What Is All This Talk About Laser Therapy?
The laser (Light Amplified Stimulated Emission of Radiation) recently had its 50th birthday. As an interesting historical twist, this technology was first called Light Oscillated Stimulated Emission of Radiation or “Loser”. This was never going to work, so the name was quickly changed to Laser. It’s a good thing, because Laser Therapy is a winner! I can tell you from personal clinical experience. Over two years I have had the opportunity to treat dozens of different conditions with Laser Therapy with remarkable success.
Low Level Laser was first found to have positive effects on biological tissues in the 1960′s. The technology was fine tuned and tested in a wide variety of ways and in a wide variety of conditions, from cancer to simple soft tissue wounds. The first laser cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration was in February of 2002 for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Presently this has been expanded to include: temporary increase in local blood circulation, temporary relief of minor muscle and joint aches, pains and stiffness, relaxation of muscle, and for minor pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Minor they say? I had the most painful condition I have ever experienced in my life, resolved with laser therapy in a matter of weeks after I had suffered for a year with no relief. I am not alone in my success, I have spoken to patients and doctors alike with success stories just like mine.
There are over 3000 scientific papers published and available for review on the National Institute of Health’s web page. Literally hundreds of double blind and randomized controlled studies have been done to date. Here is a short list of who is successful using laser therapy: The Navy SEALS and the U.S. Nuclear Sub Corp. The United States Army and Air Force are both experimenting with laser therapy for wound healing. NASA has been investigating and using laser therapy for years. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital is the world’s largest academic research facility dedicated to investigating the effects of light on humans. Earlier this year, the Naval Hospital research facility in Bethesda, Maryland was working towards ending paralysis from spinal cord trauma with laser therapy. They have already successfully reconnected transected spinal cords of 10 mice with 100% recovery. They indicated that the first human trials should be started within a year. Folks, this is BIG!
I have been using laser therapy for about a year and a half with great results. For two years before I started using laser therapy I looked at different models and classes of laser. I started small and worked my way up. Presently I own three Multi Radiance Medical Lasers and am looking to add another clinic unit to the office. My area took a big insurance hit over the last two years with deductibles and co-pays going sky high.
I added laser therapy as a cash service and it took up the slack from the insurance hit and then some. We made a handsome profit last year with out a lot of investment capital in equipment. I am looking for even better numbers this year.
The patients love it and it was easy to add to the mix of services I offer anyway. No extra rooms to set up or tables to by that take up space.
I am very happy with laser therapy.
Chris Carraway, DC, DIBCN, CLS
I have never used a therapy that has caused such miraculous results.!!!!! I have used 3 different types and the K-laser is by far above all the rest in results and patient confort. Very impressive!! If I could only have one therapy that would be the one.
Dr. Brad Batchelor
I have been using the MR4 for the past one year. Very good outcomes with less time spend on patient like other passive modalities. The patients seems to think of a miracle machine.
Can Ho, D.C., FAPS
Dr. Carraway sent me a plethora of laser therapy information and I am astounded at the number of people that are interested in laser treatments. Building a practice around this is simple.
Dr. Brad, We should talk. We might be able to do a very targeted marketing campaign to increase your laser patients.
There seems to be some confusion around who is actually licensed to administer the the K-laser class IV laser. While the website and sales people with K-laser say chiropractors and C.A.s are allowed to administer laser after a short training period, the OBEC says it is in fact not within the scope of license for either. Is this a therapy that has to be approved by each state even though it is FDA approved?
The answer to your questions has several facets. There are several classes of lasers. Class I, II, IIIa, IIIb and IV. I am not going to get into the details of each but basically classifications are the dangers to biological tissue that can be done by a particular class of laser. IV is the highest and I is the lowest.
Class I and II are not capable of injuring tissue. You can hold a Class II in the same spot on you arm for 5 minutes and it will not even warm the skin. A class IV will melt a hole in your arm. Class IV lasers require extra special care in use. Protective goggles must always be worn. You can not use a Class III or IV in the present of flammable gases. A Class IV can ignite clothing and burn hair. Most horrific is the danger the eyes with not only direct light but reflected laser light.
These types of concerns are simply not an issue with Class II and I lasers. It is not physically possible to cause these injurious affects with a Class I or II.
Now that being said. Is a Class II as effective as a higher power Class IV? Oh yes and then some. Not having the possiblity of tissue damage with a Class II allows a laser therapist to work on a region for a longer and more effective time than having to constantly be concerned about tissue injury while using a Class IV.
There are no studys showing that there is a superior photodynamic effect using a high powered quick laser doses as compared to longer less intense photodynamic stimulation. On the contrary, it has been proven that more frequent, shorter duration doses in a series do have a superior effect in many cases. Harvard Medical School has some excellent papers on this topic.
Concerning your question about who can and cannot administer laser therapy. The only law and regulations that are being put in to place, affect the usage of Class IIIa, IIIb and Class IV. Class I and II are not under examination for safety. Thier safety has already be established.
More and more states are requiring special training and licenses to even have a Class IV in your clinic. It is my understanding that Arizona requires state approved training an $850.00 a year license fee and yearly continuing education classes. Not classes in how to use the laser to get better results or on what treatment research is new, but classes just on safety protocols and current laws affecting the ownership and use of Class IV lasers. Many states are quickly moving along these lines.
The FDA clearance does not affect how a state is going to handle scope of practice, licensing and regulation of the use of Class IV lasers. Class II and I are not affected at all due to the nature of how safe they are.
There are two laser devices that are FDA cleared for home use. The Multi Radiance Medical Laser, The TQ Solo and a laser hair brush known as Hair Max. You mean you can buy one of these for comsumer use? Yes. There are cleared as safe for consumer use. I have a TQ Solo myself and it works wonderfully. It is even battery powered and small enough that it will fit in you pocket.
I feel confident that the trend for more laws concerning the regulation and education affecting the use of Class III and IV is a sure thing. States are watching other states and following thier lead.
That is a complicated but accurate answer to your question about laser scope and usage. The Class ranking of the laser is the dividing line.
Chris Carraway, DC, DIBCN, CLS
Leave a comment
Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.
Basic HTML code is allowed.