Low level lasers have been used around the world for nearly four decades in both industry and health. Low level lasers have been approved for safety by the FDA for bar code check out, laser printers, playing music on CD's and for many other industrial uses.
Low level lasers are so widely used that if they suddenly became unavailable, the economy of the world would suffer.
In many countries other than the United States, therapeutic low level lasers of various wavelengths have proven beneficial for all types of animal including humans. Low level laser therapy in most of the world has been used for thirty years and is considered routine. Based on over two thousand studies around the world, today we can safely say that low level lasers have an important positive biological effect in over 90% of the studies. In all these studies, there has not been one negative report concerning safety. In other words, light at this level is not only beneficial but very safe.
Low level lasers are used extensively by our Unites States Government, particularly in the area of space and defense. In 2002 the FDA approved low level lasers for myofascial pain of the shoulder and carpal tunnel syndrome. In 2006 more than 35 low level lasers have been approved either by clinical trials for specific disorders or by 510K approval for previously cleared comparable devices. Most of these 510K approvals were based on heat devices. It seems to be a long and arduous task for laser manufacturers to approve low level lasers for each disease as is currently required by the FDA. One of the ways low level lasers work is to re-energize the injured cellular membranes, which allows for better nutrition to reach the cell and form healthy new cells. In the laser industry there is a degree of uncertainty if the laser benefits are due to the different wavelengths, varying frequency, power density, or combination of wavelengths. Some think that more power is better. This author believes that benefits are more closely connected to combining wavelengths in such a way to form soliton waves that can penetrate the body with resonating quality, and having exact control of power density and frequency. It was only recently that computers became small and sophisticated enough to accomplish this feat.
Acupuncture is an old Eastern science which has only been accepted in the United States in the last forty years. Much has been written on how to do acupuncture with needles, electro stimulation and pressure, but to my knowledge, not much has been written on how to use lasers for acupoint stimulation. Since everyone is different and has a different
body with different problems, everyone will respond differently. Also remember that, since low level laser is so safe, you can use it on many different acupoints without ever having to worry about doing harm. The worst you can do is waste time a little time.
One main thing to remember is that low level laser therapy and laser acupoint therapy is harmless. The goal is to relieve or reduce pain or symptoms of disorders and illness. Remember the sooner you use the laser after the injury or symptoms appear, the better the results. Therefore, it is recommended that you own your own laser system so care can be administered immediately.
Low level laser therapy is neither a cure nor an alternative to proper medical care. You should always seek the care of a COMPETENT HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. This write up is a simple description of how to use low level lasers directly or to stimulate ancient but still widely used acupuncture points. The origin and documentation of acupuncture points is, for the most part, oriental; but perhaps three-fourths of the world's
population currently uses many of these points in one form or another. Laser acupoint therapy should be used with proper precautions. If pain or symptoms persist, see your doctor immediately. Low level laser therapy principles are based on natural laws governing every human body, so it is possible to use the described techniques on someone other than yourself.
There are no known side effects from using low level laser therapy, although it is not uncommon to get a temporary and short term increase in pain and discomfort when treating chronic conditions. There are two main reasons for this. Laser therapy may increase circulation to an area that has had reduced circulation for years and increased circulation causes the cells to dump toxins and pain increases. While increased circulation is good, it can cause a temporary increase in pain. If this happens, reduce the frequency of the laser therapy. Remember it has taken years for some chronic conditions to develop. Don't worry—this temporary discomfort (if you even experience it at all) will pass and healing will occur.
Q. Are low level lasers safe?
A. Yes, when used as instructed, low level lasers are very safe. Thee primary safety regulation is DO NOT POINT A STIMULATING LASER, such as enhancers at the EYE, directly at the fetus during PREGNANCY, or over CANCER. RESONATING LASERS, such as the Pegasus, Resonator, Rotary Multiplex, Q10, Q1000 or Q2000 can be used safely during pregnancy and similar lasers have been used on cancer in some countries. Please refer to the section on safety for more information.
Q. How long should I use the laser?
A. A suggested length of time is recommended for each specific laser and for each symptom, disorder or disease. If you do not own that laser, calculate the total output of joules of you laser and increase or decrease the time accordingly. If there is improvement, STOP using the laser for that day. If there is no improvement or if the laser you are using has a low power density and joules output, it may be necessary to use the laser multiple times in one day.
Q. Which laser should I use?
A. Depending on the disorder, both a resonating and stimulating laser may be recommended. In general, chronic conditions require a stimulating laser while acute conditions respond better to resonating lasers.
Q. Should I use both direct laser therapy and laser acupoint therapy?
A. This depends on the type of disorder being treated. In many cases direct laser therapy is all that is needed. However, in conditions such as seizures or weight loss, laser acupoint therapy is the treatment of choice. Do not use acupoint therapy over a fetus.
Q. Can I use the laser too long?
A. Generally the answer is No. In most cases, if you use the laser too long, you will just waste your time. You may reach a point of diminishing returns and reduce the benefits, but you will not make a cell worse than when you started.
Q. Can I use the laser if I have a pacemaker?
A. Yes, low level lasers can be safely be used on people with pacemakers, Do not use a stimulating laser.
Q. How often shall I use the laser?
A. For most conditions, it is adequate to use the laser two to three times a week, More often is not necessarily better. However, there are some conditions and some people that require more energy and need to use the laser daily and for longer periods.
Q. Are there any contraindications for low level laser therapy?
A. Yes, do not use a stimulating laser over a fetus, in the eye or over cancers. However, there are no contraindications when you use the resonating laser correctly. Some acupuncturists believe acupuncture with needles and pressure should be avoided during pregnancy and on small children, however this same precaution may not be necessary with resonating lasers.
Q. What if I use the laser and the pain is worse?
A. For some conditions and a select few people this may be the case, but do not be
alarmed. The laser has increased the circulation and the release of
toxins. While this may cause some early discomfort, it is an indication of tissue
reactivity and precedes improvement.
Q. What if my disease or disorder is not listed in the index?
A. Select the organ involved and laser the organ keeping in mind that low level laser therapy works on the cellular level regardless of the diagnosis or name of the condition, disorder or disease.
Q. Can Medical Practitioners use a non FDA Approved Laser?
A. This is a frequently asked question and the answer is YES! Most procedures and many devices used in the various medical specialties are not FDA approved. It is not illegal for doctors of any profession to use a non-approved device, however, it would be in violation of FDA and FTC regulations for doctors to advertise a non-approved device to treat specific diseases. Most of the complaints come from State Regulatory Boards and are easily avoided by informing the patient that the laser device you are using is approved for safety by the FDA but has not been evaluated by the FDA for efficacy. Always have the patient sign an informed consent release to that effect.
Q. Will low level laser therapy work through clothing?
A. Yes, however, black clothing and multiple layers of clothing require increased time exposure.
Q. Does the laser need to be in contact with surface being lasered?
A. Yes, benefits are reduced the farther away the laser is held. In case of wounds, cover the laser with a clear plastic wrap and laser directly over the wound.
Q. Do all patients require the same dosage?
A. No, dosage varies from person to person and further lasering should be based on improvement. Some method of testing such as “circles” or some other method of Kinesiology will help to determine how long to use the laser.
Q. Will the laser burn me?
A. Low Level Lasers do not burn, however people that are photo-sensitive may get a red rash. Photo-sensitivity can be caused by certain medications, select herbs, and plants for a few very sensitive people. If this occurs, stop using the laser and the rash will disappear.
Q. What does non cycle mean?
A. For example, the Q lasers that we use are timed to shut off in three (3) minutes. One cycle = three minutes. One cycle is the average length of the time required for treating many conditions. Other low level lasers have 1, 2 or even 5 minute cycles.
Q. Why does the manual state to use the resonating lasers for 6-8 breaths?
A. It is a simple method of timing, 6-8 breaths on a resting person equals approximately one (1) minute which is the recommended amount of time to use the laser on proprioceptive points and bellies of muscles. To determine your own breathing rate, count the number of breaths while resting one minute and use that number in place of 6-8 breaths. An additional benefit is “you cannot think of two things at once,” and when you are counting your breath, you cannot worry or think of “fear,” a self generated subtle energy that hinders the subtle energy of resonating lasers.
*much of the above information was derived from the works of Dr. L. Lytle