How Does Cold Laser Therapy Work and Is it a Viable Biohack

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After an injury or a seriously strenuous workout, the human body needs time to heal and repair itself. Today, that healing and repairing are being biohacked by a device / process called cold laser therapy. If you’re searching for information on cold laser therapy, how it works, its benefits, and results, read on. We’ve got the hot scoop on cold laser therapy below!

What Is Cold Laser Therapy?

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), commonly referred to as cold laser therapy (CLT), is a biohack that uses light at a specific wavelength to speed up the healing process of specific tissues such as skin and muscle. Proponents of cold laser therapy say that it:

  • Can be used for both acute and chronic conditions.
  • Reduces and eliminates pain.
  • Reduces swelling of the skin and surrounding tissue.
  • Reduces muscle spasms.
  • Increases the functionality of muscles and supporting tissues.

How Does Cold Laser Therapy Work?

Most cold laser devices are handheld and thus relatively small and compact. (About the size of a small flashlight.) During use, the cold laser device is held in position over the body area that needs therapy, whether it’s the arm, leg, chest, etc. (There are much larger CLT devices that you can lie down in, however, similar to a tanning bed.)

Typically, the cold laser device is held in place for 30 to 60 seconds, although this can be extended depending on the size and severity of the injury. It also depends on the device itself and the dose of light that it provides.

Cold lasers produce non-thermal (i.e., non-heat-producing) light photons, thus the name “cold laser.” These non-thermal protons are said to pass through the upper layers of the skin, including the epidermis and dermis. They’re also reported to pass into the fat under the skin, what scientists refer to as ‘subcutaneous tissue.’ Indeed, it’s said that the protons from cold laser devices can penetrate upwards of 5 centimeters below the skin, which is deep enough to affect the muscles, ligaments, and tendons as well.

That’s where this biohack gets interesting. It’s said that as the protons (light energy) penetrate the skin and reach their intended target (tissue damaged by an accident, chronic condition, or strenuous workout), that target absorbs the photons, reacting with them to promote healing. 

Some scientists liken the cold laser therapy process to plant photosynthesis, where plants absorb sunlight and synthesize food via the chlorophyll in their cells.

In the human body, our cells do something similar (theoretically), returning the damaged tissue to normal by reducing inflammation and edema (swelling) and increasing the cell’s metabolism so that it heals faster. 

In short, the light energy produced by a cold laser device penetrates the skin and reacts with the damaged cells underneath to promote faster healing. The protons help the cells to regenerate, healing themself and healing the area that’s been affected.

Different Wavelengths Can Be Used with Cold Laser Therapy

Like some other biohacks, cold laser therapy can be increased or decreased depending on the area of the body that needs treatment. For example, if a person has a skin condition, the wavelength used would likely be 600 to 700 nanometers, which would only penetrate through the first layers of the skin.

However, if the problem were deeper, as with the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, a wavelength between 780 and 950 nanometers would typically be used.

  • Cold Laser Therapy is Not Painful

    When they first hear the name “cold laser,” many people falsely believe that the treatment will be painful. That’s not the case, as the procedure is both painless and also non-invasive. You won’t feel any heat, vibration, or, basically, anything besides the device touching your skin.

    What Are the Most Common Uses for Cold Laser Therapy?

    Many medical professionals today commonly use cold laser therapy, including dentists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and several others. In most cases, it’s used to bring relief from both pain and inflammation. Some of the common maladies cold laser therapy is used to treat include:

    • Tendinitis.
    • Lower back pain.
    • Ligament sprains.
    • Knee pain.
    • Swelling.

    Cold Lasers Are Especially Good for Reducing Inflammation

    One of the most common uses for cold laser therapy is reducing inflammation, which can be caused by a wide variety of health problems and strenuous exercise. Some docs treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases with CLT because it reduces inflammation so well.

    Dermatologists Love Cold Laser Therapy

    One of the most prominent biohacking advocates of cold laser therapy are dermatologists, who use it to help rejuvenate their patient’s skin and treat several different skin problems, including:

    • Psoriasis
    • Edema (swelling)
    • Dermatitis
    • Acne and the scars it can cause
    • Burns
    • Vitiligo (loss of skin pigment in patches.)

    Researchers are Studying Cold Laser Therapy Closely

    Typically, when a new-ish treatment is discovered (and if it holds water), researchers will quickly latch on to it to determine how it works, why it works, and other applications where medical experts might use it successfully.

    In the case of cold laser therapy, researchers believe that it does show promise, so they’re researching it vigorously to determine whether it can help other conditions and elements. They include:

    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Injuries to the spinal cord
    • TBI (traumatic brain injuries) 
    • Wounds caused by diabetes

    An excellent sign that cold laser therapy does indeed work is that it’s been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat several different health problems and conditions. It’s also considered safe, primarily because it’s non-invasive, doesn’t require the use of painkillers, and, when used correctly, causes no side effects.

    Multiple CLT Treatments are Necessary

    One caveat is that, to see results, multiple cold laser therapy treatments are usually needed. However, several CLT devices are now available for use at home. Some are relatively inexpensive while others are not, and the results may vary from one to the next. Below is a list of the most popular devices on the market right now:

Last Words

As far as biohacks go, cold laser therapy seems to be one of the most promising. It’s FDA approved, which is a big, positive step. It’s also used by thousands of healthcare experts, and there are CLT/LLLT devices now available for home use. In other words, it’s widely accepted and thought to be effective. Compared to many other biohacks, that’s high praise and more than enough evidence to give it a try for your particular ailment(s).

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