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Low Level Laser Therapy and You: What you Need to Know

Living with constant pain can be tough. It can severely affect a person’s life in a lot of ways. Chronic pain can prevent them from strenuous physical exertion. This can lead to decreased performance in a person’s work. Even if they work in an office, having to deal with chronic pain can prevent them from sitting or standing comfortably as they do office work as well. Patients with chronic pains can deal with it in a number of different ways. They can purchase support and medications that can alleviate some of these issues.

They can also go to physical therapy sessions that over time can help them deal with the pain. However, there’s also another method they can use in conjunction with these other ways that can help ease chronic pain. It’s called Low Level Laser Therapy: a non-invasive, painless way of alleviating pain.

Beyond just basic pain relief, Low Level laser Therapy is also an effective cosmetic tool that can be used in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures to shape and contour the body, as well as get to those parts that normal exercise has a hard time reaching.

What is Low Level Laser Therapy?

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) goes under a number of different names. Devices can be called any of the following:

  • Low Level Laser Therapy
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Photobiomodulation

Regardless of the name, they all function generally in the same way. They use light at specific wavelengths in order to stimulate healing and relieve pain from various parts of your body. It’s painless and non-intrusive, and by and large, completely harmless for healthy individuals.

But how does Low Level Laser Therapy work?

A Brief History of Lasers

The word laser is actually an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” This technology was originally created in the 1960s. A laser is essentially a device that can intensely focus a beam of light. You can use a number of different materials to create a laser. Commonly they use gases, glass, or crystals to either convert electrical energy into various wavelengths of light or to intensify other existing lasers.

The type of laser needed depends on the intended use. But these uses can range from printing to cutting to reading data like DVDs and Blu-Rays. In medicine, lasers of different kinds are also used. The FDA separates lasers used for medical purposes into three categories:

  • Class 4 Surgical Lasers
  • Class 3B Non-surgical Lasers
  • Class 3A and Class 2 Low-Level Lasers

Cold Laser or Low Level Laser Therapy devices are considered Class 3A and Class 2 lasers for medical purposes. The lasers that Magne-tec distributes are considered Class 2 lasers. This means that the lasers used for these devices are not strong enough to destroy tissue and be used to perform incisions.

Cold laser or Low Level laser therapy works due to a photochemical process. This means that chemical reactions happen in an individual’s cells when light is shone directly on them. In the case of low intensity lasers used for therapeutic purposes the following happens:

  • When cells are stressed, damaged or injured, the mitochondria of the cells (which power the metabolic processes of the cell) begins producing nitric oxide. This can produce harmful effects to the cells.
  • The increased nitric oxide reduces the oxygen levels of the cell which causes cell damage and inflammation.
  • When light from low intensity lasers is absorbed by these damaged cells, it begins a chemical reaction that splits the nitric oxide into its components, reducing inflammation and swelling by returning the amount of oxygen in the cell to its proper levels.
  • Cold Lasers are typically low intensity infrared lasers that cast infrared light between 400 nanometers and 650 nanometers. The strength used depends on the depth of the tissue that needs the treatment.

Dr. Endre Mester: Grandfather or Laser Therapy

In medicine, the use of lasers has had a history almost as long as the history of the technology itself. Endre Mester is considered to be one of the first researchers into the effects that lasers can have in medical practice. A Hungarian physician, he began research in 1967 on how lasers could be used to treat cancer cells.

His early experiments involved testing on lab mice, where he observed that the hair of shaved specimens would grow back faster after being exposed to low level ruby lasers. His hundreds of papers on the use of low intensity lasers have become foundation in the proof and development of cold laser devices.

What can Low Level Laser Therapy Treat?

Cold Laser and Low Level Laser Therapy can primarily treat the following conditions. These conditions are primarily musculoskeletal in nature, dealing with muscles and bone issues. But Cold laser therapy devices can also be used for cosmetic purposes. The following is a list of conditions that can be treated by LLLT:

Musculoskeletal Conditions
Most chronic pain suffered by patients is usually the cause of a musculoskeletal issue. This could be caused by damage or inflammation in certain parts of the body: primarily in the joints. Opioids and other painkiller medications are typically used to alleviate some of these issues. However, constant medication leads to a risk of misuse and addiction (especially of opioids). Cold laser therapy can be used as a viable alternative for patients to alleviate ailments all over the body. These conditions can include:

Chronic Back Pain
A majority of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. Some estimate up to 80% of the population.

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition where your plantar fascia, a band of muscle at the sole of your feet becomes damaged or enflamed.

Arthritis is a complication that can cause stiffness, swelling and pain due to inflamed joints.

An inflammation of an individual’s tendons. Affected areas can include elbows, knees, heels and hips.

Body Contouring

Low Level Laser Therapy also has uses in body contouring. Low intensity laser can be used to sculpt the body in a safe, non-invasive manner by stimulating fat cells and reducing cellulite. The procedure can be used in conjunction with liposuction as it can liquify fat and make it easier for extraction. Apart from this, it is helpful in shaping away the lumps caused by excess cellulite is parts of the body that are difficult to sculpt only be diet and exercise.


Cold Laser devices can also be used to treat severe acne issues. Some low intensity laser devices actually target the specific bacteria that cause acne and not just the skin cells. This takes care of the actual root of the issue and is not just a palliative measure.

How Effective is Low Level Laser Therapy?

Low Level Laser Therapy has had years of vetted research that showcase multiple medical trials that prove its effectiveness in treating a number of conditions. Here are just a few of the more recent ones:

Evaluation of Low-Level Laser Therapy at 635nm for the Treatment of Acute and Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Study

This study concluded that among some 43 participating test subjects, 65% of them reported significant improvements. There is also an over 50% difference in the proportion between the real and placebo groups among these successful patients. This proves the Cold Laser Therapy does have positive effects on the relief of chronic shoulder and neck pain.

A Double-Blind, Sham-Controlled Study Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Low-Level Laser Therapy Using a 532-nm Green Diode for Contouring the Waist, Hips, and Thighs

This study concludes that greed diode lasers like the ones used in the Verju (one of the products distributed by Magne-tec) are effective in reducing the circumference of the waist, hips and thighs. At two weeks, results between the laser treatment and the placebo control group differed by a mean of over 2 inches in circumference of treated areas in favor of the laser treatment group.

Innovative Laser May Offer Effective Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis
This real life case study displays the effectiveness of the FX 635 (another one of the Erchonia Low level Laser Therapy devices distributed by Magne-tec) in treating tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and ligamentous injuries among others. Vetted by podiatry professionals, it has shown them significant results in their patient’s treatments. They point out the inherent advantage of the laser treatment as a non-invasive method that avoids the potential damage to tissue that the typical use of cortisone injections may pose when treating muscular issues.

Is Low Level Laser Therapy Safe?

Yes. Cold Laser is for most healthy individuals a completely safe and non-invasive treatment option. The type of laser used by these devices is not powerful enough to burn or pierce a patient’s skin at all. In fact, during treatment sessions, patients will not feel a thing as the laser does its work.

Who shouldn’t use Low Level Laser Therapy?

However, there are still some people who should not take this therapy. If the patient is suffering from cancer and is taking chemotherapy, it is not advised to use low level laser therapy as studies are sure on the effect low intensity lasers have on cancerous lesions.

Avoid contact of the laser with eyes as this can damage the patient’s vision severely. When administering the treatment, all parties must wear adequate eye protection at all times.
Pregnant patients should avoid using low level laser therapy as it can have adverse effects on the health of the unborn child.

Magne-tec and Low Level Laser Therapy

Magne-tec is one of Canada’s leading distributors of physiotherapy treatment devices. This includes Cold Laser/ Low Level Laser Therapy devices. We are the exclusive distributor of the Erchonia line of physiotherapy devices throughout Canada. Our products include devices meant for and designed to address every possible conditions low level laser therapy can treat. For further information regarding these devices, don’t hesitate to contact us.