Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a Western form of treatment used internationally and is supported by scientific literature, including research from Harvard University and NASA. The drug-free pain relief and healing benefits are described by Professor Michael Hamblin of Harvard University below:
“The use of low levels of visible or near infrared light for reducing pain, inflammation and oedema, promoting healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves, and preventing cell death and tissue damage has been known for over forty years.”
How does it work?
LLLT aims to biostimulate cells in the body without heating or cutting tissue like high intensity lasers. Instead it uses low powered wavelengths of light which are absorbed by injured cells, turning into biochemical energy which fuels tissue repair and has no adverse effects on normal-functioning cells. Laser therapy has been shown to stimulate the regeneration of bone, tendon, blood, the lining of blood vessels, cartilage, nerve muscle and much more. Moreover, it has been documented to enhance the quality of healed tissue such as post-operative scars.
How will it help my painful Achilles?
Low level laser therapy has the potential to powerfully reduce pain and inflammation, and promote healing of painful tissues in the foot and leg. Achilles tendinopathy (or tendonitis as it is often called) is a common ailment seen in Podiatry clinics, and a recent study by Stergioulas et al. found LLLT “accelerates clinical recovery from chronic Achilles tendinopathy when added to an eccentric exercise regimen”.1In other words, LLLT is used in conjunction with other therapies such as orthotics and rehabilitation exercises to ‘fast-track’ the healing process in many patients with Achilles tendinopathy seen at our clinic.
How many LLLT treatments will I need and is it safe?
The number of treatments required varies from patient to patient and depends on several factors including severity of injury and response to rehabilitation, but three-to-six treatments would generally be required with some patients with chronic injuries needing up to 15.
Regardless of the number of treatments LLLT has no know side effects, and is safe no matter how many sessions are required. By treating the underlying problem LLLT results in permanent pain relief and restoration of function.
Stergioulas A, Stergiolas M, Aarskog R, Lopes-Martins R, Rodrigo AB, Bjordal JM. Effects of low-level laser therapy and eccentric exercises in treatment of recreational athletes with chronic Achilles tendinopathy. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2008, pp881-7.