Light therapy has gained significant ground since it was approved by the FDA in 2002, following a study in which laser treatment alleviated severe carpal tunnel pain. Today, the modality is used to treat chronic pain, and many professionals are investing in this technology to increase brand recognition and trust in their clinic or department.
Given its low cost, non-invasiveness, scientific backing and widespread application, if you haven’t invested in light therapy yet, it’s time to consider adding it to your therapeutic arsenals.
How It Works
Just how does light therapy help patients? Cold lasers and other forms of light therapy act on chromophores, light-absorbing molecules similar to chlorophyll in most human cells. Chromophores use the energy from absorbed light to produce ATP, which can be used to synthesize collagen, enzymes, DNA, RNA and other materials.
Even when healthy, we can all perceive this phenomenon on a larger scale. In bright, sunny weather, most of us feel energized and upbeat. In contrast, gloomy weather and prolonged periods in dark spaces make us feel lethargic and depressed. Just as sunlight in the right quantities offers restorative effects to the body as a whole, directed light at the right magnitudes and wavelengths produces resolution of inflammation. Lasers, LEDs, SLDs and other monochromatic light sources all produce beneficial effects.
Light therapy also reduces pain through additional pathways. At the appropriate wavelength, light exerts a direct, inhibitory effect on peripheral nerves, and helps manage the pain associated with arthritis.
A variety of applications of light therapy have significantly grown in popularity in the last decade, and the most common usage is for pain relief. Light therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain in the neck, lower back and other common sites of injury and overuse.
The Business Case for Light Therapy
Low-power laser and other light therapies have received a tremendous amount of positive press in the last few years, and rehab specialists and clinic administrators would do well to consider adding them to their repertoires. Treatments are quick, convenient, pain-free and non-invasive, and light is one of the few passive modalities with significant evidence of long-term results.
While some light equipment can seem prohibitively expensive, the multi-modality tools used in PT offices and other rehabilitation clinics are affordable, and there are few problems with insurers when treatments are correctly coded.
As light therapy garners more praise and approval — and as more states allow direct physical therapy access — patients will begin to seek out therapists who use it regularly in their practices Ultimately, light therapy may not just be in your patients’ best interests — it could become a must-have for your business.
Interested in bringing advanced light therapy to your patients? Learn more about the Solaris Plus: Cold, heat, electrical stimulation and soft-tissue mobilization in the palm of your hand.