Do you suffer from persistent joint pain or muscle strain in your body? Well, low level laser therapy is a form of treatment that promotes healing to injuries and areas of strain across the body. It’s also sometimes used to treat hair loss and other less common health issues.
When you hear the phrase “laser”, the first thing that comes to mind might be a Star Wars lightsaber or a laser-secured hallway from Mission Impossible. But, lasers have come a long way since they were invented in 1960 and are surprisingly common.
From scanning your groceries at the checkout to kicking back to watch an old DVD at home, many of us use the power of lasers every day without even knowing it.
In low level light therapy specifically, the energy in specific wavelengths of light is used (on a much smaller scale) to target pain at its source. It’s even possible to access this therapy from the comfort of your own home, with lightweight devices easy to source online and get delivered straight to your door.
Read on to discover the relationship between your smoothie blender and an at-home red light therapy device…
What is low level light therapy?
What are musculoskeletal conditions? This term can be used to encompass conditions that impact muscle, bone and joints. With an estimated 1.7 billion people suffering from musculoskeletal conditions, it’s about time we explored low level laser therapy as a potential solution.
Not only can LLLT relieve pain, it also improves the functioning of targeted cells, leaving you in even better condition than you were prior to strain or injury.
You may have heard of “photobiomodulation” or “cold laser therapy”. These phrases are also used to refer to low level laser therapy.
How does low level light therapy work?
Just like a hot drink encourages many to get out of bed in the morning, low level light therapy encourages cells to heal any damage and speed up the recovery process. This is great for speeding up and supporting cell renewal for injuries, strain, and chronic pain.
Acting as a catalyst to your body’s pre-existing regenerative processes, low level laser therapy lends itself to several other issues too, from treating hair loss to quitting smoking:
- In weaker hair cells, it encourage growth
- In smokers, it stimulates endorphin levels to help reduce the body’s usual symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal
- There are also ongoing tests of LLLT in sufferers of tuberculosis.
Of course, other factors also aid our cells in self-healing, including eating healthily, staying active and getting enough sleep, so LLLT should be incorporated into a bigger strategy for repair and recovery.
What is a low level laser?
A ‘low level laser’ describes the strength of light energy used. In order to be referred to as “LLLT”, a laser’s output must be under 0.5 Watts of energy.
This energy is then directed at the target area, where it penetrates up to -3cm deep into soft body tissue. The cells in this area are stimulated by the cold laser’s energy, aiding cellular function and reducing inflammation.
Most household blenders use roughly 500-750 Watts of electricity (depending on the make and model). If you can imagine blitzing your favorite smoothie using a 1000th of the same energy, that should give you a rough idea of the kind of energy a low level laser operates with. Low level lasers are not just limited to one wavelength of light though. In school and everyday life, you’ll have heard about radio waves, microwaves and x-rays.
Is low-level light therapy safe?
Cold laser therapy (as it is sometimes called) can also be a great alternative to acupuncture, which, although generally safe, can create a sense of nervousness or anxiety for those new to it and anyone uncomfortable around needles.
However, users of LLLT should make sure to read all guidance and instructions before they begin treatment. This includes understanding areas that should be avoided with LLLT, including:
- Eyes - as this is a delicate area of skin and body tissue
- Tattooed areas - as the light energy can interact with tattoo ink
If you are on any medication (topical or oral), you should consult a medical professional before and during any LLLT that you plan to undertake. In particular, anyone taking light-sensitive medication should proceed with caution.
Benefits of Low-Level Light Therapy
With many benefits under its belt, low level light therapy has gained recognition worldwide for its vast advantages. From treating swelling, accelerating the healing process, and enhancing tissue repair, low level light therapy is a great choice for those looking for a non-invasive alternative to manage or treat pain.
As an added plus, studies with randomized controlled trials have shown statistically significant hair regrowth by terminal hair count in both males and females under the use of LLLT.
When the light therapy is directed onto the skin, the mitochondria (the energy powerhouse within our cells!) absorbs this and produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is a major factor in cellular function and repair. The production of ATP leads to a more efficient cellular response, promoting the reduction in inflammation.
Proteins like cytokines are also boosted. LLLT has been shown to decrease the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, while regulating the swelling process.
Tissue Repair and Growth
Going back to the increase of ATP, this provides the energy needed for tissue repair and growth so it accelerates the usual process.
New blood vessels can also be formed which is crucial for supplying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues undergoing repair. These factors all play a part in the renewal and growth of tissue.
LLLT works wonders for enhancing nitric oxide which is a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes blood vessels. While this sounds strange, it actually contributes to increased blood flow and an improved vascular function.
When blood flow is able to move quicker, it aids the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients to the tissues whilst removing waste products.
Faster Wound Healing with Infrared Light
Infrared light is able to penetrate deep into tissues and has been shown to speed healing of wounds - particularly those that were starved for oxygen.
NASA actually stumbled upon this benefit while on a separate mission. They then found themselves in the center of the medical light therapy world as they shone a light on the incredible wound healing abilities.
They found that when astronauts were exposed to certain light wavelengths, their wounds would heal at an accelerated pace. With intrigued scientists looking on, this initial observation was turned into extensive investigations into the therapeutic effects of light on the body’s regenerative processes.
NASA researchers uncovered that red and near-infrared light wavelengths could penetrate deep into the skin and stimulate cellular activity. These wavelengths stimulated the production of ATP, promoting tissue repair and regeneration.
The application of light therapy in space missions addressed the unique challenges of healing wounds in low-gravity environments and presented the vast potential of light as a wildly effective tool.
What does low level light therapy treatment look like?
LLLT can be accessed in a couple of different ways…
The technology around laser therapy is now so advanced there is a range of at-home devices available to purchase and operate on yourself, by yourself. For some people, this is a great way of taking their treatment on-the-go with them and tailoring its use to their lifestyle and pain needs.
For others, access via a specialized clinic is preferred. It takes away any worry of operating a device on their own and allows for a more passive approach towards recovery. However, with that reassurance and provision comes a higher cost in both time and money.
How many treatments do you need?
Many people can feel a difference after just one session of treatment. However, for full results and a stable rehabilitation period, a full course of treatment is strongly recommended.
For best results, professionals advise 2-3 sessions of up to 15 mins per week for up to 1 month.
P.S. Customers of our MOVE+ Pro light therapy device (from Kineon) have reported an 80% reduction in pain within 1-4 weeks. We always recommend consistent use of the device. Using light therapy for 5-15 minutes per day regularly is much better than a random 30 minute session every few months.
Will the treatment hurt?
When applied correctly, low level laser therapy treatment is painless.
Unlike some other forms of light therapy, you sometimes won’t even feel the treatment at surface level because it doesn’t create any vibrations. If you are feeling any discomfort, reach out to the brand or relevant people.
How much does it cost?
Treatments in a clinic range from roughly $200-$500 per therapy session (depending on provider, location, etc.).
For hair loss, the treatment price can sometimes be lower, as the laser is used on skin surface level and doesn’t have to penetrate as far as for deeper bone or muscle pain.
That being said, there are at-home options available, which lower the cost and adapt treatment programmes to suit the user.
The cost of the device is the only payment and you can ease your pain in the comfort of your own home.
At-Home Treatment With Kineon
Here at Kineon we’ve made light therapy accessible through adapting technology for use at home.
With the MOVE+ Pro, you get three infrared light-emitting modules, which can be used together or in isolation to best target your pain.
The inclusion of the adjustable strap allows you to be as hands-on as you choose - either specifically controlling the target point of each module at a time or strapping them round a particular point of difficulty to tackle the cells from multiple angles in one sitting.
For the same price of roughly two in-clinic cold laser therapy sessions, you could have your own hand-held therapy device available for use whenever and however suits you best!
Don’t just take our word for it. Hear directly from health and fitness author Teaganne Finn on how it changed their life:
“I won’t lie that I was skeptical prior to giving the MOVE+ Pro a try …
“However, after a month of using the device I really saw a big relief in my pain …
“After a month of using the MOVE+ Pro every evening for 15 minutes I could feel the difference in my pain level. I was no longer straining on the stairs because of the pain in my knee and when I would squat or kneel down I didn’t have to do it so gingerly anymore …
“The pain is still there throughout my day-to-day life, however without the MOVE+ I am almost 100 percent certain it’d be much worse.”
There’s more where that came from too. We’re trusted by top health experts and professional athletes and have the ratings to prove it, check out some further reviews here.
Or if you’re ready to dive right into pain management with a portable, wireless and hands-free device, purchase the MOVE+ Pro today.
For more articles on cold laser therapy, read: