The theory of lasers was first postulated by Albert Einstein, but it was not until 1960 that the first laser was fired. Soon after the benefits of laser therapy in medicine were soon realised.
Light, Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Laser light is
- Coherent; all the wavelengths are in phase – reinforcing each other – producing the potential power of the light.
- Monochromatic; is a single colour. (This gives the laser its therapeutic benefits).
Collimation; the light can be produced in a beam. Note in Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT), the beam is fairly divergent – minimising any risk.
The wavelength of LILT is between 600nm -1000nm, the longer end of the visible light section of the electromagnetic spectrum.
LILT stimulates and optimises the body’s natural healing process through controlled application of specific wavelengths of light, which have various physiological effects. Used primarily for wound healing, pain relief and soft tissue repair, it is a drug-free, non-invasive treatment modality employed in many therapeutic professions, including podiatry.
LILT results in the faster healing of tissue damage, and an increase in the tensile strength of the repaired tissue. It can reduce scarring by rebalancing the production of collagen. LILT also stimulates the immune system and can offer pain relief.
The cellular changes that Laser induces to bring about tissue repair include changes to cell metabolism, balanced collagen production, mast cell arrival, then degranulation, increased macrophage activity and fibroblast synthesis. Laser will also bring about local protein synthesis, changes to cell permeability and vasodilation/angiogenesis which will provide oxygen rich blood full of nutrients.
Immune system support is brought about through increasing levels of lymphocyte activity and the photo-modulation of blood.
Pain relief is brought about by release of endorphins, increase in seratonin metabolism, suppression of nociceptor activity and it affects the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Laser can be used for acupuncture and dry needling instead of inserting needles. Ideal for children and the needle-phobic.