Cold Laser Therapy has been used in clinical practice all around the world for over four decades. In 1916, Albert Einstein conceived the theory of Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation or LASER. In 1967, Professor Andre Mester began using low power lasers in medicine. Dr. Mester is recognized by many as the grandfather of laser therapy.
F.D.A Recognition of Cold Laser Therapy
The F.D.A classifies medical lasers into three categories:
- Class 4 Surgical Lasers
- Class 3B Non-surgical Lasers
- Class 3A Low-Level Lasers
Class 4 Surgical Lasers are used to cut, coagulate, and vaporize tissue. This is different from Class 3B and Class 3A non-surgical lasers, which are painless, non-burning, and non-cutting forms of lasers. Class 3B or Class 3A Low Level Lasers do not have the intensity to damage cells. Class 3A lasers help heal superficial wounds and conditions and will typically not penetrate below the skin’s surface. However, Class 3B low level lasers have the ability to penetrate and assist in the healing process of deep tissue and joint problems.
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The first experimental FDA clearance of Class 3B Lasers occurred in February of 2002, after a successful study for carpal tunnel syndrome on workers at General Motors. The laser that was used had a power of 90mw at 830nm.
Certain low level laser devices are also FDA approved for relief of the following conditions3,4:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Stiffness associated with arthritis
- Pain associated with muscle spasms
- Hand pain and wrist pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Wound healing
- Hurwitz, EL, Carragee EJ, vander Velde G, et al. Treatment of neck pain: noninvasive interventions: Results of the bone and joint decade 2000-2010 task Force on neck pain and its associated disorders. Spine 2008;33:S123-152.
- Hopkins, JT, McLoda TA, Seegmiller JG, Baxter GD. Low-level laser therapy facilitates superficial wound healing in humans: A triple-blind, sham-controlled study. J Athl Train. 2004 Jul–Sep; 39(3): 223–229.