Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive protocol, which has a photochemical effect (like photosynthesis in plants). One of the main mechanisms of the action occurs in the mitochondria (the cellular power plant inside every cell). The effect depends on the application of the correct wavelength and density of light delivered to the target tissues for an appropriate period of time (typically between 30 – 60 seconds).
The primary effect occurs when light is absorbed in cytochrome c oxidase a protein within the mitochondria.
When cells get stressed (perhaps due to stress, injury or aging) the mitochondria produces nitric oxide (NO). This competitively displaces oxygen from cytochrome c oxidase consequently reducing ATP (an essential intracellular cellular energy and extracellular signaling molecule) and causing an overproduction reactive oxygen species (ROS) and leading to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is well known to lead to inflammation and cell death via the gene transcription factor NF-Kb.
Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) of the correct wavelength and density, dissociates nitric oxide (NO) allowing oxygen back in, so ATP is restored and oxidative stress reduced. Once the normal mitochondrial function is restored by LLLT then cell metabolism is improved, and the client gets better more quickly.
Lasers are distinguished from other light sources by their coherence. Spatial coherence is typically expressed through the output being a narrow beam which is diffraction-limited, often a so-called “pencil beam”. Laser beams can be focused to very tiny spots, achieving a very high irradiance, or they can be launched into beams of very low divergence in order to concentrate their power at a large distance.
Temporal (or longitudinal) coherence applies a polarized wave at a single frequency whose phase is correlated over a relatively large distance (the coherence length) along the beam.
Lasers are characterized according to their wavelength in a vacuum. Most so-called “single wavelength” lasers actually produce radiation in several modes having slightly different frequencies (wavelengths), often not in a single polarization.
The following laser safety lessons are mandatory prerequisites to using your lasers:
- Laser Safety
- Laser Safety Bulletin from the Laser Institute of America
- Laser Terminology
- Laser Warning Sign – Print + Post in your practice