Speed up your healing and get out of pain faster! Cold laser therapy is low-intensity laser therapy cleared by the FDA which stimulates healing while using low levels of light. The technique is called “cold” laser therapy because the low levels of light aren't enough to heat your body's tissue.
To explain how cold laser therapy works (commonly referred to as photobiomodulation therapy, or low level laser therapy), we need to understand some biology basics. Get ready for a crash course!
Plants cells have components inside of them called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts utilize energy from sunlight to combine carbon dioxide and water to produce sugar and oxygen. It’s also what gives the leaves of plants their green color.
Animal cells, however, have a mutated version of chloroplasts called mitochondria. Their purpose is to take sugar and oxygen to produce carbon dioxide (what comes out of our lungs when we breathe out) and water in order to make energy (called ATP) for the cell.
When a cell is under a certain amount of stress, whether through diseases, physical injury, or the natural aging process, mitochondria naturally produces a compound called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide essentially reduces ATP production within the mitochondria by taking up the oxygen delivered into the cell. The result is an overproduction of compounds that increase oxidative stress to the tissues, which leads to increased inflammation. If the inflammation is around long enough, it results in healthy cells dying faster.
So, how does cold laser therapy help? Basically, since mitochondria are closely related to chloroplasts, they are also reactive to light energy. However, instead of speeding up ATP production, when a certain wavelength of infrared light reaches the cells, it breaks up the nitric oxide from stealing the oxygen necessary for ATP production. This allows more oxygen to be used by the mitochondria for energy production and it reduces the oxidative stress of the cells within the tissue. Ultimately, this is how we’re able to boost the metabolism of the damaged tissues to speed up the healing process.