Could Cold Laser Be a “Secret Weapon” for Sports Performance and Recovery?

More Strength? More Speed? Less Soreness? Faster Recovery? And without illegal performance enhancing drugs?

Sounds too good to be true, but that is what many studies have concluded that Cold Laser therapy can do for athletes looking to get a competitive edge.

One study even found the results to be so beneficial that they questioned if they should even be allowed to be used for performance boosting purposes!

Since 2004 I have been using Erchonia Cold Lasers on some of the top local high school and college athletes in Southern California, and also on many pro athletes from various sports. Most came in initially for an injury, but what always amazed me was how many would stay because they said they performed much better when they got laser compared to when they did not.

At first I thought it might be a placebo effect, as I had not seen any studies to support this idea. However, as patients conducted their own ‘experiments’ of playing in a game without laser therapy, and comparing their results of performance after laser, I consistently heard from the athletes that they felt 1) faster, 2) stronger, 3) better endurance, and 4) better recovery.

So out of curiosity I looked for research that might support these findings.

I found this study published in the Journal of Biophotonics from Dec 2016, which had such good findings that they actually said, We raise the question of whether PBM should be permitted in athletic competition by international regulatory authorities.”  (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27874264)

Wow! So good they were not sure it should even be permitted! (PBM by the way stands for ‘photobiomodulation,’ which is another word for a specific type of cold laser therapy).

They found that laser therapy can increase muscle mass gained after training, and decrease inflammation and oxidative stress in muscle biopsies”.

Even more recently, the March 2017 edition of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance found that LLLT increased time-to-exhaustion in competitive cyclists, suggesting this intervention as a possible non-pharmacological ergogenic agent in cycling.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28422520#)

They found that the lower total energy dosage in the study was MORE effective than a higher energy dosage (measured in joules/cm2).

In yet another study, this time in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research from Dec 2016, the results found Photobiomodulation  therapy significantly (p ≤ 0.05) improved the average time of sprints and fatigue index in BST. Photobiomodulation therapy significantly decreased percentage of change in blood lactate levels (p ≤ 0.05) and perceived fatigue (p ≤ 0.05).” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27050245)

Could lasers really make you stronger?

This study from the Nov 2016 journal Lasers in Medical Science found just that. They stated that With an apparent lack of side effects and safety due to no thermal damage to the tissue, we conclude that the application of phototherapy yields enhanced strength gains when it is applied before exercise. The application may have additional beneficial value in post-injury rehabilitation where strength improvements are needed.”    (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27371449)

This is just a small nugget of the studies supporting just how good properly used cold lasers are if you are an athlete looking to get an edge on the competition, or if you are a parent looking for a way to safely and legally get your kids a leg up.

The problem with it is that unfortunately there are not many doctors out there who really know how to use their lasers, or who may have the wrong kind of laser for this type of treatment. However, if you can find someone who is well trained and has the right kind of laser, the results can be amazing.

Hopefully in the future this will be more commonplace, as my biggest problem I see for my patients has been when they go off to college, even Division I schools, and the medical staff there is still treating people in 2017 with the same technology and methods from the 1970s.

Not saying there is anything wrong with those methods, but the athletes are missing out on some amazing, safe, non-invasive methods and they always report back to me that they wished they could find someone near their school who used lasers like this.

I have had kids fly back from Texas, Florida, New York, and all over the country when they are on break specifically to get a “laser tune up” to get back into top gear. So if you are a doctor, I highly recommend you look into this amazing technology so you can help more patients that need this. And if you are a player or parent, it might be worth your time to try this kind of therapy out and see what your results are.

 

Could Cold Laser Be The Next Big Thing In Helping Thyroid Patients?

A lot has been written about the connections between Hashimoto’s and gluten, environmental toxins, leaky gut, etc. However, very little has been discussed about the potential use for Cold Laser therapy, even though several recent research studies found some promising results.

Hashimoto’s antibodies can lead to destruction of thyroid tissue, which can result not only in the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, but also changes in thyroid appearance on ultrasound, and the presence of abnormal blood markers.

Currently, most traditional medical treatments aim to control the symptoms or get the TSH and T4 into the medical normal range while often ignoring the underlying root causes and the destruction that occurs in the gland.

The exciting thing about these studies on lasers and their effects on the thyroid is that they appear to not only trigger tissue regeneration, they also seem to help normalize function and decrease the need for medications, without any side effects.

The most recent study comes out of the July 2015 edition of the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology.  In this study, the thyroid glands of rats were damaged with gamma radiation, and then were treated with low level laser of 632 nanometers for 6 sessions. The study concluded that the laser improved the rats thyroid function, liver function, antioxidant levels, and blood cell markers. No side effects were noted. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25975382 

The August 2014 edition of the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery found that cold laser treatment to patients with autoimmune thyroid disease significantly increased levels of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25101534) Why is this important? The August 1991 edition of the Journal of Autoimmunity found that TGF-β1 could calm down and suppress auto immune attacks, and that it may even prove helpful in causing remission of Graves disease. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1777015)

Patients with autoimmune thyroid disease often have altered blood flow within the thyroid. The 2012 journal ISRN Endocrinology found that 10 laser treatments improved blood flow within the thyroid, as visualized with Dopplar ultrasound. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23316383)

But perhaps the most exciting study I came across was in the August 2010 journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. Patients were given 10 treatments over 5 weeks. They found that all patients needed less thyroid medication, including 47% who did not require any medication through the 9-month follow-up. Can you imagine being able to go 9 months without needing thyroid medication?

Furthermore, the medication dosage needed in the other participants decreased, and remained decreased even 9 months later. TPOAb (thyroid antibody) levels also decreased,  and thyroid tissue appearance improved on ultrasound. This means that thyroid tissue damaged by auto immune attacks was actually getting repaired with laser stimulation. Again, no side effects were noted. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20662037)

These are just a few of the exciting studies that support the use of lasers in thyroid disease, but the applications go even beyond just the thyroid. As far back as December 1993, there was a far reaching study from Japan in the Keio Journal of Medicine that found that laser therapy on cancer cells “inhibits growth and increases cell-specific destruction”, and that “other immune system-related diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, some forms of eczema, asthma and asthma-related ulceration, have responded well to” laser therapy. I found numerous other studies that also suggested that cold laser was effective even for helping with thyroid cancers. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8126975)

So let’s review what these studies found. Cold laser therapy was shown to:

  1. Reduce TPO antibody levels
  2. Reduce the need for T4 medications in a majority of patients, even 9 months after treatment, and eliminate the need in nearly half the patients in one study
  3. Increase the amount of cellular antioxidants such as glutathione
  4. Improve thyroid tissue and vascularization on ultrasound examination
  5. Increase levels of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), which calms down the auto immune activity and may have the potential to cause remission of Graves’ disease
  6. Decrease the activity of inflammatory molecules such as nuclear factor kappa beta and interleukin 6
  7. Stimulate the repair of tissue damaged by the thyroid auto immune attack
  8. Have no side effects

These are all pretty powerful findings. I was surprised to find the data going back over 20 years supporting cold laser’s use on auto immune diseases, considering that most of us have never heard about it in mainstream media or from our doctors.

Obviously more studies are needed, but the current research suggests that lasers may provide significant help for the growing numbers of auto immune thyroid patients out there. Have any of you out there tried this therapy or heard about it from your doctor? If you have, please comment with what your results have been.

Please check out my facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo, or follow me on twitter @drkirkgair.

This information is for informational purposes only and should not replace the diagnosis and treatment of your qualified healthcare professional. Do not undertake using a laser on yourself without proper evaluation and supervision of a licensed healthcare provider. As always, Dr Gair recommends that you seek the help of a healthcare professional trained in functional medicine and following their advice.

Rheumatoid Arthritis? Recent Studies Show Cold Laser Can Decrease Inflammation & Repair Damaged Tissue

Recently, a patient asked me if Cold Laser could help with RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, since it had worked so well on her son’s injured shoulder and she wondered if it could help other more serious conditions.

While I had seen patients with the condition improve when I treated them, especially if we did the functional medicine protocols in combination with laser, I wasn’t sure if there were any studies that supported this.

I actually found several that showed that Cold Laser not only decreased the INFLAMMATION associated with Rhuematoid Arthritis, it also stimulated the formation of new cartilage and bone and slowed down the tissue necrosis (death).

As with all the other studies I have seen, there were no side effects to the therapy.

Here are a couple of studies that you can take a look at. This study in the Feb 2013 journal Lasers in Medicine and Surgery had this conclusion:

“LLLT both at early and late RA progression stages significantly improved mononuclear inflammatory cells, exudate protein, medullary hemorrhage, hyperemia, necrosis, distribution of fibrocartilage, and chondroblasts and osteoblasts compared to RA group (p < 0.05). We can conclude that LLLT is able to modulate inflammatory response both in early as well as in late progression stages of RA.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538842

This study from Russia (their research in cold lasers was actually decades ahead of US research) showed that cold lasers “not only increases the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects but also has the antioxidant properties”.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25876429

Now, for the most effective alternative combination, I would also recommend that you get tested to see what foods are triggering the antibody flare up.

A great test is available from Cyrex Labs (www.cyrexlabs.com). Many patients with auto immune diseases have “leaky gut”, aka intestinal permeability. Cyrex’s Array 2 is great for assessing if you have this.

Auto immune patients are often reactive to gluten, casein, and other foods. Cyrex’s array 3 and 4 tests for gluten and gluten cross reactors, which have been shown to be able to trigger auto immune flare ups.

I would also make sure that your vitamin D level is optimal. Many studies suggest that optimal blood levels for an anti-inflammatory effect and for immune support range from 50 to 80 ng/ml.

Also be sure your Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is well balanced. Anemias, blood sugar imbalances, and chronic infections should also be addressed.

I hope you find this helpful. Feel free to message me with questions or sign up for my free email health tips. You can also follow me on twitter @drkirkgair or on facebook at either www.Facebook.com/LaserChiropractic or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo

As always, be sure to check with your qualified healthcare provider before starting any of these protocols.

Anxiety? Panic Attacks? Depression? Recent Studies Showed Cold Laser Helped Patients and Had No Side Effects

So many patients come into my office complaining of “Panic Attacks”, “Anxiety”, “Depression.” For Hashimoto’s patients, these are very common to experience, and they can be extremely frustrating to manage.

Obviously optimizing thyroid function and making sure you have adequate free T3 and T3 uptake should be addressed in all depression patients. Also with panic attacks you should seek the help of a qualified psychologist and also rule out neurological problems or cardiac causes.

However, there are several recent studies that have shown Cold Laser, also known as low level laser or photobiomodulation, to be beneficial for not only mood and anxiety but also overall brain function.

In the 2009 edition of the journal Behavioral and Brain functions, they found that just 1 treatment with a cold laser to both sides of the head reduced depression and anxiety for several weeks.

“We gave one 8-minute treatment with NIR-PBM (cold laser) to 10 patients with major depression, including 7 with a history of substance abuse (6 with a past history of opiate abuse and one with a past history of alcoholism), and 9 with an anxiety disorder, including 3 with PTSD. We found significant reductions in both mean HAM-D (depression measurements) and HAM-A (anxiety measurements) rating at 2 and 4 weeks following treatment. At 2-weeks post treatment 6 of 10 of patients had a remission (a score ≤ 10) on the HAM-D and 7 of 10 on the HAM-A. We observed no side effects.” (parenthesis added by me for clarification)

Here is the link to that article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796659/?report=reader

This is pretty exciting news, especially when you consider the other studies I have been writing about on my facebook page, www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo, that have shown that cold laser can increase serotonin levels in the brain, decrease inflammation, stimulate the formation of new brain cells, modulate the activity of glial cells, and even decrease thyroid antibody levels and normalize thyroid tissue on ultrasound.

So what does this mean for you? Well, the good news is that cold laser is something you can try that is inexpensive and has no side effects and may be able to help with these conditions. The bad news is that, although lasers have been around for over 40 years, they are still relatively in their infancy in Western Medicine.

I have been using them for over 11 years, but patients may find it challenging to find a well trained provider who knows how to use the laser properly.  A good resource to find one near you can be found at www.Erchonia.com. You can use their zip code search engine. Still, be sure to question the doctor to see if they are aware of this info and have completed training.