Commentary on Low Level Laser (Light) Therapy

Welcome to my new blog posting about Low Level Laser (Light) Therapy, or now called Photobiomodulation. Low Level Laser Therapy is the use of light photons at specific wavelengths that when applied to tissues in the body create a healing response at a cellular level.

I have been interested in the study and utilization of LLLT now for almost three years, along with my business partner in Laser Therapy, Jeff Bickford. Together we have learned a tremendous amount (and continue to learn each day!) about this amazing technology and are witnessing better and better results in helping people with a wide variety of conditions.

I decided that I wanted to start posting information as I gather it for the benefit of others who might be interested.

We have learned that there is much confusion out there surrounding LLLT (especially in the United States as this technology was only FDA approved in 2003, so it is newer in this country comparatively).

We are beginning to have a better understanding as to the causes for this confusion:

  1. All of the valid research performed on the benefits of LLLT are done utilizing Class3B lasers. This includes research from Europe, Canada, Tel Aviv, and by NASA, Harvard, Boston University and Mass General in the U.S. Class 3B lasers are a lower power density: power ranges from a few mW to 500 mW maximum. Class 4 Lasers are much higher powered – some of them range from 15,000 to 50,000 mW of power! Research shows that when power densities become too high, there is a DECREASEDeffect of tissue healing at a cellular level. The research all points to the fact that LOWER POWER, LONGER DURATIONS yield effectiveness in tissue healing in the body.
    Conclusion: Class 3B Low Level Lasers work to stimulate a tissue healing response at a cellular level in the body. Class 4 Lasers do not!
  2. Unfortunately, many laser therapy systems manufactured and sold in the U.S. are very high-powered Class 4 lasers. They are heavily marketed to healthcare practitioners by the laser manufacturing companies as “better” than Class 3B lasers – they espouse that higher power and shorter treatment times yields the best results. But this is simply not the case if you take the time to pick through the research and actually look at the listed power densities, wavelengths and treatment times listed in the studies that are yielding positive results.

I cannot tell you how many people I have now encountered who had Class4 laser therapy at their chiropractor’s office, PT clinic, and even at some higher level athletic institutions in the U.S. who feel like it doesn’t work. That is because it doesn’t!

Class 3 and Class 4 lasers are like apples and oranges.

I recently learned that NASA uses a Class 3B Laser on the Space Station to help heal astronaut injuries – if NASA felt like Class 4 lasers were superior based on their own research and clinical use, then they would most likely be using a high-powered Class 4 on the Space Station! And if they didn’t feel like laser therapy worked, they would not bother to have one on board at all…

Here is a link to more information on this topic:
Clarification of Controversy – Class III vs. Class IV Lasers

More to come!