About Me

My photo
I have actively practiced as a Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP) and massage therapist since 1993 with special interest and training in the Vodder method of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) technique. My experience is with lymphedema disease, edema in general, pre- and post-surgery massage, cosmetic surgery edema  and more.   My search for a low or non impact movement modality led me to become a certified trainer in the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® I have found it to be a helpful movement modality to stimulate the Lymphatic system and other stagnation out of the body. The Gyrotonic method is the base for movement sessions used at the office. Palliative care is another direction of great interest, as many of my clients are in disease states.  My mission is to provide compassionate care and resources for my clients.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Many therapists, medical or alternative/complementary, promote the use of low-level laser therapy (LLLT), which is  treatment with a single wavelength of light. It is also known as cold laser therapy because it doesn’t produce heat or vibration, in fact the patient usually feels little during the treatment. LLLT is used by a variety of therapists, including athletic trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists and physical therapists for a variety of reasons, including:
  • treatment of burn scars
  • muscle, tendon and joint pain such as chronic neck pain, tendinitis and low back pain
  • treatment of lymphedema.
You may have considered low-level laser therapy for pain or other conditions, and might be wondering how it works and whether it actually has any physiological effect or is more like a placebo.

Scientific research does validate the benefits of LLLT. Research suggests that it works by increasing the production of ATP in the bloodstream, as well as serotonin and endorphins. It improves blood and lymph circulation, stimulates the production of collagen and improves the function of nerve tissue. Increasing lymph circulation reduces edema and improves the immune system because it distributes immune cells more widely in the body. Besides reducing pain and swelling, LLLT seems to also help scars by not only stimulating the production of collage, but also improving its arrangement, which reduces the fibrosis of lymphedema disease and softens burn scars.

Results tend to vary depending on the type of device used, its power and wavelength, the placement of the device, duration of the treatment and so forth.  Also, different devices penetrate to different levels in the skin, with the helium neon lasers having the shallowest penetration into the skin. Those with a longer wavelength, such as the gallium aluminum arsenide infrared semiconductor, or GaAlAs, penetrate more deeply into the skin. The Food and Drug Administration has given LLLT therapy approval for adjunctive use in pain therapy, although therapists also use the devices to treat other conditions such as lymphedema, skin ulcerations and burn scars, all of which uses are supported by medical research.

If you are interested in LLLT and have questions, please feel free to contact me so we can discuss it. I’d be happy to answer your questions.

Gogia PP, Hurt BS, Zirn TT. Wound management with whirlpool and infrared cold laser treatment: a clinical report. Phys Ther. 1988;68:1239–1242.

Sugrue ME, Carolan J, Leen EJ, Feeley TM, Moore DJ, Shanik GD. The use of infrared laser therapy in the treatment of venous ulceration. Ann Vasc Surg. 1990;4:179–181.

Pourreau-Schneider N, Ahmed A, Soudry M, et al. Helium-neon laser treatment transforms fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. Am J Pathol. 1990;137:171–178.

Yu W, Naim JO, Lanzafame RJ. The effects of photo-irradiation on the secretion of TGF and PDGF from fibroblasts in vitro. Lasers Surg Med Suppl. 1994;6:8.

Schindl A, Schindl M, Schindl L. Successful treatment of persistent radiation ulcer by low power laser therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1997;37:646–648.

Schindl M, Kerschan K, Schindl A, Schon H, Heinzl H, Schindl L. Induction of complete wound healing in recalcitrant ulcers by low-intensity laser irradiation depends on ulcer cause and size. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 1999;15:18–21.

Carati CJ, Anderson SN, Gannon BJ, Piller NB. Treatment of postmastectomy lymphedema with low-level laser therapy: a double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Cancer. 2003 Sep 15;98(6):1114-22.

J. Ty Hopkins,corresponding author* Todd A. McLoda,† Jeff G. Seegmiller,‡ and G. David Baxter. Low-Level Laser Therapy Facilitates Superficial Wound Healing in Humans: A Triple-Blind, Sham-Controlled Study. J Athl Train. 2004 Jul-Sep; 39(3): 223–229.

Tumilty S, Munn J, Mcdonough S, Hurley DA, Basford JR, Baxter GD. Low level laser treatment of tendinopathy: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Photomed Laser Surg. 2010 Feb;28(1):3-16.

Chow Rt, Johnson Mi, Lopes-Martins Ra, Bjordal Jm. Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials. Lancet. 2009 Dec 5;374(9705):1897-908. Epub 2009 Nov 13.

1 comment: