Lasers are important diagnostic and therapeutic tools in medicine nowadays, especially in the field of surgical indications and interventions.
However, there is also a big trend since many years trying to open laser therapy for other indications than tissue heating or coagulation. Destructive and healing effects in medicine are often dose-dependent and thus very close to each other.
It is already well known that (low-energy-) laser light can induce regenerative effects as well. This kind of laser therapy is commonly referred to as soft-laser-, cold-laser-, low-intensity-laser or low-level-laser therapy.
Without light there is no life. All life developed within the natural light spectrum that contains the visible colours as well as parts of the UV and near-infrared spectrum. As all cell, organ and organic molecules developed within this spectrum, each of these components is able to absorb light of specific wavelengths, leading to the stimulation or inhibition of reactions within the body.
There are already thousands of research publications on this topic, showing biological effects of low-level-laser light on cell cultures, organs, animals and humans. The examination of all this work illustrates a virtually endless potential of low-level-laser therapy that is by far not completely developed yet.
It is already common knowledge that low-level-lasers can accelerate wound-healing and stimulate the immune system by various means.
However, the key mechanism of low-level-laser therapy is the absorption of light by mitochondria, leading to increased energy supply of cells. It is well known today that the key of life lies in mitochondria. The main energy supply (ATP) build in these (thousands) organelles is maintaining all processes within the human body. As mitochondria developed in the natural light spectrum as well, it’s no wonder that the different complexes of the mitochondrial respiratory chain can absorb and be stimulated by light of different wavelengths. The adequate wavelengths are exactly the different colours of the visible spectrum.
Unfortunately, we humans cannot use the sun light directly although our life depends on it. A subcarrier is needed: The chloroplasts of the green plants. The contained chlorophyll absorbs red and blue light from sunshine (absorption spectrum) and builds oxygen and carbohydrates (action spectrum) which are exactly the components needed for human mitochondria’s ATP production.
At this point, the connection becomes evident. Unfortunately, mitochondria (“power station of the cell”) have a limited life span. The problem is the exposed DNA within mitochondria that is affected by several damages and mutations during life. Therefore, decreasing functions and mitochondrial degenerations with well-known effects of aging and subsequent cell death cannot be avoided.
Unfortunately, sun light cannot penetrate more than superficial layers of the skin. Organs like liver, kidney or heart can’t be supplied with additional energy with this kind of “light therapy”.
Here’s the chance for laser therapy.
A very promising field is the new transcranial laser application by highly focused infrared lasers as it enables us to bring laser light through bones directly into the human brain. Thus, this therapy is a very exciting new treatment option for stroke or other degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s sroke, brain injury etc.
The transcranial (infrared) laser therapy in combination with IV laser therapy is an innovative and promising new treatment option for stroke, TBI,comatose or other cerebral disorders.
Transcranial laser application with direct irradiation of the human brain is done with highly focused infrared lasers due to the ability of infrared light to penetrate bones and bring the light energy into the targeted brain areas.Studies could show that only infrared laser light is able to penetrate skull bone and liquor for successful stimulation of the human brain with sufficient energy dosage.
Various experiments could demonstrate that transcranial infrared laser therapy improves intra-cerebral microcirculation and reduces the area of infarction. Additionally, activation of neuronal growth after laser therapy could be observed.
The mechanism behind this approach seems to be an induction of biochemical metabolic pathways within the neurons. The light spectrum of infrared light is equivalent to the absorption spectrum of copper ions in the cytochrom-c-oxidase (terminal enzyme complex of the inner mitochondria membrane). Thus, it can be supposed that infrared laser irradiation leads to increased mitochondrial ATP production. Due to the increased energy metabolism in the penumbra and a reduced rate of apoptosis, neuro- reparative processes are achieved.
The improvement of microcirculation especially in central nervous structures. In particular, this is mostly important in the hypothalamus due to its highly developed vascular micro system.Intravenous blood irradiation is stimulating the functional activity of the hypothalamus and limbic system, leading to an activation of hormonal, metabolic, immunological and vegetative processes with mobilization of adaptive reserves
Cytochrome- c-oxidase is the terminal enzyme of the respiratory chain and the most important photon acceptor in the red and infrared range. NADH-dehydrogenase is the starter complex of the respiratory chain and absorbs the photons in the blue range.
Laser irradiation in the red/infrared range leads to oxidation of the cytochome-c-oxidase
Externally applied lasers are already absorbed by approx. 80 % at the surface of the skin. Thus, nobody knows how much energy is really applied to the treated area/ damaged tissue. General recommendations cannot be made due to the difference of each individual human in terms of skin colour, thickness of skin/ tissue etc.
Questions of dosage and other issues remain unclear in external laser therapy. Additionally, there are certain limitations for external applications: The well-known anti-inflammatory effects of blue laser light cannot be achieved deep in the tissue as blue light is already absorbed completely in the first millimetres of the skin.
The new Endolaser® technology solves this problem. The fibre optic technology with special catheters puts low-level-laser therapy on level with natural science standards. Laser light of all different wavelengths (also blue) can now be applied anywhere in the body with exact dosage, i.e. at the spine (interstitial), in joints (intra-articular), at damaged nerves, directly in the blood system (intravenous) or photodynamically in tumour tissue.
Especially intravenous laser therapy has to be highlighted as it’s the only method able to generally supply the body with energy (by systemic intravenous application) which is of high importance in all chronic diseases, the so-called “body contouring” (weight loss) or the new area of modern stem cell therapy.
Blue laser: Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, increase of blood circulation by increase of NO-release and improved tissue supply, stimulation of mitochondria (NADH-dehydrogenase at complex I)
Green laser: Increase of oxygen supply by detaching of adhesive haemoglobin from vessel walls, stimulation of the sodium-potassium-ATPase of the erythrozyte membrane, stimulation of mitochondria (cytochrome-c-reductase at complex III)
Red laser: Increase of cell activity and microcirculation, stimulation of the immune system by stimulation of different leucocyte groups, increase of fibroblasts activity and improvement of wound healing, stimulation of mitochondria (cytochrome-c-oxidase at complex IV)
Infrared laser: Increase of ATP production by stimulation of mitochondria (at complex IV)
The IV laser brings about following changes
– Decrease of other inflammation markers such as C – reactive protein and neopterin levels.
– Normalization of the cell membrane potential
– Increase of the immunoglobulines IgG, IgM and IgA
– Stimulation of interferons, interleukins and TNF-alpha
– Stimulation of the proliferation of lymphocytes And Increase of phagocytic activity of macrophage fibroblast migration macrophage activity
– Stimulation of the NO-production in monocytes with vasodilatation and improvement of endothelial dysfunction
– Increase ATP production andRNA /DNA synthesis
– Increases Electromotive action acting on membrane bound ion channels
– Increases intracellular /extracellular ion gradient changes
Physiological effects of laser light
– Remarkable increase of the microcirculation as well as a boost of adenosin, STH and FGF (Fibroblasts-Growth-Factor) after infrared laser irradiation of rabbit tissue.
The technical and clinical advancements from the last years in all those different medical fields open up a new world of laser therapy with endless indications and therapeutic interventions- a fascinating world one cannot leave once one got started.