Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yet another quack "alternative"

It seems that there is a chiropractic clinic in Rock Springs that offers "Cold Laser Therapy." This is also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (3LT)

This amazing treatment apparently provides relief from a great number of problems, including joint inflammation and carpal tunnel syndrome. It also has (supposedly) the ability to accelerate the healing of wounds.

Now, when I see a claim that one process can relieve a whole slew of problems, alarm bells start sounding in my head. So I did some internet research. Here is a quote from one site that is for 3LT,

Photonic energy is absorbed by the photo acceptor sites on the cell membrane, triggering a secondary messenger to initiate a cascade of intracellular signals that initiate, inhibit or accelerate biological processes such as wound healing, inflammation, or reduction of pain, and cell growth.

I do not know the original source for this quote, but it exists verbatim on all pro-3LT sites I visited.

Okay, the above site provides some references (which most others did not), but the obfuscatory language on this site alone was almost more than I could handle, and most of the references are to books or articles about "alternative" procedures like homeopathy and accupuncture, which have already been debunked as serious medical treatment. (I just had a vision of angry comments defending "alternative medicine." I would like to introduce these potential commenters to two concepts: "the placebo effect", and "double-blind testing.")

Here is what Aetna (a major heath insurance company) has to say about 3LT,

Although the results from large, uncontrolled, open trials of low-energy lasers in inducing wound healing have shown benefit, controlled trials have shown little or no benefit. The analgesic effects of low-energy lasers have been most intensely studied in rheumatoid arthritis. Recent welldesigned, controlled studies have found no benefit from low energy lasers in relieving pain in rheumatoid arthritis or other musculoskeletal conditions.
(Emphasis mine)

I have satisfied myself that this is quack therapy. But you shouldn't just take my word for it. Go ahead and do your own research if you want.

Seriously, do a Google (or Yahoo) search on "Cold Laser Therapy."


3 people have spouted off:

Qalmlea said...

It's a bad sign when a "therapy" isn't even mentioned on any mainstream medical sites that I've been able to find...

John said...

It must be a conspiracy.
5/27/06, 12:12 PM
dave said...

In our area there is a company that claims their 'LASER' treatment will cure smoking. But, I don't know if they are talking about real LASER treatment or if 'LASER' is initials for some process where they send someone to kick your ass everytime you light up!