At BodaHealth, we are able to use the power of light in a unique way to help our patients heal! Using a type of laser therapy, called LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy) or Cold Laser Therapy, our practitioners offer another great therapeutic tool that can effectively treat a wide variety of conditions.
The idea of light therapy isn’t a new concept. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks built temples that combined sunlight with various colors for the purpose of healing. Light therapy (also called phototherapy or photobiomodulation) has also been used in early Western medicine. One pioneer of phototherapy, Dr. Neils Finsen, won the Nobel Prize in 1903 for his work on the therapeutic effects of light. His research included studying the effectiveness of different light frequencies (red, ultraviolet and blue light) in the treatment of smallpox, lupus vulgaris and measles. He also established that light can be used to kill bacteria.
Today, phototherapy / laser therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions. For example, blue light is used to treat neonatal jaundice, because it helps the body convert and excrete bilirubin. Surgical lasers are used to remove diseased tissue, cauterize blood vessels to stop bleeding and for cosmetic procedures. And full-spectrum light is used to treat people who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
What Kind of Light Does Cold Laser Use?
The type of light we use at BodaHealth uses low intensity light produced through the use of high powered output LEDs along with infrared lasers specifically designed to gently reduce pain, promote healing and promoting cellular metabolism. Made by BioFlex, the cold laser system we use is considered a Class 3B laser, which produces photobiomodulation, which is a big word that means it causes positive changes at the cellular level. LLLT and other Class 3B lasers use light sources that produce red and infrared light that non-invasively affect deep layers of tissue without damaging or burning your skin. In contrast, Class 4B lasers have thermal effects, in that they can burn and damage tissue.
Why is LLLT Called Cold Laser Therapy?
LLLT is also considered cold laser therapy, because it doesn’t heat up body tissue. Directed light from cold laser therapy does not cause burns or thermal changes in your tissues. Instead, the energy from the laser is absorbed by your cells, which triggers physiological and biochemical reactions in the targeted tissue. These reactions include improving blood flow to the treated area, restoring the complicated balance involved in tissue healing, and enhancing cellular metabolism—changes that stimulate tissue repair and regeneration, reduce inflammation by speeding the inflammatory process and relieve pain.
What can Cold Laser Therapy Treat?
The list of conditions that can benefit from cold laser treatments is surprisingly long and varied. The following are some of the conditions that may be successfully treated with LLLT:
Musculoskeletal Pain and Injury
LLLT offers effective treatment for pain conditions such as:
- Muscle strains and tears
- Whiplash and auto accident injuries
- Frozen shoulder
- Neck and back pain
- Post-surgical pain
- Back pain due to spine and disc problems
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Chronic regional pain syndrome
A great deal of research has shown that cold laser can effectively treat these conditions because it works to decrease inflammation, reduce swelling, and promote healing on a cellular level, all of which help to relieve pain.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
In addition to treating trauma and sports-related injuries, cold laser is beneficial in treating arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid) and joint pain. Healing that originates deep within your cells provides pain relief and speed up the healing inflammation process for a variety of painful joint conditions.
Research has shown that LLLT is beneficial in healing wounds that haven’t responded to conventional care. Low intensity laser treatments speeds tissue regeneration, decreases inflammation in the targeted tissue and promotes the regeneration of blood vessels to the area. Low intensity laser treatments can be safely used to treat diabetic sores, chronic infections and wounds in people who are immunosuppressed. Cold laser therapy is an excellent treatment choice for both chronic and acute wound care.
For women who are experiencing infertility or reproductive health conditions, LLLT may offer new hope. A great deal of research has concluded that cold laser can affect positive changes to enhance fertility and treat reproductive conditions. Cold laser therapy can improve fertility outcomes, stimulate ovulation and support assisted reproduction techniques, such as IVF. It may also be helpful in treating conditions such as endometriosis and PCOS. Research has also shown that cold laser can help improve sperm quality in men.
Headaches, Migraines, and TMJ
Scientists continue to discover a wide variety of uses for cold laser therapy, and this includes the treatment of chronic headaches, migraines, concussions, post-concussion syndrome and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint syndrome). The effectiveness of LLLT for these conditions are thought to be due to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and regenerative capabilities.
Aging and Cosmetic Issues
Cold laser therapy is used for a number of cosmetic conditions, due to its ability to activate tissue repair, promote circulation, boost collagen production and decrease inflammation. It is used to treat acne, wrinkles, scars, burns, eczema, psoriasis and UV damage from the sun. In addition, LLLT may be an effective treatment for patients with vitiligo, because it can help stimulate the production of pigment in the skin. It’s important to note that cold laser is not ablative, and does not burn or break the skin in any way. Instead, the cosmetic effects from LLLT come from the cellular changes and regeneration in the deeper levels of your skin.
The regenerative and analgesic benefits of cold laser translates into effective treatment for stubborn nerve pain that has not responded to other therapies. Conditions such as post-herpetic neuralgia from Shingles, neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome may be effectively treated using low-level laser therapy.
How Cold Laser Therapy Sessions Work
Your LLLT sessions may be combined with other therapies, such as acupuncture, or sessions may be performed as stand-alone therapy. Treatments last from 15 to 30 minutes for each treatment area, and the number of sessions necessary for effective results will depend on the nature of your condition. At BodaHealth in Vancouver, we have found that acute conditions—those that have a recent onset—tend to resolve faster than conditions that have a longer history. Therefore, for acute conditions, we recommend 5 to 10 treatment sessions. For persistent or chronic conditions, 10 to 20 treatments are recommended, with possible follow-up treatments in the weeks or months afterward to maintain recovery. During cold laser treatment, sessions are recommended 1 to 3 times per week.
The Bottom Line
If you’re considering cold laser therapy but aren’t sure about laser treatments, consider these benefits. Low level laser therapy, or LLLT:
- Is safe and non-toxic
- Offers non-invasive, gentle treatments
- Is non-allergic
- Has no negative side-effects
- Is safe with pacemakers and prosthetics
- Involves no recovery time after a treatment
- Has been found to be effective for a wide variety of conditions
- Treats the underlying problem, not just your symptoms
- Works at a deep, cellular level
- Offers long-lasting benefits
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- Works well with acupuncture, herbs and other treatments
If you would like to know more about cold laser therapy, or using a low intensity laser for your specific health condition, give us a call at BodaHealth (604) 733-2632 today for more information or to book online, visit our online booking site here.