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What is Cold Laser Therapy?

Heather Elrod March 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
What is Cold Laser Therapy?

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Most in the esthetic and medical esthetic fields are familiar with the terms intense pulsed light (IPL), light-emitting diode (LED) and LASER (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Technically, a laser is a source of high-intensity optical, infrared or UV light. The photons involved in the laser-emission process all have the same energy and phase so that the laser beam is monochromatic and coherent, allowing it to be brought to a fine focus.

Coherent vs. noncoherent light sources

A laser beam is different from IPL and LED because it is coherent, simply meaning that the beam has the ability to remain focused over a distance. IPL and LED are noncoherent, meaning the light scatters with shorter depth of penetration, while laser is coherent, thus providing a targeted treatment. With coherence, the scattering of light decreases, allowing the light to strike the target at perpendicular angles, increasing its absorption and transmission to deeper tissues.

Cold laser therapy

Cold laser therapy—also known as low-level light therapy—supplies energy to the body in the form of nonthermal light photons, hence the term “cold laser.” Cold lasers use light waves in the near-infrared ranges that penetrate the deepest in the visible spectrum.

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General Effects of Cold Laser

Increased cell growth: Laser light helps accelerate cellular reproduction and growth.

Increased metabolic activity: Laser photons help initiate a higher output of specific enzymes, immune cells, oxygen and nutrition for blood cells.

Pain relief: Pain relief is due not only to accelerated healing processes, but also is the result of increased release of endorphins.

Faster wound-healing: Light from the cold laser helps stimulate cells called fibroblasts, which can speed up collagen synthesis in damaged tissue. Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is the building block for muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, bones, skin and several other connective tissues. This is why cold laser is used for tissue remodeling treatments.

Increased cellular detoxification: Increased ATP helps provide increased cellular energy for cellular detoxification.

Increased collagen and elasticity: Increased collagen and elasticity may occur from cellular stimulation using cold laser therapy.

Increased vascular activity: Laser photons induce temporary dilation of local blood vessels that can increase blood flow to affected areas. Cold laser may help increase the number of capillaries in treated tissue, thus bringing more blood to the treated area on a longer-term basis.

Reduced fibrous tissue (scar tissue) formation: Lasers have been shown to reduce the formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from cuts, scratches, burns or surgery.

Stimulated nerve function: Laser photon exposure speeds the process of nerve cell reconnection, and helps bring numb or dysfunctional areas (neuropathy) back to life.

Increased tissue oxygenation: Laser has been shown to help increase oxygenation via increased levels of cellular ATP.

Anti-inflammatory actions: Cold laser therapy helps decrease inflammation.

Laser acupuncture: Many studies tout the fact that cold laser therapy actually stimulates acupuncture points in a similar fashion to needles or other methods.


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