You may have been to the clinic and had one of the chiropractors use the low level laser therapy (LLLT) on you. They told you that low level laser therapy is also commonly known as cold laser therapy & low level light therapy.
Today’s post is to tell your bit more about what exactly cold laser therapy is and why your chiropractor might be using it during your treatment.
Low Level Laser Therapy
The way I like to explain low level laser therapy is like this:
It is a red light set at a specific frequency. The machine I have at the clinic is made by Photizo in South Africa and emits both visible red and infrared light. This light works by entering your body up to 1.2cm and activating the mitochondria in every cell along the way. If you remember from your Biology subject at school the mitochondria produce energy for the cell. This energy is called ATP and is used by the cell either help it communicate better with other cells or use the energy to repair itself. The reason it is called “cold” is because it doesn’t cause heat generation like “hot” cutting lasers.
This energy production in your cells is the aim of using a low level light therapy or cold laser machine on you.
For instance if you have a wound that is taking longer to heal than expected you can try the red light on the wound to try kick start the natural healing process even faster. There are other settings for muscles, joints and nerves to try promote a healing process in these parts of your body.
The first time I came across low level light therapy was from Lance Armstrongs chiropractor, Jeff Spencer. Jeff used his cold laser machine to help “turn off” muscle knots in Lance’s muscles. Jeff to this day still promotes the use of cold laser therapy to aid the healing process.
I then was at a Chiropractic conference and saw a presentation from another Chiropractor who was amazed at the results he was getting for various ailments using his cold laser therapy. All this got me interested in exploring incorporating the use of low level light therapy to help patients.
You have to love the internet as I found out that here in South Africa actually at the University of Johannesburg in the same area as the Chiropractic student clinic was a leader in the research of low level light therapy, Prof Heidi Abrahamse. I was able to find a South African company that makes low level light therapy machines.
That was 2-3 years ago now and I must admit I do value having access to it.
The difference between low level light machines is if they use laser or LED diodes to emit the red light. The unit made by Photizio uses LED diodes so that is a lot more cost effective to purchase. There is still lots of research being done which is better, laser or LED, but LED does help. A negative is that it might be able to penetrate as deep as a super pulsed laser but for muscles and superficial joints like knees, that is not a problem.
I subscribe to a newsletter that keeps me updated in the mass of research being done on low level light therapy every month from Thor Laser in the UK. There is lots of very positive research coming out all the time for using cold laser therapy for different conditions.
A very positive article published in the Lancet Journal by Dr Roberta Chow,MD showed low level laser therapy as a effective form of treatment for chronic neck pain. That is the video in the beginning of this post that you watched.
Don’t be surprised if your dentist, GP or other healthcare professional starts suggesting doing some laser to help you heal faster in the future.
If you need an even more scientific understanding of how low level laser therapy works on healing you can watch the explanation by Michael Hamblin from the Wellman Centre for Photomedicine at the Harvard Medical School below.