Ultra-low-level laser therapy

Lasers Med Sci. 2011 Jan;26(1):103-12. doi: 10.1007/s10103-010-0837-2. Epub 2010 Sep 18.


A growing number of laboratory and clinical studies over the past 10 years have shown that low-level laser stimulation (633 or 670 nm) at extremely low power densities (about 0.15 mW/cm(2)), when administered through a particular emission mode, is capable of eliciting significant biological effects. Studies on cell cultures and animal models as well as clinical trials give support to a novel therapeutic modality, which may be referred to as ultra low level laser therapy (ULLLT). In cultured neural cells, pulsed irradiation (670 nm, 0.45 mJ/cm(2)) has shown to stimulate NGF-induced neurite elongation and to protect cells against oxidative stress. In rats, anti-edema and anti-hyperalgesia effects following ULLL irradiation were found. Clinical studies have reported beneficial effects (also revealed through sonography) in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. The present paper reviews the existing experimental evidence available on ULLLT. Furthermore, the puzzling issue of the biophysical mechanisms that lie at the basis of the method is explored and some hypotheses are proposed. Besides presenting the state-of-the-art about this novel photobiostimulation therapy, the present paper aims to open up an interdisciplinary discussion and stimulate new research on this subject.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Cell Adhesion / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / radiation effects
  • Models, Biological
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / radiotherapy
  • Neurites / radiation effects
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Pain / radiotherapy
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction / radiation effects
  • Treatment Outcome