Different Forms of Photomedicine in Veterinary Medicine


The most commonly used form in veterinary medicine is laser therapy.

Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, FAAMA, president and CEO of CuraCore Integrative Medicine and Education Centers, explains the use of photomedicine in veterinary medicine, which involves the application of light to tissue. The most commonly used form in veterinary medicine, Dr. Robinson says, is laser therapy.

"Photomedicine involves the application of light to tissue. So, most commonly in veterinary medicine we think of laser therapy, which is just how the photons are coming out of the instrument. Now there's also upcoming light-emitting diodes, so LEDs like we see in light bulbs but this is for therapeutic purposes. So photomedicine is just using light as a partner to heal. In a way, another approach would be sound, like the ultrasound, so that uses sound waves. But we haven't been so well educated about light medicine up until recently, but the veterinary world is really adopting it.

And it's not all that new, because even in Hippocrates time he would recommend going out into the sun, so the sun itself has healing properties, but too much sun exposure is negative. But the science behind photomedicine is rich and growing. And certain disciplines in human medicine have adopted it rapidly—a lot of dentists use it, it's been used in dermatology quite a bit—but now in sports medicine and rehabilitation, pain medicine, and regenerative therapies it's got a profound application and ability to help animals heal and perform better and just feel a lot better. There are of course plusses and minuses. There are debates about how much power of the photons you should use and you have groups that say the more the better and then there's research that says no, we should have a moderation in the delivery of these photons. So as with any of the other modalities like massage and acupuncture and herbs, the photomedicine, too—there's a lot of hype, there's misunderstanding, and there's a lot of sales people that want you to buy their product. And that's why it's important to get factual, science-based information from somebody that's not agendized and is really going to give you the facts, and can tell you the truth about which devices do what."

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