Cold Laser

Using the energy of light to stimulate tissue healing.

How Does Cold Laser Work?


When laser light is absorbed by living tissues it triggers biological reactions in cells. Some of these reactions are stimulatory to cellular mitochondria. Mitochondria are the source of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) that provides all the energy used for cell function. Increased cell function stimulates localized tissue repair. The light also stimulates production of biological chemicals that are carried by blood and lymphatic flow to provide systemic benefit.



Cold Laser FAQs

Is Cold Laser Therapy Painful?
No. Low Level Lasers do not generate significant heat. Since it stimulates activity at the cellular level, most people feel nothing while a few people may feel slight tingling or very mild warmth during treatment.

Is Cold Laser a Proven Technology?
Yes. Early studies by Russian scientists in the 1920’s showed that cells isolated from each other in two adjacent test tubes can communicate with each other by emitting light. Practical applications of laser began in the late 1960’s when Hungarian researchers documented that light accelerated local tissue growth with systemic benefits. In the 1970’s cold lasers became popular as a physical therapy treatment. Currently, medical lasers are used in dentistry, surgery, physical therapy, and general medical care. PubMed searches provide 1,000’s of studies showing the benefit of cold laser therapy.

How Many Treatments are Needed?
The number of treatments can range from 3 – ~20. Initial treatment is typically 2x per week for 3 weeks. If cold laser will benefit you, it will typically be seen during this initial series of treatments. Your response will determine if additional treatment is needed. The nature and severity of your condition, your overall health, and type of tissues being treated will determine the total number and frequency of treatments.

How Will I Know if it is Working?
Many people will see a reduction in symptoms immediately or within a few hours of treatment. Others will show benefit more slowly.

Is Cold Laser Therapy Safe?
Yes, cold lasers are low power (watt) devices that do not cause an increase in temperature or cellular destruction seen in higher power hot lasers.

What are some of the Physiologic changes from Cold Laser?
Increased production of endorphins for reduction in pain. Enhanced lymphatic flow to drain cellular waste, increase circulation, and speed cellular repair. Release of tight muscles that create chronic pain and decreased mobility. Stimulation of fibro/osteoblasts to accelerate bone and tissue healing.

Are There Any Side Effects of Cold Laser?
Even though unusual, if the dose of therapy (i.e., treatment time) is too long, there can be some local muscular spasm, or systemic nausea and headache. This is easily remedied by reducing treatment time.

Benefits of Cold Laser

Pain Relief
Cold Laser increases production of the body’s own endorphins which provides drug-free pain relief.
Anti-Inflammatory
Cold Laser decreases production of the pro-inflammatory hormones such as Nfkappa-B, prostaglandin-E2, and TNF-alpha to reduces hormonal signals of inflammation at the cellular level.
Tissue Repair
Cold Laser enhances lymphatic drainage which reduces swelling and increases blood flow, increases the ability of tissue to repair through enhanced production of cellular ATP, and reduces oxidative damage that can destroy tissue. All of this combines to greatly enhance tissue repair.
Cellular Stimulation
Cold Laser stimulates proliferation of fibroblasts and osteoblasts – two cells specific for repair of soft tissue and bones.


Conditions Treated by Cold Laser


• Tendonitis
• Sprains & Strains
• Osteoarthritis
• Hip Pain
• Peripheral Neuropathy
• Headaches & Migraines
• Scar Healing
• Arthritis
• Epicondylitis (Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow)
• Fibromyalgia
• Shoulder Pain
• Lymphedema
• Foot Pain
• Skin Ulcers
• Bursitis
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome



Articles on Cold Laser

Simple Explanations – Patient Friendly

INM Cold Laser Brochure (similar info as above, but in a pdf that is easy to print) – INM Cold Laser Brochure

Summary of Results of Cold Laser on Various Musculoskeletal Conditions – Cold Laser Summary

Technical Explanations – for patients that want a deeper understanding of the science of Cold Laser

Cold Lasers in Pain Management – Cold Lasers in Pain Management

Cold Lasers in Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis – Cold Lasers in Knee OA

Cold Lasers in Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis- Cold Lasers in RA


Dan W, 74 yo male

“I have had chronic osteoarthritis pain in my left thumb. It caused shooting pains and affected my ability to use my left hand. After just 3 cold laser treatments with Dr. Wilkinson, the frequency and level of pain decreased by 75%. I found the treatments to be amazingly effective.”