What is it?
Cold Laser is sometimes used by Physical Therapists to help heal the body. It is called cold because it does not heat up from it’s low power. LASER is actually an acronym that stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The kind of light being amplified in cold laser is red light. The therapeutic wavelength for red light is 600-1070nm which is known to boost healing in damaged tissue. For an in depth explanation, click here.
How does it work?
A therapeutic medical Class IIA laser will shine red light focused through a single diode onto a painful area of the body. Special cells under the skin called chromophores absorb some of the red light. The absorbed energy is then used to meet energy demands. Damaged tissue needs more energy to heal so the mitochondria uses that energy from the red light to boost repair efforts.
What are the benefits from treatment?
Cold laser treatments are non-invasive and can have a therapeutic impact on body tissue recovery. That is especially true for injured sites like tendons, ligaments and joints because they are near the surface of the body. Acute injuries usually are so painful at first, making it difficult for movement. Low level laser can help the healing process by:
- Reducing pain
- Reducing inflammation
- Stimulating cellular metabolism
How long does a treatment last?
Treatment with a cold laser lasts 5-20 minutes. It will depend on how many areas that need to be treated. Also, there are different makes and models. For instance, My PT uses the LaserTouchOne which has a running cycle of 2 minutes. Dr. Tom will treat 3-5 times per area before moving on to another site. The LaserTouchone is a Class IIa FDA approved cold laser with a therapeutic wavelength of 670 nm. This device also can treat with microcurrent electrical stimulation, another way to treat pain.
What diagnoses can be treated with cold laser?
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Muscle tear
- Trigger points
What are the side effects?
When used properly, any side effects are minimized. Looking directly or indirectly from any laser could do harm, so PT’s take special care around the face. Otherwise, we may choose to not use cold laser, for example, if a client is pregnant, has an open wound, or has cancer.