What is a laser?
A laser is a device that controls the way energized atoms release their energy. "Laser" is an acronym for the light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. This describes exactly how the laser works.
There are many types of lasers. All of them have certain essential features. The lasing medium is pumped into an excited state. Harnessing this energy allows various uses of lasers.
Lasers are classified into four broad areas depending on the potential for causing biological effect . When you see a laser, it should be labeled with one of these four class designations:
- Class I - These lasers cannot emit laser radiation at known hazard levels.
- Class I.A. - This is a special designation that applies only to lasers that are "not intended for viewing," such as a supermarket laser scanner. The upper power limit of Class I.A. is 4.0 mW.
- Class II - These are low-power visible lasers that emit above Class I levels but at a radiant power not above 1 mW. The concept is that the human aversion reaction to bright light will protect a person.
- Class IIIA - These are intermediate-power lasers (cw: 1-5 mW), which are hazardous only for intrabeam viewing. Most pen-like pointing lasers are in this class.
- Class IIIB - These are moderate-power lasers. These are the so called "cold lasers". They have limited penetration ability into the body. There are more superficial applications for this class laser.
- Class IV - These are high-power lasers. They are the class of lasers that have many therapeutic applications in medicine. They are used in surgery for cutting tissue and ablating tissue. They also have application to reach deep into the body through intact skin to stimulate the body to achieve certain very desirous results.
What is laser therapy?
Laser therapy employs the use of a laser beam to activate certain areas of the body in order to gain very specific types of response. The type of response that can be obtained is dependent upon the strength of the laser beam.
The stronger the laser beam, the more penetrating it can be into the body. The low-level lasers can penetrate very little into the body because they lack the amplification to penetrate through tissues. As such, their application in the body is very limited. They reach a few millimeters into the skin, and they are able to stimulate the autonomic nervous system of the body to a certain degree.
The stronger laser beams are able to penetrate deeper into the body, reaching the bone, ligaments, joint surfaces, and other tissues to create various affects on those tissues.
The strongest lasers are used in surgery to ablate tissue, or to shrink tissue and perform other surgical procedures.
Laser therapy aims to bio stimulate injured and dysfunctional tissues. Clinical studies and trials of class three and class four laser technology has shown the following beneficial effects of light therapy on tissues and cells.
- Accelerated Tissue Repair and Cell Growth
- Photons of light from lasers penetrate deeply into tissue and accelerate cellular reproduction and growth.
- Therapeutic lasers increased the energy available to the cell so that the cell can take on nutrients faster, and to get rid of waste products
- As a result of exposure to laser energy, the regenerative cells of tendons, bone, ligaments, and muscles repair disruption faster.
- Laser light stimulates fibroblast development (fibroblast are the building blocks of collagen, which is predominant in wound healing) in damaged tissue
- Collagen is the essential protein required to replace old tissue or to repair injuries to body tissues.
- As a result, laser therapy is effective on open wounds. Burns are repaired faster.
- Reduces Fibrous Tissue Formation
- Low Level Laser Therapy reduces the formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from cuts, scratches, burns or surgery.
- Laser light therapy has an anti-edema effect as it causes vasodilatation, but also because it activates the lymphatic drainage system (drains swollen areas). As a result, there is a reduction in swelling caused by bruising or inflammation.
- Laser therapy has a high beneficial effect on nerve cells which blocks pain transmitted by these cells to the brain and which decreases nerve sensitivity. Also, due to less inflammation, there is less edema and less pain. Another pain blocking mechanism involves the production of high levels of pain killing chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins from the brain and adrenal gland.
- Improved Vascular Activity
- Laser light will significantly increase the formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue that speeds up the healing process, close his wounds quickly and reduces scar tissue.
- Additional benefits include acceleration on angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation), which causes temporary vasodilatation, and increase in the diameter of blood vessels.
- Increased Metabolic Activity
- Laser therapy creates higher outputs of specific enzymes, greater oxygen and food particle loads for blood cells.
- Slow recovery of nerve functions in damaged tissue can result in numbness and impaired limbs.
- Laser light has a direct effect on immunity status by stimulation of immunoglobulin and lymphocytes.
- Trigger Point and Acupuncture Point Stimulation
- Laser therapy stimulates muscle trigger points and acupuncture points on a noninvasive basis providing musculoskeletal pain relief.
Are you a potential candidate?
If you have pain that is of skeletomuscular origin, you may be a candidate for laser therapy. This includes arthritis, arthralgia, back pain, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chondromalacia patellae, fibromyalgia, heel spurs or plantar fasciitis, migraine headaches, neck pain/whiplash, nerve root pain, postoperative pain, repetitive stress injuries, TM joint pain, tendonitis, tennis elbow, contusions, strains and sprains, and the accompanying swelling of these areas.
If you have the wound that is slow to heal and has been resistant to treatment, you may be a candidate for laser therapy. This includes slow healing fractures, as well as soft tissue injuries and ulcers.
If you have multiple trigger points (sore spots in the muscles) that do not go away, you may be a candidate for laser therapy. This includes areas associated with fibromyalgia.
If you have had prolotherapy, and wish to accelerate the response of healing with the prolotherapy, you may be a candidate for laser therapy. This includes any area that has been treated with prolotherapy injections.
If you need prolotherapy or neural therapy but are afraid of needles, you may be a candidate for laser therapy.
Laser therapy stimulates the same areas that prolotherapy targets. It does it without needles, but requires a lot more time and repeated treatments to gain the result that can be gotten from prolotherapy and laser together.
What type of laser is used here?
We are using the FDA approved Class Four therapeutic laser technology. This laser has the flexibility to go from very low wattage up to 10 Watts of power. With variable treatment times, and protocols, we have the ability to deliver healing laser energy deep into the body measured to a depth of 6 inches, which enables us to reach every joint in the body. The laser beam is readily absorbed by the mitochondria and therefore stimulates them. It penetrates through cell walls and different responses are obtainable through the variable wavelengths of treatment. There is excellent penetration through an intact skin, enabling us to give pain relief and stimulate healing of deep tissues.
As with any tool, including surgical treatment, the stimulation occurs and then the time for healing has to be allowed. The laser stimulates true healing and is not just cover up of pain. This takes time to occur. The laser treatment has to be repeated frequently to continue this stimulation. It accomplishes the job in a noninvasive way.
This infrared laser is another tool that is safe and effective for pain relief and stimulation of tissue healing.