Evidence of light therapy dates back thousands of years to Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Incan civilizations.
However, the theoretical concept of light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (LASER) was not put forth until the early 1900’s by Albert Einstein, and the first laser was not built until 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman. Lasers have since been extensively investigated for medical and other purposes.
A number of medical lasers were invented between 1960 and 2000, including argon, Nd:YAG (Neodymium:Yttrium Aluminum Garnet), CO2, and dye lasers. However, it was the introduction of pulsed laser and scanning devices in the late 1980’s that revolutionised laser therapy by allowing doctors to destroy abnormal or unhealthy cells with computerised precision while leaving healthy cells intact. The advancements in laser therapy have made it possible to treat conditions in difficult areas, stimulate cell regeneration and repair, and reduce pain and inflammation.
In contrast to other sources of light, lasers use focused wavelengths of light that can cause physical, mechanical, chemical, and thermal changes to the tissue depending on the type of laser used. For example, argon and YAG lasers are commonly used with eye surgery. Also, YAG lasers can be used with endoscopes and optical fibres, allowing them to treat internal organs and other difficult to reach areas of the body. YAG lasers can also be used to stop bleeding or remove abnormal skin cells. Additionally, because CO2 and argon lasers can remove thin layers of tissue on the surface of the skin without damaging deeper layers, they are used for cosmetic purposes and to treat skin diseases and disorders, including skin cancers. These types of lasers are also used to treat several other cancers, including vocal cord, lung, liver, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and prostate cancers.
Alternatively, low level laser therapy (LLLT), also known as Photobiomodulation (PBM) or cold laser therapy, uses a low intensity red to near infrared wavelength of light to gently pass through soft and hard tissue and stimulate biochemical changes, initiating cell regeneration and repair, and reducing pain and inflammation. Additionally, while more research is necessary, preliminary studies show that LLLT may be an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Extensive research has shown laser therapy to be effective in treating:
- Vision Impairments
- Brain injury
- Weight loss
- Dental treatment
- Wound healing
- Cosmetic applications – acne, warts/moles, hair, wrinkles, tattoos
Below you will find some of our frequently asked questions about light therapy. If your question is not answered, please feel free to contact us!
Most patients report a light warm sensation during LLLT.
Because healing rates are specific to the individual, the number of sessions will vary. However, professionals recommend between 2-10 sessions of treatment, demonstrating noticeable results within 2-4 sessions.
Although laser surgery is less invasive than some other medical procedures, side effects can still occur, and depend on the individual and the type of surgery performed. Adverse effects may include pain, bleeding, infection, scarring, and changes in skin color.