What is Low-Level Laser Therapy?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
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Low-level laser therapy is a new procedure that is performed in both medicinal and veterinary practices. Although the use and effectiveness of laser therapy is disputed, many studies show it to be beneficial for a variety of ailments including inflammation, wounds, and soft tissue injury. Other uses may include the alleviation of bacterial and viral infections, but these are still under investigation.

Endre Mester was the first person to discover the potential benefits of low-level laser therapy when he found that the hair on shaved mice grew back faster on animals who had undergone the treatments. This was performed only a few years after the first laser was invented, and the study of laser therapy has come a long way since. Today, a variety of clinics and practices use the benefits of laser technology to alleviate symptoms of chronic pain, with new uses being tested all the time.

The system works when certain levels of light are passed through an area where inflammation or pain is found. The exact reasoning behind the alleviation of these symptoms is still unknown and the possibilities are the topic of many heated debates. It is thought that the benefits are derived from photochemical processes rather than being from the direct heat of the laser.


Low-level laser therapy is also thought to allow cell membranes to be more permeable, resulting in pain reduction or healing. This may be due to a more efficient cell reproduction process, in which healthy cells more quickly replace injured or unhealthy ones. Again, this has not been fully proven.

Other practices that may use low-level laser therapy include optometry and esthetics. Lasers are commonly used to improve the site in contacts or glasses users, and are also implemented in a variety of ways to remove imperfections on the skin. Often, estheticians use higher-level lasers to rid the skin of certain imperfections, but often the same low-level laser therapy that inhibits pain also helps the skin rejuvenate itself.

There are emerging practices that may also soon use low-level laser therapy. These include the treatment of cancer as well as other blood related diseases. Although it is not proven that lasers will have a significant effect on cancer cells or defective blood cells, this would provide a chemical free way to halt cancer’s progression. For this reason, scientists believe that it is worth looking into. Low-level laser therapy may also be used in conjunction with more traditional medications, as well as alternative healing methods such as radio wave therapies and light therapy.



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