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laser-vs-sound

What’s That You Heard?

Sound Wave Therapy vs. Laser Therapy

Without any prior physics knowledge of light and sound technologies, most people may be likely to intuitively assume that laser therapy is more effective than sound therapy to treat animals. Light travels faster than sound, plus a “laser” just sounds more tangible than a sound wave, therefore it works better, right?

Actually, this is false. Laser therapy uses light energy that pierces the skin and penetrates superficial blood cells with the goal of improving blood flow through a process loosely known as ‘photobiomodulation’. On the contrary, a shock wave is a high energy, focused acoustic pressure impulse that not only stimulates the development of new blood vessels, but also can reverse inflammation and stimulate the growth of proteins that support optimal healing in bone (osteogenesis) and soft tissue (angiogenesis).

The light energy used in laser therapy technology is not designed to optimize energy delivery to a focused location. When used in treatment, a significant amount of the laser energy dissipates before it is able to reach deep tissue. Approximately seventy percent of the energy is lost during treatment, resulting in only about thirty percent of the energy actually reaching the treatment area, and the deeper the desired treatment point, the more energy is lost. Laser therapy is only an effective treatment for penetration depths of up to two centimeters because a majority of the light is lost at the surface due to energy absorption. Laser therapy is only beneficial for treating acute wounds and as an adjunct to rehab. Clinical studies have also shown that 5-15 laser therapy treatments are necessary to see improvement, which is a whopping five times the number of shock wave treatments needed to provide long-lasting improvement.

As opposed to laser therapy, sound wave/ shock wave healing technology is designed to generate focused energy that is successfully delivered to the treatment area. VersaTron and ProPulse shock wave healing technology can provide focused energy up to eleven centimeters in veterinary patients. Since energy can be delivered to a large focal volume at a significant penetration depth, it is the ideal technology for treating orthopedic conditions including superficial indications, bone healing, tendon/ligament healing, osteoarthritis, and chronic wounds. Clinical studies have shown that only 1-3 treatments spaced two-to-three weeks apart provide long-lasting treatment, which is significantly less than the number of treatments necessary for successful laser therapy.  

Shock wave therapy has continuously proven to be a more effective form of treatment than laser therapy. Compared to laser therapy, sound wave therapy generates higher energy, allows for deeper penetration, has expanded uses, offers longer-term improvement, requires less treatment, and is overall proven to be more effective. Sounds like sound is the better option after all!