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Frequently Asked Questions About Cold Laser Therapy.
Even though our class 3B cold lasers and class IV lasers have the same specifications as many FDA approved therapeutic lasers, we did not apply for FDA approval to treat human conditions, and we sell our lasers for veterinary use. Any use other than investigational, experimental or animal use is considered off label and is the responsibility of the customer. There are some cold laser companies who applied for and acquired FDA approval to treat osteoarthritis of the wrist, more specifically, carpal tunnel syndrome. These are fine companies and you might consider buying a therapeutic laser from them if you are a practitioner who treats people.
What is the difference between a Class IIIB laser and a ClassIV laser?
The big difference is power. A Class IIIB cold laser is defined as having total power of 500mW or below. A Class IV laser has combined power above 500mW. A lot of veterinarians use treatment protocols based on the number of Joules (energy) delivered per area. The higher power of a Class IV laser will significantly cut down the treatment time per spot if the practitioner's protocols are based on Joules.
Some practitioners' protocols are based on wavelength (light color). Infrared wavelengths (780nm to 904nmW, for example) can penetrate up to two inches deep regardless if the laser is a class IIIB or Class IV. Again, the difference would be time spent treating each area. Also, Class IV lasers emit a lot more heat than a class IIIB laser. Veterinarians report very high animal compliance since the warmth provides a soothing effect during the treatment.
Aside from the huge difference in cost, what is the real difference between the Vetrolaser4 Class IV laser and the Class IV lasers that cost up to $25,000?
In short, the big dollar Class IV lasers do emit more power, many over 15 Watts. But do you really need that much power? The thermal effect (tissue burning) becomes a real concern when using a laser that powerful. Tissues are sensitive and can only absorb so much heat without breaking down, nullifying the purpose of the treatment. The Vetro4 emits a subtle warmth, soothing to most animals. The Vetro4 has one pulse setting. The pulse setting interrupts the beam for a fraction of a second so there is little to no heat build-up.
Note: The information below this point was taken from our Class IIIB site, Vetrolaser.com, and has a lot of information about lower power therapy lasers.
What can laser therapy treat?
(Humans) Note: Again, our lasers are sold for animal use only. the following information only applies to FDA approved cold lasers.
Therapeutic applications which have shown promising results based on studies include:
Acupuncture Points (Smoking Cessation/Addictions)
Enhances Lymphatic Drainage
Releases Tight Muscles
Soft tissue injuries, including sprains and strains, tendonitis and haematomas
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Growth factor response within cells and tissue as a result of increased ATP and protein synthesis
Wound Healing (Speeds Healing)
Pain relief as a result of increased endorphin release
Suppression of nociceptor action (pain suppression)
Strengthening the immune system response via increasing levels of lymphocyte activity and through a newly researched mechanism termed photomodulation of blood.
Therapeutic applications which have shown promising results based on studies include: Arthritis, Acupuncture Points (Smoking Cessation/Addictions), Back Pain, Enhances Lymphatic Drainage, Releases Tight Muscles, Soft tissue injuries, including sprains and strains, tendonitis and haematomas Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Chronic Pain Maxillofacial Disorders, Nerve Regeneration, Neuropathy, Musculoskeletal Pain, Myofascial Pain, Tendonitis, Sports Injuries, Growth factor response within cells, and tissue as a result of increased ATP and protein synthesis
What is Low Laser Therapy?
Low Level Laser Therapy is a form of phototherapy or light therapy. This involves the application of low power light (red and near infrared light) to injuries or wounds to improve soft tissue healing and relieve both acute and chronic pain. It is also known as cold laser, soft laser or low intensity laser. Low level laser therapy aims to biostimulate. Because of the low power nature of low level laser therapy the effects are biochemical and not thermal and cannot cause heating and thereby damage to living tissue. The therapy is precise and accurate; and offers safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of conditions. The energy range of low level laser light lies between 1 and 500 mW (milliwatts), while for surgical lasers the energy range lies between 3000 and 10000 mW.
The Ear Point Laser is a 650nm/5mW red laser featuring a tapered tip that delivers precise amount of light on specific ear acupuncture points. A 650nm/5mW laser can penetrate 1cm below the skin. This wavelength is also used for its anti-microbial effect by veterinarians who treat fungal infections of the foot.
Three effects are widely accepted in the literature.
Reduction of Inflammation
How does it work?
Low-level lasers supply energy to the body in the form of non-thermal photons of light. Light is transmitted through the skin's layers (the dermis, epidermis and the subcutaneous tissue or tissue fat under the skin) at all wavelengths in the visible range. However, light waves in the near infrared ranges penetrate the deepest of all light waves in the visible spectrum. (Visit www.vetrolaser.com for animal use only infrared cold lasers). When low level laser light waves penetrate deeply into the skin, they optimize the immune responses of our blood. This has both anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. It is a scientific fact that light transmitted to the blood in this way has positive effective throughout the whole body, supplying vital oxygen and energy to every cell.
What Is Low Level Laser Light?
Low-level laser light is compressed light of a wavelength from the cold, red part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. It is different from natural light in that it is one precise color; it is coherent (it travels in a straight line), monochromatic (a single wavelength) and polarized (it concentrates its beam in a defined location or spot). These properties allow laser light to penetrate the surface of the skin with no heating effect, no damage to the skin and no known side effects. Rather, laser light directs biostimulative light energy to the body's cells which the cells then convert into chemical energy to promote natural healing and pain relief. It is NOT harmful.
What About LED’s? Are Lasers better?
LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) are a very popular form of equine therapy and are used to treat the same conditions as the cold laser. In a nutshell, LED’s are a non-coherent source of light (scattered beam) as compared to the laser which is a coherent light source (focused beam). Clinical studies have shown that a focused beam penetrates much deeper into the tissues.
I personally am not opposed to using LED’s for quick and safe way to treat muscles, tendons, wounds, etc. But most equine professionals prefer the cold laser simply because it is a more powerful. Some LED retailers claim that cold lasers have more side effects compared to the LED’s. But if you read their list of side effects you can see they can easily be avoided.
What About Eye Safety?
Direct eye exposure should always be avoided when using any laser, even low powered lasers. The exact type of laser safety glasses should be worn during use. For example, if you are using a red-beam laser, you should only use laser safety glasses that are made for that wavelength. The same goes for the infrared spectrum. Only use safety goggles that are made for the exact infrared wavelength you’re using. Infrared lasers are barely visible and some are invisible but can still hurt your eyes if you look directly at them. In fact, infrared light can be even more dangerous to your eyes than visible red beams since the barely visible beams do not initiate the protective ’blink reflex’ as the red ones do, so you don’t know to look away. In other words, never at any time should you look directly into any laser beam. And never have any laser pointed at your eyes. Quick note about laser safety glasses. Be careful what you buy! Laser safety glasses are not cheap, off-the-shelf appliances you can buy anywhere. Some online auction sites offer cheap laser glasses. But do they work? Most companies who manufacture protective laser eyewear will print the exact wavelengths they protect for right on the outer portion of the lens. It will say something like 630-660nm, or some other wavelength it protects for. An easy test to see if your laser safety glasses work is to simply shine the laser through one side of the lens and see if you can see it come through the other side. Working laser glasses should block 90% or more of the light. To see if the laser safety glasses protect for infrared or invisible lasers, you will need an infrared laser detector card to pick up the light. They cost about $15.00. MCM Electronics sells these. Their phone number is 1-800-543-4330. Website: www.mcmelectronics.com.
Some History on Laser Therapy
The word "laser" is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers do NOT emit X-RAYS and do NOT present the dangers of X-RAYS. The theory was first described by Albert Einstein (1879-1955) who paved the way for the development of the therapeutic laser.
The first low-level therapeutic laser was developed in 1962. By the end of the 1960's, Endre Mester in Hungary was reporting an improved healing of wounds through low-level laser radiation. Since then, scientists and doctors around the world have been using laser light to treat conditions that can affect all age groups.
High Power vs. Low Power Medical Lasers
There are two types of medical laser: high power and low power. High power lasers are used to cut through tissue. Low-level lasers are used to stimulate tissue repair through a process of bio-stimulation. Almost any diode frequency (green, red, infrared) can become a high power laser if you have enough power (wattage) behind it. For example, if you have 50 watts of power running a red laser you can bore a hole in the skin. Cold lasers use only milliwatts, small parts of a watt, and does not burn the skin. Burning a hole in the skin with a high power laser should not be confused with safe cold laser tissue penetration.
How do you use the laser for therapy? Is it difficult?
Treatment is simple and painless. It is similar to holding a flashlight close to the skin and shining the light on it. There is no sensation of pain, nor is there an increase in temperature from the laser. Treatment times vary based upon the size of the area to be treated, and the output power of the laser. Most treatments take 5-10 minutes, although the treatment of acupuncture points takes only 1-2 minutes per point.
Are there any negative effects from LLLT?
In all the years that low level lasers have been tested in research and clinical applications, no adverse side effects or negative impacts have been reported. This is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies lasers as “Non-Significant Risk” devices, requiring a minimum of safety precautions.
The major precaution is discouraging direct viewing of the laser beam. Care should be exercised not to stare into the laser beam or to point it at the eyes. The use of safety glasses is recommended. You should also take steps to shield animal’s eyes from the laser light.
Remember, the Vetrolaser is intended for animal use only. Generally, cold lasers for any use (human or animal) should not be used on women who are pregnant and on or near the thyroid or individuals with thyroid conditions. Cold laser therapy should not be used on cancerous lesions.
Cold laser therapy is considered much safer than other therapies such as ultra-sound, and electrical muscle stimulation, which are used to treat some of the same conditions. Ultra-sound therapy can burn the tissues during treatment and requires the practitioner to use a messy conductivity gel before treating—and in some cases, shaving off the hair before treating. Electrical muscle stimulation could be uncomfortable to the animal and does not promote increased cellular activity.
Can You Guarantee The Effectiveness of LLLT?
While clinical results are promising, no health care device or effect from that device can be guaranteed. The manufacturer and seller of the Vetrolaser encourages the buyer/user to always consult with a licensed physician or veterinarian before using or buying this product. Make sure the subject being treated was carefully examined by a licensed veterinarian. The common danger in using this product is using it on a person or animal who has a serious medical condition that should be treated by a properly licensed veterinarian. Again, a medical evaluation is always recommended before using or buying this device.
How long have cold lasers been used for equine therapy?
Cold lasers have been used by veterinarians in Europe on both animals and humans since around 1970. Andre Mester, a Hungarian researcher, reported good results with wound healing on rats in 1968. And veterinarians have been using therapeutic lasers in the U.S. since the early 70’s. In fact, the FDA has approved some cold laser brands for use on human conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Similar devices like the Vetrolaser do not require the same FDA approval since it is only sold and intended for animal/veterinary use only.
In simple terms, what does Cold Laser Therapy do?
For decades, researchers knew of the healing benefits of everyday, non-coherent light such as sunlight. In small doses, sunlight helps heal skin lesions. Of course if you overexpose yourself to the sun your skin will burn. What if there was a way of safely getting light to deeper tissues? Wouldn’t it help heal those tissues? That is the purpose of cold laser therapy. The coherent, concentrated light emitted from the Vetrolaser’s three infrared diodes safely penetrates up to 2 inches below the skin to help stimulate cellular activity to promote rapid deep tissue healing. This also explains why you shouldn’t use cold laser therapy over cancerous lesions; it also speeds up those cells.
Wound healing is greatly improved by cold laser therapy. This includes even non-healing wounds like Proud Flesh in horses. This is probably due to the increased level of collagen brought about by cold laser treatment. Connective tissue is primarily composed of collagen which is thought to be the most important component in wound healing.
An increase in circulation by widening of the blood vessels. This is important. When you’re treating a stubborn wound, for example, one of the first signs of healing is vascularization of the area—meaning you’ll see tiny blood vessel formation. Once you see this, the healing process is well under way.
Decreased swelling/edema due to lymphatic drainage.
Coherent laser light stimulates the production of body’s own natural pain relieving chemicals such as increased endorphin and enkephalin production.
Cold laser therapy is considered safe with very few contraindications. You should never look directly at the laser light and should wear protective eyewear such as UV glasses. You should even shield the animal’s eyes from the light. For reasons that are not clear, you should avoid using cold laser therapy on animals who are pregnant. Also avoid using cold laser therapy on cancerous lesions.
What Are The Five Effects Of Coherent (Cold Laser Light)On Body Tissues?
There are basically five effects cold laser light has on living tissues as concerns therapeutic value.
Speeding Up Tissue Repair: Just like the sun is responsible for photosynthesis (which is the conversion of light energy into chemical energy), the light used in cold laser therapy acts to increase energy to the cells by aiding in the synthesis of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). Increased energy to the cells means increased cellular activity for all of the cell’s components that rely on this energy. Speeding up tissue repair also means less scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is a cheaper grade of tissue than never injured tissue. This is particularly important in tendons where they attach to muscles higher up in the leg where there are skeletal muscles. A scarred tendon has less elasticity than normal tendons.
Faster Collagen Formation: Much of an animal’s body tissue is composed of the protein known as collagen. Increased collagen production is necessary for rapid tissue repair, and as mentioned above, to decrease scar tissue formation. This is especially apparent where you see a gooey residue formation around wounds.
Increased Production Of natural Body Painkillers: Endorphins (endomorphines) are endogenous opiod biochemical compounds. They are peptides produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates, and they resemble opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a send of well-being. In other words, they might work as "natural pain killers. The term endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain or danger, supposedly due to the influence of endorphins, although this term does not occur in the medical literature.
Increased Lymphatic Drainage: Studies have shown that cold laser therapy can dramatically increase the size of the lymphatic ducts thus facilitating protein waste removal. This is especially important in the lower legs of a horse where circulation is limited.
Increased Vascularization: This means increased blood flow to the tissues because of increased capillary formation. That’s the best positive sign you notice when treating a wound. This happens to deeper tissues as well—the ones you can’t see such as muscles and tendons. But when you see blood vessel formation over a wound you know the tissue is starting to heal. Again, first and foremost, never take any chances with healing.
The use of a cold laser does not take the place of veterinary care. Before attempting to treat any condition on any animal, consult with a licensed veterinarian first and take their advice over anything you see here. The user of the cold laser (Vetrolaser) assumes full responsibility for their actions in its use in any way. The sellers or manufacturers of the Vetrolaser assume no responsibility for the actions of others who use this device.
Why do other cold lasers cost so much?
A quick search on the web will show you how much others charge for their Low Level Lasers. Most cost over $6,000.00! Why? It’s anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s because it cost these companies a lot to bring their laser to market and want to pass the cost on to you. Who knows? While other company’s lasers may be just as effective as ours, ours cost less. MUCH LESS!! When you buy a much more expensive laser are you getting more? Probably Not! The Vetrolaser equals or exceeds the specifications of the more expensive "BIG BOX" lasers.
And our lasers come with an instructional CD that shows you exactly how to use it—from turning it on to applying it on the horse as well as treatment protocols. Plus it comes with Dr. Kamen’s two animal chiropractic technique DVD’s (horse and dog).
And don’t forget about the 30 day money back guarantee! If you are not completely satisfied with the Vetrolaser send it back in perfect condition via traceable mail and I will refund your money. Note: This 30 day money back guarantee applies only to our class III lasers and not the class IV lasers.
How long will the rechargable battery last?
The battery is good for several hundred hours of use. When it eventually wears out you can buy a new one from Vetrolaser. The cost of a new battery is about $20 post paid.
About Dr Daniel Kamen, D.C.
Dr. Daniel Kamen, D.C. graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1981. He is the author of three books on animal chiropractic; The Well Adjusted Horse, The Well Adjusted Dog, and The Well Adjusted Cat. Aside from private practice, Dr. Kamen has conducted over 400 animal chiropractic seminars around the world, training thousands of veterinarians, chiropractors and others how to adjust animals. Dr. Kamen was featured on the front page of The Wall St. Journal and appeared on FOX PET NEWS, Animal Planet, The Late Show, and Good Morning America.