What is low level laser therapy & how does it work?
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) or photobiomodulation (PBM) is a low intensity light therapy produced by laser or LED, where/when red or near infrared light is applied over injuries or lesions to improve tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and relieve both acute and chronic pain.
Laser and LED beams of light stimulate the cells, specifically a protein in mitochondria called cytochrome c oxidase, to increase ATP production and reduce oxidative stress. This improves cell metabolism and speeds up healing processes in tissues.
Apart from stimulating cellular function, light can also have an inhibitory effect. For example, high intensity lasers over nerve supply can temporarily inhibit fast axonal flow, providing analgesia and pain relief. So you can use laser therapy to stimulate repair and resolve inflammation, or decrease pain. To achieve either of these results the correct wavelength at the right intensity, needs to be delivered to the target tissues for the appropriate amount of time.
What conditions can be treated with laser?
Low-level laser therapy has proven to be very effective in the management of joint conditions, soft tissue injuries, neck and back pain. It is also broadly used for neuropathic pain, non-healing leg and pressure ulcers, scar healing etc.
Among the conditions that can be treated with low level laser are:
What are the benefits of laser therapy?
There are numerous clinical studies published in peer reviewed medical journals that confirm the efficacy of laser therapy for tissue repair (muscles, tendons, nerves, bone, skin), pain relief, and decrease of inflammation in the treatment of acute and chronic musculoskeletal disorders. Research demonstrates a 70% reduction in healing time of chronic tendinopathies. Additionally, high intensity single point laser beam can release trigger points and treat acupuncture points instead of needles. Laser can be used in conjunction with sports massage for optimal recovery.
Laser treatment will not be administered until you have had an Initial 60 Min Myotherapy treatment so the therapist can determine your condition and needs. if laser is used in an initial treatment there is no extra charge.
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Depending on the condition, areas of the body, and tissues that need to be treated, your therapist will choose a dose and a duration of light beam application. The results of laser therapy depend on the correct dosage: not enough power density and there is no effect, too much and there may be inhibitory effects which can slow down healing and lose the anti-inflammatory effects.
Laser treatments typically take 10 minutes per session and should be repeated a few (two or more) times a week. Acute pain is relieved best if treated within 12 hours after the onset 2-3 days in a row, for chronic conditions you may need treatments twice a week for 3-6 weeks until the pain is resolved.
Apart from laser, your therapist may need to apply additional techniques, such as taping, joint mobilisation, nerves, muscles, fascia, and other soft tissue manipulation and/or dry needling which determines the length of a treatment session.
Low level laser is a completely safe therapy and does not produce heat like surgical lasers do. You will feel a slight pressure where the laser is applied to the skin.
Low level laser does need to be applied directly to the skin, you will always be draped appropriately.