Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
What is LLLT?LLLT is a laser or LED light therapy that improves tissue repair (skin wounds, muscle, tendon, bone, nerves), reduces inflammation and reduces pain wherever the beam is applied. Usually applied by a doctor, therapist or technician, treatments typically take 1 - 10 minutes and should be applied two or more times a week. Pubmed refs
How it works?LLLT works predominately on a protein in mitochondria (cytochrome c oxidase) to increase ATP and reduce oxidative stress. A cascade of mitochondrial and intracellular downstream effects lead to improved tissue repair and reduced inflammation. Pubmed refs
How much is enough, how much is too much?There is a dose response: not enough power density and there is no effect, too much and there can be inhibitory effects which can slow down healing and lose the anti-inflammatory effects. Pubmed refs
The analgesic mechanismThis depends on an LLLT overdose; Higher power density LLLT >300mW/cm² reduces ATP production in C fibers and A delta fibers resulting in an immediate neural blockade lasting up to approx 24 hr. Pubmed refs
So there are actually TWO kinds of LLLT ?Yes, high power density is necessary for analgesia and deep tissue targets, low power density (< 100mW/cm²) is necessary to promote healing and reduce inflammation in superfiscial wounds, tendons and joints (the target is the synovia not the joint). THOR do both high and low power density for best healing, deep penetration and analgesia. Read more about class IV lasers, 3B lasers, LEDs and dose here
In the last 4 years six systematic reviews have found in favour of LLLT
- BMJ sports medicine journal, systematic review of surgical and conservative interventions for frozen shoulder found "strong evidence" for LLLT. (2010) Click here
- The International Association for the Study of Pain (Global Task force on musculoskeletal pain) found "strong evidence" for Low Level Laser Therapy on myofascial pain syndrome. (2010) Click here
- The BMJ clinical evidence recommendations for tennis elbow 2011 now include LLLT click here
- American Physical Therapy Association guidelines recommend LLLT for Achilles tendonitis. (2010) Click here
- Lancet systematic review: "LLLT reduces pain immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain". (2009) Click here
- World Health Organisation (Bone and Joint Task Force) for neck pain Low Level Laser Therapy "more effective than no treatment, sham, or alternative interventions" (2008) Click here
- In August 2010 The Lancet reported that the systematic review of LLLT for neck pain was in their top 20 most downloaded papers for 2010. Click here
Prices from $7,000 to $23,000 (£4,000 - £14,000)
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