Laser therapy1 is the term most commonly used to describe the therapeutic application of laser light at low intensity. In general, laser therapy is given at gentle, non-ionizing wavelengths within the red to near-infrared portion of the spectrum and at modest output powers below the threshold of heat damage to tissue2.
An adverse reaction has never been documented in more than fifty years of clinical and research use, perhaps because laser therapy is generally given at gentle wavelengths and intensities. More than 5,000 studies and articles have been published. Results have been stunning!
What can laser therapy treat?
Many, perhaps all, medical conditions are likely to benefit. Laser therapy adds energy to regenerate cells and tissue and promote their normal function. Conditions in which positive results have been documented include:
- Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome
- Allergic Purpura
- Alopecia Areata
- Back Pain
- Bone Healing
- Burger’s Disease
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Dental Applications (many)
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Hearing Disorders
- Maxillofacial Disorders
- Meniere’ s Disease
- Nerve Regeneration
- Pain (many kinds)
- Peyronie’s Disease
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Post-herpetic Neuralgia
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Respiratory Disorders
(Asthma, Bronchitis, Pleurisy, Pneumonia, Sinusitis, Tuberculosis)
- Skin Disorders
- Sports Injuries
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Wound Healing
What are the effects of laser therapy?
Four effects of low intensity laser light reported in the scientific literature are:
- Biostimulation/Tissue Regeneration
- Reduction of Inflammation
- Relief of Pain
- Antimicrobial/Immune Enhancement 2
To learn more about the physiological effects and other aspects of laser therapy, click on:
- How Laser Therapy Works
- Introduction to Laser Therapy Video
- Laser Articles by David Rindge
- Case Study – Alopecia Areata
How effective is laser therapy in pain?
We believe that laser therapy (and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy) are the best treatments available for pain.
Laser therapy’s effects to relieve pain include:
State-of-the-art laser therapy for pain can reach five centimeters deep in tissue. Virtually all nerves, soft tissue, and other pathological targets in the head, neck, cervical spine and most of the rest of the musculoskeletal system are within range of laser therapy’s healing effects.
Most of our patients have reported improvement in function and immediate relief of pain at their first visit.
Will laser therapy help to heal chronic pain that I’ve been told can only be managed at best?
Laser therapy may heal or improve the underlying trauma to tissue at the root of much pain that may have been chronic pain. When it does not eliminate pain completely, it may still reduce baseline pain scores significantly, improving quality of life. There are no guarantees or panaceas. The best test will be your response.
Pain is not a disease. Pain is information to protect us. We believe that if you are experiencing pain, there is always a reason. Acute pain inadequately or incorrectly treated often becomes chronic.
Yet for many who have been living with chronic, pain with no apparent means of escape, laser therapy may provide welcome relief, allowing the central nervous system to rest and reset, reducing hypersensitivity to and the perception of pain.
Is there any risk?
An adverse reaction has never been documented. Laser therapy is usually administered at gentle, non-ionizing wavelengths below the threshold of heat damage to tissue.
Will it hurt?
Most people feel no sensation whatsoever. You may feel a mild warmth. Occasionally, patients will report a transient increase in pain following laser therapy. This is more likely in long-standing, chronic conditions within the first few sessions and usually passes in less than 24 hours. It is not an adverse reaction, and, in fact, it indicates that laser therapy is working. Sensation should then normalize, and pain and function may be significantly improved.
How many treatments will I need?
This depends upon the nature of your condition. Yet ten visits or less is likely to be required on average for most painful conditions. We generally follow the World Association for Laser Therapy’s dosage and treatment guidelines as a starting point and adjust therapy based upon your response. Our goal is to achieve the best results in the shortest period of time.
Why the Center for Cooperative Medicine? What results should I expect?
We have the experience and equipment to help in a broad range of conditions. Clinic Director, David Rindge, has been practicing with energy-based treatments since 1999 and teaching them to health care professionals since 2001 through Healing Light Seminars. He is co-author of the popular Laser Therapy: A Clinical Manual and has written a regular column for Acupuncture Today on laser and other energy-based treatments since 2002.
At the Center for Cooperative Medicine, we choose from a variety of devices and methods, seeking optimal results across a broad range of conditions. Our goal is to reverse the underlying causes of pain quickly and efficiently whenever possible. To view David Rindge’s qualifications and experience, please visit Who is David Rindge?
1 Laser therapy is the most commonly used term for the therapeutic application of laser light at low intensity. Low level laser therapy (LLLT), low intensity laser therapy (LILT), low energy photon therapy (LEPT) and laser photobiostimulation are some of the other terms which have been used.
2 Simunovic, Z. (2000) Lasers in Medicine and Dentistry Basic Science And Up-To-Date Clinical Application Of Low Energy-Level Laser Therapy LLLT, Zlatko Simunovic, M.D., F.M.H., Locarno, Switzerland/Rijeka, Croatia, pp 279-80.