Veterinary Lasers, that is, cold or low level laser therapy (LLLT) have been around a long time. I remmember early in my racehorse training career of a few lucky big barns having a unit in their shed-rows back in the 1970's. They were expensive devices often pushing $5000+ back then. Few barns could afford them. I never did buy one, but now, I am re-examining them all these years later and find they may be more useful than I have ever anticipated. What got me interested in lasers at this late date was my discovery of the Budwig Protocol developed by Dr. Johanna Budwig. In this protocol, she would often use a ruby red laser to help cellular mitochondria revert from cancerous to normal functioning. Not only that, but ruby red lasers have been shown to be very helpful in all types of injuries. Moreover, they can now be built for pennies. Laser semi-conductor diodes are dirt cheap at this time unlike many years ago. It is really outrageous the price tags medical supply houses put on these things for mere packaging and marketing purposes. I would like to show on this page how one can easily make a very useable cold laser for racehorse therapy and not be out a great deal of money and basically have the very same beam of laser light a $5000 or more unit would produce and more importantly achieve the same physical results. The proper light is in the end, just light. The high price tags come into the picture when you put a lot of unnecessary bells & whistles on the whole laser units.
Basically we have five things to worry about with lasers:
1. Power strength (mW)
2. Wavelength (nM)
3. Continual or pulsed.
4. Treatment time
5. Energy density (Joules/cm2)
Lasers are rated for power in milliwatts (mW) which are preset in the device that is in use. The higher mW powers have the advantage of decreasing treatment times with increasing tissue penetration. However, generally speaking, usually 20mW is the upper limits of cold laser therapy that is desirable. Cold laser therapy dosage takes into consideration the mW power diode rating plus the surface size of the projected laser beam on the skin plus treatment time. Energy density is a unit of measurement that describes the amount of energy delivered per unit area-- measured in Joules/cm2. This is the most accurate method of dosing cold lasers. It is the amount of energy delivered to each cm2 of the treatment area.
Lasers are classified into various strengths:
Class 1 (less than .5mW of power with these types common in CD players and laser printers)
Class 2 (less than 1mW of power. Found in weak laser pointers.)
Class 3a (less than 5mW of power. Found in most laser pointers.)
Class 3b (less than 500 mW of power. This is the class of most medical low level laser systems.)
Class 4 (over 500 mW of power. These are the cutting lasers.)
The wavelength of the laser is also an important consideration. It is generally viewed that wavelengths from 600-660 nM or the red color range is one of the most biological therapeutic. This range of laser because of the nature of its longer wavelength has limited penetration of 6-10mm into tissue. The Indium, Gallium-Aluminum-Phosphid (InGaAlP) semi conductor laser diode is the one used to produce this range.
The second useful range would be the 800-980 nM, the invisible light range produced by the Gallium-Aluminum Arsenide (GaAlAs) semiconductor laser diode. It is a shorter wavelength with deeper tissue penetration of 2-3 cm.
More to Come!