Infrared Light Therapy
Infrared light therapy is a very powerful new technology that relieves pain from most conditions including neuropathic pain. The use of an infrared scanner to monitor skin thermal changes in real time is essential to achieve safe and effective treatment. This video gives examples of its application and the article below describes it. Its use in the treatment of cancer pain is surprising.
Infrared Light Therapy, Healing With Light
“The pain is gone…I can't believe it!” Those are the words of Jack, a patient whose pain suddenly disappeared after two decades of unrelenting pain from diabetic neuropathy and a treatment program that not only profoundly interfered with his quality of life but also resulted in an addiction to a myriad of pharmaceutical drugs. It was just that fast—two half-hour treatments with an invisible light and his pain disappeared. Incredible! No more medicines. He began feeling like his old self—he could think clearly and his zest for life returned. Jack's family thinks it was a miracle.
Jack's story is not unusual. However, diabetic neuropathy is only one of many health conditions that can be eliminated using a near infrared light therapy known as photonic stimulation. Since we have used this technology at the Health Medicine Institute our patients have been so delighted with its effects that we've had to expand our staff to accommodate their avalanche of referrals to friends and families.
Photonic stimulation sounds like “Star Trek” medicine—something out of the future that seems too far-fetched to exist in today’s world. However, quantum healing with near infrared light photons is a reality today and is poised to become an essential technology in medical practice for years to come. This powerful, effective, safe, and affordable technology is revolutionizing medical treatment for pain, many neurological disorders, and a wide variety of musculoskeletal and soft tissue maladies. Many health problems that had previously been notoriously difficult or even impossible to successfully manage can now benefit from photonic stimulation.
Photonic stimulation is based on scientific research
There is a rapidly growing body of solid scientific research documenting the effectiveness of near infrared light therapy. NASA published a study on our Navy Seals in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery in November of 2001 showing that this frequency of light penetrates 23 centimeters into the body's tissues, and that it not only relieves pain but also accelerates the healing process by 50% or more.
There is new evidence promising that photonic stimulation will have important applications in restoring vision in humans for a wide variety of disorders. An article that is in press in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that photonic stimulation prevents blindness induced by methyl alcohol poisoning in mice. And, according to New Science Magazine, September of 1999, NASA has shown that photonic stimulation can be used to treat eye injuries caused by laser burns. Additional clinical studies are also presently underway to document what those of us who have been exploring this technology already know from everyday experience.
How does photonic stimulation work?
Scientists believe that the mechanism of action of photonic stimulation is related to its ability to excite electrons within the energy producing mitochondria of cells in injured tissues. This process is thought to enable these cells to increase their production of ATP, the energy currency of our cells, and thereby stimulating the return of more normal cellular physiology. Accompanying this is a more normal regulation of the autonomic nervous system that increases blood flow to injured tissues—this promotes both pain relief and faster healing.
Combining photonic stimulation with thermography
Changes in blood flow can be measured with the application of thermography—the study of heat patterns at the body surface. Changes in cutaneous blood flow due to sympathetic nerve stimulation appear as specific temperature patterns on the skin. These thermographic patterns correlate with patients’ subjective improvement and can be measured in real time with the use of infrared scanning cameras. This process of combining imaging with an infrared camera while simultaneously treating the patient with a photon-generating device is referred to as “dynamic image feedback.” When photon therapy is applied there is a restoration of normal “isothermic” patterns on scanning.
The main criteria for infrared camera selection are thermal sensitivity and low background noise—discrimination of individual isotherm patterns is necessary for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. We have been using the Bales Scientific Infrared Scanner, which has a sensitivity of .05 degrees Celsius and a temperature range that covers the extremes of the treatment room and patient. This amazing self-calibrating equipment allows for high resolution as well as accurate comparison of thermal records from day to day.
Photon generating devices
Photon generating devices used for medical therapy include lasers, light emitting diodes (LEDS), and infrared mosaic arrays. Lasers have the potential of damaging soft tissues because their output is concentrated into a small intense beam of energy. Extreme caution must be exercised when using these devices, especially in regards to eye safety. Standard LEDS, on the other hand, are much weaker and lack sufficient energy output to be used as individual devices.
However, infrared mosaic arrays, such as are used in Bales Scientific’s Photonic Stimulator, have the unique advantage of high output power of infrared energy over a relatively large treatment area. They are safe because their energy output falls off rapidly with treatment distance. For example, if the treatment device were moved back two inches the output intensity would decrease to only 25 %.
Applications of photonic stimulation in clinical practice include:
Diabetic and other neuropathies
Sports and other injuries
Cervical and lumbar disc disease
Repetitive stress injuries
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Burns, cuts, and contusions
Carpal tunnel syndrome
It is not unusual to reverse symptoms that have persisted for decades in a matter of a few minutes. And, the beneficial effects of just a few treatments are likely to last for months to years. A good example of this is in patients with diabetic neuropathy, as previously demonstrated in Jack’s case. People with this condition are often required to endure the side effects of narcotics, antidepressants, anti-neuroleptics and a wide variety of other potentially dangerous drugs to control their severe pain. Photonic stimulation routinely restores the nerve dysfunction that leads to the pain, numbness, ulcerations, and amputations that all too often accompany patients with diabetic neuropathy.
Perhaps the most common application of photonic stimulation is for a wide variety of acute injuries. It is particularly effective for soft tissue injuries such as cuts, hematomas, contusions, muscle pulls, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and all other myofascial pain syndromes. These injuries are routinely cured within 1-2 weeks, allowing a return to full activity. This became clear at the USA Track and Field Trials in Sacramento, CA, and the subsequent 2000 Olympic Games when international athletes treated with the photonic stimulator found this therapy very effective for their sports related injuries.
Personal experience is a powerful teacher that can be even more impacting than a large clinical trial. In March of 2001, I was preparing to take a trip to Australia to represent the US in Senior Davis Cup competition. In the over 60 year old division, playing with pain is more the rule than the exception! Unfortunately, a couple of weeks prior to leaving I developed a severe tennis elbow injury that I was sure would take me out of the competition. To my surprise, after using the photon stimulator for a few minutes twice a day for five days, the pain was totally gone and I was able to resume full activity—I went on to win the world singles title. Normally, as most tennis players know, this type of injury generally requires six weeks to 18 months to fully heal.
Several months ago I sustained a muscle pull in my left calf that left me limping from pain. Again, after using photonic stimulation twice a day for five days the pain totally resolved and I resumed full activity. The previous time I developed a calf pull it took nine months before I completely healed. I no longer take tennis trips without bringing the photonic stimulator in my tennis bag—it has become the “secret weapon” of our US Senior Davis Cup Team!
Age is not a limitation in using photonic stimulation. Tom is a 79-year-old former Wimbledon champion who was preparing to represent the US in Senior Davis Cup competition in late 2002. Having undergone a total shoulder replacement eight years prior, he was certain when he re-injured this shoulder that he would not be able to compete. Over the course of a week of daily treatment with photonic stimulation, the pain cleared and he resumed practicing five days a week. Tom referred to this as a “small miracle.”
At the age of 21, Todd was riding his motorcycle and was involved in an accident with a truck. His head was run over by the rear wheels and you can just imagine the injuries he sustained. Several reconstructive surgeries did wonders, but for the next ten years he suffered from nearly unbearable neuropathic pain in his left jaw and face. Todd had become seriously depressed—the polypharmacy of drugs he was taking did not satisfactorily control his pain, he could no longer function at work or at home, and he could not exercise without experiencing a severe exacerbation of pain. In desperation, Todd’s pain management physician referred him to the Health Medicine Institute for photonic stimulation treatment. This was his “last resort.”
After a single treatment of less than one minute with very low dose photonic stimulation, Todd’s pain dramatically lessened. Within several additional sessions of light therapy the pain disappeared completely and his problem became one of dealing with the addiction to his many medications. Within a couple of months Todd was pain free without the use of any drugs, he returned to full time work, the quality of his marital relationship improved, he could exercise, and his depression lifted.
What the future holds for photonic stimulation
There are many other life-changing stories similar to these. Over the more than thirty years I’ve been in medical practice, no technology has impacted the way I practice more than photonic stimulation. It is inevitable that as more health care practitioners and patients learn about this powerful technology, photonic stimulation will become a very popular mainstream therapy—it will soon become the first choice in managing pain and promoting healing rather than a “last resort.”
While photonic stimulation may sound like something out of “Star Trek,” it's a reality poised to become an essential cornerstone in the management of sports injuries. It is particularly effective for soft tissue injuries such as tennis elbows and wrists, muscle pulls, contusions, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff injuries, and even fractures. Several other former world champions such as Tom Brown, Charlie Hoeveler, and Jimmy Parker have found light therapy a powerful factor in getting over their injuries and back on the court. The New England Patriots and San Diego Padres are now using photonic stimulation on their injured players.
Since I started using this technology in 2000 and have treated patients suffering from all types of sports injuries. Sometimes we reverse symptoms that have persisted for decades in a matter of a few minutes—and the beneficial effects of just a few treatments may be permanent. When an injury occurs, blood flow to the area, which is regulated by the sympathetic nervous system, diminishes. When the photonic stimulator is applied to the overlying skin from a few seconds to several minutes, the powerful effect of its deeply penetrating infrared light dilates blood vessels so blood can flow more freely. This not only relieves pain and restores function but also speeds healing by 50% according to NASA studies on Navy Seals that were published in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery in November of 2001.
Photon therapy also has a direct beneficial effect on individual cells. Heat from its high energy near infrared light increases production of ATP, the primary chemical energy that is manufactured by the mitochondria within our cells. Changes in blood flow can be measured using thermography, the study of heat patterns at the body surface. Blood flow patterns are measured in real time using highly sensitive infrared scanners. Because changes in blood flow cause nearly instantaneous clinical changes, it is also possible to measure changes during treatment through patient feedback.
At HMC we often add one or more of a wide range of services in conjunction with photon therapy such as acupuncture, bodywork, chiropractic, movement therapies, psychology, nutrition, and guided imagery. Our style of practice typically integrates the services of several health care disciplines simultaneously in order to synergize a speedy recovery. Even in the most severely disabled patients, we generally do not need medication to manage pain, reduce inflammation, or restore function.
I've seen many life-changing stories from this marvelous therapy in a wide variety of other conditions. One good example is Jason, who at age 32 was considering suicide because of unrelenting back pain. He came to HMC as his last resort. He had suffered through two surgeries for lumbar disc disease that resulted in a “failed back syndrome.” Despite the use of narcotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants, he suffered from constant unbearable pain. Jason was on total disability, and pain and depression had become a way of life.
Jason's initial treatment with the photonic stimulator provided his first break from pain in nearly four years. Within a few weeks he was able to discontinue all medications and he began taking walks and could sleep through the night without pain. Within six months of our integrative treatment plan, he began going to the gym and is now regaining lost muscle strength. Jason feels like he has gotten is life back.
Photonic stimulation is a very safe treatment. It is important to remember that analgesics in the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory family of drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin are responsible for 30,000 deaths and 400,000 hospitalizations in the US annually. These numbers don’t include the hospitalizations and deaths caused by heart attacks and strokes from the COX–2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra. On the other hand, glucosamine chondroitin, MSM, and DMSO have been shown to work equally well and have caused no known hospitalizations or deaths.
In the more than thirty years I've been in medical practice, no technology has had a more profound effect on the management of sports injuries. As more people learn about this powerful technology, photonic stimulation will become a first choice in managing pain rather than a last resort.
Len Saputo, MD
Medical Director of the Health Medicine Center
1620 Riviera Ave., Walnut Creek, CA 94596