Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

What is the ideal dose and power output of low-level laser therapy (810 nm) on muscle performance and post-exercise recovery? Study protocol for a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Adriano Rodrigues de Oliveira1, Adriane Aver Vanin2, Thiago De Marchi3, Fernanda Colella Antonialli2, Vanessa dos Santos Grandinetti1, Paulo Roberto Vicente de Paiva1, Gianna Móes Albuquerque Pontes1, Larissa Aline Santos2, Ivo de Oliveira Aleixo Junior2, Paulo de Tarso Camillo de Carvalho12, Jan Magnus Bjordal4 and Ernesto Cesar Pinto Leal-Junior12*

Author Affiliations

1 Postgraduate Program in Biophotonics Applied to Health Sciences, Universidade Nove de Julho (UNINOVE), Rua Vergueiro 235, São Paulo, SP 01504-001, Brazil

2 Postgraduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, Universidade Nove de Julho (UNINOVE), Rua Vergueiro 235, São Paulo, SP 01504-001, Brazil

3 Sports Medicine Institute, University of Caxias do Sul, Rua Francisco Getulio Vargas 1130, Caxias do Sul, RS 95070-560, Brazil

4 Physiotherapy Research Group, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen, Kalfarveien 31, Bergen 5020, Norway

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Trials 2014, 15:69  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-69

Published: 27 February 2014



Recent studies involving phototherapy applied prior to exercise have demonstrated positive results regarding the attenuation of muscle fatigue and the expression of biochemical markers associated with recovery. However, a number of factors remain unknown, such as the ideal dose and application parameters, mechanisms of action and long-term effects on muscle recovery. The aims of the proposed project are to evaluate the long-term effects of low-level laser therapy on post-exercise musculoskeletal recovery and identify the best dose andapplication power/irradiation time.

Design and methods

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial with be conducted. After fulfilling the eligibility criteria, 28 high-performance athletes will be allocated to four groups of seven volunteers each. In phase 1, the laser power will be 200 mW and different doses will be tested: Group A (2 J), Group B (6 J), Group C (10 J) and Group D (0 J). In phase 2, the best dose obtained in phase 1 will be used with the same distribution of the volunteers, but with different powers: Group A (100 mW), Group B (200 mW), Group C (400 mW) and Group D (0 mW). The isokinetic test will be performed based on maximum voluntary contraction prior to the application of the laser and after the eccentric contraction protocol, which will also be performed using the isokinetic dynamometer. The following variables related to physical performance will be analyzed: peak torque/maximum voluntary contraction, delayed onset muscle soreness (algometer), biochemical markers of muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress.


Our intention, is to determine optimal laser therapy application parameters capable of slowing down the physiological muscle fatigue process, reducing injuries or micro-injuries in skeletal muscle stemming from physical exertion and accelerating post-exercise muscle recovery. We believe that, unlike drug therapy, LLLT has a biphasic dose–response pattern.

Trial registration

The protocol for this study is registered with the Protocol Registry System, identifier NCT01844271.

Low-level laser therapy; Skeletal muscle fatigue; Skeletal muscle recovery; Phototherapy parameters; Exercise