LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, and was first conceptualized by Einstein in 1917. Theodore Maiman invented the first laser, called the Ruby Laser, in 1960. The FDA approved the first medical laser in 2002. The newest term to describe laser therapy is photobiomodulation.
Cells have small components called chromophores, which absorb light. When the laser is directed at the tissue, the light travels into the mitochondria of the cell, is absorbed by the chromophores, and results in an increase in ATP (the main energy source for the majority of cellular function - resulting in an increased ability for healing and fighting infections), ROS (positively impacts cellular repair and healing), and NO (nitric oxide - a potent vasodilator, which increases circulation, decreases inflammation, and enhances the transport of oxygen and immune cells throughout the tissue). Laser also increases serotonin and beta-endorphin release.
Laser therapy, or photobiomodulation, relieves pain, increases circulation, modulates inflammation, accelerates healing, and promotes axonal (nerve cell) sprouting. Laser can also increase cartilage and bone production for patients with arthritis and bone fractures.
Laser therapy can be used for a wide range of conditions, such as wounds, soft tissue injuries, osteoarthritis, tendon/ligament tears, nerve injuries, post-operative healing, and many more.