The concept of using light to promote healthful effects in tissues has been around for centuries. Early Greek physicians knew of the benefits of light on living tissue. We even know this is how Vitamin D is made in our skin cells. This concept of light having a positive impact on a biological system is properly called photobiomodulation, or PBM. Often terms such as low-level laser therapy and “cold” laser have been applied to PBM. Regardless of what you call it, we know that through the use of specific lasers modern doctors and veterinarians can prescribe targeted, specific and quick photobiomodulation therapy. Many decades of study and research has revealed numerous ways that photobiomodulation can have profound impact on decreasing pain and inflammation while increasing healing.
When applied correctly the photons released into the tissues during PBM interact with specific compounds within cells. This causes biochemical reactions which increase cell energy production, enhance signaling mechanisms between cells, and activate enzymes. The result is more than simply an enhancement in tissue healing, but rather an advancement in the amount of healing possible.
There are a number of ways, for example, that PBM can reduce pain. The photons of light emitted by the laser can cause the release of nitrous oxide which facilitates musculoskeletal pain relief. Studies it can also inhibit pain transmission through nerves, and increase the release of naturally occurring pain mediators such as endorphins and serotonin.
The reduction of inflammation through photobiomodulation can be even more profound. PBM can activate drainage to reducing swelling and edema. In addition antioxidant production will increase and pro-inflammatory messenger compound will decrease. When applied properly PBM has produced significant benefits for much more than just muscle and joint pain. Inflammatory conditions such as pancreatitis, chronic respiratory disease/asthma, ear infections and skin problems can all be successfully treated with PBM.
But one of most exciting benefits of photobiomodulation comes from its ability to accelerate tissue healing and regeneration. PBM has been shown to not only promote blood vessel dilation, but also stimulate the production of new blood vessels known as angiogenesis. Growth factors and collagen production is increased, and new and healing tissue is able to be produced. All of this results in an increased ability to heal tissue beyond what would be possible without PBM therapy.
At BVC we have successfully prescribed photobiomodulation for a variety of conditions for many years. Arthritis, rhinitis, asthma, intervertebral disk disease, ear infections, hot spots, and muscle injuries are among the conditions we have treated. Our class IV Companion laser utilizes state of the art technology identical to that used by human physical therapists and medical staffs of professional football and other sports teams. The laser light applied is targeted, painless, and quick. When your pet comes in for prescribed PBM therapy they will feel no discomfort and the entire course of therapy can be administered through a series of brief and convenient appointments with our highly trained technical staff, avoiding the need to see one of our doctors other that at the start and end of therapy to assess response.
Photobiomodulation is changing the way veterinary professionals are able to practice medicine as well as changing the way your pet experiences healing.