PowerMedic was established in 1982 and has been involved in the development and production of laser therapy devices right from the start. Its objective has always been to deliver technological solutions to relieving discomfort in both humans and animals.
More is always better, right? Not always when it comes to laser therapy. Among scientists, in journals, on the internet, and among the practitioners who use laser therapy, it is a continuous discussion whether one achieves better results when using more powerful lasers.
Let us examine some of the differences in treatment regarding these two types of lasers.
Lasers for medical use are divided into different classes:
Class 1 (up to 1 mW/cm2),
Class 2 (up to 2 mW/cm2),
Class 3R (up to 5 mW/cm2),
Class 3B (up to 500 mW/cm2),
Class 4 (over 500 mW/cm2)
In order to treat underlying areas around bones and nearby muscle groups a minimum amount of therapeutic energy is required, which naturally excludes Classes 1, 2, and 3R. On the other hand, Class 3B lasers deliver up to 500 mW per cm2, while everything above 500 mW is considered Class 4.
When using Class 4 lasers, which often operate at10-25 W, for therapeutic purposes, there are few different techniques available:
-Spreading the laser light over a large area
-Adjusting the duty cycle where the effect is delivered in pulses, where the duty cycle indicates the length of time the laser is “on”
-Using sweeping movements over the treatment area during the entire course of the treatment session
Spreading the laser light
It is possible to spread the laser light over a large area either via a focusing lens or by creating a larger distance from the laser to the treatment area so that a larger amount of the light is reflected away from the skin.
If 10-25 W is the peak output instead of the average output, the duty cycle can be adjusted, i.e. having the laser on for shorter amounts of time so that the tissue has time to cool down before the next impact.
The practitioner may treat an area with sweeping movements during the treatment. With this method there will not be too much energy per cm2 per unit of time applied – similar to adjusting the duty cycle.
Along with modified equipment and usage, one may follow the recommendations by WALT (the World Association for Laser Therapy) and use Class 3B lasers.
Recommendations by WALT
On their website, WALT has published the following recommendations regarding the dosage:
“Recommended treatment doses for Low Level Laser Therapy: Laser class 3 B, 780 – 860nm GaAlAs Lasers. Continuous or pulsed, mean output: 5 – 500mW. Irradiation times should range between 20 and 300 seconds”
Class 4 lasers are best used for therapeutic purposes when a large area is in need of treatment.
PowerMedic lasers are Class 3B because they consist of several Class 3B laser diodes, which distribute the energy over a large area, with little risk of overheating the tissues.
Thus each type of laser has their own advantages, whether high-powered Class 4 devices or more modest Class 3B low-level devices.