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The Science Behind Low-Level Laser Therapy

The Science Behind Low-Level Laser Therapy

The two most common questions we receive at Pulse Laser Relief are, 'What is Low-Level Laser Therapy and 'How does it work?'. To answer these questions, we will shed light (excuse the pun) on the history and the current scientific data in the fascinating field of photomedicine. Read on the find out more.

What is Low-Level Laser Therapy?

Low-level laser therapy, also known as photobiomodulation or cold laser therapy, produces therapeutic effects by applying low-intensity lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) at infrared and visible red wavelengths to damaged tissue.

The term "low-level laser" refers to wavelengths in the red to near-infrared (660nm–905nm) region of the spectrum. The wavelengths can penetrate the skin and soft/hard tissues, and clinical research shows that they have a beneficial effect on inflammation and tissue repair.

In addition, LLLT has a significant effect on acute pain reduction. The theory is that LLLT reduces pain by reducing biochemical markers, oxidative stress, and inflammation.

Photobiomodulation is a photochemical process, not a thermal one. Depending on the light wavelength, low-level laser light particles, called photons, penetrate through the skin to a specific depth in the tissue. To penetrate and absorb effectively, low-level laser light must have an optimal wavelength. Furthermore, dose plays a significant role since an insufficient amount has minimal effect.

Plus, due to the low intensity of the low-level laser, no heat is generated, so it does not burn or heat the skin, making it a safe and comfortable treatment.

Scientific Studies on Cold Laser Therapy

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a well-established treatment. Throughout the world, cold laser therapy has been applied in clinical practice for over four decades. Let's take a quick look at the history of LLLT:

Dr. Endre Mester [ 1967]

Using low-powered lasers, Dr. Endre Mester investigated the phenomenon of "laser biostimulation" in 1967. He accidentally discovered that low-powered lasers could accelerate hair growth on laboratory mice during another experiment, leading to an investigation of LLLT's ability to reduce wound healing time.

LLLT Therapy for Astronauts [1999]

The use of light-emitting diodes (LED) in the medical field has been pioneered by NASA in 1999 as a method for recovering astronauts and managing pain in space.

Colter et al[1]

The study found acute orthopaedic conditions and chronic conditions are amenable to LLLT. "Due to the wide spectrum of conditions, one would surmise that multiple mechanisms can operate to achieve pain relief." 

There are four clinical targets for LLLT:

  • The site of injury to promote healing, remodeling, and reduce inflammation
  • Lymph nodes to reduce edema and inflammation
  • Nerves to induce analgesia
  • Trigger points to reduce tenderness and relax contracted muscle fibres.

Dima et al.

In a literature review, Dima et al. concluded that "based on current research, the utilization of LLLT for pain management and osteoarthritic conditions may be a complementary strategy used in clinical practice to provide symptom management for patients suffering from osteoarthritis and chronic pain."

Researchers and academics are continuing to learn about photomedicine, expanding the field and enabling it to become more widespread.

Benefits of Low-Level Laser Therapy

More and more people are discovering the benefits of Low- Level Laser Therapy, or Photobiomodulation, for inflammatory conditions. Many published studies have shown the positive effects of different radiances and doses in both clinical and veterinary use. In recent years, low-level laser therapy has become increasingly popular with doctors and other health professionals. The following are proven health benefits of LLLT:

  • Relieve muscular and joint pain
  • Speed up the healing process
  • Reducing swelling
  • Promote relaxation of muscles to ease spasms
  • Improve functionality and mobility, especially on the neck and back
  • Relax and relieve stiffness

Since it is non-invasive and nonpharmacological, it is also good to take it as complementary therapy with other medications and treatments. 

How Does Photobiomodulation Help in Pain Reduction and Healing?

The body is truly impressive at regenerating and repairing itself. When an injury occurs, the body naturally responds by having healthy blood cells rush to the damaged area to help it heal.

Low-level laser therapy uses a single wavelength of extremely pure light. Radiating this targeted beam of light triggers biochemical changes within cells. Molecular photoreceptors absorb photons, causing chemical changes giving potential biochemical benefits to the human body.

Cells in the body contain light-sensitive molecules called cytochromes.  Cells house these chemicals in energy compartments called mitochondria. Like photosynthesis in plants, light triggers biochemical changes within cells, where photons are absorbed by cellular photoreceptors and cause chemical reactions.

LLLT works by stimulating and accelerating the body's natural healing mechanisms. Light energy transforms into cellular energy, stimulating the body's cells to perform more efficiently in the healing process.

In other words, Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or Photobiomodulation can promote cellular repair and regeneration by assisting the body's natural healing mechanisms.

Easy and Efficient Healing with The Handy Pulse Laser

Thanks to research, we now have a clearer understanding of how Low-Level Laser Therapy works in treating musculoskeletal and joint pain. Better yet, you can now heal easily and effectively with the Handy Pulse Laser Relief!

With three different low-intensity light wavelengths, the Handy Pulse Laser Therapy device can reduce inflammation -and pain-related to various short- and long-term pain conditions. It combines low-level pulse laser infrared radiation, pulsating LED infrared radiation, visible LED red light, and a static magnetic field. In addition, this product has become Australia's leading laser therapy device for more than a decade.

Using the same technology used by astronauts to help with their recovery and pain management, Handy Pulse Laser helps anybody alleviate pain fast and efficiently. Click the link to know more details.


Cotler HB, Chow RT, Hamblin MR, Carroll J. The Use of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain. MOJ Orthop Rheumatol. 2015;2(5):00068. doi: 10.15406/mojor.2015.02.00068. Epub 2015 Jun 9. PMID: 26858986; PMCID: PMC4743666.

Dima R, Tieppo Francio V, Towery C, Davani S. Review of Literature on Low-level Laser Therapy Benefits for Nonpharmacological Pain Control in Chronic Pain and Osteoarthritis. Altern Ther Health Med. 2018 Sep;24(5):8-10. PMID: 28987080.

[1] Cotler HB, Chow RT, Hamblin MR, Carroll J. The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain. MOJ Orthop Rheumatol. 2015;2(5):00068. doi: 10.15406/mojor.2015.02.00068. Epub 2015 Jun 9. PMID: 26858986; PMCID: PMC4743666.

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