The Biological Basis of Low Level (Cold) Laser Light

Excerpted from a monograph by James L. Oschman, Ph.D.
condensed by Fred M. Bogan, D.C.

When I mention the use of cold laser therapy for certain conditions I typically get a look of amazement,confusion, uncertainty or sometimes downright skepticism. Everybody wants a brief explanation of how it works, and although not entirely brief, this explanation from Dr. Oschman’s paper seems to explain it best.

It all started in the early part of the 20th century when a Russian embryologist named Alexander Gurwitsch proved that cells receive and give off low levels of light. He showed that mitosis, or cell division was stimulated by light and he predicted (and it was later proved) that in fact, cell division was impossible without this light. Many well known scientists have contributed to the body of knowledge leading up to laser light and its use on biological systems, including Albert Einstein, Satyendra Bose, Max Planck, Mae Wan Ho, Roger Taylor and many others. Fifty years later, in the 70’s and 80’s it was confirmed that “the efficiency of the mitogenic effect significantly increases if the light stimulus is intermittent or oscillatory. This discovery provides the biological basis for the therapeutic use of different pulsation frequencies, such as provided by some lasers (especially our Erchonia laser, which has an infinite number of programmable frequencies).

To make things even more interesting the Russian scientists showed that a single photon (light particle) can trigger a reaction in one cell that causes the emission of several photons (by that cell). These then trigger photon emissions in other cells and the effect then spreads from one cell to billions of cells instantly, like a chain reaction. These are called high-speed branched-chain reactions or avalanche effects. They account for the fact that a tiny signal can be multiplied to cause a rapid and regenerative flow of energy throughout the body. It has also been confirmed that the light given off by our cells, and therefore the type of light most effective for treatment is “coherent light”. This is very important because laser light is coherent and is therefore most useful in stimulating these reactions in the body. Furthermore by 1988 it was known by leading scientists from around the world that these reactions are not bound by our typical electron theories of the atom and energy, but by quantum physics and quantum mechanics, whereby tiny changes in energy (in this case low level coherent light) can produce profound changes in energy throughout a biological system, such as the human body.

The modern era of biophoton research, from 1974 onwards, began with the work of Fritz-Albert Popp and his colleagues in Germany. During the last 30 years, Popp and scientists around the world have demonstrated conclusively that living systems absorb and emit coherent biophotons (biological laser light). There are now about 40 groups in a dozen countries researching the theories and practical applications of this research, using state of the art techniques. From this research we now know that all organisms, including humans, emit a glow that is too faint to be detected with the eye, but that can be measured precisely with photomultipliers that amplify weak signals millions of times. The intensity of this biophotonic glow is calculated to correspond to the light of a candle seen from a distance of 15 miles. Popp has shown that light is actually stored in the organism. The main storage site appears to be the DNA in the cell nucleus. Moreover, the re-emitted light does not necessarily emerge from the place where it was introduced. Therefore it is concluded that the DNA molecules throughout the organism are linked together by a system-wide unified and unifying coherent radiation field. This unifying field extends throughout the organism, and around it, and is a good candidate for the organizing principle that regulates all of the processes taking place within the body. Popp has concluded that weak light emissions orchestrate the body and that photonic communication enables every cell to know what every other cell is doing.

Another fascinating phenomenon relating to cellular response to coherent light is that of “cellular migration”. Guenther Albrecht-Buehler is the Robert Laughlin Rea Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. He has done pioneering research on what he calls Cell Intelligence. He has shown that cell movement is not random. Instead, cell migrations are purposeful and carefully orchestrated. The defense of the body from bacteria and other pathogens requires that white blood cells migrate through the walls of blood vessels and into tissues that are compromised by infection. The remarkable process by which cells of the immune system cross capillary walls, called diapedesis, is a crucial step in healing. Cell migration and diapedesis are major topics of biomedical research. In 1991, Albrecht-Buehler reported his research which showed that cells definitely move toward a light source, and that pulsed light (such as that used in our Erchonia laser) initiated the strongest migrational response in the cells. He concludes that cells have “eyes” that enable them to “see”. They can map the directions of near-infrared light sources in their environment and steer their movements with respect to those light sources. The larger the amount of light that is being scattered from cells in a particular part of the organism, the greater the distance from which other cells will come together and aggregate. Recent reports suggest that nerve cells are ideally designed to communicate via light.


This survey of the literature in the fields of biophysics, cell biology, quantum physics and biophotonics enables us to look at nearly a century of careful and groundbreaking research on the biology of light. Tying this work together leads to some specific conclusions:
1. Living cells, tissues and entire organisms receive and emit light in the spectral range from infrared to visible to ultraviolet
2. Many of these light emissions consist of coherent biophotons (laser light). This light plays key roles in the absorption, storage, and mobilization of energy within the organism.
3. Cells are responsive to very low levels of light, particularly if the light is pulsed on and off.
4. Even a single photon of light can produce a cascade of effects on a population of cells or tissues by a process known as a high-speed branched-chain reaction or avalanche effect.
5. Several mechanisms explain how a single photon can produce a large scale change in an organism. One is the avalanche effect. Another is quantum coherence. Light and energized electrons can be delocalized: they can migrate from one domain of the body to another rapidly and noiselessly and without loss as wavefunctions rather than as particles. (These studies were not discussed in this shortened version)
6. Another possible mechanism is a direct cell to cell transfer of light energy. For example, it has been discovered that the fibroblasts in the skin contact each other to form a body-wide network. If it were demonstrated that photonic communication can take place through this reticular web, it would mean that projecting laser light on one part of the skin would affect the entire skin.
7. Cells respond to light in three predictable ways:
- By dividing to create healthy new tissue
- By migrating to areas where they are needed for tissue repair
- By altering or up-regulating their metabolism to improve their function

On the basis of these discoveries, it is possible to put forward a logical and testable hypothesis: Injury brings about damage and destruction of cells; damaged cells produce more light than normal cells (dying cells produce the greatest amount of light-almost as if they are crying out to the body’s immune system to mobilize for rescue), and this light travels throughout the organism, signaling other cells and attracting them to the site of injury. Some of these cells clean up damaged cells and destroy bacteria. Others, such as fibroblasts, divide to provide replacements for cells that have been lost. One of the therapeutic effects of laser light is to artificially simulate the cell to cell communications and trigger cell migration and cell division. Laser light can have a protective or restorative function by simulating the photonic aspects of an injury without damaging tissues.