Low level laser therapy (Cold laser) or Photobiomodulation was discovered in the 1960’s when the first lasers of this type were developed. Quickly, scientists realized the healing potential of these light sources and many studies were published. LLLT is the practice of emitting a single wavelength of light on tissue so the light can be absorbed into certain parts of the cells of the body (primarily the mitochondria or energy source of the body). The light spectrum falls in the red, near infrared and blue bandwidth’s, ranging from 600nm to 1100nm. It is in a safe light spectrum (the rainbow), that is sandwiched between Microwaves and X-rays.
Many functions occur when the specialized light beam is aimed at the skin. Simply stated, the light is absorbed into a tiny but very important part of our cells. The major part is called the mitochondria, which is our cellular power source. Mitochondria are the part of our cells that converts food molecules into energy (called ATP). When our bodies are subject to inflammation from any reason (example: trauma, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cancer, or infections), our mitochondria produce excess Nitrous Oxide (NO) molecules which compete with another function inside the cell that carries oxygen (O2), called cytochrome c oxidase (Cox).
Recap: Inflammation occurs — Mitochondria produces excess NO – NO binds with Cox and thus prevents Cox from carrying O2, therefore decreases O2 to the tissue by stealing the O2 binding site. Now a whole cascade of bad things can happen: less O2 means the body becomes hypoxic (low oxygen) and it affects hemoglobin, iron and a whole cascade of events that need to function to be in balance.
Laser Therapy: Sends a light beam into the cell which is readily absorbed by the mitochondria and also the Cox. In doing this, the NO gets released from the Cox and respiration is restored. Also, the mitochondria begin producing ATP and our energy production goes up. Our cell walls become stronger and they begin their job of cleaning up the inflammatory debris by digesting the bad parts of the process and the body eliminates the inflammatory debris as waste. Another benefit is that the circulating NO also increase vasodilation leasing to a whole other cascade of good things for our bodies.
The more acute the problem, the faster it resolves. The more chronic the problem, the more times you may want to use the light to process the amount of damage done due to inflammation. I use the laser on almost every patient every time they come for a treatment as the first part of my body care and my palpation exam. I often combine it with massage, sometimes gentle and sometimes deep tissue. I also like to use it in combination with facial tissue work. I prefer to follow laser/massage combo with acupuncture after the tissues are relaxed.
Without a doubt, I believe that every home should have a laser. It is not just for pain. The laser has healed brown recluse spider bites, sore throats, wounds, scars, lick sores, anxiety, gastrointestinal upset including diarrhea, vomiting and inappetence; fear, chest pain due to colds or aspiration pneumonia, and have seem patients go into remission with many types of cancer. There is so many reasons to use it and I cannot think of any reasons not to use it. It is very effective and safe, but some types can harm the retina so be sure to wear safety goggles when warranted.