Another look at home care laser devices

By Jan Tunér

We have previously had a brief look at home care lasers and their advantages (www.laserannals.com/2014/11/23/home-care-lasers). This time we will take another brief glance at the online market. The number of lasers and LEDs offered for home care were stunning, and especially for LED lights. While certainly effective for many conditions, the LEDs are left out of this presentation. Below are some of the lasers found, with a brief presentation. This is not for any promotion, so no links to manufacturers or distributors are offered.

There are two potential applications of home care laser. The first one is of course what the word implies – lasers to be used by laymen for private care. These should preferably be low powered as well as low priced and with the consequent limitations. The second type is a stronger and more advanced laser to be used by medical professionals. Many conditions require repeated laser treatment and for a patient to go repeatedly to a professional may not always be cost effective. The practitioner can therefore use a semi-professional laser as a temporary loan, for rent or for sale. After initial treatment(s) by the practitioner, the patient is using the home care unit for a period of time and then returning to the practitioner for evaluation. This may be the end of the home care situation but also the beginning, since conditions like arthritis are chronic. In the meantime, the patient has seen the usefulness of the laser and been educated in the use of the equipment. Home care lasers can be marketed for general use or for specific indications, such as laser combs to stimulate hair growth and toothbrushes for sensitive tooth necks.

The first effort to offer a safe home care laser was probably the 5 mW red laser invented by Dr. Lutz Wilden of Germany, already in the 90s, named E-trans. It was small, handy, safe and fair priced. Limited in use but fair for several conditions like herpes, aphthae and superficial wounds.


Similar low output red home care lasers are still available, but with a difference. There is a typical sales jargon with words like “revolutionary”, “anti-ageing” and “innovative”, while being very old-fashioned. Some are using a combination with a magnet – usefulness not very convincing. So while just as useful as the original E-trans, the marketing seems to be less honest.

5 mW, 660 nm. Worth 176 USD?

5 mW red, yours for 129 US

“The Bright Therapy Softlaser Plus is the No. 1 selling Light Therapy in the world. The Bright Therapy Softlaser Plus is ideal for treating acne, wrinkles, spider veins, age spots and so much more. Look years younger and have beautiful skin. Have a clear, radiant complexion. The Softlaser works in the privacy of your own home without expensive surgery, chemical peels, and collagen or Botox injections.”

An interesting offer comes from the Laser Treatment Machine, suggested to use for Acute and chronic rhinitis, nasal mucosal hyperemia, general sinus conditions that have not improved using standard treatment methods. The power is not reported, but retailer writes “Laser output is 650 nano”, meaning that they don’t know. At any rate, 650 nm even at low power and applied into the nasal cavity can be quite useful for rhinitis and the price 28.95 USD is quite forgiving.


Dr. Wilden, who developed the pioneering e-trans, later on developed home care lasers for tinnitus sufferers, such as the LuxSpa laser with two earplugs of 30 mW, 660 nm.

LuxSpa tinnitus home care laser

For broader usefulness, home care lasers are recommended to have power in the 50-100 mW range (my recommendation). Typical for home care lasers is the wide aperture (“laser eye”), offering a fairly low power density. This is essential from a safety point of view. One such laser is the Treatlite from a Swedish manufacturer. It operates with 150 mW, 808 nm - 100 mW, if an intraoral probe is added. As a safety measure, it only operates for 24 seconds, then it has to be started anew. Thus, 2.4 J per activation.

Treatlite Active

Many home care lasers use a combination of lasers and LEDs. One example is the PulseRelief, using a combination of 904 nm laser plus LEDs of 4 x 635 nm and 4 x 875 nm.


Stronger semi-professional lasers can be found, for instance the Emlas from Konftec in Taiwan. It is offered as a multi-diode “shower” of a combined power of 250 or 500 mW, 660, 780 or 808 nm.


The B-cure laser is another semi-professional laser. It offers 250 mW, 808 nm, 4.5 cm2 aperture, 55 mW/cm2.

B-cure laser

Summing up, there are many home care lasers to be found being offered on-line. The low-priced, low-powered lasers are using the most exaggerated marketing language and being a layman customer is not easy. All lasers will have a biological effect, even a 5 mW laser pointer (https://www.amazon.com/Rejuvenation-Increase-Vitality-Healing-Therapy/dp/0615485367/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1467639926&sr=8-4&keywords=laser+pointer+book)

So comparing the price of such a pointer and some of the “revolutionary” beauty lasers is wise. Other than that, it is a matter of what you can afford. Reasonable success in many conditions is to be expected, given that a good manual is offered. Pure LED machines are commonplace and while not quite as useful as lasers, acceptable for superficial conditions.

There is still very little research about the use of home care lasers, but here is a recent example:

Fornaini C, Pelosi A, Queirolo V, Vescovi P, Merigo E. The “at-home LLLT” in temporo-mandibular disorders pain control: a pilot study. Laser Ther. 2015 Mar 31;24(1):47-52.

The Temporo-Mandibular Disorders (TMD) are a set of dysfunctional patterns concerning the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) and the masticatory muscles; its main symptom is pain, probably caused by inflammatory changes in the synovial membrane, alterations in the bone marrow of the mandibular condyle and impingement and compression. The aim of this preliminary study was to investigate the effectiveness in the TMD pain reduction of a new laser device recently proposed by the commerce that, due to its reduced dimensions and to be a class I laser according the ANSI classification, may be used at home by the patient himself.

Twenty-four patients with TMD were randomly selected: the inclusion criteria for the sample was the diagnosis of mono- or bi-lateral TMD, with acute pain restricted to the joint area, associated with the absence of any muscle tenderness during palpation. The patients were randomly assigned to two groups: Group 1 (12 patients): patients receiving real LLLT (experimental group). Group 2 (12 patients): patients receiving inactive laser (placebo group). The treatment was performed once a day for two weeks with an 808 nm diode laser by the patient himself with irradiation of the cutaneous zone corresponding to the TMJ for 15 minutes each side. Each patient was instructed to express its pain in a visual analogue scale (VAS) making a perpendicular line between the two extremes representing the felt pain level. Statistical analysis was realized with GraphPad Instat Software, where P<0.05 was considered significant and P<0.01 very significant.

The patient’s pain evaluation was expressed in the two study groups before the treatment, 1 week and two weeks after the treatment. The differences between the two groups result extremely significant with p<0.0001 for the comparison of VAS value after 1 and 2 weeks.

This study, even if it may be considered such a pilot study, investigated a new way to control the pain in the temporo-mandibular diseases by an at home self-administered laser device. Results are encouraging but they will have to be confirmed by greater studies.