Words: Grant Kanaar
Photobiomodulation therapist, Laserway
It is a well established fact that light has powerful effects on living organisms. Significant research has focused on applying specific wavelengths of light directly to skin of individuals in an attempt to effect positive changes with a wide variety of ailments, including pain reduction of various origins and tissue healing. The results are often dramatic and long lasting.
Red light therapy, formally known as photobiomodulation, uses different wavelengths, intensities and durations of application, depending on the ailment. The non surgical, therapeutic application can be used as a highly effective treatment for a manner of conditions, including arthritis, ligament, tendon, cartilage or nerve damage, migraines, acne, tennis elbow, even smoking addiction.
Light is absorbed by certain components – cytochromes – in the cells of both tissues and blood. This causes beneficial changes in nerve fibers, muscle, connective tissue and blood. Both chronic and acute pain, caused by many ailments, are often quickly and effectively controlled.
Laser light, mostly in the red area of the spectrum, (635 to 904 nanometers (nm)) has received considerable research attention. The therapy is referred to as low level laser therapy (LLLT), red light therapy or photobiomodulation. Low levels lasers operate at such a low power level that they do not burn the skin and are completely painless.
The visible red wavelength (635nm) is the most effective for treating problems close to the surface, such as acupuncture points, cuts, scars and wounds. At the near-infrared portion of the spectrum (890nm-904nm) light of this frequency penetrates to a depth of up tp 9 inches. Because of its ability to achieve deep skin penetration, near infrared lasers are highly effective in treating bones, joints and deep muscles.
To give a more technical explanation of how photobiomodulation works; when light is absorbed within a cell, singlet oxygen is produced which in turn causes a change in proton gradients across cell membranes including the mitochondria – the energy storehouse within cells which produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Cell membrane permeability increases, leading to increased ATP levels and the cells become more energetic. Subsequently, increases in DNA production, endothelial cell production and fibroblast proliferation occur. In addition, the application of near-infrared energy increases the nitric oxide content of the blood and blood plasma, resulting in enhanced tissue perfusion, neovascularization and successful wound healing.
For more information on how low level laser therapy can help treat your chronic or acute pain, contact the team at Laserway for an initial consultation. An effective stand alone treatment or can be used in conjunction with your current physio or chiropractic therapy.
Lido Medical Centre Suite 3.08
St Saviours Road
T: 01534 605056