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Low-level laser therapy is known by several names. Most commonly, it is known as photobiomodulation therapy, low-power laser therapy, cold laser therapy or simply by the acronyms LLLT or PBMT.
Low-level laser therapy is a term that describes the therapeutic application of light to the body. First developed in 1967 by Endre Mester in Hungary, low-level laser therapy involves placing a light source near to or on the skin, allowing the photons to move through the tissue and interact with cells in the body. Mester first developed this method after finding that it improved hair growth and stimulated wound healing in mice. Shortly after his initial development of the treatment method, Mester explored the therapy’s ability to aid in the healing of skin ulcers in 1972.
Low-level laser treatment doesn’t involve the use of the high-powered lasers that most people are familiar with. Instead, low-level lasers, LEDs and broadband lights are used to emit red and near infra-red light with wavelengths of 632 nm to 1064 nm at 1 to 1000 mW. These low-power light sources do not generate heat, so they do not burn the skin during the therapeutic process.
Since the development of the process, the benefits of applying laser therapy treatments have been explored at length. The photochemical changes that occur in cells as a reaction to the application of light can help accelerate wound healing and tissue regeneration, increase circulation, reduce inflammation and even help manage pain.