Laser therapy is used to relieve pain and inflammation, to increase the speed and quality of the healing process, and to decrease edema and swelling. These effects of laser therapy are often so successful that the patient no longer needs, or needs less of, the drugs that are ordinarily employed for these purposes. In this way laser therapy not only makes our patients more comfortable but also avoids the hazardous side effects, difficulty administering, and expense of anti-inflammatory medications. This is especially valuable to the older or very ill individuals who are more vulnerable. We have had dramatic results using laser therapy for arthritis, skin problems, injuries, infected wounds, and snakebite to name a few of its uses.
Therapeutic lasers work by delivering a focused beam of specific wavelengths of invisible light to targeted area(s) of the body to enhance both energy production within the cells as well as chemical signaling within and between cells.
Scientists continue to study how the specific wavelengths of light affect the cells of plants and of people and animals. A brief review of physics and biochemistry might make this easier to understand:
All the energy on earth comes directly or indirectly from the sun as electromagnetic radiation. Sunlight is electromagnetic radiation that is made up of photons that contain energy. Photons travel in a variety of wavelengths, which are measured in nanometers (nm). Based on wavelength, light is classified as either ultraviolet, visible, or infrared light. The photons of each wavelength of light transfer their energy to molecules with which they collide. Near infrared light (nir) has beneficial effects on people and animals. As has long been known, photons of two wavelengths (430 nm and 630 nm) of visible light interact with chlorophyll a in green plants to produce photosynthesis. Photosynthesis transforms light’s electromagnetic energy into biochemical energy, the energy that fuels the cellular processes that enable the plant to grow. When there is sufficient energy, a cell can split into two cells and so plants grow in size by increasing the number of cells. (Yes, all cells multiply by dividing.)
Recent scientific research has some very interesting findings. We mammals have a biochemical chain of events called the Krebs Cycle that produces energy for our cells much as photosynthesis produces energy for plants. It turns out that certain wavelengths of light increase the activity of an enzyme in the Krebs Cycle called cytochrome C oxidase and so can increase energy production within our cells. With more energy our cells can better perform their individual tasks within the body and can divide to make more cells (this is necessary for healing wounds, bone fractures, etc). Cytochrome C oxidase also increases the amount of nitric oxide within the cell. Nitric oxide functions as a signaling mechanism in regulating certain processes within the cell. Some of the nitric oxide leaves the cell and functions as a signal to regulate other cells, for example to increase blood flow and to interact with nerve cells and cells of the immune system.
Our therapeutic laser delivers near infrared light to targeted areas of the body.
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