Cold Laser Therapy

Cold Laser Therapy or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue and is thought to help accelerate the healing process. It can be used on patients who suffer from a variety of acute and chronic conditions in order to help eliminate pain, swelling, reduce spasms and increase functionality.

How Cold Lasers Work

Cold laser is placed directly over the injured area for few seconds to several minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated and the dose provided by the cold laser unit.

During this time, the non-thermal photons of light that are emitted from the laser pass through the skin layers (the dermis, epidermis, and the subcutaneous tissue or tissue fat under the skin). This light has the ability to penetrate 2 to 5 centimeters below the skin at 90mw and 830 nm.

Once the light energy passes through the layers of skin and reaches the target area, it is absorbed and interacts with the light sensitive elements in the cell. This process can be compared to photosynthesis in plants - sunlight is absorbed by plants, which is then converted to usable energy so that the plant can grow.

When cells absorb this light energy, it initiates a series of events in the cell that is theorized to eventually result in normalizing damaged or injured tissue, a reduction in pain, inflammation, edema and an overall reduction in healing time by increasing intracellular metabolism.

Effectiveness of Cold Laser Therapy

For years, physicians have been using cold laser therapy on patients who are seeking effective, alternative methods for pain relief. Since 1967 there have been over 2,500 clinical studies published worldwide. Many of these studies are double-blinded, placebo-controlled and have demonstrated cold laser therapy to be a proven method for pain relief.

History of Cold Laser Therapy

Cold Laser Therapy has been used in clinical practice all around the world for over four decades. In 1916, Albert Einstein conceived the theory of Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation or LASER. In 1967, Professor Andre Mester began using low power lasers in medicine. Dr.Mester is recognized by many as the grandfather of laser therapy.

Cold Laser Therapy

There are over 75 Trillion cells in a human body and they all need energy and electrons to communicate with each other. Laser light delivers the required electrons and energy directly to the cells, enhancing their ability to communicate with each other, absorb oxygen and nutrients and dispose of wastes and toxins. The laser delivers photons to the cells, and mitochondria, which they convert into ATP and use as energy for rebuilding and repairing tissues, tendons, ligaments, nerves and even bones.

Laser therapy is an exciting and relatively new field that can offer people a very safe and effective option to help speed up injury repair and reducing pain, provides a unique alternative to patients who are terrified of surgery or drugs, but still seek the powerful healing benefits.

A laser is defined as a device that produces intense radiation in the visible or near visible wavelengths. Laser light is unique in that it is close to one specific wavelength and propagates in-phase; meaning that all of the electro-magnetic waves oscillate together in an ordered and aligned way. Together, these conditions make up the term coherency. When the coherent light is columnated, it can travel vast distances with very little loss of power or scattering.

Laser treatment used for healing is called "low-level laser" or "cold-laser" therapy. By definition, lasers used for cold-laser therapy range in power from 5 to 500 milliwatts (0.005 to 0.5 Watts). Lasers less than 5 milliwatts lack the power to induce a bio-stimulatory effect, while lasers greater than 500 milliwatts may cause excessive heating and burn the skin. Lasers used for surgery, however, range from 5 to 50 Watts.

Cold-laser therapy systems are available in several different wavelengths and colors

A lot depends on what you are trying to heal. Each colour reacts differently with the body. Green lasers (532 nm) are very quickly adsorbed by the skin and blood and can be used only to help heal surface wounds such as bed-sores or diabetic ulcers. Red lasers (650 nm) can penetrate more deeply, but are still generally used for surface conditions such as burns, acne, and hair restoration. Infrared lasers (750-950) penetrate much deeper and are used to help heal muscle, ligament, and even bone.

The health benefits of cold laser therapy can be roughly divided into three categories:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce pain
  • Accelerate tissue repair

Laser Acupuncture

An increasing body of evidence suggests that laser treatments on specific acupuncture points can stimulate a similar effect as acupuncture needles. Laser acupuncture in the ears is used in de-addiction and weight management cases.

Contraindications

Contraindications for laser treatment include:

  • No treatment over suspect tumors or cancer cells
  • No treatment over the thyroid
  • No treatment over the fontanelle of infants
  • No treatment if the patient is using photo-sensitive or immunosuppressant drugs.

These potential risks are a conservative precaution. Special exceptions are already being discovered including the use of laser-therapy to help with macular degeneration.

Checklist to Laser therapy

Adherence to the laser dosage recommendations from the world association for laser therapy is very important.

The eight most important beam parameters are:

1. Wavelength
2. Power
3. Irradiation time
4. Beam area on the skin or culture surface,
5. Pulse parameters
6. Anatomical location
7. Number of treatments, and
8. Interval between treatments.


The three commonly used dose parameters are time, energy, and energy density. In addition coherence, application technique(contact, projection, scanning, pressure), beam profile, and spectral width may also be considered important.