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Red Light Laser Therapy

Red Light Laser Therapy at Sampsell Physical Therapy and Functional Wellness

Since our incorporation of Red Light Laser Therapy in our practice we have seen excellent results treating many conditions. We use a specially engineered device which emits a cold laser and red light which is absorbed by both the injured and healthy cells. This light produces energy to help repair the cells and accelerate the healing process. You could see results after only one or two treatments. It will also mean that you will need to be seen for fewer visits than conventional physical therapy clinics.


What is Red Light Laser Therapy?

Light Therapy is also known as photobiomodulation. It entails the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near infrared) to generate a photochemical response in damaged or dysfunctional tissue.

The light works by creating an increase of vasodilatation (blood supply), bringing in oxygen to the cells. It stimulates the lymphatic system, pulling edema and inflammation from the area. ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) production is stimulated in the cells helping them have the energy to function normally. The pain reflex is broken, offering immediate relief of pain.

Light therapy can alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery from a wide range of acute and chronic clinical conditions. Significant reduction in edema (swelling) has been noted as well as tissues are better able to move fluids out through lymphatic drainage pathways.

The number of treatments required depends on the nature of the problem and the length of time the patient has been affected by it. Some conditions may be resolved with as few as one treatment. However, chronic and/or deep-seated conditions may take as many as 10 treatments.

Light therapy technology has been recently endorsed by professional organizations such as the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), World Health Organization (WHO) and International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). There are no known side effects from LASER therapy and the results are long lasting.

What can Red Light Laser Therapy be used for?

Light Therapy has been proven to be effective for a wide variety of conditions. Some of them include:

  • Tendinitis
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Knee and Shoulder Pain
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Myofascical Trigger Points
  • Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Sprains, Strains
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries
  • Chondromalacia Patellae
  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Degenerative Joint Conditions
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Osteoarthritis (OA)
  • Neurogenic Pain
  • Post-traumatic Injury

Is Red Light Laser Therapy painful?

No, the therapy is painless and totally non-invasive. There is just a deep, gentle warmth as your body’s cells respond to the light.

Is Red Light Laser Therapy safe?

The FDA has proven that the therapy is safe. The only contraindication (warning) is for use directly in the eye. The laser was first approved on Feb. 11, 2002 for the treatment & management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Does Red Light Laser therapy really work? Yes! Research has demonstrated that:

- Injuries treated with Light therapy heal faster

- Light Therapy has a strengthening effect on tissue repair

- Light Therapy improves blood flow & lymphatic drainage

- It is an effective means of relief for many pain syndromes

- It can improve immune response

How does the Red Light Laser treatment work?

Treatment for pain is performed by the physical therapist by placing the Red Light in contact with the skin allowing the photon energy to penetrate tissue, where it interacts with various intracellular bio molecules resulting in the restoration of normal cell function. This enhances and essentially speeds the body’s natural healing processes.

The treatment process results in a disappearance of symptoms. Additionally, the immune system response is stimulated, Lymphatic drainage is improved, production of growth hormone is increased, and the body’s natural healing processes are enhanced and essentially sped up.

What are the effects of Red Light Laser Therapy?

Physiological Effects:

  • Biostimulation including improved metabolism & increased cell metabolism
  • Improved blood circulation and vasodilatation (blood supply)
  • Analgesic (pain relieving) effect
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous effects
  • Acceleration of tissue repair and wound healing
  • Relieves acute and chronic pains
  • Increases the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair
  • Increases blood supply
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Stimulates and improves nerve function
  • Develops collagen and muscle tissue
  • Helps generate new and healthy cells and tissue
  • Promotes faster wound healing and clot formation
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Angiogenesis (improved circulation)
  • Reduction in fibrous tissue (scar tissue) formation

How long is each treatment?

Treatments last between 5 and 10 minutes depending on your injury and the body part being treated.

How many treatments are required before I see results?

You should notice improvements to your condition within 5 to 10 brief treatments, often times sooner in 1-2 treatments.

Sampsell Physical Therapy and Functional Wellness has been utilizing the Red Light Laser Therapy for almost a decade to treat many acute and chronic orthopedic conditions as an adjunct to many manual techniques and superior assessment to properly identify the source of your problem to properly treat it quicker and more efficiently and safer than conventual physical therapy clinics. The fact that every one of our patients gets 1 hour of treatment gives us the ability to utilize all of our tools and expertise.

What does power or wattage have to do with Laser Physical Therapy

The biggest challenge in photobiomodulation therapy is getting light energy in sufficient quantity to injured tissues. Skin does an excellent job scattering and reflecting most of the light that it is introduced to it. Additionally, melanin absorbs most of the remainder of light into the skin, leaving very little to get transmitted below skin level. When normal white light or sunshine hits the skin, very few photons get past this impressive gate keeper.

As if the natural barriers to light weren’t enough, most injuries involve dozens to hundreds of square centimeters of tissue damage. When larger areas need to be treated, even more power is needed at the surface to maintain the same therapeutic dose at depth over the entire treatment area. Therefore, even if you are using a laser that has the appropriate wavelengths to penetrate tissue ideally, but has a very low level of overall power, you will only be able to effectively treat very small areas. Additionally, treatments may take 30 minutes or longer.

The higher wattage Class 4 lasers (anything above 0.5W) allow for sufficient laser energy to be passed onto nerve, muscle, ligament, tendon, and/or capsular tissue in a reasonable amount of time. Normal treatment sessions range from 3-10 minutes, which is quite acceptable in a clinical setting. Higher powered lasers will also allow clinicians to have the versatility to treat injured tissue in multiple areas in a given session, which greatly improves the overall effectiveness of the laser when adding it to a plan of care.

Here at Sampsell PT, we have a 15 W Laser, one of the strongest and most pwerful on the market today. this is an incredible amount of energy to produce the effects that pain relief and healing require.

Can laser be effective as a post-surgical treatment for pain?

Absolutely! Some of the most consistently reported benefits of laser therapy are related to reduced pain after treatment. Research has shown that PBM can speed up the healing process of certain tissues through increased cellular metabolism. For post-surgical patients, appropriate doses of light energy can be delivered to effectively reduce pain, without negatively impacting the body’s natural healing process5.



Can laser be used over metal/implants?

Yes, laser can be used over metal implants/ hardware.  At the irradiance levels used with LightForce equipment, light will simply bounce off of metal.  There will be no heating that takes place at depth when using LightForce® lasers within recommended parameters.



Is laser effective for treating arthritis?

The suffix, –itis comes from the Greek that denotes inflammation. Several studies have shown that laser is an excellent therapy to help address the symptoms related to both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. While it will not restore damaged cartilage, it can help improve ROM of the affected joints and help reduce pain so that functional levels can be maintained, NSAIDS can be reduced, and in some cases, more invasive procedures can be delayed or prevented.

For more information about Light Therapy, contact us today!

3 Reasons to Chose Sampsell Physical Therapy: 

1. Every patient will receive one on one treatment. They will be my only patient while they during their appointment, which differs from the 2-4 patients being seen an hour in other clinics routinely

2. Every patient will receive 1 full hour of treatment every session, one on one. No paperwork, no other patients, no other phone calls. 100% attention is to the patient the entire time. Other clinics will routinely be on the laptop doing paperwork during their session and attention to other patients, staff and “busy work” will be performed.

3. Every session will be my me and my 23 years of experience. No lesser credentialed therapists like a physical therapy assistant or tech, who may or may not have a high school diploma. There will be continuity of care this way, decreasing risk of miscommunication and treatment maintaining the highest level every session.

4. Immediate appointments that will be within 24-48 hrs of calling. Most clinics are short handed, decreasing level of care, continuity and availability, often hiring less qualified staff that will decrease care.

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