Posts Tagged ‘laser therapy’


August 20, 2021


12 hours of RACE approved CE

Date: Sept 18 and 19, 2021

  • 8am-5pm on Saturday, Sept 18
  • 8am – 1pm on Sunday, Sept 19

Houston, TX

Program Description: 

This 12-hour Live Program will include 7.5 hrs Lecture and 4.5 hrs Wet lab led by Paul Brumett, DVM, CCRP, cAVCA, HTAP

This Continuing Education session is a comprehensive overview of the use of Photobiomodulation (Laser Therapy), Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF), Hydrotherapy, Custom Orthotics, their use in Pain management and their integration into the business of canine rehabilitation in veterinary medicine. We will discuss the history of each modality, recent research, appropriate use, contraindications, safety, helpful tips and review cases to show the use of each in daily rehabilitation practice.

The course is open to veterinarians, physical therapists and veterinary technicians.


$269 per attendee includes:

  • 12 hours of RACE approved CE
  • Lunch on Saturday
  • Cocktail Hour Saturday from 5-6pm (outdoors)

For more details on the venue, hotel group rate and to register just click the link below:

Sponsored by:

Breaking It Down: Understanding Laser Classifications for Laser Therapy

August 11, 2021

As a veterinarian or therapist who puts patient comfort first, you are always working use the least invasive, most effective treatments possible. Laser therapy (or photobiomodulation) can be an incredibly effective, non-pharmaceutical option for accelerating healing, relieving pain, and reducing inflammation for both acute and chronic conditions. It can add tremendous value to both patient and practice.

But which laser to add? Class 3b? Class 4? Should I even consider a Class 1 or 2?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding laser classification and effectiveness. While there are thousands of studies documenting the biochemical mechanisms of how photobiomodulation works on a cellular level, there is still not enough research to definitively say what class laser (primarily Class 3b or 4) or what power is most effective for results. A vast majority of studies revealing the effective mechanisms of laser therapy are done using a Class 3b laser, but very few studies compare a Class 3b to Class 4 as the sole variable of evaluation.

The other contributor to the confusion surrounding which laser class is best stems directly from the manufacturers themselves.  Content and even research presented in marketing and promotional materials is intentionally chosen by many of the companies, not all, to present only the information they want the customer to see about their class laser. Some either conduct biased studies or provide only the data that says their class laser is the only choice when in fact equally convincing data exists supporting another class laser! 

It is left up to the audience to sift through all of the information to determine fact from exaggeration.

How Are Lasers Classified?

There are four different classifications of therapy lasers. Contrary to popular belief, the classification levels are not strictly based on power only but are instead defined by how hazardous each laser is to the eye. While power is by far the main factor in this classification, it is not the only variable that matters. Distance from the eye, the angle the light is emitted from the laser lens, and the size of the pupil or lens it is being received into all play a role in determining a laser’s classification.

Laser classifications include: 

Class 1 and 2: These are the lasers found in classroom laser pointers. While they have the potential to be dangerous to the eyes, they’re generally considered safe. As a therapy laser, a Class 2 laser would take an extremely long time to deliver an effective dose of energy for healing if it can even get the dose delivered into the tissue deep enough. The Class 1 and Class 2 lasers on the market today require you to treat every 3-4 hours throughout the day for an effective treatment.

Class 3b: These cold lasers are classified as being capable of causing damage to the eye and safety glasses should be worn when using this class laser and above. The FDA defines this Class 3b as a power output at a maximum of 500mW as measured at a defined aperture and distance from the lens.  The Class 3b laser is the most studied and has therapeutic benefits for both humans and animals as long as the wavelength of energy it is emitting falls into the therapeutic range of 670-950nm.

Class 4: Class 4 lasers are almost identical to the Class 3b in therapeutic effect, but, with a higher power output, they can deliver the effective dose of energy more quickly into the tissue which can be quite beneficial when treating larger dogs and horses with deeper tissue conditions. The one drawback of the higher power, however, is the risk of burning is higher with a Class 4 laser.  This class laser should only be used in skilled hands in a clinic setting.

Does laser classification determine effectiveness?

Lasers may be classified by power, but that is only one variable of the many that contribute to effectiveness from a therapeutic perspective.

Dose (in Joules), wavelength and power all contribute to laser effectiveness.

While power will deliver your effective dose deeper into the tissue faster, you are still limited in depth of penetration based on WAVELENGTH.

As laser light passes through tissue, it gets absorbed by melanin, blood, water, fat, muscle and all other tissue it passes through. Some wavelengths cannot make it much past the surface, like those in the red 600nm range, and are therefore ideal for treating superficial conditions and wounds.

To get deeper into tissue, you need a range of 800-1000 with the 808/810nm having the best penetration for continuous wave emission and the low 900nm range for Super Pulsed.  Super Pulsed is a type of laser emission that can peak very high in wattage to get deeper into the tissue, but it will never heat up even at very high peaks of power.

Simplified Comparison of Laser Classification and Power

Thinking about lasers as tools to heat a pool can be a helpful analogy for understanding laser power.

Class 2 lasers are very low-grade and may heat some of the pool in the immediate vicinity closest to the source, but areas away from the laser will likely never get warm. The energy is just not strong enough to penetrate to the full area.  Think of it like trying to heat the pool with a 20W light bulb. It would be impossible.

Class 3b lasers will heat the pool fully as the have enough energy to heat it fast enough that the full area warms up nicely. This is our 100W light bulb in this example. 

Class 4 is the most powerful heater and heats the pool very quickly, but it can be too powerful at times — if you jump in too soon or too close to the source, you may get burned.  This would be the 200W bulb for comparison.

Ready to Boost Your Patient Healing Speeds and Comfort?

Making the right choice in laser classification is important especially as it relates to ROI for your practice. Results from a Class 3b or Class 4 are going to be very similar, it is more or less the time to treat per session that will be the difference. In some cases, the treatment time could even be equal such as when treating a superficial or acute condition. At other times, if treating a horse’s neck for instance, you could have an 10-20 minute treatment time difference.  

You cannot go wrong with either level system (Class 3b or 4) so it is best to choose the one you will utilize the most to benefit as many patients/clients as you can while fitting within your budget requirements and mobility needs.

Respond Systems, Inc (RSI) has been manufacturing both cold laser and PEMF therapy in the USA for over 35 years.  As a leader in product development and research, RSI’s mission is to improve the lives of animals through two of the most highly effective, versatile, and non-invasive therapy modalities on the market today. For more information visit 

Laser therapy and Cancer…..What’s the Latest on its Use and Safety?

July 25, 2019

There is a lot of confusion about how laser therapy, and its mechanism of action, photobiomodulation, interacts with cancerous lesions and tumor growth. While multiple studies over the years provide evidence that laser therapy can be a benefit in relieving symptoms associated with chemotherapy treatments, such as in the case of oral mucositis (Bjordal, Bensadoun, et al) and lymphedema (Baxter, Liu, et al), does it increase or decrease the proliferation of the cancerous cells themselves? The answer to that question is obviously critical if there is to be any advancement of laser therapy as a treatment for cancer.

This month, a systematic review paper was published in the journal Lasers in Medical Science, covering a broad array of wavelengths and power levels. The paper looked at 19 studies in total, and presented those results based on evidence of proliferation of cancerous cells, or inhibition. (da Silva, Silva de Oliveira, et al)

Somewhat unsurprisingly, each variation in wavelength and power density of laser energy led to different results. For example, with infrared wavelengths (>750mW, most commonly used in laser therapy), four studies showed a decrease in cell proliferation of cancerous tissue, while three others showed an increase. So yes, the good news is that laser therapy can decrease the cell proliferation of cancerous lesions, but it depends greatly on the specific parameters used. Get the parameters wrong and you may in fact do the opposite, and stimulate the growth of cancerous cells/tissues.
In 2018, one study that looked at laser therapy’s effects on squamous cell carcinoma showed proliferation of the cancerous cells in a dose dependent manner (Bamps, Dok, et al). Another 2018 paper showed proliferation of isolated osteosarcoma and carcninoma cells with a defined dose, power and wavelength of laser therapy, showing the increase tracking along with increased applications of laser (Kara, Selamet, et al). These results mean we must use caution in choosing whether to use laser therapy when treating cancer patients, for any reason.

The papers reviewed in the above referenced systematic review paper do hint at exciting possibilities that are worth noting. In the search for a therapy for malignant glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer, Murayama used 808nm infrared (the same wavelength used with Respond Systems’ lasers) and measured the effect on markers that indicate proliferation of cancerous cells. The researchers reported a decrease in the number of calcein-AM-positive cells, suggesting that the laser stimulated a decrease in cancer cell proliferation (Murayama, H. et al).

So what does the future hold as it relates to laser therapy and cancer?

Despite how eager we might be to jump ahead with the idea that laser therapy can assist cancer patients, for now we need to stick to the specifics of what we know from the research. Caution should be the rule when using laser therapy with cancer patients, at least and until more studies are performed that give a clearer view.

And then there is the path of researching the potential protective or immune defense capabilities laser therapy may provide in deterring the formation of cancerous cells in the first place.
The future holds much promise and there will be much more to come as the research continues!

Bjordal, J.M., R.J. Bensadoun, J. Tuner, L. Frigo, K. Gjerde and R.A. Lopes-Martins. “A systematic review with meta-analysis of the effect of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in cancer therapy-induced oral musositis.” Support Care Cancer 19.8(2011): 1069-1077. Online.

Baxter, G.D., Liu, L., Tumilty, S., Petrich, S., Chapple, C. and J.J. Anders. Low level laser therapy for the management of breast cancer related lymphedema: A randomized controlled feasibility study.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 50:9 (2018): 924-934. Online.

Da Silva, J.L., A.F.S. Silva De Oliviera, R.A.C. Andraus and L.P. Maia. “Effects of low level laser therapy in cancer cells- a systematic review of the literature.” Lasers in Medical Science June 17 (2019): Online ahead of print.

Bamps, Marieke, Ruveyda Dok and Sandra Nuyts. “Low-Level Laser Therapy Stimulates Proliferation in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells.” Frontiers in Oncology 8.343 (2018). Online.

Kara, C., H. Selamet, C. Gokmenoglu, and N. Kara. “Low level laser therapy induces increased viability and proliferation in isolated cancer cells.” Cell Proliferation 51.2 (2018): 12417. Online.

Murayama, H., K. Sadakane, B. Yamanoha, and S. Kogure. “Low power 808-nm laser irradiation inhibits cell proliferation of a human derived glioblastoma cell line in vitro.” Lasers in Medical Science 27.1 (2012): 87-93.

PEMF for Anxiety?

June 20, 2019

Do these behaviors ring a bell with you?

Excessive panting when your dog knows you are leaving for work.

Your cat excessively grooming to the point that he creates bald spots in his fur

Anxiety in your horse before competition

Historically, Respond Systems, Inc has focused on PEMF therapy for pain relief, to reduce inflammation and to accelerate healing of both soft tissue and bone. Recently, however, we’ve seen a trend of positive reports of impacts on nervousness and anxiety in animals using the Respond Systems PEMF devices.

While bone and soft tissue healing pioneered the FDA approvals of PEMF, studies within the past decade have shown beneficial effects on the brain, including for treatment of depression and anxiety.

Two recent independent studies reported a reduction in “anxiety-like behaviors” when mice and rats were exposed to PEMF fields (Choleris, et al. Kalkan, et al).  Other studies have moved out of the lab animal model to examine effects on human subjects as well.  In one study (Martiny et al), the transcranial application of PEMF resulted in a 62% reduction on the Depression Rating Scale for patients suffering with treatment resistant depression.

This research is still young, and we aren’t making any claims of cure with PEMF therapy for the depressed dog or anxious horse. There does seem to be a promising trend that bears watching regarding PEMF’s positive impact on the conditions of those battling these types of mental conditions and illnesses.

For example, Deanna Rogers, PT, CCRP, CCFT, from Good Life Physical Therapy for Animals, shared her experience on the effect of PEMF on one of her geriatric patients.

“I had a very anxious and painful home care patient that I only saw twice who was a 130lb, overweight Malinois. He had severe left groin and knee pain so when I saw him the second time, when he was much worse after battling a tangle with a laundry basket, I recommended he see the vet again. It was the weekend, the vet office was closed, and the owners couldn’t get him in the car by themselves to get him to the ER clinic. So they wanted to manage him at home till that Monday.” 

“I gave them my Respond PEMF bed in addition to other things to try. They told me he LOVED the bed at the 5 Hz frequency. They were thinking more is better and tried 15 Hz and he wouldn’t get on the bed. So they went back to 5 Hz and he would go and lie on it and become less anxious.”

For decades, we’ve heard of a similar effect in horses treated with the Bio-Pulse Sentry PEMF Blanket.

Tom Meyers, equine physiotherapist and U.S Team Physio for numerous Olympics and World Games, has been working with PEMF therapy for over 25 years, and had this to say: 

“90% of the horses treated with Respond blankets get relief from anxiety. We treated Legolas, Steffen Peters’ (Multi-Time Dressage Olympic and World Game Medalist) horse, with the Sentry blanket before all competitions for his whole career, including World Games, Olympics and World Cup Aachen!”

While a method of activation or biochemical mechanism has not been defined yet, there are a few theories on the pathways PEMF therapy takes to combat depression and anxiety. These include improving neuroplasticity processes (Cichoń et al), decreasing higher EEG frequencies (Amirifalah, et al) and positively impacting the electrical activity of neurons and neurobiological processes effecting local brain activity and connectivity.

Respond will continue to follow the research on the topic as it emerges! In the interim, don’t be surprised if you find yourself using your PEMF equipment to not only promote soft tissue healing and reduction in inflammation, but also for addressing anxiety!

Amirifalah Z, Firoozabadi SM, Shafiei SA. Local exposure of brain central areas to a pulsed ELF magnetic field for a purposeful change in EEG. Clin EEG Neurosci. 2013 Jan;44(1):44-52.

 Choleris E, Thomas AW, Prato FS. A comparison of the effects of a 100 ut specific pulsed magnetic field and diazepam on anxiety-related behaviors in male CF1 mice. Bioelectromagnetics Society, 21st Annual Meeting, 20-24 June, Long Beach, CA, Abstract No. P-91, p. 129-130, 1999.

Cichoń N, Bijak M, Czarny P, Miller E, et al. Increase in Blood Levels of Growth Factors Involved in the Neuroplasticity Process by Using an Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field in Post-stroke Patients. Front Aging Neurosci. 2018 Sep 26;10:294.

Kalkan MT, Korpinar MA, Seker S, et al. The effect of the 50 Hz frequency sinusoidal magnetic field on the stress-related behavior of rats. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference Biomedical Engineering Days, 20-22 May, Istanbul, Turkey, p.78-81, 1998.

Martiny K, Lunde M, Bech P: Transcranial low voltage pulsed electromagnetic fields in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Biol Psychiatry 2010, 68:163–169.