healing_handbookAccording to Low Level Laser Therapy by Jan Turner & Lars Hode (Prima Books), low level laser therapy:
  • Reduces pain by causing the production of natural pain killer endorphins.
  • Reduces inflammation by suppressing inflammatory enzymes that create swelling, redness, pain, and heat and enhances the release of anti-inflammatory enzymes.
  • Enhances lymphatic drainage, which increases circulation and speeds healing.
  • Stimulates the release of helpful healing enzymes.
  • Releases tight muscles (both smooth and striated) that create chronic pain, joint problems, and decreased mobility.
  • Speeds bone repair by stimulating fibroblastic and osteoblastic proliferation.
  • Cold Laser Therapy in the 660nm wavelength appears to be antiviral, antifungal, and antiherpetic.
Laser irradiation of tissue cultures has shown that units of light energy (photons) are absorbed by enzymes, which react to light within the cell. Visible red light is absorbed within the mitochondria and the infrared light is absorbed at the cell membrane. In a mammalian cell, this results in a change in membrane permeability, increased ATP levels and increased DNA production. The photons picked up by the cell membrane result in improved membrane stability and increased activity of the ATP dependent Na/K pump. Because cell metabolism is influenced by Na/K movement across the membrane, increasing the gradient will affect the flow of ions and hence the overall metabolism of the cell. On a tissue level, it has been shown that irradiation by laser light results in increased collagen and epithelial production and production of new capillaries and an increase in density of the capillary bed. Reduction of pain and inflammation results from this treatment, as does the stimulation of nerve regeneration, muscle relaxation and atonicity (lack of muscle tone). There is also an indication that laser light therapy helps to increase the immune system response. Red light aids in the production of ATP in cells, which increases cellular health and energy. The radiation (energy) in normal cells stimulates adjacent cells to divide in the normal process of regeneration and healing. Laser light stimulates abnormal tissue to activate normal inter-cellular radiation, thus stimulating the normal healing process to start again. The photons produced by laser light normalize tissue by activating enzymes within cells. Once activated, enzymes within a cell trigger a chemical reaction in which more enzymes are activated in a domino-type effect. Low Level Laser Therapy has no effect on normal tissue. Photons will only be absorbed by cells that need the energy.

laserpatternUSA today article on new uses for laser therapy.

Notice the last section on pain relief http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-06-19-laser-therapy_N.htm