LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulation Emission of Radiation. A laser is basically a focused beam of light that emits photon energy. When the light is focused properly, all the photons are traveling in the same direction and at the same wavelength. This is also known as coherent light.
We use lasers to listen to our favorite music CDs, to measure distances, temperature, and speed. Even though Einstein was the first to talk about the idea of beams of light, our bodies have been using that same kind of energy to communicate since man was created. As documented in James L. Oschamans book “Energy Medicine The Scientific Basis”, cells communicate to one another through coherent light.
Low-level (cold) laser therapy has been researched for more than 30 years, with more than 2,500 published articles from all over the world.
How Does It Work?
Low-level laser therapy has a specific photobiomodulation effect on body tissues. This is a term used to describe the chemical changes that occur in the cells and tissues in response to exposure to laser and non-laser light therapies. These effects have been described as primary tissue effects, secondary tissue effects and tertiary tissue effects.
Primary tissue effects are direct chemical effects on cells. They include increasing the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the cellular fuel our body uses to function. The more ATP in our cells, the faster healing occurs. Laser irradiation of the cells also increases cell membrane permeability. This means waste products within the cell can be removed more efficiently and nutrients can move into the cell more quickly and efficiently.
Secondary effects are chemical “chain reaction” effects that occur in response to the primary cellular effects. They include a decrease in nerve irritability, anti-inflammatory effects, and an increase in circulation at the site of injury or chronic pain.
Tertiary effects include a variety of whole-body effects, such as increased immune cell production (lymphocytes); increased production of the bodys own pain relievers, called endorphins; and improvement of nerve function.
What Conditions Does It Help?
Laser has been used worldwide to treat more than 150 different conditions. What conditions usually respond to laser therapy? The list is long and includes joint sprains, muscle strains, swelling and inflammation in joints, pain associated with wounds and bums, muscle spasm, nerve pain, and various knee and elbow injuries.
Is It Safe?
Low-level lasers are different than more publicized heat (hot) lasers that are used in many surgical procedures to cut and cauterize tissue. Low-level lasers do not have a thermal effect are are used to stimulate, not destroy tissue. These types of lasers have been in use for over 25 years and there has yet to be one recorded side affect.
Laser therapy has very few contraindications and is extremely safe therapy. The FDA recommends that low-level laser therapy not be used for the treatment of a cancerous tumor, direct treatment to the thyroid, or when treating a patient with photosensitivity. Laser therapy can be used when other electrical modalities care contraindicated, such as a patient with any type of metal joint implant, prosthesis or screws. It can be used safely on patients of all ages.