The Healing Power of Cold Laser Therapy

By Heather Elrod, President and CEO
SkinPhD Cosmeceuticals

Most of us in the aesthetic and medical aesthetic fields are familiar with the terms IPL (Intense-pulsed light), LED (Light-emitting Diode), and L.A.S.E.R. (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Technically, a laser is a source of high-intensity optical, infrared, or ultraviolet radiation (light). The photons involved in the laser emission process all have the same energy and phase so that the laser beam is monochromatic and coherent, allowing it to be brought to a fine focus.

Coherent vs. Non-Coherent Light Sources

A laser beam is different from IPL and LED because it is “coherent”. This simply means that the beam has the ability to remain focused over a distance. IPL and LED are non-coherent, meaning the light scatters with shorter depth of penetration while laser is coherent, thus providing a “targeted” as shown in the image below. With coherence, the scattering of light decreases and the light will strike the target at perpendicular angles that will increase its absorption and transmission to deeper tissues.

Cold Laser Therapy

Cold laser therapy supplies energy to the body in the form of non-thermal photons of light, hence the term “cold laser”. Cold lasers use light waves in the near infrared ranges that penetrate the deepest of all light waves in the visible spectrum.

Cold Laser Light is:

  • Monochromatic (A single wavelength in the 635 to 970 nm range)
  • Coherent (Traveling in a straight non-diverging line)
  • Has a wavelength in red portion of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Polarized (Concentrating it energy as a defined spot)
  • Does not heat tissue

Because of the Cold Laser’s deep penetration, light is transmitted through the skin’s layers (the dermis, epidermis, and the subcutaneous tissue or tissue fat under the skin) and reaches the Mitochondria of the cell. This is very important because the Mitochondria are the cell's power producers.

How Does the Cold Laser Work?


Mitochondria and the Relationship to ATP

The Mitochondria convert energy into forms that are usable by the cell. Located in the cytoplasm, they are the sites of cellular respiration which ultimately generate fuel for the cell's activities. The Mitochondria is the organelle known as "The Powerhouse of the Cell" because of its ability to manufacture a substance called ATP. ATP is essential because it is what your body uses for energy…in fact, it is the only substance your body can ultimately use as energy. Even what we eat (carbohydrates, proteins, or fats) must first be completely digested and then converted to ATP in order to extract any energy from it. Without adequate amounts of ATP, living organisms are unable to survive and thrive. On the contrary, abundant supplies of ATP mean that cells have adequate energy to do all the things it must do to not only stay alive but also the things that it can do to thrive exceptionally.

What could your body do if it could create more ATP in a local area --- lots more ATP? Think about the implications for a moment. Extra energy in the form of ATP can be used by cells, tissues, and organs, to detoxify themselves of accumulated waste products and toxins, repair themselves, regenerate / rebuild themselves, and do many things beyond simply "staying alive". How can we make cells create more ATP? The answer is Cold Laser Therapy!

Cold Laser Light and Increased Mitochondrial Activity

Scientific Research has shown that although many cells have numerous kinds of receptors; the body has at least three specific kinds of receptors in every single cell in the body.

  • There are receptors for neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, etc)
  • There are receptors for hormones (Insulin, various Thyroid Hormones, Estrogen, etc)
  • There are receptors for light (AKA "Photo-Receptors")

Each cell can contain thousands of Mitochondria, which move about producing ATP in response to the cell's need for chemical energy. When the infrared light of a Cold Laser is applied to affected body area at a frequency of between 600 - 905 nanometers (which penetrate up to 5cm below the skin’s surface), it causes the Mitochondria to create more cellular energy in the form of ATP. When various cells or tissues of the body are presented with extra ATP, they can use it to detoxify, rebuild, regenerate, reduce inflammation, produce collagen and elasticity, and generally aid in the healing process of injured or diseased tissue. This claim is substantiated by thousands of peer-reviewed medical and scientific studies that have been published over the past several decades.

European and Japanese doctors have been using Cold Laser extensively for decades for pain reduction, wound healing, sports therapy, and aesthetic treatments. In the United States, Cold Lasers have been used over the last several years primarily for pain management, sports therapy, chiropractic treatments. Now, Cold Lasers are gaining popularity in aesthetic treatments for their efficacy and healing power of the skin at the cellular level.


Increased Cell Growth: Laser light accelerate cellular reproduction and growth. Amazingly enough, there is a great deal of research showing that Cold Laser actually has the opposite effect on cancer cells ---- slowing down their rate of division.

Increased Metabolic Activity: Laser photons initiate a higher outputs of specific enzymes, immune cells, oxygen, and nutrition for blood cells.

Pain Relief: Pain Relief is due not only to accelerated healing processes, but is also the result of increased release of endorphins.

Faster Wound Healing: Light from the Cold Laser stimulates cells called fibroblasts, which can speed up collagen synthesis in damaged tissue. This is a bigger deal than you might imagine because Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is the building block for muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, bones, skin, and several other connective tissues. This is why Cold Laser is used for Tissue Remodeling Treatments.

Increased Cellular Detoxification: Increased ATP is known to provide increased cellular energy for "cellular housekeeping". Clear out the cellular toxicity and the body heals so much easier.

Increased Collagen and Elasticity: Many studies show the increased collagen and elasticity that occur from cellular stimulation using Cold Laser Therapy

Increased Vascular Activity: Laser photons induce temporary dilation of local blood vessels that can increase blood flow to effected areas. One way it does this is by increasing the good form of Nitric Oxide. Cold Laser has been shown to actually increase the numbers of capillaries in treated tissue, thus bringing more blood (hydration, nutrition, detox, etc) to the treated area on a longer term basis.

Reduced Fibrous Tissue (Scar Tissue) Formation: Lasers have been shown to reduce the formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from: cuts, scratches, burns or surgery.

Stimulated Nerve Function: Laser photon exposure speeds the process of nerve cell reconnection, and helps bring numb or dysfunctional areas (neuropathy) back to life.

Increased Tissue Oxygenation: Laser has been shown to increase oxygenation via increased levels of cellular ATP.

Anti-Inflammatory Actions: Cold Laser Therapy has been shown in numerous studies to decrease inflammation. Be aware that although many people believe it to be true, inflammation is not synonymous with swelling --- it's much more serious than that. Inflammation is a largely "systemic" chemical issue that causes all sorts of problems (swelling is one of many). This probably helps explain why Cold Laser Therapy can help so many different problems.

Laser Acupuncture: Many studies touting the fact that Cold Laser Therapy actually stimulates acupuncture points in a similar fashion to needles or other methods.

*excerpts taken from Dr. Schierling, Cold Laser Cure


“Light energy has been used for healing since the earliest recorded medical history, but has gone out of favor in Western medicine with the advent of the existing paradigm of a more surgical and pharmacological basis... (Cold Laser) has been an essential part of therapy for practitioners around the world for almost 20 years, but it is only recently catching on in the United States. Still, the vast majority of students of medicine and allied health practices in this country are not being taught its efficacy and use... I have had the opportunity to assist multiple patients with pain management, wound healing and physical recovery… This modality has been the best new technology I have had to offer my patients in the last decade. It is my hope that others will latch onto this technology and bring it forward, for it is a completely non-invasive option that provides so many physiologic advantages with no apparent side effects.”

- Dr. Jeff Nelson, Director of the Burn and Wound Center at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona

Written by Heather Elrod, President and CEO of SkinPhD Cosmeceuticals

SkinPhD formulates and manufactures in South Africa using the natural resources from the area (semi-precious stones, marula, honeybush, malachite) in combination with the most efficacious ingredients available to cosmetic science. SkinPhD has several product collections including Platinum for mature skin, Clarify for perfecting the skin, and Renaissance for darker skin tones. SkinPhD combines our clinical skin care with cold laser therapy for extraordinary reparative results in the skin. We specialize in bringing skin in every state of damage and disrepair back to health. We also offer real, customized results for darker skin tones.