What is Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)?
Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), also known as photobiomodulation, uses low levels of laser light energy to heal tissues. While most people are familiar with high-level lasers, used to cut and destroy tissue, LLLT has the opposite effect, stimulating the immune system, reducing inflammation and helping to reduce pain and promote the healing of tissues in numerous medical conditions. Other advantages of LLLT are that it is non-invasive and pain-free.
Lasers, being a form of light, are available in a multitude of colors. The lasers used in our clinic are red and infrared, blue, green and yellow. Laser energy works by interacting with proteins in the energy-producing mitochondria found deep within the cells. The different colors of laser light energy react with different parts of the mitochondria, which is stimulated to produce more ATP (Adenosine 5′-triphosphate), the energy currency of the cells.
Intravenous Low-Level Laser Therapy (IV LLLT)
At our clinic, we use a novel form of LLLT know as Intravenous Low-Level Laser Therapy (IV LLLT), which enables the beneficial healing properties of LLLT to interact directly with the circulating cells in the bloodstream, producing dramatically more powerful effects than simply placing laser probes on the skin.
The laser light is applied intravenously through a small medical catheter inserted into a peripheral vein, soft tissue or joint, using a clean and safe technique. A fiber optic cable is then inserted through the needle where laser light can interact directly with the cells in the bloodstream.
IV LLLT with red light laser
A typical course of treatment is 5 to 10 separate sessions which last from 30 minutes to one hour. A session involves using multiple color lasers, each of which is used for 10 to 20 minutes.
IV LLLT with green light laser
Other beneficial effects of IV LLLT have been postulated to include improvement of cholesterol levels. Platelet aggregation, which can lead to abnormal clotting, is improved [Stebliukova IA, et al. Effects of low-energy laser irradiation on platelet aggregation in cerebrovascular disorders. Sov Med. 1989;(3):77–80] as well as activation of the immune system. [Tadakuma T. Possible application of the laser in immunobiology. Keio J Med. 1993;42:180–182.]
Benefits of IV LLLT
The positive effects of this IV LLLT include:
- strengthening the immune system
- increasing cell energy
- regenerating damaged tissues
- improving circulation
- increasing oxygen availability
- reducing inflammation and bacteria
- accelerating wound healing
- relieving acute and chronic pain
- anti-aging effects
Low Level Laser Therapy for Soft Tissue and Joint Healing
The beneficial effects of LLLT can also be achieved by placing the thin fiber optic cable directly into painful, inflamed or damaged tissue. People have reported relief from arthritic pain in joints as well as soft tissues complaints such as low back pain, tennis elbow [Simunovic Z, Trobonjaca T, Trobonjaca Z. Treatment of medial and lateral epicondylitis–tennis and golfer’s elbow—with low level laser therapy: a multicenter double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study on 324 patients. J Clin Laser Med Surg. 1998;16:145–151] and carpal tunnel syndrome [Shooshtari SM et al. The effects of low level laser in clinical outcome and neurophysiological results of carpal tunnel syndrome. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 2008;48:229–231].
Back pain being treated with LLLT
Knee arthritis treatment with LLLT into the knee joint