitive intracellular structures and molecules. This initiates cellular chain reactions and triggers so-called secondary responses, which are not only limited to the treated skin area.

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    IMO term "Visible Incoherent Polarized" is already a red flag. "Visible Incoherent" is what you'd call a normal light. So basically VIP would be regular light bulb with polarizing filter. – vartec Apr 8 '14 at 14:10

I haven't looked at the site very deeply, however, upon a first look, it appears that they are extrapolating a known phenomenon (Vitamin D light therapy and some skin conditions) that has a sound scientific basis, and extrapolating it to a whole host of unrelated benefits and applications.

This is the standard mode of operation of most pseudo-scientific claims out there. They will take a phenomenon that the general public doesn't understand that well, and make claims that sound somewhat related to an actual benefit, and over hype it... So going from accepted treatments, to promoting wound healing and pain relief is a bit of a stretch beyond what the established benefits of light therapy are. Of course, the UV light a inhibit some bacterial growth in a wound, so if you are prone to getting red and inflamed wounds, it may indeed help, but not because that's the main purpose of these devices, but just aids in a process that someone may otherwise neglect (i.e. keeping wounds clean).

The claim that this helps with burns is especially dubious. UV radiation is the main component that helps develop a sunburn. The claim that it helps with pain management is also very dubious. Light is absorbed by the skin, and penetrates at most only a fraction of a millimeter. Any actual effect on deeper structures in your body is very dubious at best.

I'll note they give an impressive sounding list of documents to support their claims, until you look at it more closely. The studies that support some of their dubious claims are "unpublished" or "pilot studies". Furthermore, I would be interested in exactly what those studies say. Just because a study has a title that supports a product, doesn't mean that the content of the study bears out with what the product promoter says.

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    @Christian, sadly, the papers are not readily available without doing some very extensive digging. And keep in mind, the FDA approval is only in regards to it not being harmful. A far cry from it's effectivity on many of the claims outside those that we do have sound scientific support for. Much like the Power Balance people have an FDA approval for the effects of "ions" in their product (which it doesn't actually deliver via the FDA approved mechanism, or at all). – Larian LeQuella Jul 12 '11 at 0:22
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    In science you say "I don't know" when you don't have access to evidence. At a time where we don't know the function of a good chunk of the genes in our body, "I don't understand a possible mechanism this could work" is no reasonable argument against a treatment that obviously interacts with a bunch of processes in the body. Looking at empiric evidence is the only way. – Christian Jul 12 '11 at 13:31
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    And the empiric evidence from numerous studies show many effects that we do understand, however none have never shown the effects these lights claim... Sometimes absence of evidence is the evidence. – Larian LeQuella Jul 15 '11 at 3:16
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    To know whether or not the papers that do study Bioptron do show those effects you have to read them. – Christian Jul 16 '11 at 16:51
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    What they're selling is halogen lamps with timers and color filters. These are not mysterious devices and there is no compelling evidence the light they emit is any more helpful than your desk lamp's - or, for that matter, a warm compress and a walk outside. Whether or not studies confirm that light therapy can be helpful in everything they claim it can is a bit irrelevant at this point. – Michał T Feb 5 '16 at 10:12

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protected by Community Apr 8 '14 at 14:28

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