Comparing MedX and Vielight Home Light Therapy Devices
Photobiomodulation is a recently developed therapy for treatment of concussions. Research on Light Therapy treatment for brain injuries has been conducted and published over the last 10 years and clinicians have been using light therapy with brain-injured patients for 15 years. While larger-scale studies are still needed, the research conclusions and clinical results with light therapy are extremely promising. Most importantly, light therapy is safe and accessible to individuals for home self-treatment. Today we'll break down the pros and cons of the two types of devices that researchers are using in clinical trials, from MEdX and Vielight.
The MedX Home System consists of a programmable console and single light cluster. The biggest advantage that MedX products offer is their versatility in treatment. The user can adjust the amount of light energy (joules) delivered, and choose between continuous or pulsed light at a custom frequency (hertz). By adjusting the length of time the cluster is on, you adjust the light energy delivered to your brain.
In clinical trials, researchers place LED clusters in six paired sets (treating twelve points) with the intention of balancing specific areas of the brain, which is possible to recreate one set at a time with two Home System kits. While some research indicates advantages to be had from pulsed light, all the clinical trials to-date with the MedX equipment for concussions have used the continuous setting and have shown positive results. Clinicians now recommend the use of the Vielight 810 Infrared (Brain) intranasal device during treatment sessions as an integral part of the therapy. This does add another cost to the therapy setup.
In terms of continuous compared to pulsed light therapy, you can only use the "continuous" setting on the head when you are using the two separate MedX Home Phototherapy Systems. The two clusters are powered separately, and there is no way to make a pulsed setting completely synchronous between the two consoles/clusters, and research suggests that it is not a good idea to apply asynchronous pulses to the brain.
MedX also carries the MedX Rehab Laser Console System, which comes with two clusters attached to the same console, so you could set it for either continuous or pulsed light. We are not aware of any concussion patients who have chosen this option for home treatment.
One other benefit of the MedX Home System is that the console is attached to the LED cluster with a long cord so that you can treat other areas of the body commonly affected by concussions with light therapy, such as the neck and shoulders.
On a final note, MedX equipment is classified as a medical device and must be purchased through a clinician, who will also help with the set-up and establish appropriate treatment protocols. To find a clinician to work with, contact MedX through their contact form - scroll to the bottom of the MedX page to find the form.
The Vielight is handy with its built-in headset, and you are not plugged into an outlet so you can even walk around with it on (its battery can be recharged with an included power cord). You cannot adjust the length of time it is on (thus the amount of energy delivered) or the pulse rate; each unit comes set at one non-adjustable pulse rate. Researcher and clinician Anita Saltmarche and Vielight CEO Lew Liem recommend the 10-hertz model which is the Vielight Neuro Alpha. The Vielight website specifies that the Neuro is the device they recommend for people suffering from traumatic brain injury. (See Device Specific Questions.)
Another advantage is that the intranasal LED is an integrated part of the headset. Since researchers recommend the use of intranasal LED as part of concussion treatment, that's one less piece of equipment you need to buy.
The disadvantage with the Vielight is that it only has four clusters for the head, so light is beamed to only four areas of the brain. While the Vielight is able to pulse in synchrony with four different treatment areas, those four clusters cannot be adjusted. The clinical trials for concussion using the MedX device apply light to twelve specific sections of the brain, two-thirds of which are unable to be reached by the Vielight device.
Vielight products are significantly more accessible than MedX, as Vielight devices are classified as "general wellness devices" by the FDA and Health Canada. While MedX products can only be purchased through clinicians, anyone can purchase Vielight devices directly from the company's website. The clinical trials using Vielight devices focus on the treatment of Alzheimer's, but the researchers believe the Vielight will have a positive effect on concussion symptoms.
More information on light therapy
See our page Light Therapy (Photobiomodulation).
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