Low-level light therapy (LLLT) increases survival of cultured cells, improves behavioral recovery from neurodegeneration and speeds wound healing. These beneficial effects are thought to be mediated by upregulation of mitochondrial proteins, especially the respiratory enzyme cytochrome oxidase. However, the effects of in vivo LLLT on cytochrome oxidase in intact skeletal muscle have not been previously investigated. We used a sensitive method for enzyme histochemistry of cytochrome oxidase to examine the rat temporalis muscle 24 h after in vivo LLLT. The findings showed for the first time that in vivo LLLT induced a dose- and fiber type-dependent increase in cytochrome oxidase in muscle fibers. LLLT was particularly effective at enhancing the aerobic capacity of intermediate and red fibers. The findings suggest that LLLT may enhance the oxidative energy metabolic capacity of different types of muscle fibers, and that LLLT may be used to enhance the aerobic potential of skeletal muscle.