Low-level Laser Therapy FAQ’s
What is “cold laser”?
Cold laser is “low-level laser therapy”, also known as “LLLT” in the scientific literature. It’s not really cold, the term is just used because it doesn’t produce heat.
Are there any other names for it?
Yes, photobiomodulation (aka “PBM”) is another term that you will see in the scientific literature.
Does it hurt?
Not at all. There is no heat or vibration from the laser at the wavelengths used to heal human tissue.
What does it do?
1. It accelerates healing of your cells.
2. It interferes with and blocks inflammation.
3. It promotes new blood vessel growth in areas of scar tissue and fibrosis.
How does it work?
1. The laser puts the correct range of healing wavelength light photons (630-640 nm) right into your cells. Erchonia has their laser set to 635 nm, right in the middle of the healing wavelength, and at a low-level of power in the order of milliwatts (mW) so that our cells are not damaged by too much power (i.e. too many Watts). The red light bathes your cells with photons that stimulate the mitochondria in your cells to produce more energy. Our mitochondria are the energy powerhouse of our cells. They make ATP, which is like our own gasoline, and when the laser hits the mitochondria ATP production is increased. Our cells replicate DNA at a faster rate, cellular functions occur more rapidly, and we heal faster. There is a cumulative effect of cellular healing with multiple treatments.
2. Our inflammatory pathway can get interrupted by drugs like Ibuprofen and Tylenol, for example. That’s why we hurt less when we take these kinds of medications. LLLT also interferes with the very same inflammatory pathway and reduces our inflammatory response so we can heal faster and hurt less.
3. The laser stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in areas of scar tissue, fibrosis and adhesion. This provides more oxygen, blood and nutrition to healing those areas with residual tissue damage.
Are all lasers the same?
Absolutely not. Lasers at higher wavelengths create heat and are not in the healing range. For example, the 830 nm wavelength has different properties and creates heat.
Also, lasers with more power do not mean that they are better for human cells. In fact, they can damage our cells quite severely. Our bodies actually do better with low-level power and with the correct wavelength. Erchonia has found the “sweet spot” for both power and wavelength to heal cells.
What is wavelength and why does it matter?
The energy and properties of the photon are largely determined by the wavelength, or it’s pattern and length of flow. Smaller, more miniscule wavelengths actually have more power in the photon. For example, X-rays and gamma rays are some of the smallest wavelengths. These rays of photons are so powerful that they blast through our cells and cause damage in dosages that are too high. Some are also radioactive, and that damages cells as well. Some wavelengths are visible to the human eye (roughly 390 to 750 nm), others are not. Here are some examples:
Less than 10 picometers (pm) are the wavelengths of Gamma rays that are the highest energy electromagnetic radiation. Gamma rays destroy cells and are deadly.
405 nanometers (nm) is a violet color and has anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that is safe to use on humans and animals. We have this kind of laser in the WRJ office.
632.8 nm is the precise wavelength or vibration of a healthy human cell and is red in color.
Radio waves have the lowest wavelengths and can range from 1 millimeter to 100 kilometers.
Infrared light has wavelengths from 0.74 micrometers to 1 millimeter.
Can lasers be used on animals?
Absolutely. Many veterinarians are using the very same Erchonia lasers on their furry and feathered patients with great success.
Is laser light the same as LED light?
Not at all. Lasers have monochromatic and unidirectional flow of the light photons. LED does not. This is crucial in how the photons interact with our cells. LED photons travel in a scattered pattern, lasers are coherent.
How much laser can I have? How much is too much?
We typically apply 10 minutes of laser per region, with a few exceptions that require 20 minutes. There is a limit to how much our cells like and respond to. The calculated limit is about 2J/cm squared per region per treatment. This translates to 22 minutes and 13 seconds as the maximum dose on one area. We are careful to make sure that if and when we combine the two lasers on the same region not to exceed this maximum dose. Our cells like just the right amount of low-level laser. Too much could create a negative response or a harmful effect. Our cells like the right amount of photons just like our stomach likes the right amount of food. Too much food makes us feel uncomfortable. Too many photons/energy damages our cells.