1What is laser treatment?
L.A.S.E.R. (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is a name for a type of intense radiation of the light spectrum. A laser is a beam of light in which high energies can be concentrated. Laser light has unique physical properties, which other types of light do not have. These are coherence and monochromaticity. These are what makes laser light is so effective compared to other kinds of light in the field of pain reduction and healing. Laser treatment (also known as phototherapy and low level laser therapy) involves the application of low power coherent light to injuries and lesions to stimulate healing and reduce pain. It is used to increase the speed, quality and strength of tissue repair, resolve inflammation and give pain relief. Low level laser technology has been found to offer superior healing and pain relieving effects compared to other electrotherapeutic modalities such as ultrasound, especially in dealing with chronic problems and in the early stages of acute injuries. Low level laser technology is a complete system of treating muscle, tendon, ligament, connective tissue, bone, nerve, and dermal tissues in a non-invasive, drug-free modality.
2How does laser therapy work?
The effects of low level laser treatments are photochemical. Photons enter the tissue and are absorbed in the cell’s mitochondria and at the cell membrane by chromophores. These chromophores are photosensitizers that generate reactive oxygen species following irradiation thereby influencing cellular redox states and the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Within the mitochondria, the photonic energy is converted to electromagnetic energy in the form of molecular bonds in ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). In order to interact with the living cell, laser light has to be absorbed by intracellular chromophores. Cell membrane permeability increases, which causes physiological changes to occur. These physiological changes affect macrophages, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, mast cells, bradykinin and nerve conduction rates. The clinical and physiological effects are obtained by the way in which tissues absorb laser radiation. This tissue absorption depends on the wavelength of the beam itself and the power to ensure that the laser energy reaches the target tissue at the necessary clinical levels. The improper wavelength of laser light would not penetrate into the tissue to reach the target area. Furthermore, even if one has a laser with the proper wavelength, if the device does not have enough power to drive the energy into the tissue, the target area may not realize the potential benefits. Each type of laser emits light at a very specific wavelength which interacts with the irradiated tissue. It also acts in particular with the chromophores present in the tissue, but in a different way. A chromophore, intrinsic or extrinsic, is any substance, colored or clear, which is able to absorb radiation. Among the endogenous chromophores are water and hemoglobin, nucleic acid and proteins. Among the exogenic chromophores are porphyrins and hematoporphyrins, which are injected into the organism. These are described as photosensitizers because they fix themselves to the tissue making it photosensitive at specific wavelengths.
3Is laser therapy safe?
Yes, Multi Radiance Medical laser treatments are completely safe, drug-free and non-invasive. Multi Radiance Medical devices have an FDA Clearance and CE certification, a mark of European safety and legal compliance. However, since all lasers produce a high intensity light, one should never shine the laser directly into the eye. Also, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be aware of all contraindications. Read the device operating and protocol manuals before usage. It is recommended that the laser device not be used directly on any neoplasmic tissue. Pregnant women should refrain from laser treatments applied directly to the abdomen. Also people with pacemakers should not use laser treatments near the heart.
4What about Visual Safety? Are my eyes safe when using the laser?
A person should never look directly at a laser emitter or any similar light source for more than 30 seconds. Multi Radiance Medical laser devices are designed to low power specifications with maximum attention to eye safety. Whether or not you decide to use the safely goggles is largely the matter of personal preference and comfort.
5Is it safe to use the laser over artificial joints or metal implants and hardware?
The Multi Radiance Medical Super Pulsed Laser is only contraindicated in the following instances: 1) Directly into the eyes. 2) Pregnancy. 3)Carcinoma. 4)Fever (body temperature higher than 100.4°F/38°C. 5) Over hemorrhages. 6) In the vicinity of a pacemaker. The Multi Radiance Super Pulse Laser is not contraindicated for use over an artificial joints or metal implants and hardware.
6Does low level laser technology cause heat damage or cancer in the tissue?
Absolutely not. The average power and the type of light source (non-ionizing) laser devices use do not permit heat-damage or carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects. Due to increased blood circulation there is sometimes a very minimal sensation of warmth locally.
7How deep into the tissue can laser light penetrate?
The level of tissue penetration by the laser beam depends on the beam’s optical characteristics, as well as on the concentration and depth of the chromophores, which are absorbed at different percentages according to the laser light’s wavelength. For instance, water absorbs almost 100 percent of the laser irradiation at 10,600 nanometers, the wavelength of a CO2 gas laser. That is the reason why this type of laser wavelength is used in surgical applications. Other factors affecting the depth of penetration are the technical design of the laser device and the particular treatment technique used. There is no exact limit with respect to the depth penetrated by the light. The laser light gets weaker the further from the surface it penetrates where eventually the light intensity is so low that no biological effect from it can be measured. In addition to the factors mentioned, the depth of penetration is also contingent on tissue type, pigmentation and foreign substances on the skin surface such as creams or applied oils. Bone, muscles and other soft tissues are transparent to certain laser lights, which means that light can safely penetrate these tissues. The radiation in the visible spectrum, between 400 and 600 nanometers, is absorbed by the melanin, while the whole extension of the visible which goes from 420 to 750 nanometers is absorbed by composite tetrapyrrolics. In the infrared, which covers about 10,000 nanometers of light spectrum, water is the main chromophore. Fortunately, there exists a narrow band in the light spectrum where water is not a highly efficient chromophore, thereby allowing light energy to penetrate tissue that is rich in water content. This narrow band, which extends approximately from 600 to 1,200 nanometers, is the so-called “therapeutic window”. That is the reason why the lasers in the market today have wavelengths within the 600-1,200 nanometer limit. The penetration index is not at the same level throughout the therapeutic window. In fact, lasers in the 600 to 730 nanometer range have less penetration and are more suitable for superficial applications such as in acupuncture methodologies.