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March, 2012

Low-Power Lasers in Practice: How They Work and How They Help

By Jeffrey Spencer, MA, DC, CCSP

There is not a chiropractor I know who doubts that we're living in a rapidly and dramatically changing world. Almost without exception, the most common comment I hear from them is that their new world includes more paperwork, longer practice hours and declining incomes, which is not exactly an inspiring combination. But it is a reality all of us must strategically confront and overcome to maintain a vital and vibrant practice moving forward.

Diversity is the Key to Success

A common strategy, employed by all the successful chiropractors I know, to support continued practice growth and stability in today's world is the inclusion of new and innovative clinical strategies to get and people well in the fewest visits, rather then placing the patient into long-term wellness care. To both get the patient back to full function and into wellness care, myself and many other chiropractors have made low-level laser therapy an essential part of every patients office visit. In fact, I always have my low-level laser with me to provide care anytime, anyplace and under any conditions.

For example, as I was being ferried to Sir Richard Branson's private island in the British Virgin Islands to work with him and his guests at a week long mastermind, I saw Sir Richard limping away from a small sailboat he just jumped out of on the beach. All I can say is how glad I was to have had my low-level laser in hand to treat his pulled hamstring the moment I met him beach-side to short cut his recovery. The laser, combined with adjusting, is one of the most potent healing combinations I know.

Low-Level Laser Use In The Chiropractic Model

The low-level laser is my most important modality because it supports health and healing in specific ways that my other techniques and modalities do not. It perfectly complements my adjusting and chiropractic philosophy by removing interference in the body that restores structure and function to the tissues and communication between the cells, tissues and the nervous system. An important feature of the low-level laser is that it not only provides its own health and healing benefits, but also enhances the benefits of my other modalities and techniques, thus creating a complete health and healing platform.

There are additional reasons why the low-level laser fits the chiropractic model perfectly, including:

  • It is a natural, non-invasive modality that uses photonic energy, or light energy, to remove interference to get and keep the body well.
  • The 635nm wavelength of the low-level laser I use activates biomodulation that supports the natural health restorative processes.
  • It removes muscle inhibition interference to restore full body tensegrity, which improves posture and control of movement.

Low-Level Lasers Value To Patient Care

The benefits of the low-level laser come from its 635nm wavelength, combined with manually programmed frequencies and low power output. The sum total of the low-level laser clinical benefits include a reduction in pain, improvement in muscle strength, better joint range of motion and improved body tensegrity, posture and function that in combination conserves energy and reduces focal wear and tear on body structure and loss of function.

The 635nm low-level laser wavelength offers the following benefits and is seen as a red light during a laser treatment because the wavelength is in the visible light spectrum:

  • When the low-level laser hits the tissues it stimulates the mitochondria to produce more ATP to power health restoring and maintaining biology.
  • Low-level laser light promotes vasodialation that increases nutrient flow to maintain tissue and organ health and increase circulation.
  • Laser light supports the body's natural antioxidant protection system by supporting catalase and glutathione peroxidase production that protect the body from free-radical damage.
  • Increased protein creation supports the body's natural repair process.
  • Healthy cell division is an essential component in the body's tissue repair and maintenance process.
  • The low-level laser helps control unwanted bacteria.
  • Low-level laser enhances immunity and supports regeneration.

Science has identified that pulsed laser light is more effective than straight laser light in promoting health. The low-level laser I use can be programmed with four separate frequencies.

Low-level lasers have less than one watt of power and many body control mechanism respond to low power stimulation rather than higher powered stimulation that can harm cells. The brilliant physicist, Ross Adey, showed that when specific frequencies are combined with the correct power, the optimal therapeutic effect occurs.

Body tensegrity, tension and posture can all improve with the low-level laser which together promote energy conservation, reduced strain on structure, and increased safety doing activities of daily living. And low-level laser up-regulation improves muscle responsiveness that can protect joints during movement, reducing the risk of injury.

Effectively Communicate

To build and maintain a thriving practice requires superior clinical skills matched with equally superior communication skills. Patients learn by visual, auditory and kinesthetic pathways, thus requiring all three methods be used in practice to educate patients as to the value of care which, in turn, improves patient compliance, outcomes and referrals. To facilitate patient education, I created a series of posters, CD's, handouts and DVD's that are available to low- level laser practitioners.

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