Using quantum mechanics to boost the healing process
Cold laser therapy, which is commonly used at the BNMC can be extremely beneficial for many types of injury, but how does it actually work? There are hundreds of thousands of different types of molecules in the human body, undergoing just as many different biochemical reactions all the time. Adding energy to the system (e.g. in the form of heat or light) increases the rate of these reactions.
Cold laser therapy takes advantage of this idea, and mixes in some quantum mechanics. Each type of molecule actually only absorbs bursts of energy (quanta) at a few specific wavelengths. Therefore, by choosing specific wavelengths of light, specific biochemical reactions can be accelerated.
Therapeutic cold lasers emit light in the near-infrared part of the visible light spectrum, at wavelengths of 920-630 nm. These wavelengths target molecules involved in cellular metabolism, increasing the speed and intensity of the inflammatory process so that cells can heal faster. That last one might seem a little weird. Why would you want to boost inflammation?
In fact, inflammation isn’t always a bad thing; it’s an important step in the healing process. It increases circulation of blood and lymph, which causes swelling but also increases the flow of nutrients into the area and waste products out. It also draws immune cells to the area to help with clean up and to prevent infection. All of this is important, but it can also be pretty uncomfortable. Cold laser therapy stimulates the inflammatory process in order to push healing to completion faster.
So, that explains why laser is great for a sprained ankle or a muscle strain, but why is it helpful for arthritis? Pain in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis is caused by cartilage degeneration. Cartilage pads the joint, and with that padding gone, the tissues around the joint get repeatedly injured with normal activity. This starts the inflammatory process so that the injured tissues can heal. Speeding up the inflammatory step decreases pain and improves healing time. Unfortunately, the pain will come back because the tissues will be injured again due to the loss of cartilage. Thus, regular laser treatments for patients with arthritis can keep the inflammation (and pain) to a minimum.
Talk to your doctor at the Boucher Naturopathic Medical Clinic to see if cold laser therapy might benefit you!
Vizniak, N. (2012) Quick Reference Evidence Informed Physical Assessment. Professional Health Systems Inc.
Vizniak, N. (2015) Quick Reference Evidence Informed Orthopedic Conditions. Professional Health Systems Inc.
Kumar, V., Abbas, A., Fausto, N., Aster, J. (2010) Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, 8th ed., Elsevier Saunders