SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR MEDICAL LASER THERAPY
The use of laser in therapy and healing has been in existence for more than 40 years. Research is quickly progressing in identifying conditions that can be treated and in therapy laser technology.
Many published studies refer to laser therapy using the technical term photobiomodulation, or PBM. Other studies refer to the use of laser as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or High-Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT). Some studies are performed with isolated live tissue samples, some use animals, and some are performed on human subjects.
In the following sample list, there are links to the actual studies, as well as a brief description of the findings. There are hundreds more studies not listed here. This page and its content should not be interpreted as claims for curing, treating, diagnosing, vaccinating, or testing for any condition.
Laser therapy over the brain has been used to reduce opioid cravings in a study that reported it "was an effective and safe treatment for opioid cravings as well as for depression and anxiety."
The journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine presents evidence that laser can have great results in chronic conditions. "Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic disorder. [Laser therapy] significantly reduced pain and ring size and increased range of motion after five and seven treatments... The effects achieved after seven sessions persisted for 8 weeks."
Lasers in Medical Science has reported in 2014 and 2020 that high-intensity and low-level laser therapy is an effective modality for the recovery of patients with Bell's Palsy, even for diabetic patients.
Laser therapy has beneficial effects for cancer patients, including as "a preventative and therapeutic option" for oral mucositis, radiodermatitis, hyposalivation, lymphoedema, and neuropathy.
The European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine is reporting that high-intensity "LASER improved both positive and negative sensory symptoms" and was "better than TENS in improving both pain and paraesthesia" in patients suffering carpal tunnel symptoms.
"Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect" of cancer treatment. A 2018 review concluded that laser therapy is the only evidence-based non-drug treatment.
A 2018 study compared Botox injections and laser therapy for chronic migraine pain. They found that both treatments are equally effective at controlling pain, reducing medication use, and reducing sleep disturbance.
More is being learned about the harmful, life-changing effects of concussions, including "cognitive dysfunction, progressive irritability, suicidal ideation, and dementia." This is an injury that can occur in sports participation or even in a bad fall. In this study cited by Harvard-MIT, laser therapy is recommended for treatment. Another study reports "One exposure to a near-IR laser four hours after a head trauma significantly improves neurological performance and reduces lesion size."
Open wounds heal more slowly in diabetics, but wound healing in general can be challenging. This study, using a K-Laser, reports that "findings indicate that laser therapy delivered by a class IV laser can significantly impact the healing process" for those who have had failed conventional treatments.
In this study, laser therapy is said to be "an effective modality for improving nerve conduction, redistributing foot plantar pressures and relieving pain of painful diabetic polyneuropathy patients."
Researchers report "that laser therapy is effective on pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness, and total tender point number in fibromyalgia and suggests that this therapy method is a safe and effective way of treatment in the cases with fibromyalgia." Additionally, "None of the participants reported any side effects."
We utilize the fastest, most effective laser technologies available today. The treatments we perform are different from low-level/cold/Class III therapies available at other clinics, since we use a Class IV high-power laser. This study supports the improved results of high-intensity laser over low-level laser for knee pain.
New studies on laser therapy and low thyroid function showed that laser "promotes the improvement of thyroid function." Every participant needed less medication at long-term follow-up, and nearly half the test subjects no longer needed any levothyroxine treatment following the conclusion of the study.
Knee pain that is caused by osteoarthritis is a leading cause of surgical joint replacement. Research reports that laser therapy can eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for knee replacement surgery, and that "low level laser therapy should be incorporated into standard conservative treatment protocol for symptomatic knee arthritis."
This report states that "higher laser dose interventions" yield good results for relief of chronic, non-specific low back pain.
Inflammation is an essential component of many lung diseases, including asthma, COPD, lung cancer, and granulomatous lung diseases. Laser therapy "is able to reduce inflammatory reaction in lungs...without affecting the pulmonary function and recovery."
A multitude of studies demonstrates that laser therapy provides relief of acute and chronic neck pain, that pain relief is fast, safe, and should be included in recommendations for treatment of some neck injuries.
A 2018 review reported that laser therapy is "able to accelerate the process of nerve regeneration...[with a] decrease of inflammation, pain, and the facilitation of neural regeneration..."
This study reports that laser therapy "is an effective treatment modality to reduce pain and improvement of foot function in patients with chronic PF..."
"Raynaud’s is a disorder in which small blood vessels of the extremities have reduced blood flow when they are exposed to cold, or emotional distress. Under these conditions, the blood vessels go into spasms, causing pain, numbness, throbbing or tingling. Typically, the fingers are most commonly affected, changing from white and even blue within minutes of exposure, and then becoming red after being warmed...low-level laser therapy appears to be an effective treatment...
This study reports that for acute pain from sports injuries, "laser therapy provided an immediate pain relief effect."
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in the elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. A 2013 study indicates that high power laser therapy "is efficacious for the long-term relief of the symptoms associated with chronic epicondylitis."
Whiplash injuries occur with sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head. This type of injury is very common in automobile collisions, but also in falls, skiing accidents, and head trauma. "Results suggest that High Power Laser Therapy - is an effective treatment in patients with whiplash injury," especially compared to simple, traditional physical therapy.