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  • Writer's pictureGenevieve Kirk


LASER works by using light energy of the visible to near infra-red range to increase the activity in the engine of the cell: the MITOCHONDRIA. These are a ‘sub cell’ of sorts, known as organelles, and are responsible for respiration. Respiration produces the energy for our bodies, in the form of ATP.

When an injury is present, a hypoxic environment is created, meaning reduced oxygen is available. This prevents mitochondria from doing their job efficiently and reduces the supply of ATP.

LASER provides benefits of:

- Pain relief

- Reduction of swelling

- Blood vessel growth

- Improved chemical composition of that area.

Within the mitochondria are molecules known as “Chromophores”, these are “photon-acceptors”. A “Photon acceptor” is basically a molecule capable of accepting energy from the LASER. Cytochrome C-Oxidase is and enzyme and the final photon acceptor in the chain of respiration in the Mitochondria and is theorised to be one of the main action sites of the LASER. The absorption spectrum of COX, meaning the wavelengths it is affected by ranges from 500-1110nm; which is important to note with regards to the wavelengths of the LASER/light therapy machine used for treatment (different wavelengths for different purposes).

COX is theoretically able to produce Nitric Oxide (NO) from Nitrite… Increasing COX activity through LASER application could increase the release of NO into the body. NO has therapeutic benefits of increasing blood vessel size (vasodilation), which will help revive and re-oxygenate the poorly oxygenated tissues that have suffered from injuries (as previously mentioned). Increasing this activity of COX also increases the ATP production and general mitochondrial activity, which increases the cell’s ability to function. Increasing the cell's function will increase the activity of that area and tissue, and enhance the repair process of the injured area.

Combined, this effect increases the delivery of fresh nutrients and oxygenated blood, increases the ATP/energy available to the injured tissue, and results in pain reduction, blood vessel growth, wound healing, reduction in swelling and reduction in pro-inflammatory chemicals… All very good benefits to the healing of the body.

The benefits of LASER make it suitable to treat a range of problems:

- muscle knots

- tendon and ligament problems

- swelling

- ischaemic tissues

- muscle trauma

- bone problems (Joint problems, arthritis, fractures)

Interestingly, Nitric Oxide can be supplemented by some natural sources: Pumpkin seeds. Alternative, natural supplements are gaining interest, and certainly have made me broaden my approach to supplements. Pumpkin seeds (and pumpkins themselves!) are high in a range of minerals, vitamins (especially A and E, BOTH excellent for muscle function and quality), and importantly Nitric Oxide. For a bit more on this, while we work on some info about natural supplement alternatives:



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M. Flaherty, “Rehabilitation therapy in Perioperative Pain Management,” Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, vol. 49, pp. 1143-1156, 2019.


X. Fu, J. Dong, S. Wang, M. Yan and M. Yao, “Advances in the treatment of traumatic scars with laser, intense pulsed light, radiofrequency, and ultrasound,” Burns and Trauma, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1-7, 2019.


L. Hochman, “Photobiomodulation Therapy in Veterinary Medicine: A Review,” Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, vol. 33, pp. 83-88, 2018.


K. C. Kennedy, S. A. Martinez, S. E. Martinez, R. L. Tucker and N. M. Davies, “Effects of low-level laser therapy on bone healing and signs of pain in dogs following tibial plateau leveling osteotomy,” American Journal of Veterinary Research, vol. 79, no. 8, pp. 893-904, 2018.


J. L. Wardlaw, K. M. Gazzola, A. Waqgoner, E. Brinkman, J. Burt, R. Butler, J. M. Gunter and L. H. Senter, “Laser Therapy for incision healing in 9 dogs,” Veterinary Sports Medicine and Physica Rehabilitation, vol. 5, no. 349, pp. 1-24, January 2019.


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