Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) uses light emitting diodes to supply light energy to cells in the body. Therapeutic lasers use the red and near-infrared wavelength of light which is able to penetrate the skin to a deeper level than visible light elsewhere on the spectrum. Blue light for example will only penetrate to a depth of less than half a millimeter.
Light photons are absorbed by the cell’s mitochondria, stimulating a photochemical response that stimulates healing. This is similar to plants making energy from sunlight through the process of photosynthesis, more energy is created at the cellular level which means more energy available for healing and repair.
Red and near infrared light stimulates a number of responses within the body including increasing blood flow to the affected area, and increasing the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), proteins and collagen.
Blood flow to the area is increased due to the fact that low level laser light therapy increases the production of nitric oxide, a molecule used by the body’s signaling pathways that is important for the health of blood vessels. An increase in the level of nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels thus improving circulation and increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells which in turn supports cellular metabolism and the healing process.
The production of ATP, protein and collagen are also vital for tissue repair and wound healing. By stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal itself, low-level laser therapy has the effect of speeding up the healing process, and studies have shown that at the correct power density laser treatment reduces inflammation, alleviates pain and has a number of other positive effects.
Laser light therapy is favored by many as it is non-invasive, pain free and can be used alongside other forms of treatment as part of a wider treatment plan. Red light is applied to the skin stimulating healing and pain relief within the tissue without the use of surgery or pharmaceutical drugs. Many physical therapists and massage therapists and massage therapists will utilize therapy lights to enhance the benefits of therapy and speed up the recovery process.
Genesis One Laser Technology
Genesis One lasers use NASA discovered ‘chip technology’ used to treat wounds and heal tissue in outer space. This technology is particularly effective at increasing collagen production, vital for treating muscle and skin conditions. Increasing collagen production can be particularly beneficial for skin rejuvenation and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in aging skin.
Genesis One also makes the only laser on the market that delivers ionized oxygen during treatment to further speed up healing times and assist with pain management and recovery.
Pain Management – Treating Pain and Inflammation
Probably the most notable use of low level light therapy is for the treatment of pain and inflammation. Both acute and chronic pain conditions can be effectively treated using low level light therapy, either as a standalone treatment or alongside other remedies.
Because laser therapies are non-invasive, quick to use and have no side effects, red light therapy can be used alongside other more traditional pain management techniques. Low-level laser therapy is often used as part of a treatment plan including massage therapy, physical therapy, pain medication and even surgery as it promotes the body’s natural healing process, thus improving the effectiveness of other treatments and speeding up the recovery process.
Cold lasers using near infrared light can be used for the effective treatment of many chronic conditions including carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain. Patients will often feel the effects after the first treatment due to the fact that laser treatments also affect the release of endorphins that have an analgesic effect as well as decreasing the production of pain eliciting chemicals. These effects are noticeable immediately while reducing inflammation and tissue repair requires slightly longer to take effect.
Lasers are also becoming more and more popular for treating injuries especially with sports professionals who make use of hand held laser technology to dramatically reduce their recovery times. Recovery can be improved from injuries such as sprains and strains and repetitive injuries. Lasers can also be used simply to improve muscle recovery after training and competition.
Skin Healing and Anti-Aging Applications
Cold laser therapy is also used to improve conditions on the skin surface including age spots, hypertrophic scars, acne scars and fine lines. Low level red light is applied to the skin stimulating healing on the surface as well as deeper within the dermis and the muscle layer beneath the skin.
This gentle, pain free and non-invasive treatment has been shown to be effective in the treatment of acne vulgaris not only due to the healing processes it stimulates within the tissue but also due to the purifying and antibacterial properties of low level laser therapy (LLLT).
Laser resurfacing treatments can be used as an effective and gentle alternative to chemical peels for treating mild scarring, skin redness and fine lines. The treatments are quick and easy and there are no negative side effects.
One of the lesser-known effects of laser therapy is the ability to use low-level laser light to promote weight loss. As the laser light penetrates the tissue it stimulates fat cells to temporarily open up channels that allow the contents of the cell to be released. Improved blood and lymphatic flow then transports released fat molecules to the liver to be processed and removed from the body.
Using low-level laser therapy (LLLT) as part of a weight management plan has the added benefit of lifting and tightening the skin due to the additional collagen production that is stimulated by the LLLT devices. This means that patients do not experience the skin sagging that can happen as a result of significant weight loss.