Low Level Light Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Low Level Light Laser Therapy (LLLT) is used in laser acupuncture treatment at RACM Sydney to provide a pain free acupuncture treatment alternative to using fine needles. All ‘Conditions Treated’ with acupuncture and fine needles can be treated with laser acupuncture as well.
LLLT can also:
- Speed up healing and recovery after surgery and injury,
- Promote relaxation of muscles to reduce pain and tension,
- Reduce swelling associated with injury,
- Relieve pain generally, including muscle and joint pain,
- Improve mobility and daily activity range,
- Relieve stiffness and reduce inflammation.
While research on laser therapy was recognised as early as 1903, it was not until the 1970’s that research intensified in the USSR, USA, and China. This research became known as ‘photobiology’, the study of how light affects living things, including humans, cells, plants, and animals.
Laser acupuncture developed after studies showed that laser light only traveled along the acupuncture meridian pathways, just like a fibre optic network in the body, which could then be monitored by a sensitive photon detector. Through brain imaging recent studies have shown that laser acupuncture has a physiological impact both locally, and also in the brain. For example, only when the laser is turned on and used on an acupuncture point could a corresponding response be observed in the brain during imaging. Turn the laser off, and the brain response stopped as well.
Apart from the therapeutic applications, laser acupuncture is a method of ‘lighting up’ the meridian system and making it more visible because we cannot see the meridians with the naked eye. On the other hand, brain imaging during acupuncture laser therapy allows us to see the brain response to acupuncture point stimulation. Because the impact of the laser on the acupuncture point is more rapid than normal stimulation by touch or fine needle, we can observe the impact in the brain more quickly.
TYPES OF LASERS USED AT RACM
While laser therapy can be utilised diagnostically and surgically, the laser therapy used during acupuncture treatment is called LLLT (Low Level Light Therapy). It is sometimes called ‘cold laser’, as it does not produce heat but, rather, is a penetrating light that works in activating the normal healing processes in our cells.
Much research has been conducted on many of the different wavelengths of light that are used in laser acupuncture. At RACM we use three main types:
1. Red (635nM)
- Is the same wavelength produced in the cells of the body,
- Increases ATP (energy) production in the cells,
- Has a stimulatory effect,
- In acupuncture terms it is said to ‘tonify’.
2. Blue (450nM)
- Has a ‘sedating’ or calming impact when used on acupuncture points on the body.
3. Infrared (700-1000 nM)
- Deep wound healing,
- Deep penetrating,
- More expensive,
- Pain treatment for chronic pain.
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