Anodyne therapy is a type of light therapy that is used to help relieve the symptoms of pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and circulation irregularities. This form of treatment is usually given in addition to physical therapy. It works by relieving pain and/or increasing circulation in the area where the patient is experiencing pain. Anodyne therapy is marketed and sold by Spectropad Systems, which manufactures the device that administers the therapy. The scientific term for Anodyne therapy is monochromatic infrared photo energy (MIRE). MIRE is the type of energy that is used in this form of therapy.
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is the use of a specialized machine to emit only a specific wavelength of the light spectrum via lasers, LEDs, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps, or very bright, full-spectrum light, for a prescribed amount of time. Each wavelength in the light spectrum is said to possess specific qualities. Generally, the affected body part is exposed in light therapy. Advocates claim that each wavelength may coincide with beneficial symptom relief of a particular medical condition. Light therapy machines are able to offer more of a particularly useful wavelength than would be available by exposure to direct sunlight.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the goal of physical therapy or physiotherapy is to improve mobility, restore function, reduce pain, and prevent further injury by using a variety of methods, including exercises, stretches, traction, electrical stimulation, and massage. Physical therapy (PT) is commonly used for musculoskeletal injuries, joint pain or disorders, low back pain, cerebral palsy, and rehabilitation after injury or surgery, including heart surgery or mastectomy. Various types of physical therapy address specific problems. Musculoskeletal physical therapy uses massage and joint movement to increase strength, motor control, and flexibility. Cardiopulmonary physical therapy treats lung and heart conditions, such as cerebral palsy, asthma, and post-heart attack rehabilitation, by clearing the lungs of mucus, ventilating the lungs to ease breathing, or exercising to increase a patient's ability to move. Neurological physical therapy works to restore balance, coordination, and motor function through repeated exercises for patients with spinal injury, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other brain and nerve disorders. Integumentary physical therapy uses wound cleaning, scar prevention, and scar reduction to help patients with wounds, burns, and other skin-related problems.
Anodyne therapy comes from the word anodyne, meaning a medical treatment that soothes or relieves pain. Anodyne therapy was first used in 1994.
All forms of Anodyne therapy use infrared light. Pads that emit the light are applied to the surface of the skin. At times, Anodyne therapy will resolve symptoms in one or only a few sessions. For other individuals, however, ongoing Anodyne therapy may be necessary to experience relief from symptoms. Anodyne therapy may help a patient cope with the symptoms of their medical condition because the pain relief and increased circulation provided by the near infrared light may aid in improving a patient's balance, range of motion, endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Eleven clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Anodyne therapy for several different medical conditions. Though the results of these studies appear promising, larger studies need to be conducted before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
As a relatively inexpensive treatment, Anodyne therapy is gaining popularity in the United States. Some health insurances reimburse patients for near MIRE. Anodyne therapy is now being investigated for a number of uses, including diabetic neuropathy (deterioration of the spinal cord and its nerves due to diabetes).