Author: Rick Lambert, DC
Source: Meditech International Inc.
As you know, laser therapy can be clinically and financially beneficial. As with other practitioners, I admit that it took me a few months of education to persuade myself that this process was possible and that the claims were real. My enjoyable visit to the Meditech-Bioflex clinic in Toronto was important in solidifying my confidence. I cannot thank you enough for introducing my staff and me to your clinic; meeting with everyone, getting that important first-hand experience and seeing the results of the treatment on your patients; it was invaluable. The demeanour and professionalism of everyone in your clinic reinforced my confidence in your scientific claims. Now, since the inclusion of the Bioflex laser system into my clinics, my greatest reward has to be the many successful treatment outcomes. Some are the result of mixed and synergistic treatments; others are exclusively the result of laser therapy, which has altered my attitude to the diagnosis and prognosis of the conditions I treat. My chiropractic practice is forever changed.
I set out initially just to explore the clinical success of laser in my small practice in the coastal town of Sooke, Vancouver Island. My town has about eight thousand people spread over a large coastal area just west of Victoria. My patients were more than happy to be guinea pigs. Most were rewarded with excellent results that beg for more thorough clinical evaluations. This initial year of success was followed by the set up, in nearby Victoria, of a dedicated Island Laser Therapy Clinic where I presently work as a chiropractor, laser therapist and diagnostician. To aid in this process, we received help in business planning from a local professional. Without this type of help I think we would not have been as progressive in our business, nor could we have pursued the goals we have achieved.
There are now many conditions that I could not treat or would not normally expect to see as a chiropractor, that I can now resolve with just the use of laser. A recent referral from a local neurosurgeon for a patient with chronic spinal pain is a good example. This was for a complex spinal condition in a young person who was not a good surgical candidate and also could not receive manual therapy of any nature. Much of the pre and post operative treatment is also new to my office. My first patient, a ‘forty something’ year old, had nine knee operations on a badly injured joint following a fall in his twenties. One side of the joint remains with good cartilage, the other is ‘toast.’ Despite good intentions and many hours of review by many professionals, the joint was heading in the usual direction – ‘downhill fast.’ As a chiropractor, there was little more I could do to help. Inflammation, induration, adhesions and instability were making it impossible to ascend or descend stairs. Sleep was disturbed, requiring medication. Arthroscopic evaluation proved the patella and lateral joint cartilage was ‘shredded,’ despite past successful cleanups and careful postoperative care. Mechanical instability was aided by the use of a specialized brace but wearing this was now impossible due to symptoms of inflammation, exquisite tenderness and arthritic change on the lateral side of the knee. This knee was heading fast towards a crisis and it seemed as if stronger medications (sleeping pills and anti-inflammatories) and surgery were the only options. Laser therapy changed the life of this person, increased the life expectancy of the injured joint and reduced the need for prescription drugs to zero.
Two recent patients had post operative scar tissue and almost complete immobility following recent knee replacements. Both had six months of physiotherapy and medication yet presented with less than 10° degrees of painful flexion. Both had 60° of flexion within three weeks and freedom from pain. Both reduced their knee’s circumferential bulk considerably as the adhesions and scar tissue were reduced and normal interstitial fluid flow was restored. Both can now expect a full recovery with either further rehabilitation or simple graduated home exercise. A fourth example was a lady in her late eighties that was in robust mental and physical health but with unremitting arthritic knee pain. Within twelve sessions this person was free of pain.
Post operative recovery for lumbar spinal surgery does not always go as planned. One of our patients had only a few degrees of flexion/extension after over two months of physiotherapy. One week of laser therapy saw a total return of function and comfort.
Acute lumbar conditions often ‘calm’ with a few treatments instead of the usual weeks of muscle cramps, exhaustion, worry and tedious therapy. Again, medication is often reduced to zero with these cases. Chiropractic adjustment, mobilization and attention to muscle tension and vascular flow with various techniques are still useful with many patients but for a good percentage, laser treatment is all that is required.
There are also some conditions in which this tool serves as a diagnostic aid; as a clinician, I am slowly redefining certain conditions as responsive or non responsive to light. It is likely that some of the non responsive ones represent unusual, and uncharted, changes in tissue function that mimic other clinical conditions. I do not have room here for all my examples so I would like to add something else.
My initial interest in laser therapy stems from the dramatic effects on mitochondrial and membrane function. I enjoy reading biochemical descriptions of interactions light has with the cellular process. I cannot help thinking that we may be missing something. It is my understanding that all cellular components are functional only when their local electrical environment is ‘just so.’ Protein shape and function alters as the electrical environment does, therefore the electrical environment of a cell is tightly controlled. A good example of the electrical activity of a protein is found in the function of haemoglobin. Cell membranes, with their embedded structures, are affected by their finely controlled electrical environment as with all cell components. Recent investigators have shown that cytosol has a field or electrical grid in living cells, which does not exist in dead ones. Initial observations were limited to a few of the liquid crystalline organised fluid layers surrounding protein in the living cell. More recently, the whole living cytosol has been described as a three dimensional liquid crystal – a form of living holographic field. The structure of water in a living cell is held in this liquid crystalline state. As a result, many of the original 3D protein models have had to be revised, leading to some complex remodelling of their functional states and synergistic processes. Our understanding of living cells is undergoing a revolution and it is impossible to grasp this if we only focus on small scale diagrams of tightly knit groups of embedded membrane structures. The enormity of the cells’ coordinated activities is something we should consider.
It is impossible for organelle, membrane, nucleus, and cytosol function to be coordinated without an electrical field. Clearly, this is not static electrical charge, it is an interactive one. The logistical impossibility of controlling the many interrelated chemo electrical acts within just one cell with lone chemical messengers is not possible. Just to look at a description of internal cellular chemical activity in a single liver cell is enough to make a sane investigator wish for an MD-Grape3 supercomputer. The energy requirements of such a cell to coordinate activity within itself by chemical transfer would be beyond expectation. It is obvious that electrical communication is not only faster, but also several hundred times more energy efficient than chemical transfer. I suspect laser therapy has a direct interaction with this electrical component of our cells. Our observations of chemical change are therefore probably secondary to a level of interaction that we have yet to observe directly. It is frustrating to us all to be unable to view the whole cell in operation and to rely on chemical concepts to describe something that is more complex. We clearly have the start of a new field of medicine that is already transforming the concepts of cell biology. A biology based on electron microscope studies of non-functioning cellular components can now be based on living cell investigations.
Laser therapy has certainly proven its value as a major factor in the cellular – molecular healing process.