• Dr. Jason Rountree

The best way to improve blood flow?

Updated: Nov 4

Today, I'd like to talk to you a little bit about increasing blood flow utilizing laser therapy. Now blood flow is essential for all the functions of all the tissues in your body. Every cell needs some level of input from blood flow. We're talking about oxygen delivery, nutrients and so forth. So, you need to have good blood flow if you're going to have healthy tissues. One of the things that happens in injury is blood flow is actually oftentimes reduced by the presence of swelling, and positive pressures that prevent enough blood flow from getting into the area. The process of less blood flow actually inhibits tissue healing. So, getting enough blood flow to an area is very, very important. That's one of the reasons that you'll be directed to try to minimize swelling to an injury by resting and elevating it.

What kind of medical conditions would benefit from increased blood flow? Well nerve damage. Big time. Neuropathy, nerve damage, can occur in many different conditions. It doesn't have many good solutions or treatments out there, but promoting better blood flow to those nerves can oftentimes greatly diminish the symptoms and even reverse some of the damage. So, if you can get more blood flow to damaged nerves, many times they heal and symptoms reduce quite well.

Same thing for a sprained ankle for example. If you get more blood flow there, the tissues heal faster. So, these athletic injuries, sprain/strains do much, much better if you can get more blood flow. Really name just about any condition and almost all of them can do much better with improved blood flow. The only thing, the only condition you would say wouldn't do better with more blood flow would be an active hemorrhage. Right? If you're bleeding, you really don't want more blood flow.

So here's the study I'll be referring to today- Limb Blood Flow After Class Four Laser Therapy

Blood Flow is Important

The study says that laser therapy induces changes in blood flow and microcirculation to promote healing by controlling ischemia, hypoxia, and edema after injury. So, ischemia is a lack of blood flow. Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen, and edema is swelling. Those three things together, if you can control those factors, then you can limit the amount of damage that takes place over time and also speed up healing. The authors of the study say increased circulation in and around the injury zone creates a favorable environment for biological repair after a musculoskeletal injury. Musculoskeletal injury is anything involving the muscles or the skeleton. Fractures, sprain/strains, rotator cuff tears, things like that.

What the researchers did is they applied laser to the bicep muscle using a K-Laser device, and then measured blood flow in the forearm. What is a K-Laser?

Not just any kind of laser will do; not all lasers are the same. You've got lasers that can shoot down drones. And you've got a laser pointers that people use every day in presentations. What are we talking about here when we say laser for therapy and specifically for improving blood flow.? Well the authors discuss Class 3B lasers versus Class 4 lasers. Now Class 3 lasers mean power of five to 500 milliwatts. So that's what we consider a low powered laser or a cold laser, or low intensity laser. Whereas Class Four lasers are any lasers that emit power more than 500 milliwatts. So. From 500 milliwatts up to one Watt, even as far as 20 or a hundred Watts, those lasers are all in the Class 4 category.

The paper says, Class four lasers can emit greater photonic energy and a shorter period of time than Class 3B lasers without producing an appreciable rise in tissue temperature under normal treatment protocols. So what that means is you can take one of these high powered Class 4 lasers and apply it in a way with the right settings and obviously using the right type of equipment too, that instead of heating up tissues, you are delivering the same type of laser effects as the lower powered lasers, just in a shorter period of time. The paper also says this higher power becomes important when treating injuries to deeper tissues, such as ligaments, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Several published reports have questioned the ability of low power lasers to effectively transmit energy beyond the skin and to deep musculoskeletal tissues.

K-Laser Treatment

So what is a K-Laser? It is a Class 4 laser specifically designed to safely and effectively treat injured tissues and reduce pain. Again, what these researchers did is they applied class four K-Laser to the bicep muscle, and then they measured blood flow before and after and during the treatment, down in the forearm with the hypothesis, the idea that lasering the bicep would actually improve and increase circulation downstream from where they lasered. And that's exactly what they saw. They applied in four minutes there, they measured the blood flow and they said for a three, want dose increases in blood flow from baseline levels were observed at minute four of treatment, so right in the last minute of the treatment, and persisted for up to two minutes after treatment. Even after the laser was discontinued, they still saw ongoing improvements in blood flow. They did not observe any changes in blood flow for a 6-watt setting, a one Watt setting or a sham dose. Want to get more details? Check out the podcast.

So, what's the conclusion there? Well, they say that a properly designed laser treatment protocol with appropriate dose guidelines is a viable therapy to increase limb blood flow. So, not just any injury, not just any laser, not just any power setting, you have to have the right protocols. You have to have the right equipment. You must be targeting the tissues correctly for this to really work well. And that is probably why a lot of folks out there who have tried laser don't necessarily see some of the results that that should be achievable.

Kalispell K-Laser Therapy

So, if you're dealing with a condition that could improve quickly with better blood flow, whether that be a sprain/strain injury, muscle tear, rotator cuff tear, arthritis, any of these conditions that could improve with better blood flow, you might want to look into laser therapy. You can get a no-charge consultation with us to see if laser therapy might be an option for you by calling us right now!

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