Frequently Asked Questions
Will my pet feel the treatment?
Your pet most likely will feel nothing. The most powerful laser that I use is a Class IIIb laser which does not create heat, so there is usually minimal or no sensation for the patient. Some animals and people do seem to feel something, so treatment is started at lower doses for them. Horses seem to be more sensitive than dogs, cats, or people. Of course, anything that is new and different can be upsetting to a pet, so establishing rapport with the pet before treatment is important.
Is LLLT used in human medicine?
Yes, it is used in similar ways to treat human conditions. As is so often the case, the early adopters of any new modality have a special reason to do so. Since LLLT speeds healing, those for whom time on the bench translated directly to money (i.e. athletes) led the adoption of laser treatment as part of their routine care.
Why a laser?
It works with the body's natural processes without side-effects. Although often very effective, drugs have many unwanted side-effects. Surgery is sometimes the best solution, but may not be an option due to cost or health status of the patient. Laser therapy avoids these drawbacks and, because it stimulates the body's own healing process, it can shorten recovery time while reducing the need for pain reducing medications.
How can laser treat so many conditions?
Because it normalizes function at the cellular level. Cells are the building blocks of all tissue, so LLLT can be used almost any place cellular function is compromised.
Is LLLT for real?
Yes, it is, and there have been over 3,000 scientific journal articles written supporting the use of low level laser therapy (LLLT) by physicians, dentists, chiropractors, veterinarians, acupuncturists, nurses, and PhD researchers.
Is use of low level laser therapy dangerous?
No, it is not dangerous. There are no known contra-indications for use of LLLT aside from the precaution to not shine the laser into the eyes or to treat tumors. Because the effects are unknown, treatment over developing fetuses is avoided. If epileptics are present and if the laser is pulsed and if at less than 30 Hz, epileptics should be protected from seeing any pulsing beams. After treatment, patients may experience tiredness.
Is all laser therapy the same?
No, it is not. Although the principles may be the same, the power of the laser, the wavelength of the light produced, and the application of the energy to the tissue can produce varying results. Healing is a function of the proper wavelength of light reaching the target tissue in appropriate doses over adequate intervals of time. Higher power lasers can produce more energy, but they can also more easily provide too much energy for the desired result. Frequently, these require keeping the laser moving constantly to avoid heating or burning versus being able to target the specific point of treatment desired. Too little light energy can produce little to no results. With up to a certain amount of energy, the effect is stimulatory, which is desirable for healing. Beyond that amount is inhibitory, which is desirable for pain reduction. So the ideal equipment allows you to tailor doses to reach the target tissue in a controllable manner within reasonable time frames. Class IIIb lasers are 0.5 watts or less. Class IV lasers are more than 0.5 watts and up to 15 watts. Most of the documented studies have been done in Class IIIb lasers.
Can LED light units be effective?
Yes, in the proper situation, they can be useful and effective. It is the wavelength of the light that determines the cellular response, not the means by which it is produced. LEDs are available in a variety of colors. Red LEDs typically produce light around the 660nm wavelength, which is very effective for healing and also for beneficial secondary effects in blood. Because this wavelength is readily absorbed by blood and because, unlike a laser, the LED light is not coherent, it does not penetrate the body's cells much at all. Therefore, red LED light can be very appropriately used for open wound healing or where there is limited penetration needed. For all other applicable conditions, LLLT is most effective.