Laser therapy has been long known to heal wounds, alleviate pain, and reduce inflammation. Low level light therapy (LLLT) is considered to be a "cold" type of laser therapy because it does not emit enough power to produce significant heat-making it safe for use in most people.
More recent research has begun to narrow the science of LLLT into certain wavelengths and sources that provide the greatest benefit to specific diseases.
However, because LLLT must be given at a dosage and source that is very disease-specific to be a benefit, it has been a challenge to produce consistent results. LLLT has therefore remained a somewhat controversial and "alternative" treatment.
A recent review of LLLT has suggested that it should be seriously considered for the treatment of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Animal studies of brain and spinal injury, as well as trials with stroke patients have already shown some benefits from LLLT. Very few effective therapies currently exist for brain and spinal injury, and LLLT has the potential to provide a safe method of reducing inflammation and pain.
Chung H, Dai T, Sharma SK, et al. The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. (November 2011).