Albert Einstein is often credited for the development of Laser Theory. He used the term “stimulated emission” in his theory Zur Quantum Theories der Strahlung which was published in 1916. The healing effects of the laser were not discovered until over 50 years later
A few years after the first working laser was invented in 1967, Endre Mester at the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, performed tests on mice to determine whether or not laser exposure caused cancer. In his experiments he shaved the hair off the backs of mice and divided the subjects into two groups. He exposed one group to laser treatment using a low-power laser while the control group received no laser therapy. The mice who received laser therapy experienced much faster hair regrowth than the control group. Thus, photo-biostimulation (activation of the cell by light) was discovered.
Low power lasers became accessible for the treatment of pain in the late 1970’s and have been widely utilized around the globe by health practioners in a variety of settings. These early lasers were only slightly more powerful than modern keychain-sized laser pointers (about 5 milliWatts (mW)) that can be purchased for a few dollars at any office supply store. The extremely low power limited the use of these lasers to superficial wound treatment, as they were unable to penetrate the skin.
More Powerful Lasers
It wasn’t until the FDA approved the Class IIIB lasers for therapeutic use that the miraculous benefits of Laser Therapy really became recognized. Class IIIB lasers (commonly called “Cold Lasers” or Low-Level Laser Therapy [LLLT]) were limited to 500 mW (about 100 times more powerful than a modern-day laser pointer) of power which allowed them to treat conditions just below the skin, as they were able to penetrate about half a centimeter into the tissue. This opened up the field of Laser Therapy to other tissues including ligaments, tendons and muscles that were located very close to the skin.
In 2006 the FDA created the 4th classification of therapeutic lasers – known as Class IV Lasers. This was the birth of High Power Laser Therapy (HPLT). The FDA classified Class IV lasers as operating between 500 mW (Class IIIB) and 7,500 mW. This is about 15 times more powerful than the previous generation “Cold Lasers”. This means that the latest generation of laser can penetrate much deeper than the older laser units and deliver results in a fraction of the time.
In June of 2011, Health Canada approved the use of a 12,000 mW, high power laser, which is able to penetrate even more deeply into the tissue and deliver healing light energy in even less time. This allows the clinician to treat almost any tissue in the body, from superficial cuts and burns to deep-seated disc pathologies to arthritic changes deep within a joint.
The only Laser Therapy unit currently available in Canada with this much therapeutic power is the K-Laser 12W High Power Laser Therapy Unit. The staff at Pro Motion Physiotherapy is proud to be able to offer its healing benefits to their clients!