Laser therapy is a procedure that’s been around since the late 1960s, but it has recently been gaining a lot of popularity as it is increasingly used to treat a wider variety of conditions. Laser therapy is used to treat pain and aid in wound healing, and it is also used as an aesthetic laser for cosmetic applications such as body contouring, acne treatment, and skin resurfacing.
Low-level laser therapy gets its name from the low levels of laser light that are applied directly to live tissue within the 1-1000mW range. It is also called cold laser therapy. Keep in mind that the word LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. When applied at lower wavelengths, laser radiation stimulates cellular function and can be used to increase the cellular energy of tissue.
This process can be compared to the photosynthesis of plants. Just like the sun stimulates the photosynthesis of plants to produce carbohydrates for growth and nourishment, human and animal tissue can be similarly stimulated to speed up cellular function so the body is in effect reproducing its own tissue, an already ongoing process, at a faster rate.
In medical applications this means that applying lasers to wounds can speed healing. Cold lasers are currently being used to successfully treat a number of issues related to chronic pain. Patients can receive temporary relief by using low-level lasers to stimulate and speed the regeneration of cells to healing/therapeutic levels in the areas where they are experiencing pain.
Cold laser treatments are painless and, just as the name suggests, the patient feels no sensation of heat or anything else. The length of treatments depends on the size of the treatment area, the capacity of the laser, the wavelength used (which differs according to condition), and the condition being treated. Low-level laser therapy is considered a non-invasive treatment with no down time or recovery time.
One major advantage of laser therapy is that the laser beams of light can be extremely focused to create a fine beam of light that’s small enough to pinpoint specific areas without disturbing surrounding tissue. The ease and convenience of treatments and wide range of applications are other factors that make laser therapy attractive to a growing number of people.
The following conditions are currently being treated with low-level laser therapy:
- Wounds from surgery and acute injury
- Chronic pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Hair loss and removal