For years the popular perception of lasers has been that they’re an invention of science fiction…Death Stars blowing up planets, James Bond almost getting cut in half, and gadgets of all shapes, sizes, and intentions.
But not any more! Lasers have progressed from sci-fi gimmicks to real-life healing tools that can actually change the way Bodyworkers work and make that work more effective.
I’ve been a Bodyworker for over 20 years and until I began incorporating low-level lasers into my work I never realized that I could actually affect the superficial soft tissue I work on at a cellular level. These painless, non-intrusive, non-pharmaceutical devices have opened up a whole new level of healing that have proven invaluable in treating a wide range of issues – from helping to manage acute and chronic pain to wound healing.
In fact, there are over 6,000 scientific studies on PubMed, a database of published research maintained by the National Institutes of Health that show the efficacy of low-level lasers.
What, exactly, are low-level lasers, what makes them effective healing tools, and how can they help you?
What is a low-level laser?
All lasers are defined by the characteristics of the light they produce.
- High-level lasers produce wavelengths that are outside of the visible spectrum and the output power that produces those waves generates heat, which can actually damage the cells.
- Low-level lasers produce wavelengths within the visible spectrum, and the output power that produces those waves does not generate heat.
What makes low-level lasers effective healing tools?
Low-level lasers are effective because of a combination of:
- Output power
Let’s talk about wavelength first. All light is made up of wavelengths that carry packets of energy in the form of photons. When the light from a laser reaches our cells it affects them in much the same way that photosynthesis effects plant cells. In the process called photobiology, the energy from light is absorbed into the cell giving it the power it needs to trigger chemical changes.
Wavelengths outside the visible spectrum carry photons that have either too much or too little energy for our cells to absorb effectively. However, the photons contained within visible spectrum wavelengths carry the perfect amount of energy for our cells to absorb, making them far more efficient at promoting photobiology.
Output power is important because, according to research from Harvard Medical School, there’s a narrow range of output power that will achieve optimal healing. Higher output power generates heat, which is great for increasing blood flow and relaxing the muscles, but can only be used for a short time before damaging cells. In comparison, lower output power levels are more effective at stimulating and repairing tissues,1 and allow for longer treatments, giving the cells time to absorb more energy, which, in turn, increases the cells viability.2
Frequencies, or the number of times the beam of light blinks per second, are where the art of using the low-level laser starts.
Frequencies communicate the specific information the cells need in order to achieve a desired result. The more variation of frequencies, the greater the amount of information the cell is given.
Research has shown that cells communicate with each other through the emission and absorption of photons3 and that oscillation, or when the light switches back and forth between frequencies, transfers more information than a steady signal.4
How can the use of lasers help you?
The combination of wavelength, output power, and frequencies that lasers produce:
- Stimulate the energy-producing mechanisms in the cells, which increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the biochemical that gives the cells the power they need to heal and regenerate, and they
- Allow the cells to communicate by giving them a specific set of “instructions.”
There have been many studies on both humans and animals that demonstrate the beneficial effects of low-level lasers on a variety of diseases, injuries, and chronic and acute conditions1. It has been shown to stimulate healing of deeper structures such as nerves5, tendons6, cartilage7, bones8, and even internal organs9. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) uses the laser therapeutically to reduce pain10, inflammation11, and swelling12 caused by injuries, degenerative diseases, or autoimmune diseases.
LLLT is so overwhelmingly beneficial that The Pain Relief Center has added it to the Bodywork services we offer. Our LaserWork sessions include both laser and bodywork techniques to address a wide range of issues and help resolve them far more effectively than massage and bodywork alone.
While there is a wide range of low-level lasers available, we chose a product manufactured by Erchonia, because of their commitment to research. The FDA demands exhausting research in order to obtain an FDA clearance; every device seeking a clearance must provide statistically acceptable proof of efficacy, and Erchonia holds 15 FDA market clearances, more than any other manufacturer of low-level laser devices on the market today.
The specific device we use – the Erchonia XLR8 holds 3 FDA clearances of its own, all obtained pursuant to randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical studies – the Gold Standard in western medicine. The FDA clearances are for:
- Chronic Neck and Should Pain
- Post Surgical Pain Management
- Wound Healing
Like other Erchonia lasers, the XLR8 is 100% safe because the light produced by this low-level laser won’t harm your eyes or skin and it doesn’t cut or generate heat.
The more we use the XLR8 in our LaserWork sessions, the more impressed we are at the results we see. We regularly use the XLR8 for complaints like:
- Upper back, neck and shoulder pain
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
- Wound and scar healing
- Chronic and acute pain
- Hip pain
- Lipoma reduction
Make your appointment today and see how LaserWork can revolutionize your Bodywork experience!
Laser Essentials, Jerome Rerucha, D.C, B.S., C.S.C.S., C.H.P.S.
Lasers, Chris Woodford, May 4, 2018. https://www.explainthatstuff.com/lasers.html
Lasers: What is Coherent Light? William Beaty, 2004, http://www.amasci.com/miscon/coherenc.html
Definition and Properties of Laser Light, https://ehs.oregonstate.edu/laser/training/definition-and-properties-laser-light
1 Dose Response, 7:358-383, 2009 Harvard Medical School, ISN 1559-3258
2 The New Laser Therapy Handbook, Jan Tuner & Lars Hoder, 2010 ed., Chap 2, pg 72
3 Biophoton Communication: Can Cells Talk Using Light? MIT Technology Review, May 22, 2012. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427982/biophoton-communication-can-cells-talk-using-light/
4 Oscillatory signaling processes: the how, the why and the where. Raymond Cheong and Andre Lechenko, Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, Volume 20, Issue 6, December 2010, Pages 665-669.
5 Gigo-Benato et al., 2004
6 Fillipinn et al., 2005
7 Morrone et al., 2000
8 Weber et al., 2006
9 Shao et al., 2005
10 Bjordal et al., 2006a
11 Bjordal et al., 2006b
12 Carati et al., 2003