Cold Laser Therapy Overview and FAQ

Introduction                            Picture

Light comes in a variety of forms. The light that we see is the visible part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. Just picture a rainbow. The light that is visible to us is a specific range of colors in that spectrum, but not the whole spectrum. Other parts of the spectrum are not visible, such as the ultra-violet light that tans (or burns) your skin. Low-level laser light is compressed light of a wavelength from the cold, red part of the spectrum, hence the name “cold laser.”

The cold laser is very different from natural light. When natural light hits your skin it produces heat that can damage your skin. Since a cold laser is one color, it travels in a straight line, is a single wavelength and it’s beam can be concentrated in a small area… it can penetrate the skin without heat, damage to your skin or any known side effects.

Two Types of Lasers

This is very different from what most people think of when they think of a “laser.” Most people think of lasers in the movies that burn holes or blow up things. That’s half correct. In reality, there are two types of medical lasers: High power and low power. High power lasers are used to cut through tissue while low-power lasers stimulate tissue repair and healing.

What Does Cold Laser Therapy Do?

Cold laser therapy is an application of red and near infrared light over an injured area to improve soft tissue healing and relieve both chronic and acute pain. Non heat producing or “cold” laser light energy directs light energy to the body’s cells without injuring them. Cold laser light dramatically boost the bodies natural healing response.

Since near infrared light waves penetrate the deepest of all the visible light waves, cold laser therapy optimizes the positive healing effects in the body, such as:                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  • Relieves acute and chronic pain
  • Increases the speed, quality and tensile strength
    of tissue repair
  • Increases blood supply
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Stimulates nerve function
  • Develops collagen and muscle tissue
  • Helps generate new and healthy cells and tissue
  • Promotes faster wound healing and clot formation
  • Reduces inflammation (swelling)


In conclusion, when red and near infrared light are focused in a “cold laser” and applied through the skin to an injured area, the bodies natural healing response is stimulated, and in many cases, it heals faster and better than without the laser. Cold Laser therapy is safe and effective for decreasing pain and healing many conditions.

There are more than 100 double-blind positive studies confirming the clinical effect of LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy). More than 2500 research reports are published. The book Laser Therapy – clinical practice and scientific background by Jan Tunér and Lars Hode is a good reference guide for literary documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Are Cold Laser Treatments Like?

Most cold lasers look like a flash light and emit a red beam of light. That beam of light is place over the area to be treated for any where between 3 and 15 minutes. The laser does not produce any significant amount of heat and is painless. Most patients say they do not feel anything at all. A few have reported a slight “tingling” sensation.

Is There Any Documented Research on the Efficacy of Cold Laser Therapy?

There are more than 100 double-blind positive studies confirming the clinical effect of cold laser therapy. More than 2500 research reports are published. More than 90% of these studies do verify the clinical value of laser therapy.   See an overview of some clinical laser studies here.

How Many Treatments Do I Need?

That all depends on you’re individual case and must be determined by a laser trained and qualified physician. The length of treatment recommended in the FDA study is 15 visits. Many people say they feel substantial relief after just a handful of treatments. Some after just one.

Does Laser Therapy Cause any Side Effects?

Laser therapy does not invoke side effects. In all the clinical trials which can be found in the up-to-date clinical literature no side-effects were ever observed during or after the treatment.

Some patients say they feel heat even if they are treated with high power Laser emission. Is Laser Therapy based on thermal effects?

The effectiveness of Laser therapy does not depend on thermal effects. The energy is delivered to tissues directly, and not through heat. The heat sensation is an indirect effect, due to the increase in the local circulation of the treated area.