The simple answer: The specific wavelengths of infrared light penetrate into the body and interact with tissues on a cellular level. This increases metabolic activity within those cells. One of the benefits that it improves the transportation of nutrients across the cell membrane which increases production of ATP. This creates a cascade of physiological effects and benefits which include increased cellular function and repair of tissues.
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The laser therapy creates a photochemical reaction. As the light penetrates into the body there is a specific receptor in the mitochondria that is receptive to the specific wavelength. This stimulates the cytochrome oxidase enzyme. This utilizes the oxygen in the respiratory chain (via stimulation of the hemoglobin molecules) and produces more ATP (the molecule responsible for energy transfer) in that cell. Microcirculation is greatly improved, allowing more delivery of nutrients, oxygen, and hydration, while taking away waste products.
Tissues that are more ischemic (as a result of inflammation, edema, or injury) have been shown to have a significantly higher response to laser therapy. DNA/RNA synthesis, increased cAMP levels, protein and collagen synthesis, and cellular proliferation have all been demonstrated. These reactions on a cellular level lead to rapid normalization, regeneration, and healing of damaged tissue.
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