Tag Archives: cold laser

Cold Laser for Equines

Cold Laser Therapy is extremely safe and has been approved by the FDA. It has been around for over 30 years with no reports of injury. Studies (over 4000 studies to date) have shown conclusively that cold laser or low level light therapy restores balance, energy, and oxygen to sicks cells without damaging or effecting healthy cells. This restoration in the body results in acceleration in healing and cell regeneration.

When Can a Cold Laser be Used?

In contrast to other therapies, cold laser therapy can be started at any time during the healing process. It is important to remember that the earlier cold laser therapy is a part of the rehabilitation and healing process, the better and more rapidly the benefits will occur.

What are the Benefits?

Cold laser therapy has been shown to offer a non-intrusive option to acupuncture and surgery, by supporting the natural healing process of the body. Therapeutic application to the body have shown results in a variety of ways:

  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Ligament sprains
  • Muscle strain
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Reduce swelling
  • Control inflammation
  • Myofascial pain
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Tendon/ligament injury
  • Bone healing
  • Sports injuries
  • Back pain
  • Lameness
  • Joint problems
  • Speed healing
  • Burns
  • Arthritis pain and inflammation

Hint: There are three stages of healing: inflammation, tissue repair and remodeling

Cold laser therapy has been shown to outperform ultrasound treatments and electrical stimulation therapy in enhancing the healing process. Overall studies have proven that cold laser therapy is the best treatment for reducing injury damage while increasing the strength of the tissue repaired during the course of treatment. If acceleration the healing process is the ultimate goal of the rehabilitation process, cold laser therapy will return the horse to full function quicker and with less discomfort.

Family Pet

Cold laser therapy can benefit the family dog as well. Some studies have been done on cats, and show beneficial results. Application of cold laser therapy on dogs have shown results in:

  • Superficial ear cuts
  • Arthritis
  • Hip and knee pain
  • Hard to heal wounds

Professionals and Equipment Used: Cold Laser Therapy is making its way into physical therapy and rehabilitation center programs. Although the actual treatment is simple, it is helpful to have a working knowledge of anatomy, muscle structures and acupuncture points.  Once you locate an experienced professional who works well with your horse or family pet, you’ll find that cold laser therapy is a valuable tool when dealing with a wide variety of injuries.

The Spinatus Muscles

The shoulder joint is the only one in the horse’s body that does not have ligaments to hold it in place. Instead, the joint is surrounded by muscles that hold it together and facilitate movement. There are three main muscles: subscapularis,supraspinatus, and infraspinatus. The first one is underneath the scapula, so not one I work on. The other two, the spinatus muscles, are very important for lateral work, and muscles I work on a lot. If your horse is displaying a shortened stride in front, or head bobbing lameness, there may be pain in one of the spinatus muscles. If your horse gets cast, the spinatus muscles often bear the brunt of the trauma, as the spinatus muscles are what prevent the shoulder from being dislocated.

Yesterday I worked on a lovely Holsteiner mare that I was told had atrophy (also referred to as Sweeney) of the shoulder muscles. I found two big spasms high up on the spinatus muscles and worked to release them. I will return to see how the muscles respond. Often, once the spasms are released, circulation flows freely and the muscle can regain health. This case might also benefit from cold laser therapy.



What Can a Cold Laser Do?

Lasers increase the production of new, functional cells, resulting in shorter recovery periods.

The tissues exposed to laser light have greater strength after healing, reducing the risk of re-injury.

Laser therapy reduces the production of scar tissue.

The body goes through 4 healing stages: inflammation, proliferation, remodeling, maturation. Laser therapy impacts each phase in positive ways.

Cold Laser therapy can increase the formation of capillaries (remember: every muscles fiber, and there are millions, has its own capillary) which carry oxygen to healing tissue.

Cold Laser therapy is being used to treat:

  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Ligament sprains
  • Muscle strain
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Back pain
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia

Combining Structural Integration Massage with Cold Laser is a Powerful Combination

There are more than 3,000 positive studies and 300 randomized double blinded clinical trials proving the benefits of cold laser therapy!

The benefits of laser therapy can’t be overstated. It not only hastens healing, it actually improves the way tissue repairs and renews itself.

In post-operative patients, laser treatments reduce the risk of complications.

Lasers can reverse muscle atrophy and improve tendon and ligament strength and resilience. Range of motion, function, flexibility and mobility are all enhanced. In addition, the probability of re-injury is significantly less. Pets get back on their feet and return to normal activities faster.Patients don’t need to be sedated. No drugs are involved; there are no IV lines and no invasive clipping of hair or cutting into the skin.Laser therapy treatments are cumulative, meaning each treatment builds on prior treatments and the animal’s condition improves continuously.
When combined with stress point and trigger point release through deep tissue massage, mobility and health can be restored. This combination of holistic therapies can be used on horses, humans, dogs, etc.

What is Cold Laser Therapy?

What is Cold Laser Therapy?
The word LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers DO NOT emit X-rays nor do they produce the damage of x-rays. The cold laser is also called soft laser to differentiate from hard lasers that are used in surgical procedures. The cold laser is a light or photon energy with the unique property of being able to penetrate two inches or more below the skin surface causing an increase in cellular metabolism without tissue damage. The cold laser produces healing benefits to treated tissue, without causing or producing heat. Cold laser therapy does not damage cells, but aides in the stimulation of cellular function aiding in healing. Cold laser therapy is safe and has been approved by the FDA.

What are the benefits?
Therapeutic applications which have shown promising results based on studies include:

Acupuncture Points
Back Pain
Enhances Lymphatic Drainage
Releases Tight Muscles
Soft tissue injuries, including sprains and strains, tendonitis and hematomas
Chronic Pain
Nerve Regeneration
Neuropathy Musculoskeletal Pain
Myofascial Pain
Sports Injuries
Wound Healing (Speeds Healing)
Pain relief as a result of increased endorphin release
Suppression of nociceptor action (pain suppression)
Strengthening the immune system response
Application For Horses

Veterinarians and Equine Practitioners have and continue to utilize low level laser therapy for:

Pain Relief
To Reduce Swelling
Control Inflammation
And Speed Healing

And to treat conditions such as:

Acute Tissue Damage
Arthritis Pain and Inflammation
Back Pain/Lameness
Bone Healing
Joint Problems (Fetlock, Knee (carpus), Elbow, Hock, Stifle)
Nerve Damage
Tendon/Ligament Injury
Family Pets

Cold Laser therapy can benefit the family dog as well. Some studies have been done on cats, and show beneficial results.
Application For Dogs
Veterinarians and Canine Practitioners have and continue to utilize low level laser therapy for:

Superficial ear cuts
Hip And Knee Pain
Hard To Heal Wounds

In my practice, I look at the whole animal. Every part of the body inter-connects with each other. One cannot treat just one part, the whole animal is treated. When doing a treatment, after the initial evaluation, the whole body is worked, making note of any area that is in need of extra attention. The cold laser is added to the treatment program to enhance the benefits of the body work, going deeper than merely my hands can obtain. The cold laser aids in taking a long treatment program and cutting the recovery time in half, benefiting the owner and the horse.

There are several cases on the race track where the cold laser has assisted in horses returning to their training schedule in a matter of weeks instead of months as before treatments were administered. I have read some studies recently of how the cold laser is being used as a form of warming the muscles before a race and used afterwards to aide in recovery after a hard work-out.
Every case is as different as the individual animal being worked on. Each animal responds differently to therapies or a combination of therapies. Every client is treated as a separate case, treating the horse or dog as a whole, based on the findings of the evaluation and any information the responds differently to therapies or a combination of therapies.

Pain Reduction With Cold Laser Treatment

A client being treated (successfully) for knee pain asked how the laser alleviated pain immediately. While there has been extensive research to show that the laser works to relieve pain, there are no definitive answers as to how. What is known is that cold laser therapy increases the release of endorphins, blocks firing of pain fibers, increases nitric oxide production, increases the levels of acetylcholine (which regenerates damaged nerves), and decreases levels of inflammatory chemicals.
Horses and dogs can’t tell me that their pain is gone, but when I see them licking their lips and closing their eyes so peacefully, I get the message!

Yesterday I saw a pony who struggled to walk up a steep hill. He over flexed one of his hind legs at every step. Once he got to level ground, he walked more evenly, but he still did not look completely comfortable. When I checked his leg, I found some very tight fascia right behind the stifle. I massaged it, but didn’t feel that I had done everything possible, so I got out the cold laser. The laser emits no heat, but his leg became very warm to the touch. What that told me was that circulation was being stimulated to the area. If a muscle is so tight that blood can’t squeeze through to the capillaries, massage to loosen tight fibers and then the cold laser to stimulate blood flow is an ideal combination. The pony has a big show next week and I will be watching to see how he is feeling now.



New Monday Column!

I started the new week by playing and tweaking with this website. And I’ve decided to start a new weekly column. In my practice I am frequently asked the same question and rather than answering it hundreds of times, it seemed more efficient, and helpful, to share here. So send me your questions and photos and I will do my best to answer them here on Mondays. The questions can pertain to bodywork, cold laser, any muscle issue, performance enhancing massage, or whatever else you want to discuss. Can’t wait to get started!!

Acupuncture or Cold Laser ?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years. Cold laser is relatively new. Which should you choose? Laser therapy is completely painless, risk free, and sterile since the skin is not broken. Make sure you choose a cold laser that has the power to be effective. Cheap knock-offs, hardly more powerful than a flashlight, have naturally shown up in various marketplaces.

Laser therapy and acupuncture are completely distinct and separate entities. Each has its own highest and best use. Both can be highly effective but are very different. Often, it may be an excellent strategy to combine both.

Acupuncture is more point specific. Acupuncture works when a practitioner inserts fine needles at key points along the body that connect to organs and affect virtually all body functions. In contrast, when laser light contacts tissue, it disperses over a wide area. Acupuncture needles may serve to redirect energy, but they don’t add to it. On the other hand, laser therapy is perhaps a gentler, more supportive stimulus which adds energy to the system.


The Scientific Benefits of Cold Laser

Cold lasers can trigger many cellular changes including the production of enzymes and protein substances vital for innumerable bio-chemical actions. The laser light also stimulates the cell’s mitochondria, the engine that produces enzymes essential for cell function.

Cold lasers reduce pain by using light to reduce the excitability of nervous tissue, reactivate enzymes, and increase ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) release and energize inactivated enzymes. It is like sending energy to jumpstart a system.


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