How Does Low Level Laser Therapy Work?


Low level laser therapy is a treatment that is used in a variety of health care settings that include beauty and medi-spa clinics, chiropractic clinics, sports medicine clinics and more.

In this article, we will take a look at Low Level Laser Therapy.  We will learn about what it is, how it works, and what some of the health benefits are to this type of treatment.

What is Low Level Laser Therapy?


Low Level Laser Therapy, common referred to as LLLT, is a form of treatment that involves the use of a tool that delivers special types of light into the body, to reach cells that are responsible for healing and tissue regeneration. 

The Technology

Let’s take an in-depth look at how this works.  Low level laser therapy works by placing a laser tool on the outside of the body.  When applied, the laser will emit different types of light into the cells of the body, to reach what is known as the mitochondria.  These mitochondria are the body’s power center, where healing, tissue regeneration take place.  When the mitochondria misfunction, perhaps due to illness or injury, the result is pain in the form of swelling and inflammation.


The term ‘low level’ comes from the fact that unlike many other types of laser therapy you may have already heard of, this type of therapy involves the use of light that doesn’t actually heat the tissues of the body.  Instead, the light works as a means of photosynthesis, similar to how a plant uses sun and light to grow and flourish.


The laser tool is applied to the treatment are of the body, and during treatment, the laser emits light at different wavelengths strengths.  The light can be red or blue depending on these levels. In fact some treatments utilize infra-red light during treatment.  Typically, for areas that are closer to the body’s surface, light between 600 and 700 NMs (nanometers) would be used.  For deeper injuries such as joint problems (i.e. arthritis), 780 to 950 NMs would be used.


When the body suffers an injury, the cells in the injured area can produce a chemical called nitric oxide.  This chemical can cause further damage to the body by depriving the cells of oxygen, thereby slowing down the healing process.


With Low Level Laser Therapy, as the laser is applied, the light travels through the body and is absorbed by the cells and mitochondria.  The result is a natural reaction of the cells to go into reactionary mode where healing and regeneration begin to occur. 


While the body usually has this reaction to illness or injury on its own, Low Level Laser Therapy can speed up the process by forcing the reaction to occur more quickly.  Additionally, the nitric oxide created by the injury or damage is dissipated, allowing more much needed oxygen in to help the cells begin the repair process.  In turn, inflammation and pain can be reduced as the healing process is expedited.

What Conditions Can Low Level Laser Therapy Treat?

Low Level Laser Therapy is becoming a very popular treatment option among health care professionals from and those who work in medical aesthetics.

For treating illness and injury, Low Level Laser Therapy is a highly effective treatment for the following:

  • Sports injuries to joints and muscles (think sprains, strains, etc.)
  • Healing of wounds due to accidents or surgeries, or those that result from diabetic conditions
  • As a replacement for acupuncture needles (the laser can target the same acupoints, but without the painful needles!)
  • Conditions where inflammation is a major symptom (think things like carpal tunnel, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and other auto-immune disease)
  • Soft tissue injuries due to car accidents, falls etc.
  • Other conditions that can cause chronic pain

For medical aesthetics, Low Level Laser Therapy has proven to be a great anti-aging treatment.  Patients can expect to see the following types of results after a series of Low Level Laser Therapy treatments:

  • reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • diminished appearance of age spots and sun damage
  • increased firmness of sagging facial skin
  • smoother more supple skin on the neck and décolleté
  • reduced acne
  • improved appearance of rosacea
  • an overall fresher appearance to facial skin. 

What Is the Benefit of Low Level Laser Therapy?


There are many benefits to choosing Low Level Laser Therapy as a treatment option.  For one thing, there are absolutely no risks or side effects as a result of the treatment.  An because it is a non-invasive treatment, there is no pain associated with the use of the laser.  The worst that could happen is that you do not experience a reduction in symptoms.  When you compare that to the risks associated with taking over the counter and prescription drugs, or having invasive surgery performed, there really is nothing to lose by giving this treatment a try.


Are there Risks to Low Level Laser Therapy?


As mentioned earlier in the article, there are absolutely no risks to Low Level Laser Therapy.  The treatment simply uses different levels of light to treat the patient, and is applied externally.  There is no pain, there are no side effects, and most certainly no danger the way there is with medication or surgery.  The treatment is a more natural way of treating a variety of conditions and injuries.


How Many Treatments Will I Need?


The number of treatments required to see improvement will vary depending on the reason for the treatment.  If you are being treated for an injury, you may need treatment once or twice a week.  For a chronic pain issue, 2 or three times a week, or even once daily until a reduction in symptoms is seen would be beneficial.

Once you have experienced a reduction in symptoms, your treatments can be tapered down.  Your health care provider can best make the determination about the length and number of treatments you’ll need.  The good news is, some patients feel better after the very first treatment!