Cold laser therapy, or "soft therapy," involves the use of electromagnetic energy in the near-visible spectra to stimulate tissue repair and wound healing. This treatment can also provide the patient with considerable pain relief. This relief occurs both at the time of treatment and following treatment as wound healing progresses. Because cold laser therapy can penetrate the skin, it is also a viable treatment for soft tissue injuries including back pain, joint pain, and pain caused by fibromyalgia and neuropathy.
An examination of how cold laser therapy works reveals that there are several mechanisms by which the treatment provides pain relief and healing. For instance, soft laser therapy can stimulate changes in the neuroendocrine system, stimulating the production of higher serotonin levels in the brain. These neurotransmitters not only promote a general sense of well-being, facilitating the alleviation of pain, but also these chemicals stimulate tissue repair. Additionally, cold laser therapy involves the exposure of cells to photon energy. This energy has been shown to increase cell metabolism, promote muscle cell and collagen growth, and improve overall circulation. These changes are critical to wound healing and tissue repair.
Treatment using cold lasers can be conducted in a number of different ways. Specifically, the treatment can be applied to a single site or to a number of sites simultaneously. Additionally, cold lasers can be applied to acupuncture sites, peripheral nerves or spinal cord roots. Targeting these regions with the cold laser enables direct stimulation of the pain source and encourages prompt healing of the nerve cells that have been damaged due to injury or disease. In most instances, cold laser treatment is applied directly to the skin with an applied pressure that can be tolerated by the patient.
Generally speaking, cold lasers are relatively easy to use. In most instances, patients who require this treatment can be trained to use cold laser devices in the home. The most prominent risk from laser use is the opportunity for ocular damage from the highly-concentrated beams of the laser. However, because cold laser therapy utilizes a low-level wavelength from the red or "cold" part of the visible spectra, the incidence of burning ocular tissue or the skin is negligible. Ease of use coupled with the overall health benefits which can be derived from cold laser therapy make this treatment a viable option for individuals who struggle with chronic pain and persistent wound or tissue damage.