Martin Chiropractic Clinic 
Light Therapy

Light Therapy

Light Therapy, also known as phototherapy or laser therapy, is a type of soft tissue treatment.  Light therapy utilizes the photochemistry of light to induce physiologic changes in your cells.  This type of modality is extremely beneficial because it is a non-invasive method of treatment.  This allows the physician to treat the patient without causing any pain.  Light is emitted in wavelengths.  When the waves of light come in contact with your skin they are absorbed.  The length of the wave determines the depth of penetration of the light.  Shorter waves are stronger and penetrate deeper whereas the opposite is true for longer ways.  The penetration of the light waves causes the physiologic changes in your tissue that speeds up the healing process.

There are three main healing stages: Acute inflammation, Tissue repair and Tissue remodeling.  The acute inflammatory phase consists of a vascular and cellular phases.  The vascular phase is responsible for the swelling that occurs around the damaged tissue.  Swelling occurs because the blood vessels in the damaged tissue are compromised.  Therefore, blood leaks outside of the vessels into the surrounding tissue causing swelling and sometimes a bruise.  During the vascular phase, damaged tissue releases chemical signals (cytokines) that promote an immune response  and promotes the formation of new blood vessels in the area.    This leads to the cellular phase.  The immune response consists of immune cells consuming the damaged cells and removing them from the site of tissue injury, so that they can be replaced by new cells.  The repair phase is the second phase of healing.  The cytokines that are released by the cells not only cause an immune response, but they recruit cells to form new tissue.  These cells consists of fibroblasts, which randomly deposit new soft tissue fibers (primarily collagen) to replace the damaged tissue.  The remodeling phase is the final phase of tissue healing.  During this stage, the collagen fibers that are deposited during the repair phase are reorientated.  The purpose of this repositioning of the collagen fibers is to align them in a position where they are strongest and capable of providing the most support for the tissue.

In Light therapy, light is applied to the skin.  The light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by a receptor in the cell called a chromophore.  The chromophores detects and determines the energy of a light ray.  Chromophores are located in the mitochondria.  Mitochondria contain the electron transport chain, which generates cellular energy called ATP.  The energy produced by the mitochondria assists with tissue healing.  When the chromophore is stimulated by the light it becomes excited and causes an increase in the generation of ATP.  The stimulus increases the blood flow to the damaged area and also causes the formation of new blood vessels.  The increase in blood flow helps to transport immune cells and fibroblasts to and from the sight of injury to rid the body of the damaged cells and causes an increase in production of ATP (cellular energy) in the tissue to generate the production of new healthy cells. The creation of this energy promotes DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, mitosis (new cell growth and division) and cell proliferation (increase in new cell numbers) enhancing the cellular phase as well as the repair phase of healing.  Further treatment will stimulate proper alignment of the tissues and aid with the remodeling phase of healing.

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