ProActive Rehab – Therapeutic Laser as a Rehabilitation Tool

Professionally Speaking by Stella Barnett of ProActive Rehab
What is therapeutic, low level laser and how can It help me?

Low level or “cold” laser is a form of light therapy used to stimulate healing. Laser, or light therapy, is used to increase the speed, quality and strength of tissue repair, resolve inflammation and provide pain relief. Low level laser is completely pain free and in fact, typically feels like nothing. Occasionally some people report a feeling of slight warmth.

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Low level laser can be effective in the treatment of:

Sprains and strains of ligaments, tendons and muscles
Wounds and abrasions, including the healing of post-surgical incisions
Joint injuries
Trigger points (in fact, it can be used over acupuncture points for those that are needle-phobic!)
Acute and chronic pain

How does low level laser work?

As low level laser generates very little heat, its effects are not thermal (hence the term cold laser) but rather chemical and mechanical in nature. The laser light stimulates photon-absorption within the tissue. This photonic energy is then converted to chemical energy within the tissue cells and is then utilized by these cells to drive the metabolic process. Basically, laser speeds up cellular reactions by providing energy to the cells, and thus can speed up healing.

The light of the laser is also reflected, refracted and scattered throughout the tissues which can create small temperature and pressure gradients across the cell membranes. These gradients facilitate transport of nutrients across the cell wall in the direction of the lower pressure. By increasing the rate of movement across the membranes cell nutrition is increased thereby, once again, assisting with the healing process.

In summary, low lever therapeutic laser can have the following physiological effects:

Increased cell metabolism
Improved localized blood circulation
Reduced localized inflammation and edema
Development of collagen and muscle tissue
Stimulation of the immune system
Stimulation of nerve function
Relief from acute and chronic pain

Low level laser therapy can be a helpful and effective adjunct to a comprehensive rehabilitation program. It is capable of facilitating and assisting in the tissue healing process but is generally not a standalone treatment. To learn if laser would be helpful for your particular problem you should be thoroughly assessed by a regulated health professional who offers low level laser as a treatment option.

Assessments, laser therapy and many other treatment options are offered at ProActive Rehab as part of our comprehensive physiotherapy rehabilitation programs. We encourage you to visit our website ( for access to much information about us, our services and rehabilitation in general, or call the clinic on (705) 788 1480.


Stella Barnett, BSc, BScPT, CAT (C), Physiotherapist, Athletic Therapist

Following completion of her Bachelor of Science in Anatomy and Human Biology in 1998, Stella completed a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy in 2001, and an Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy in 2006.  Stella is a Physiotherapist, registered with the Ontario College of Physiotherapy. In addition, she is a Certified Athletic Therapist, registered with the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association.  Stella previously worked as a Senior Physiotherapist in her home country of England and immigrated to Canada in 2005.

In her free time, Stella enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, camping, and training her two dogs.  She is excited to be continuing her career here in Huntsville.