LED vs laser light therapy

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have been around for a long time, but have only been introduced as a legitimate therapy option in recent years. LEDs are similar to lasers in that as they can emit the same light but differ in the way that the light energy is delivered because of a characteristic known as coherence.

Lasers produce coherent light which means the wavelengths of the light are in phase in space and time and so produces a steady, focused stream of light.

Its photons, or particles of light energy, possess the same frequency and its waves are in phase with one another. These properties make it more of a hazard than ordinary light, but do not provide any additional benefits. Lasers do not penetrate any deeper into the body, and the ones used for therapeutic purposes are no more powerful than LEDs.

LED light is incoherent;  the source of light is scattered, like lighting up a dark room with a torch. The photons do not all have the same frequency and the waves are not in phase with one another.

LEDs cannot damage the tissue, but they do deliver enough energy to promote natural self-healing and pain relief. With a low peak power output, the LED’s provide a much gentler delivery of the same healing wavelengths of light, but without the risk of accidental eye damage.

As a newer tool there were concerns that LEDs were less efficient than laser light  or even unable to promote therapeutic effects. However, studies have shown that LED light can be just as effective as laser, since both have similar biological effects, with no significant difference between them.

A research study published in 2014 entitled ‘Effects of low-power light therapy on wound healing: LASER x LED‘  discussed the relative merits of both LED and laser devices. It concluded the following:

“Phototherapy, either by laser or LED is an effective therapeutic modality to promote the healing of skin wounds. The biological effects promoted by these therapeutic resources are similar.”