What is LLLT

LLLT (also called Photobiomodulation, Cold Laser or Low Level Laser Therapy)  is the application of light applied at particular wavelengths and parameters, with the goal being to speed and assist healing; the proposed mechanism is by speeding the inflammatory process in a curative manner.  LLLT confers analgesic relief, delivers a highly potent anti-inflammatory effect, and regenerates cells that are operating at suboptimal levels.

What is LLLT: James Carroll (THOR)Mike Hamblin (Harvard + Wellman Center for Photomedicine)How LLLT Works Video

LLLT References: The Nuts and Bolts of Low-Level Laser (Light) TherapySwedish Laser Medical SocietyBioflex siteTHOR siteChapter 4 of The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, Medscape LLLT osteoarthritis article

Systematic Reviews: BMJ frozen shoulder review, Lancet Neck Pain reviewBMJ Tennis Elbow reviewOpen Orthop J – Systematic Review Neck Pain

In the Media: LLLT for Athletes (with case profiles)An MD’s Perspective on LLLTFoxSports NFL ArticleToronto Raptors Meditech VideoChronic Pain Australian ArticleDr. Shulman (McGill, Dept. of Surgery) – Arthritis Article

Skeptic Sites:  Harriet Hall, Stephen Barrett, and Science-Based Medicine are tremendous resources and I have a great amount of respect for their huge bodies of work.   Dr. Barrett’s article on LLLT is perhaps too dismissive, as it demonstrates a lack of understanding with regards to the mechanisms of this technology.  He states that LLLT is no more effective than heat delivery, when in reality, properly-applied LLLT is actually athermal or without-heat.      

From The Laser Report – Winter 2015 (Meditech): “Laser therapy can increase the production of endogenous opiods, which in turn engenders an analgesic effect.  It produces a potent anti-inflammatory effect and promotes the regeneration of new cells including fibroblasts via an increase in the levels of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). The heightened proliferation rate of fibroblasts in turn can contribute to greater production of connective tissues, including procollagen type I and III as well as elastin. Additionally, Laser Therapy can increase angiogenesis, which is the formation of small collateral arteries, arterioles and capillaries resulting in increased arterial perfusion. These physiological activities will increase the blood supply to the [the foot].  In turn, this has the potential to counter some of the secondary effects that occur in the ageing process and accelerate the regenerative process.  Laser Therapy can offer a myoprotective effect, preventing the apoptosis of mynuclei.”


“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller