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Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)…How Much Is Enough? Too Much?

Low Level Laser Therapy

LLLT

Researchers who are involved in low level laser therapy are producing more knowledgeable information. What I mean is that they have learned from past research, and are coming up with more knowledgeable questions, and more detailed answers. The early researchers weren’t exactly sure about dosages and protocols, and we still aren’t sure today. We are, still, narrowing it down, bit by bit.

One of the classic cells that can be counted on to respond to LLLT is the fibroblast. Fibroblasts are cells that lay down a microscopic framework of a thin web, if you will, of tough tissue. They also vary, and produce other types of tissues as well. They are called into action when there has been injury and cell destruction. They are called into action with repetitive stress.

The researchers of this study chose injured fibroblasts to work on, and used a red (HeNe) (632.8 nm) laser for two consecutive days. The cells received 2.5, 5,, and 16 J/cm2, in three different groups. Three treatments at 2.5 J/cm2 or 1 treatment at 5 J/cm2 produced significant cell multiplication and movement. 16 J/cm2 inhibited the same functions, as well as decreasing ATP production. This is interesting because one of the things LLLT is known for is that it typically increases ATP production.

I feel that 1-2 J/cm2 (10-20 seconds) is a good range to use for a 100 mW therapeutic laser. With small 5 mW lasers, it is different. Because of the high time of illumination factor, we can see results with as little as 0.3-1.0 J/cm2. A 5 mW laser pointer moved against the skin, covering 1 square centimeter, will put out up to 0.3 J/cm2 every 60 seconds.

Effect of Multiple Exposures of Low-Level Laser Therapy on the Cellular Responses of Wounded Human Skin Fibroblasts
Denise Hawkins, Heidi Abrahamse. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. December 2006, 24(6): 705-714. doi:10.1089/pho.2006.24.705.

4 comments to Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)…How Much Is Enough? Too Much?

  • Class 4 laser operator

    Typical LLLT treatments are usually in the order of 8-12 joules/cm^2. A laser pointer that is less than 5mw would take upwards of half an hour to supply this dosage to an area the size of a dime. Not to mention specific wavelengths of energy are used for different applications and laser pointers are likely not standardized. With less wattage not only would treatment take longer but it would penetrate less deep into the tissues. There is a reason class 3 lasers cost a few thousand dollars and class 4 upwards of $30,000. If a $1 laser pointer did the same don’t you think we would see some research aiding this theory?

    Reply

    admin Reply:

    Thank you for your challenging statements and question. If you had read my book, “Rejuvenation”, you would know that I believe that researchers tend to use higher dosages than necessary. I believe this because I and others get good results with my “low to moderate” dosage of 1-2 joules/cm^2. The research is out there, and is drawn from the almost 300 citations I give at the end of my book.

    Here is my aim: I aim to get this largely ignored modality to become broadly known via the general public. If you read Jan Tuner’s review, you would see that he himself started out with a laser that was under 5 mW and he observed significant effects. It can be done.

    Please realize that my book is meant to be safe primarily for the layman, therefore low dosages are given. In my book I tell the reader that if they get some results but “are not quite there yet,” then they should seek a professional who uses more powerful equipment and has more experience. The book is meant as a safe introduction in order the “spread the word”.

    My dosages were kept low for public safety. My protocols only address chronic conditions for safety. I want to promote LLLT from the “bottom-up”, so that these readers can confront their doctors about this modality and hopefully educate them.

    Regardless of what is commonplace in the industry, these dosages have real effects. Yes, they do take a long time with a 5 mW laser pointer, (20 minutes for treating the hands of someone with RA.) However, such treatment works, and will show that participant the power of this modality. I give dosages and protocols for both a 5 mW laser and a 100 mW laser. Based on reader feedback, many of these readers are opting for the 100 mW in order to save time and get deeper penetration.

    Please read the book and your questions should be answered.

    Reply

  • Tom

    I have a question. I have a Hairmax LLLaser which is about 6 x 1.25 cm and is a class 3R, and runs 655nm, <5mW CW.
    How would some one use a device like this for trigger points or joints? I am not asking for medical advice, just
    if these specs "could" be used, say for on my dog. What type of a time/area protocol would we be looking at?

    Thanks for any input you can share.

    Tom

    Reply

    admin Reply:

    With small 5 mW lasers, because of the high time of illumination factor, we can see results with as little as 0.3-1.0 J/cm2. A 5 mW laser pointer moved against the skin, covering 1 square centimeter, will put out up to 0.3 J/cm2 every 60 seconds.

    Reply

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