Low level Laser and COVID-19 – Lakeside Laser

What is Low Level Laser Therapy? Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), commonly known as cold laser therapy, emits a visible light and infrared laser beams which when placed on the skin, penetrates the tissues and interacts with cells to restore normal function and enhance the body’s natural healing process through anti-inflammatory and tissue healing properties.

LLLT has been used to assist in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases for over 4 decades including pneumonia, asthma and chronic bronchitis. Common findings in these patients include reduced chest pain, normalisation of respiratory function, improved immune functioning and shortened recovery times. The main finding in all respiratory tract conditions is inflammation, therefore the addition of LLLT with its anti-inflammatory properties and tissue healing capacity may assist in the recovery of patients with severe COVID-19 infections. Recent studies have also found that LLLT has the potential to inactivate coronaviruses by disrupting the cell wall of the viruses. [2]

The Effect of COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that affect the respiratory system causing potentially severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The COVID virus appears to attach to proteins on the surface cells in the respiratory tract. The virus kills these cells allowing the circulation of cell debris down the airways potentially blocking them and affecting the lungs. [1]

In severe cases, the immune system responds to the virus with a cytokine storm - a severe immune reaction in which the body releases too many immune cells. The huge influx of immune cells attacks the body without specifically targeting the cells affected by the virus. The morbidity and mortality rates of CVOID-19 is directly related to the cytokine storms. [1] The resultant features of these severe reactions include inflammation, tissue damage and death, and damage to respiratory tract and lungs.

cold laser therapy on neck

The Effect of LLLT on COVID-19

Because LLLT has been shown to potentially reduce inflammation and promote tissue healing and regeneration, many researchers believe that it may be a promising approach for lung inflammatory diseases including COVID19. While for most people a COVID-19 infection may be self-limiting, those who are affected by severe infections of COVID 19 with resultant cytokine storms may be placed on ventilators, potentially leading to ventilator induced lung damage. Modulation of inflammation is crucial in helping to boost healing processes and help patients come off ventilators.

LLLT is a safe modality which has been used for a number of years. When combined with standard medical care it may optimise patient response to treatment, reduce inflammation, promote healing, and accelerate recovery times. Clinical trials are needed to objectively evaluate the effect of LLLT on COVID-19 treatment and recovery as current understanding is promising.

References

1. Mokmeli S, Vetrici M. Low level laser therapy as a modality to attenuate cytokine storm at multiple levels, enhance recovery, and reduce the use of ventilators in COVID-19. Can J Respir Ther. 2020 Jul 23;56:25-31. doi: 10.29390/cjrt-2020-015. PMID: 32844112; PMCID: PMC7428000.
2. Stasko, N., Kocher, J.F., Annas, A. et al. Visible blue light inhibits infection and replication of SARS-CoV-2 at doses that are well-tolerated by human respiratory tissue. Sci Rep 11, 20595 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99917-2

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