Laser therapy is gaining worldwide recognition for its ability to reduce pain and enhance healing without drugs or invasive surgery.[sup]1[/sup] Low level laser therapy is safe, non-invasive and free of side effects. It speeds recovery time, increases joint flexibility and reduces inflammation.
In 1917 Albert Einstein presented mathematical equations that were later used in the 1950’s to make the fist lasers.[sup]2[/sup] Medical use of lasers began in the 1960’s for surgical procedures and to address acute and chronic pain, back pain, bursitis, carpal tunnel symptoms, arthritis, fibromyalgia, ligament strains, tendonitis, soft tissue injuries and muscle strain.[sup]3[/sup]
In the early 1970’s while researching lasers for cancer therapy, Hungarian doctor Endre Mester found that low level laser accelerated wound healing around surgical sites.[sup]4[/sup] His studies set the stage for more than 2,500 published studies on laser therapy, 120 of them double blind studies.[sup]5[/sup]
The goal of laser therapy is to deliver light energy units to damaged cells. This light stimulates mitochondrial production of ATP (energy chemicals) to move from a state of cellular disease to a state of stability and health. Laser light stimulates release of pain killing endorphins, suppresses unhealthy tissue damaging inflammation, enhances lymph drainage, increases circulation, speeds healing and reduces edema. The laser light frequencies used in our clinic also show antiviral, antifungal and antiherpetic value.[sup]6[/sup] While European studies have shown laser therapy to be an effective adjunct for over 200 conditions, here in the US the FDA has cleared it primarily for pain management.[sup]7[/sup]
Laser devices used in our office are FDA approved and combine laser/light therapy and electrical neurostimulation. This pulsed delivery system is more effective than continuous and modulated lasers, and free of possible side effects due to thermal damage. The combination of light frequencies allows for deep tissue penetration and healing. Laser therapy treatments are typically short in duration with results seen after just a few visits.
There are a few contraindications for laser therapy including pregnancy (over the uterus), cancer (over the tumor site), directly over the thyroid gland, and with immune-suppressed individuals.
Low level laser therapy is safe, effective and beneficial for the mitigation of many painful conditions.[sup]8,9[/sup]
Dr. Jon Dunn is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor with over 20 years of experience. He is the author of the book The Family Guide to Naturopathic Medicine and has a private practice in Palm Desert. He is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the California Naturopathic Doctors Association. [email protected] www.DrJonDunn.com 760-341-6502
References: (1) North American Association of Laser Therapy (NAALT) standards 2003; 2) http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2010-05-14-1Adeathray14_VA_N.htm; 3) Parker J., Dowdy D., Harkness F., et al. The Effects of Laser Therapy on Tissue Repair and Pain Control pg. 77; 4) Mester E., Spy T., Sander N., Tito J. Effect of Laser Ray on Wound Healing. American Journal of Surgery 1971 122:523-535; 5) www.laser.nu; 6) Johnson D. Phototherapy 101 Sports and Industrial Rehab 206 pg. 8; 7) Grabovschiner A. Quantum Medicine: The Results and Hopes. Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Quantum Medicine. 2001 pg 47-50; 8) Tuner J., Hode L. The Laser Therapy Handbook Prima Books pg 170; 9) Sasaki K., Calderhead R., Chin I., Inomata K. To Examine the Adverse Photochemical Effects of Extended Dosage of Laser Therapy… Laser Therapy 1992 4 (2): 69-74