Regenotech supplies Class IV therapy lasers to orthopedic centers across the country. Future posts will cover the biochemical response between laser light and eukaryotic cells, also known as photobiomodulation. Before we discuss the therapeutic mechanism of action, let’s take a brief look at the history of laser therapy.
Who Invented the Laser?
Laser is an acronym standing for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Ted Maiman invented the first laser in 1960 by building on his previous work in experimental physics. He used a synthetic ruby as the lasing medium to create a coherent beam of light with a wavelength of 694 nanometers, the ruby laser. All lasers exhibit spatial and temporal coherence that can be tuned to a specific frequency along the electromagnetic spectrum. Spatial and temporal coherence allows for the long range emission of a focused beam of light.
Military Laser Applications
The ruby laser was utilized in laboratory settings and as a military rangefinder. Modern lasers are still used by the armed forces and in a wide variety of industrial and therapeutic applications. For example, Regenotech’s scientific consultant, Dawn Lipscomb, PhD, helped develop a laser to evaluate the inflammatory response to terahertz radiation at the Air Force Fort Sam Houston Lab. This particular frequency can detect the amount of water in a cell, which is helpful in determining the severity of a burn on the battlefield. In the hands of a field medic, this laser immediately determines whether or not a burn requires surgery.
Discovery of Laser Therapy: Laser Hair Growth
The biological response to lasers was first observed by Endre Mester in 1967. Mester was investigating whether or not the newly discovered laser would cause cancer. To test his hypothesis Mester shaved the backs of mice and subjected the rodents to laser light or placebo. Though the laser had no cancerous effect, Mester noticed the mice receiving laser therapy regrew hair at a faster rate than the control group. Therapy lasers are still used to regrow hair and have been shown effective for a wide variety of inflammatory and neurological conditions including; epicondylitis, bursitis, fasciitis and traumatic brain injury among others.
Mester’s discovery was the beginning of the understanding that lasers could have some biological effect- what we know today as photobiomodulation. Future posts with cover the therapeutic mechanism of action and the wide variety of clinical studies showing the efficacy of therapy lasers.