How Laser Works
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), also known as photobiomodulation, is a painless treatment that uses clinically tested wavelengths of light to stimulate natural biological processes leading to faster healing and pain relief. Like plants absorbing sunlight through photosynthesis, cells in the body absorb laser energy that stimulates the body to release pain relieving compounds, increases circulation and energizes the cells to participate in the healing process. There are no side effects and many times laser therapy can take the place of pharmaceuticals and surgery to treat long-term, degenerative diseases.
Effective, Powerful and Safe
Not all laser systems are created equal.
1. How critical is wavelength to the effectiveness of laser therapy? ►
Wavelength is one of the most critical factors when it comes to the efficacy of laser therapy. Varying wavelengths exhibit a variety of therapeutic effects depending where they fall on the spectrum, and, in some cases, no therapeutic effect at all!
Respond Systems has conducted years of research in the lab and in the field and uses proven wavelengths to achieve the following effects on the cellular level:
- – 670nm visible red light: optimal efficacy for wound healing and dermatology.
- – 808nm near infrared light: ideal for surface conditions and those just under the surface of the skin.
- – 904nm near infrared light: maximum depth of penetration to reach the conditions deeper inside the body.
2. What is the difference between continuous wave and Super-Pulsed laser light? ►
Two types of laser diodes are commonly used in laser therapy, continuous wave (CW) laser diodes, and what are commonly known as “Super-Pulsed” laser diodes. Both CW and Super-Pulsed laser diodes produce the same beneficial laser light, they just deliver the light to the tissue differently. Continuous diodes deliver a constant and stable power output, ideal for most treatment situations. Super pulsed laser diodes use very short pulsed of laser energy, just fractions of a second, but at very high power (up to 50Watts) to enhance laser penetration into deep tissue. By turning the laser on for a brief period at very high power, you achieve the benefit of deep penetration without the risk of heating or burning that arises when using higher power, continuous wave diodes for long periods. A recent study of Super Pulsed Laser Penetrationfound our Respond 904nm Super-Pulsed laser penetrates through more than 6″ tissue tested, including an equine neck and hock.
3. Power: Which laser is more effective, Class 3b or Class 4? ►
All laser devices are classified by the FDA based upon the hazard they present. Class 3b and Class 4 lasers are commonly used for Laser Therapy, with Class 4 being the highest powered and presenting the greatest hazard to the eye, and requiring the most precautions. It is important to note that laser class is only about safety, and has nothing to do with the effectiveness of a device. At Respond Systems, we manufacture both Class 3b and Class 4 lasers providing our customers with clear options to fit their needs.
Class 3b and Class 4 lasers are equally as effective for use in laser therapy as they both emit laser light at a specific wavelength and it is this wavelength that contains the secret to effectiveness. However, high power lasers at the Class 4 level can greatly reduce treatment time due to the power level and we have engineered our Class 4 to multiple horses quickly and safely. Laser Therapy is a stimulus for natural healing and should never burn. By dispersing the power density over a 50sq cm area, we have engineered our Class 4 laser system to deliver high power safely and effectively.
On the flipside, lasers at too low a power level cannot deliver the effective dose of LLLT because the time required to administer the dose is too high or the power is too low to penetrate to a depth to reach the weakened tissue. Respond System’s lowest level of laser is Class 3b and has the highest power output in that Class to ensure effective dosing.
4. Is laser the same as LED? ►
The vast majority of positive studies over the past 40 years support the benefits of Laser Therapy (LLLT), not LED’s. Many manufacturers of LED systems will cite laser studies in support of their products!
Laser is coherent light which means that the light is composed of spatially coherent waves of identical frequency. The light waves complement each other and enhance the light’s ability to penetrate into the tissue. LED’s do not produce the coherent light and the beam is divergent meaning that the LED light waves can and do interfere with each other preventing the light from penetrating past the surface of the skin.
Energy from LED’s also can cause heat at the surface, which is contraindicated for most acute conditions. By contrast, LLLT stays cool, and can be safely and easily paired with treatments where icing is recommended.
5. Does the laser probe have to be in contact with skin during the treatment? ►
Laser dosage is most precisely delivered in the contact mode. This is because of two main reasons:
- One, the laser light can scatter and the dosage can be drastically reduced even with a half of centimeter of space between the surface of the area being treated and the lens of the probe. Therefore, to ensure that you are delivering enough joules to have an effective treatment, contact mode is crucial.
- Two, when applying your dose in contact mode, the pressure of the probe on the skin pushes a bit of the fluid in the tissue out of the way to allow for deeper penetration of the laser light.
There is no question from one treatment to the next, that the patient is receiving the prescribed dosage when treating directly in the contact mode.
6. How do I know the effective dose for a laser treatment? ►
Respond Systems Inc is the leading manufacturer in lasers for therapy and has over 30 years of veterinary input for recommended and effective dosages. We have years of research, both in vivo and vitro, that form the foundation for our treatment parameters. The protocols in our guidebooks are conservative and a good starting point for treatment. If there are any questions regarding treatments, our staff is here to assist via phone, email or Skype if we are unable to be at your facility in person.
In over 1,800 publications worldwide since the 1960’s, laser therapy has demonstrated its non-invasive, non-toxic quality, and its efficacy in the treatment of acute pain and chronic degenerative conditions, improving the speed and quality of wound healing, and for muscle, tendon and ligament injuries.