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Which low level laser is right for you? by Dr. Larry Lytle
 

The FDA has approved many types of cutting lasers for both medicine and dentistry. The first low level laser was cleared for myofacial pain in 2001. The FDA classifies all lasers, whether they are industrial or medical, according to their radiation hazard on the eye as Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 with subdivisions of some of the classes. The Radiation Hazard Classification is not difficult to obtain, however the FDA also requires lasers used for treating humans to be classified under the Medical Devices Division. Getting the laser classified here is much more difficult because the FDA requires efficacy, or proof, that that the lasers do work and they do what the manufacture claims, without harming the patient. The Radiation Hazard Classification is determined by potential risk to the eye. There are several factors that enter into this determination. Collimated means that the laser comes to a point, such as laser pointers, and maintains this beam at distances depending on the power applied. The US military depends on lasers to guide bombs. NASA depends on lasers to guide the spacecraft. To accurately measure a laser for eye risk, the laser-measuring instrument is placed 20 centimeters from the light beam source. If the laser beam is not collimated, but allowed to diffuse, low level lasers are very safe. Low Level Lasers Inc has registered Industrial lasers, the predecessors to the Q1000, which have been classified as Class 1, or a non significant risk, based on testing done by Stoney Brook University and Underwriters Laboratory. Worldwide research has shown benefit from LEDs as well as true laser diodes. LEDs are light emitting diodes, and basically are different colored miniature light bulbs. They are inexpensive and are used extensively in industry. Some companies have made clusters of LEDs for human use. The FDA does not regulate LEDs in the same manner as laser diodes therefore companies can advertise their product as FDA approved. Unfortunately many people are mis-led to believe that these LEDs are lasers and have the same benefit as true lasers. You can learn more about wavelength and power in other lessons. In general a low level laser is considered anything below 1 (one) watt of power regardless of the wavelength. Remember 1 watt is the same as 1000 milliwatt written as 1mW. Wavelengths are measured in nanometers or 1000th of a millimeter written as 1nm. Most low level lasers are in either red visible light in the range of 632 to 670nm or near infrared wavelengths (which can be seen faintly in a darkened room) in the range of 680 to 904nm. Either LEDs or true laser diodes can deliver all these wavelengths. You can tell the difference between LEDs and true laser diodes by:

   • LEDs are brighter and emit light in a round circle.
   • LEDs to be effective must be run at higher powers.
   • LEDs do not carry information - they can't check out groceries, print or play music
   • LEDs are much cheaper than true lasers. LED units can be bought all the way from a few dollars on up to
     $150 to $300 and even more. The actual cost of a single LED ranges from $.15 (cents) up to $.55 therefore
     clusters of LEDs would only cost the manufacturer a few dollars.

On the other hand true laser diodes can be either:

   • Colluminated and emit light in a small point that travels long distances - these types of lasers are used for
     laser pointers for lecturing and sometimes for acupuncture.
   • Non-colluminated laser diodes emit light in a narrow linear band and as you move the laser farther away
     the band diffuses and becomes difficult to see. This type of laser carries more information than a laser
     pointer type of low level laser.
   • True laser diodes carry information - they can carry the price of groceries, music, print or when used for
     healing, when combined to form the soliton wave, they can carry electrons back to damaged cell membranes.

All light works to some degree but if you are going bear hunting take along a gun, not a sling shot. Some parts of the body require more energy, different wavelengths, and different frequencies than other parts of the body. Therefore one wavelength emitted by a single diode laser, regardless of the power or frequency used, will not treat all conditions. When a buyer buys a single wavelength laser, and it takes a long time to get results, they usually become disillusioned with lasers, thinking they don't work, when in reality they are using the wrong laser.

The following rules should be applied when using low level lasers:

   • Resonate bellies of muscles, glands, and organs - this means using a multiple wavelength diode laser
     (Q1000) that emits less than 5 mW of energy and using a low dose.
   • Stimulate bone, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage - this means you can use a single wavelength
     visible light (660 Enhancer) or infrared light diode laser (808 Enhancer) that delivers a higher dose of
     energy which stimulates. You will learn more about wavelength, frequency, joules (dose) soliton wave,
     constructive and destructive frequencies in other lessons on the Laser Learning Center videos.

There are over 26 companies that sell some type of therapeutic low level laser in the United States. There is no Consumer Index or Good Manufacturing Guidelines to use when buying a low level laser so it is pretty much “buyer beware”. The following guidelines and information will be helpful when choosing a low level laser. First, let me tell you that all light works at least to some extent, but there is a lot of over zealous advertising. Some companies are actually advertising that they have the only wavelength that is beneficial. Choose a reliable company. Questions to ask:

   • How long has the company been in business? 90% of all laser companies go out of business within a
     few years.
   • Is the company a US or foreign company – many foreign made lasers are illegally brought into the US and
     the companies are subject to being closed down because they are in violation of US Government
     regulations. Furthermore it is difficult to get foreign lasers repaired.
   • Does the company have its lasers registered with the FDA for safety? Has the laser company done any
     clinical research to prove their laser’s effectiveness for the diseases they are claiming to treat? How long
     does it take to get your laser delivered once ordered? What is the company warranty policy?
   • How long does it take to get repairs? Does the company have a separate escrow or trust account to back
     up the warranty in case the company goes out of business?
   • Most companies say they have a warranty but is the warranty any good?
   • Other things to know that will be discussed elsewhere on this web site are wavelength - frequency –
     power - power density – soliton wave - penetration – combination wave lengths versus single waves
     lengths - “pseudo-science” in the laser business – dose or joules. Remember, results are directly related
     to the dose.
   • Ease of use and Training is very important
   • Is qualified professional support readily available? A doctor trained and experienced in low level lasers
     MUST be available for the user to call when the results are not satisfactory.
   • And finally, price should not be the main determining factor when buying a laser. You get what you pay for.
     The factors just discussed are more important than price.

 
Dr. Larry Lytle
About the Author

Dr Lytle has taught Biology, was an accredited Cosmetic and Laser Dentist, and practiced clinical nutrition and dentistry. Currently he is a consultant for doctors and lay people in low-level laser therapy and proprioceptive feedback to the brain. He is the author of Healing Light and Low Level Laser Users Manual.

 
 
Disclaimer
   
 
We recommend consulting with your health professional when concerned about a health related issue.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. No medical treatment claims are made. Where a medical treatment claim would seem to be implied, it is solely the opinion of the information provider quoted. Your results will vary.

We make no claims to cure any illness, disease, or ailment.

The Q1000 Laser web site does not diagnose, treat, or cure any physiological, emotional, neurological, or spiritual conditions. None of the information provided on this site is intended to act as a substitute for medical counseling.