What is a Laser?
The word laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser beam is an intense light source with specific characteristics. These include:
- Monochromaticity: In laser light, all electromagnetic waves have the same wavelength and therefore, the same color.
- Coherence: All the photons in laser light oscillate in the same phase.
- Directionality: Laser light is highly directional.
- Intensity: Because its radiation is coherently concentrated on one spot, laser light is very powerful. This factor gives it tremendous accuracy, making it highly valued in medical applications.
What is Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy is the use of monochromatic light emission from a low intensity laser diode (250 milliwatts or less) or an array of high intensity Super Luminous Diodes (providing total optical power in the 10-2000 milliwatt range) to treat musculoskeletal injuries, chronic and degenerative conditions and to heal wounds. The light source is placed in contact with the skin allowing the photon energy to penetrate tissue, where it interacts with various intracellular biomolecules resulting in the restoration of normal cell function and enhancement of the body's healing processes.
Thermal versus Low Intensity Laser Therapy
High power, or thermal, lasers can produce a substantial amount of heat. This destructive potential makes high power laser a key player in industrial applications such as cutting and welding. Because thermal laser combines power and precision, it also has many beneficial uses in modern medicine.
In surgical anti-tumor treatments, for example, the heat emitted by high intensity laser beams can be used to selectively destroy tissue. Incisions produced by the laser are antiseptic and hemorrhage is controlled.
Unlike the thermal lasers, the low intensity laser beam is "soft power" and does not produce heat. Red and infra-red lasers with power outputs in the range from 10-2000 mW belong in this category.
Low intensity laser energy initiates general stimulation and activation of the metabolism, in turn promoting the occurrence of multiple physiologically beneficial effects in the repair of human cells. It is used widely in the medical and cosmetic fields, principally because it is non-destructive to the target tissue.
There are two types of diodes used in laser therapy. 1) Super Luminous Diodes (SLD) are designed for the treatment of a large surface area. These are less powerful than laser diodes and can be safely applied in larger numbers over a wide area. 2) Laser Diodes (LD) have higher power output and narrow beams, making them ideally suitable as "laser probes" for deeper penetration and for targeting localized pathology.
What is BioFlex?
BioFlex is a highly sophisticated therapeutic modality that combines the potential benefits of low intensity laser with super luminous diodes for the effective treatment of many medical disorders. Developed and engineered by Meditech International Incorporated, BioFlex represents the decade's most significant technological advancement in laser therapy.
What does Low Intensity Laser Therapy do?
By affecting and reversing the offending pathology at the cellular level, laser therapy optimises the restoration of injured tissues to normal function, thereby relieving painful symptoms. The beneficial effects of laser therapy are cumulative over the course of a series of treatments.
How many treatments are required?
This will vary from patient to patient. Just as every medical condition is individual, so are the responses to therapy. The onset of initial pain relief as a result of treatment varies due to each patient's particular rate of release of endorphins and cortisol. In a recent clinical report on 151 consecutive cases using Low Intensity Laser Therapy, 11 treatments was the average number required for maximum improvement. Whether two or twenty treatments are required, most patients need not restrict normal activity during the therapy period, as healing will continue between sessions. Two distinct reactions occur during therapy; the immediate due to the release of the body's own endorphins and cortisone production and the more important or cumulative effect, resulting from progressive therapy.
How does BioFlex compare with other conventional treatments?
For many years, rehabilitation therapies -- including ultrasound, interferential current and TENS -- have been used extensively throughout the world to treat pain and stimulate the healing processes. Unlike BioFlex, however, the healing effects of these treatments have been disappointing as they only modulate symptoms. In contrast, BioFlex is able to influence the pathology directly at the cellular level, resulting in therapeutic benefits that are more profound and generally curative. At best, alternative therapies act as counter-irritants, creating a transient increase in circulation and the release of endorphins, providing only temporary symptomatic relief.
Who would benefit from BioFlex laser therapy?
BioFlex laser is recommended as the treatment of choice for sufferers of musculoskeletal conditions in rehabilitation, physiotherapy, and sports medicine. Specifically, it can effectively treat many medical conditions, including acute injuries, degenerative disorders and wound healing.
Why is BioFlex the most advanced system?
Never before has a laser treatment offered such sophisticated levels of accuracy, control and versatility. The flexible, multi-source diode arrays, exclusive to the BioFlex optical heads (Fig. 1), can be contoured to any target tissue for maximum coverage and precision dosage delivery.
The BioFlex control unit provides exceptional monitoring and adaptability (Fig. 2), enabling the health professional unlimited flexibility in the adjustment of multiple parameters to safely and accurately treat the specific needs of each individual patient.
PC-based operating software is a standard feature of BioFlex, providing the user with recommended scientifically developed experience-based protocols (Fig. 3) for each application.
Fig. 1 A range of flexible treatment heads for every application.
Fig. 2 Exceptional control and flexibility of treatment parameters.
Fig. 3 A complete portfolio of experience- based protocols
What are the side effects associated with BioFlex?
Unlike many pharmaceutical options, BioFlex is non toxic; unlike surgical procedures, it is non-traumatic; and most importantly, it is non-invasive. World wide use over 40 years has reported no side effects.
What about the deleterious effects of radiation?
Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) does produce radiation, as photon energy, in the visible and near infra-red regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Worldwide research, conducted over the past thirty years indicates that normally functioning cells are not adversely affected by this type of irradiation.
Note: Unlike other forms of radiation, i.e. x-ray, etc., this process is beneficial rather than harmful to tissue.
Where is BioFlex in use today?
Across Canada, Europe, South America and Asia, BioFlex is being used by an increasing number of chiropractors, physiotherapists and physicians. In the 8 years that the therapy has been available, more than 100,000,000 patients have received successful treatment with BioFlex and its predecessor units. The Toronto Raptors Basketball Club, The Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, have used BioFlex for their injured players with excellent results.
In addition, many athletes from golf, hockey, and tennis are enjoying the benefits of the therapy.
Where has clinical research on BioFlex been conducted?
Several controlled studies have been conducted since 1996 using the BioFlex Professional System. Two of these involved experimental models of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The results of both studies showed BioFlex producing significant, positive effects on these disorders. A synopsis of these studies is available. Meditech has embarked on an extensive program of beta testing of the BioFlex user protocols. In January, 1997, two BioFlex Professional Systems were placed in beta sites, one at the University of Toronto in a teaching hospital and one at the University of Ulster. Several additional research units were utilized in private clinics. Results from these centres have indicated that the benefits derived were positive and dramatic.