Laser therapy

Laser therapy is mostly used for treatment of soft tissues and with heeling of wound, both with horses, dogs and humans. In addition, the laser is also used for acupuncture.  There are five actions of laser light on tissue that you should be familiar with, that should help you to understand what you are doing when you use a laser.

1. Accelerated tissue repair

The most common example of the conversion of light energy into chemical energy is photosynthesis, where plants manufacture food from carbon dioxide and water. Light energy from the sun is the essential item in that process. No reasonable person disputes photosynthesis, it is a well know process that converts photons of light energy into chemical energy. The action of laser light is quite similar to photosynthesis in plants.

Photons of light from a laser, penetrate deeply into tissue and power the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a molecule that is a major carrier of energy from one reaction site to another in all living cells. Increases in ATP as a result of laser light increases the energy available to the cell so that the cell can take in nutrients faster and get rid of waste products. In straight forward terms, the cells of tendons, ligaments and muscles are repaired faster as a result of exposure to laser light. How much faster? A good rule of thumb is that the time for healing is reduced by 2/3 ‘s of the time that it normally take with all other factors remaining the same, i.e. rest, nutrition, training.

2. Rapid Formation of Collagen

Collagen is the most common protein found in the body. It is estimated that 80% of the body is made up of this important fibrous protein. Various types of tissue make up the body. Connective tissue is the most widely distributed. In connective tissue, fibroblast cells produce the ground substance and tissue fiber. The “extra” energy from laser light is used by fibroblasts to increase collagen production. Collagen is the essential protein required to replace old tissue or to repair tissue injuries.

Perhaps the most common example of collagen is the clear sticky substance found around open wounds. Wounds are healed or closed over very rapidly by the application of laser light. There is also less scar tissue found when laser light is applied to the area.

3. Beneficial effect on nerve cells and the production of ß-endorphins

Laser light has a highly beneficial effect on nerve cells which blocks pain transmitted by these cells to the brain. Studies have shown that laser light increases the activity of the ATP dependent NA-K pump. In this case laser light increases the potential difference across the cell membrane moving the resting potential further from the firing threshold, thus, decreasing nerve ending sensitivity.

A less understood pain blocking mechanism involves the product of high levels of painkilling chemicals such as endorphins and enkephelins from the brain adrenal gland and other areas as a result of exposure to laser light.

4. Accelerated lymphatic system activity and reduction in edema

Everyone wants to reduce swelling in a leg. The problem is that the veins in the leg are only capable of removing one component of the swelling. Blood vessels can remove the water but not the dirty protein solution that is present. So if you have a treatment modality that accelerates blood flow you have not solved this part of the problem. The lymphatic system is required to take away dirty proteins from edema. Laser studies conducted in 1987 and early 1988, indicate that laser light is capable of doubling the size of lymphatic ducts in the area of exposure and rapidly removing the protein waste.

Another important aspect of the study showed that laser light was capable of “perfect” regeneration of the lymphatic system in the immediate area with no leakage and no confused network of ducts. In the normal regeneration of lymphatic systems, the ducts are leaky and the duct network is complex and confusing , leading tot a tendency to have the same problem occur in the same area.

5. Formation of new capillaries and increased blood flow

Many types of treatments will increase blood flow. It has been shown that laser light does this extremely well, there is no question about that point. But what is not commonly recognized is that laser light will significantly increase the formation of new capillaries that speeds the healing process, closes wounds quickly and reduces scar tissue.

Pictures below are taken with an interval of 5 days:

wond voor lasertherapie

wond na lasertherapie

The Centurion Laser Shower has a very user-friendly design and offers the latest in laser therapy technology available. The Centurion Laser Shower operates by emitting a continuous shower of laser light at multiple frequencies. This makes that a wide range of problems ranging from superficial wounds to deep seated soft tissue problems may be treated. It is not necessary to specific frequency selection for a particular problem – as is required by older style laser units. Research has shown that the most effective penetration of laser light is achieved by using laser diodes which operates at 785 NM. This will increase the effective average power directed towards the injured area and allow better penetration of the laser light. The Centurion Laser Shower is battery operated and each charge will last 10 hours before recharging becomes necessary. The supplied charger is then plugged into the unit and it will be charged overnight, ready for use in the morning. Features Centurion Laser Shower:
  • Visible infrared light
  • Multi-frequency spectrum
  • Pre-programmed frequency range from 20 till 20.000 Hz
  • 785 nM wavelenght
  • Continues wave for strong average power
  • Wide angle head applicator (7 diodes)
  • Point applicator
  • Acupuncture pointfinder (optional)
  • Built-in digital timer
The Ultra Wide Head emits laser light at 785 nanometers from seven laser diodes and is utilized over large treatment areas. The Superfine Head emits laser light at 785 NM from a single laser diode and is used for small treatment areas and to stimulate acupuncture points. The superfine head applicator can be replaced by an acupuncture pointfinder. This applicator automatically finds acupuncture point and simultaneously triggers the laser light    
Your Centurion Laser Shower unit contains the following items:
  1. Carrying bag
  2. Laser generator unit
  3. Two applicators
      Technical data: Aluminium Galium Arsenide Laser 10 Watt Peakpower 9.4 MW Average power 4.7 MW Timer 1 – 15 min Dimensions – 45,7 x 40,6 x 33 cm Weight: 4,5 kg
Prices (exclusive 21%VAT): laser with ultra wide head and superfine head   rental € 250,- a month  Retail price € 4850,- (€ 5868,50 inclusive VAT) laser met ultra wide head and pointfinder     rental € 300,- a month  Retail price € 5875,- (€ 7108,75 inclusive VAT)   Prices are without 21% VAT
In the newsletter of DAP Bodegraven we encountered the following: Laser therapy Horses can sometimes be a bit unclean and seriously injured themselves in a fraction of a second. Fortunately, our veterinarians have sufficient knowledge and experience to restore this as well as possible. Sometimes laser therapy is used. The laser therapy is especially used in large wounds or wounds that heal slowly. This may also take into account with wounds in the pastern area or at corners of the mouth, which are usually very difficult to cure. With laser therapy, blood supply to the damaged tissue is increased, growth factors are activated and bacteria killed. Swelling and the formation of hypergranulation tissue are minimized. The wound healing goes 2-3 times as fast as normal. This is not only limited the costs of dressing materials and medicines, but the horse can also be back to work earlier. In short, the laser stimulates the natural healing process. Laser therapy already has some familiarity among the horse men. A number of animal physiotherapists use a laser for the treatment of muscle injuries. We use the laser specifically for wound healing. The results are amazing:
wond paardenbeen voor behandeling laser
wond paardenbeen na behandeling met laser
To get a beter understanding on how to use the laser we made some books in cooperation with Anja Füchtenbusch. TIn these books you will find basic treatments with the laser as well as a detailed describtion of the treatment of lot of problems. Treatments are both with the wide angle applicator for the local treatment and acypuncture with the point aplicator. Books are available in both English and German. There are three versions:
  • horses
  • human
  • dogs and cats
Blz66 Laserboek
Blz67 Laserboek

User Experience

On Sunday I took my stick and stick lame horse from the pasture, she would actually prefer not stand on her right hind leg. Called the vet and he thought of a sore hoof, we packed the foot with wet end in the hope the next day the location of the abscess could be found. Blacksmith there, there was no abscess......... Putting her on painkillers and made an appointment to scan the leg in the stable (X-rays and ultrasound), it seems to be a tenosynovitis and a not very nice tendon (the latter would be "negligible" and that did not cause the pain). The advice was; injecting with cortico steriods. After doubting decided for the injection with cortico steroids, but there was no effect and the leg and remained the same (painful and slightly swollen). Since she could not without the painkillers, I opted for a second opinion at a horse clinic. They did another scan where something else came out; She had a hole in her ligament just above the fetlock, this "disease" they rarely see. Option was an exploratory operation, they would then clean and cut the ligament, the chances of recovery remained "reserved". In consultation with the vet we decided todo her 24/7 on the meadow to walk, expanding the walk and still try to build off the painkillers. So we could give her during he summer the chance to recover on he own. According to the vet if she had not improved after 2 months we had to consider surgery. I spoke to an acquaintance on the phone and did the whole story, which she said, if I were you I would apply laser therapy. Never heard of it, but it was worth trying, I finally had nothing to lose! Icontacted Arja from MagnaCare and 2 days later I had the laser in the stable! In 10 days the leg is 2.5 cm thinner in size and she could do without pain relief! I did not know what I was going through! The first 10 days I have treated the leg 2x per day with the laser and after that 1x per day. I have done this for 4 months, the last month I have completely phased out. In total the leg shrunk about 3 cm leg and it is now the same size as her other hindleg. The area is still shrinking, it is soft, not painful and is absolutely sound (in all courses!). And that at her age, 21 years! We are already 3 months without laser and it stays good! I am very grateful to my acquaintance that she has told me about the laser and Arja very grateful because the laser was with 2 days at my house and gave me the instructions given how I had to apply. In short, very happy with the laser, a fantastic result! I recommend everyone, if dealing with such problems call Arja leg for advice and which treatment fits there, it really works!  
Maaike Hombroek
My dog has one week for its UV test, his paws faltered. Frontpaws a flap that was loose, behind just broken. With an UV test your dog runs 20 km beside your bike with 2 x break. After 20 km the soles should look good. So it was very frustrating that he had broken his pads. I have had he dog's pads lasered two times and he has taken his UV exam with gloss !!