Brain Photobiomodulation (PBM) Clinic
Referring clinicians should fill out the PBM referral form. We can then determine whether the program is a good fit for the individual and gather relevant clinical information. A completed referral form is required prior to treatment.
Explore This Treatment Program
About Brain Photobiomodulation
The PBM Clinic at Mass General is dedicated to caring for patients suffering from treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric conditions, including major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and others. Our service uses transcranial photobiomodulation to treat severe neuropsychiatric conditions, particularly for people who have not had a therapeutic response from medications or who experience side effects.
Our Treatment Approach
What is Transcranial Photobiomodulation? How does PBM work?
Photobiomodulation (PBM) uses near-infrared light to stimulate neurons in targeted regions of the brain. The near-infrared light is delivered through diodes that are placed on the scalp and attached to a machine that sends light through the brain. This results in a temporary change in brain activity, which leads to longer-lasting changes over time. The procedure typically lasts 30 minutes or longer depending on the treatment protocol. Patients are comfortably seated, awake, and alert. PBM is completely non-invasive and does not require any anesthesia or sedation. Since no medications are administered, there are no cognitive or systematic after-effects, allowing patients to immediately return to regular activity.
A PBM treatment course can vary in the number of treatment sessions according to each individual patient. Patients undergo an initial evaluation. Throughout the treatment course, patients are closely followed by a clinician who will periodically re-evaluate the patient. Each patient’s symptoms are also tracked through standardized questionnaires to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.
PBM has been approved by the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Credentials Committee for off-label treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. Off-label treatments using PBM are usually not covered by insurance and come with an out-of-pocket cost. Please check with your insurance carrier to understand your out-of-pocket costs.
Our staff provides non-invasive treatment for patients with treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric conditions using Photobiomodulation.
Paolo Cassano, MD, PhD
Director, Brain Photobiomodulation Clinic
Frequently Asked Questions
Is PBM effective?
What happens during my PBM treatment session?
- Apply two diodes to your scalp
- Administer near-infrared light for 20-30 minutes. You may feel a slight warming sensation around the diodes during the stimulation
- Evaluate your progress throughout the treatment to assess the progression of benefits or identify complications