What is laser / photobiomodulation?
Photobiomodulation (PBM, previously known as laser) is the use of photons from light to create a therapeutic biological response in tissues. Light is used as a medicine, creating changes just as pharmacological and natural substances do. PBM used needs to be in the red to infra red spectrum between 630 nM and 1074 nM. PBM includes both LED and laser light. LED light is much lower in energy output, but is much cheaper to manufacture and with a series of lenses can be intensified to be therapeutic. LASER is a more pure light form at a very specific wave length that has the capacity to go deeper into the tissue.
Neurospace uses lasers at wave length of 808nM which is the range that is most effective for repair of peripheral nerves, neuropathic pain, general pain relief, and central effects in the brain. We also have the Gigalaser (www.powermediclasers.com/giga-laser) which offers deep penetration, with 808nM LASER, red LED (for reducing inflammation and pain; and aiding muscle relaxation), and blue LED (wound healing, anti-bacterial properties).
How does it work?
The biological effect of PBM is seen in a number of cells in the body. In particular the cells that repair and heal (macrophages, lymphocytes) are enhanced to allow regeneration. The negative effects such as too much inflammation (mast cells) are controlled. Research is emerging to support neurological changes including neuroprotective mechanisms in degenerative disorders (MS, PD, neuropathies) and healing or neural enhancement in acute damage (stroke, TBI, SCI). There is also support for preoperative laser to enhance healing after surgery (tumour removal, spinal surgery). PBM has repeatedly been shown not to cause cancer and where cancer already exists it may aid healing and offer better quality of life with the enhancing effects. Some of the negative effects of radiotherapy may be reversed with PBM.
PBM is medicine and there is both an art and a science in the delivery. The science is understanding the light delivered (wavelength, power, total energy); body tissue anatomy and physiology of what is targeted (eg. skin, muscle, nerve, lymphatics) and pathophysiology of the condition being treated. The art is understanding the person factors in sensitivity and responsiveness. Just like medication, people will respond in different ways to PBM.
We have been using laser treatment for 8 years now, with my original rationale for the treatment being around the neurophysiology of the disorder and the effect of laser. Over that time the amount of research has grown to support our work and encouraged us to keep using even more broadly than we are and we believe our results will continue to improve along with the research available.
What conditions is PBM good for?
Some of the amazing results we have seen are: the
- rapid healing of our personal sports injuries,
- changes in arthritic joints to have less pain and be able to do more activity,
- reversal of symptoms in people with Multiple Sclerosis,
- reduction in muscle tone in Parkinsons Disease
- and improved function post stroke.
- Speed of wound healing and recovery from post orthopaedic surgery has also been seen with our lasers.
- We have also used PBM to help Meniere’s disease, speed up recovery from vestibular neuronitis, and Bell’s palsy.
How often do I need to come?
Determining how much PBM is the right amount is part of the art of delivering PBM. In most cases, PBM needs to given as a course of treatment after the initial assessment and test dose.
A standard protocol over 10 weeks includes 8 sessions:
- Week 1 & 2: two treatments per week
- Week 3 & 4: one treatment per week
- Week 6: one treatment
- Week 10: one treatment
The treatment may stop then, or may need to be repeated at regular intervals. With neurological clients there is a need to keep providing doses of PBM to the nervous system with light energy on a regular basis to maintain the benefits.
If you would like to see if PBM can help you, please book in to see one of our therapists for an assessment and trial dose and to discuss the options.