What is the Difference?
High Power Laser Therapy vs. Cold Laser Therapy
It’s All about the Power
The single most important factor that determines the effectiveness of Laser Therapy is the Power Output of the Laser Therapy Unit. This power is measured in milliwatts (abbreviated mW). The Power Output of the Laser Therapy Unit is important to the overall therapeutic effect for several reasons.
- 1) Depth of Penetration (how deep within the body the laser is effective),
- 2) Treatment Time (more power leads to shorter treatment times), and
- 3) Therapeutic Effect (the severity of the conditions that can be treated effectively)
Different Classes of Laser Therapy
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes Four Different Classifications of Lasers (Class I – Class IV), only Class IIIb and Class IV have been demonstrated to provide health benefits to patients.
Low Level Laser Therapy (Class IIIb):
Power Output = 25-500mW
Depth of Penetration: Less Than 0.5cm (approximately one-fifth of an inch!)
Class IIIb Lasers have been in use treating a variety of healthcare conditions for many years and are defined as having a total Power Output of 25-500mW. These lasers are commonly referred to as “Cold Laser” or “Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)”. Due to the extremely low power output these “Cold Lasers” are only capable of penetrating 1/5 of an inch deep and treatment times for simple conditions can be as much as 1-2 hours. Since the lasers only penetrate 1/5 of one inch below the skin these Cold Lasers are limited to conditions related to the skin or just below the skin (such as superficial ligaments and nerves that can be found in the more exposed joints of the body like hands, feet, elbows and knees). Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has virtually no impact on the treatment of joint, muscle, nerve, bone or spinal disc conditions since most of these body structures are located well beneath the skin. Therefore, Cold Laser Therapy is often considered obsolete by laser therapy standards.
Avicenna High Power Laser Therapy (Class IV):
Power Output = 7,500mw (15 times more powerful than the most powerful Class IIIb Laser and 75 times more powerful than the average Class IIIb Lasers)
Depth of Penetration: 7cm (approximately 3 inches – 15-75 times deeper than Cold Laser)
Class IV High Power Laser Therapy (HPLT) is able to treat all the same conditions that respond well to Cold Laser Therapy including a great many more. Because High Power Lasers are able to penetrate more deeply into body tissues the vast majority of muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and nerves and skin can be treated effectively. Treatment times are also dramatically reduced when treating with High Power Laser Therapy. Low Power Lasers (25-500mW) would often require 60-120 minutes in order to deliver a Therapeutic Dose to the affected body part. High Power Laser Therapy (500mW – 7,500mW) deliver an equivalent Therapeutic Dose in a fraction of the time. In fact, the Avicenna High Power Laser (the Avicenna Laser, the most powerful therapeutic laser ever developed, operates at 7,500mW) can deliver a Therapeutic Dose of laser energy to many injured parts of the body within 5-15 minutes!
In summary, High Power Laser Therapy can Treat Many More Conditions in Much Less Time with Far Better Results than Cold Laser.
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