A huge amount of research data has been collected on the effects of laser therapy both in laboratory and clinical settings. The most significant results include:
- Wound healing is significantly improved by Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), even in non-healing wounds, thought to be due to the increased level of collagen brought about by laser treatment. Collagen, the chief constituent of connective tissue, is recognized as the most important ingredient in wound healing.
- Increases in blood flow by means of capillary and arterial widening of the lumen of blood vessels, vasodilatation.
- Marked improvement in re-establishment of the lymphatic system after trauma, resulting in reduction of swelling. This is due to the evacuation of dirty proteins by the regenerated lymphatic vessels.
- Laser light stimulates release of the body's own pain killing chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins, facilitating natural, long lasting pain relief.
What to Expect
What are the effects of laser light on tissue?
Laser light causes five actions on tissue which have been documented as the basis for treatment benefits.
- Accelerated Tissue Repair
Photons of light from a laser penetrate deep into tissue and power the synthisis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a molecule that is a major carrier of energy from one reaction site to another, in all living cells. Increases in ATP, as a result of laser light, increases the energy available to cells so that the cell can take in nutrients faster and expel waste products. The cells of tendons, ligaments, and muscles are repaired faster when exposed to laser light. Healing has shown to be 1/2 to 2/3 the time is would normally take without laser therapy (all other factors remaining equal).
- Rapid Formation of Collagen
Collagen is the most common protein found in the body. It is estimated that 80% of an animal's body is made up of this important, fibrous protein. Various types of tissue make up the body. Connective tissue is the most widely distributed, where fibroblast cells produce the tissue fiber. The 'extra' energy produced by the laser light is used by fibroblasts to increase collagen production. Collagen is the essential protein required to replace old tissue or repair tissue injuries. Wounds are healed, or closed over, very rapidly by the application of laser light. There is also less scar tissue formed when laser light is applied to the area.
- Beneficial Effect on Nerve Cells & the Production of B-Endorphins
Laser light has a highly beneficial effect on nerve cells which blocks pain transmitted by these cells to the brain. LLLT increases the potential difference across the cell membrane moving the resting potential further from the firing threshold, thus decreasing nerve sensitivity. A less understood pain blocking mechanism involves the product of high levels of painkilling chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins from the brain, adrenal gland and other areas, as a result of stimulation by laser light.
- Accelerated Lymphatic System Activity & Reduction in Edema
The lymphatic system is needed to carry away the dirty proteins found in edema. Studies have found that laser light is capable of doubling the size of lymphatic ducts in the area, rapidly removing protein waste.
- Formation of New Capillaries & Increased Blood Flow
Laser light is one of many types of therapy that increases blood flow. Laser light will increase the formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue. This formation is responsible fo speeding up the healing process, closing wounds quickly and reducing scar tissue.
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