History of Laser Therapy

Published: 03rd November 2009
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Laser therapy, also known as low-level or cold laser therapy, refers to the use of low intensity laser light to treat various types of pain and inflammation. Unlike conventional hot lasers, cold level therapy emits non-thermal and non-invasive beams that do not damage skin cells. Scientific studies on laser therapy are conducted on an ongoing basis. After years of use, cold laser therapy shows high success rates and no adverse effects have ever been associated with this type of laser treatment. In recent years, the therapy has even advanced to treatment of certain addictions.

The history of laser therapy began in the early 20th century when Albert Einstein conceived the theory of Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The first laser was developed in 1960. It wasn't until 1965, however, that Dr. Endre Mester, a Hungarian professor of medicine, discovered that he could irradiate wounds with low levels of laser beams. He wrote about this discovery and the practical theory of laser therapy was later born.

Most cold lasers are the size of a handheld flashlight. Depending on the size of the area being treated and the dosage of light, the light is held over the area for the length of 30 seconds up to several minutes. During this time, non-thermal photons enter 2 to 5 centimeters beneath the layers of skin. Much like the photosynthesis of plants, the light is absorbed by surrounding cells initiating a series of events that increase metabolic rates, decrease pain and reduce the healing time of damaged tissue. Some studies have demonstrated that low-level laser therapy also improves blood flow and the immune system. Among the types of damaged tissue that respond to cold laser therapy are sprains, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and tendonitis. Neurogenic conditions such as fibromyalgia and post-traumatic injury also seem to respond to cold laser therapy.

Although cold laser use for addictions is still controversial, laser clinics offer therapies to people addicted to nicotine, drugs and alcohol. In these cases, the beams are used to stimulate specific pressure points, similar to the process in acupuncture. Instead of needles, laser beams are used. The electrical stimulation releases endorphins, the chemicals associated with happiness and euphoria. The theory is that the natural "high" from the endorphins helps to eliminate physical cravings and withdrawal from abusive substances. Then the patients are relaxed and can focus on changing addictive behaviors. Some clinics incorporate detoxification and behavior modification in their laser treatment to sustain the beneficial results.

Laser therapy is evolving into other fields. A growing number of dentists use low level lasers to irradiate lymph nodes, ganglia and cervical nerve roots that have been damaged. Previously several sessions were needed to reduce the pain of dental inflammation, now only two may be needed. Dentists see new possibilities with cold laser therapy that include treatment of dentinal hypersensitivity, sinusitis, TMD as well as other dental conditions. Veterinarians also see the benefits of low-level laser treatment on animals for many of the same conditions suffered by humans. Some dermatologists claim that the laser also reduces the fine lines of wrinkles. A newer area is hair growth therapy, which has shown positive results with scalp stimulation through laser beams. Regular chemical treatments tend to create a dependency to maintain hair growth and are very expensive; cold lasers circumvent these problems.

Testing of this new technology is ongoing and thus far the FDA has approved cold laser therapy for treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, the Department is currently processing applications for other low-level laser devices. In the interim, supporters of cold laser therapy cite hundreds of studies conducted by universities and medical researchers that show beneficial results from cold laser tests. Clients testimonials add evidence that the multi-faceted approach including cold laser treatment, detoxification and behavior modification provides positive results in the elimination of addiction.

Although many insurers do not cover cold laser therapies, those seeking treatment can find clinics that are not cost-prohibitive. The average cost for a short cold laser session may run between $30 to $60 dollars, while treatment from a medical grade laser can cost from $300 up to $4,000 depending on the needs of the patient.Laser Centers for Health provides low level laser therapy to help you quit smoking, lose weight, chronic pain and much more. Located in Victoria, BC they are convenient and professional. Visit online today.

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