Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low Level Laser (or Light) therapy (LLLT) and LED (light emitting diode) therapy (also known as photobiomodulation (PBM)) reduces inflammation and edema, induces analgesia (the inability to feel pain), promotes wound healing and tissue regeneration.  

What is LLLT?

LLLT is the measured exposure of human skin to light with a wavelength in the red to near infrared spectrum because of its ability to penetrate skin and soft/hard tissues. Low-power visible or near-infrared light has an effect on human cells because the light photons are absorbed by the cells.  Different wavelengths of light are absorbed differently and at different depths within the cell. The absorption of light of these wavelengths by cells causes a reaction within the cell first demonstrated and referred to in 1967 as “laser biostimulation”. [1]  Stimulated cells create nitrous oxide and ATP, the biochemical term for food or energy for tissue. [2]  

Who is it for?

LLLT has been safely and effectively used to treat, among other conditions:

  • Acute pain
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Post surgery wound care
  • Sports injuries
  • Acne

Results

The physicians at the TheraMind®Center often prescribe LLLT in combination with PEMF and/or HBOT to address such issues. It is, thus, difficult to determine the efficacy of LLLT on a stand alone basis. However, application of LLLT at low doses has been shown to enhance neovascularization (formation of new blood vessels) [3], promote angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels from existing vasculature) [4] and increase collagen synthesis to aid in the healing of acute and chronic wounds [5]. Many studies have shown that lower doses of LLLT are more effective than much higher doses. These low doses of light have demonstrated the ability to heal skin, nerves, tendons, cartilage and bones.

LLLT has been proven to be a safe and effective therapy with few contraindications, the exceptions being eye safety, pregnancy (i.e. no treatment over the developing fetus), treatment over the site of any known primary carcinoma or secondary metastasis and epilepsy.

History of LLLT

The development of the red laser in 1960 led to the discovery in 1967 by Mester, E. of photobiostimulation [1] or the photochemical changes of cells when exposed to light of various wavelengths. Since that time hundreds of clinical studies have focused on the use of red or near infra-red lasers to treat everything from acne to pain. Today researchers are studying whether pulsed or continuous light therapy produces greater benefit. Today LLLT is used by physicians for dermatological applications, dentistry, plastic surgery and other physiological conditions. 

References

  1. “Professor Endre Mester, the Father of Photobiomodulation”, Professor Lajos Gáspár, DDS, PhD, Budapest, Hungary J Laser Dent 2009;17(3):146-148
  2. Shirin Farivar, Talieh Malekshahabi and Reza Shiari, “Biological Effects of Low Level Laser Therapy”, 2 J Lasers Med Sci. 2014 Spring; 5(2): 58–62. PMCID: PMC4291815. PMID: 25653800.
  3. Basavaraj M. Kajagar,Ashok S. Godhi, Archit Pandit, and S. Khatri, “Efficacy of Low Level Laser Therapy on Wound Healing in Patients with Chronic Diabetic Foot Ulcers—A Randomised Control Trial”, Indian J Surg. 2012 Oct; 74(5): 359–363.  Published online 2012 Apr 11. doi: 10.1007/s12262-011-0393-4.  PMCID: PMC3477409.  PMID: 24082586.
  4. Alves AN, Fernandes KP, Deana AM, Bussadori SK, Mesquita-Ferrari RA., “Effects of low-level laser therapy on skeletal muscle repair: a systematic review.”, Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Dec;93(12):1073-85. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000158. PMID: 25122099.
  5. Rashidi S, Yadollahpour A, Mirzaiyan M. Low Level Laser Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Wound: Clinical Considerations. Biomed Pharmacol J 2015;8(2).

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TheraMind Center of Santa Barbara

351 Hitchcock Way, Ste. B170
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Phone: (805) 845-4455 | Fax: (805) 845-9820