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Laser vs.Photobiomodulation Therapy: What’s the Difference?

Probably, you've heard the terms "laser therapy" and "photobiomodulation therapy" being used interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Laser therapy is just one type of photobiomodulation therapy; other options are available. The choice of treatment will ultimately depend on the health objectives of the patient.

In this article, you can find out more about the different types of photobiomodulation therapy and how they can benefit your patients by reading the full article.


What is Photobiomodulation Therapy?

Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) is a type of light therapy that uses non-ionizing forms of light, such as lasers and LEDs, to stimulate biological activity in the body. PBMT can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including pain, inflammation, and wound healing.

How Does Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT) Work?

PBMT stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s primary energy source. Mitochondria produce ATP, which are the energy-producing organelles in cells. PBMT exposure causes mitochondria to produce more ATP, which leads to many beneficial effects, including:

  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved wound healing
  • Enhanced tissue regeneration
  • Increased muscle strength and endurance

Types of Photobiomodulation Therapy

There are two main types of PBMT: laser therapy and LED therapy.

  • Laser therapy uses lasers to deliver light to the body. Lasers focus a single wavelength of light on a specific body area. Therefore, laser therapy is ideal for treating deep tissue conditions like tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
  • LED therapy uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to deliver light to the body. LEDs emit multiple wavelengths of light, which makes them less effective for treating deep tissue conditions. However, LEDs are a good option for treating superficial conditions like acne and wrinkles.

    In conclusion, understanding the differences between laser and LED therapy is crucial in determining the most suitable treatment for your needs. Whether you require deep tissue healing or superficial skin rejuvenation, both therapies offer unique benefits that can contribute to your overall well-being.

Applications of PBMT Devices

There are many photobiomodulation devices available on the market today. Below are three ways PBMT can assist patients and individuals.

Acute or Chronic Pain & Inflammation

One of the most common applications of photobiomodulation therapy is reducing pain and inflammation for acute and chronic conditions. Laser therapy systems are best suited for this application as they can treat at any tissue depth to target the area of concern accurately. PBMT increases inflammatory mediators and reduces damaging free radical levels to help control painful inflammation.

Wound Healing & Scar Prevention

Another application of Photobiomodulation is to increase the healing speed of wounds and prevent scar tissue formation. PBMT stimulates fibroblast development in damaged tissue, increasing collagen production and allowing for proper alignment and remodeling of collagen. These processes accelerate wound healing and reduce scar tissue formation following damage from repetitive motion injuries, cuts, scratches, burns, or surgery.

Sports Performance

Enhancing sports performance is a widely recognized application of LED light therapy. Individual athletes, fitness centers, and professional teams utilize full-body LED light beds and LED light panels to alleviate muscle soreness and enhance strength and endurance.

Helping Patients Reach Their Goals

With a suitable PBMT device at your facility, you can help your patients reach their health goals. Patients seeking relief from chronic pain and inflammation from causes like osteoarthritis or tendonitis will benefit from a laser therapy system, and those looking to help heal wounds for injuries or post-surgery. Patients focused on enhancing their muscle strength or endurance will benefit more from a full-body LED application of PBMT.

If you want to add photobiomodulation therapy to your practice or facility, you can learn more about our Aspen Laser products through the link below.

This blog was originally published on October 28, 2019, and was last updated on September 4, 2023.

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