I attended a chiropractic seminar back in November. There were actually 12 different speakers over the 2 days. Three of the aforementioned speakers (2 of which I highly respect and 1 who I perceive to be a complete sales goon) spoke at least a bit on the subject of laser therapy. And they all shared at least one “FACT” with the audience that wasn’t a fact at all.
#1) A young doc fresh out of school asked about if she were to add LLLT to her practice, “What laser should I purchase?”. A Class 4 High Powered Laser Sales Guy was the recipient of that question. I cringed as I awaited his answer. He told her that she definitely needed a Class 4 and that anything less would be a total waste of her money! Of course his introductory level Class 4 lasers start at just $14,000. Hmmm? He went on to say that if she used Class 1 or Class 3 lasers on a patient, be prepared to spend at least one hour lasering each patient in order to get a therapeutic response. This my friends is total bullsh!t. No wonder his eyes are brown! LOL
#2) A Class 1 Cold Laser Salesman (also a D.C. who I highly respect and consider to be a cold laser mentor of sorts), gave a nice presentation about Class 1 laser devices except for one untruth and another point that I totally disagree with.
a) He claimed that NO Class 3 or Class 3B lasers should EVER be used on patient’s because if the doctor didn’t move the cold laser quick enough, he could burn a hole in the patient. He then showed a picture which he claimed was a burn on a patient caused by a 200 mW Class 3B 808 nm cold laser. Well folks, if you believe this one then I’d like to sell you some oceanfront property right here in central IL!
My in-depth studies in laser physics tell me that what he speaks of is not likely. While the doctor in question may have used a piece of junk cold laser or the doctor may not have been properly trained in LLLT, the chances of that actually happening are slim. To go from that lone incident (he gave no more details than that) to the conclusion that all Class 3 and Class 3B’s are DANGEROUS in nonsense! But consider the source, he’s a Class 1 sales guy! I hope you’re sensing a pattern here. Hmmm?
OK, so let’s cut to the chase here. I’ve been using a certain 500 mW Class 3B near infrared laser in my practice since 2005. I routinely keep the laser in the same spot on the patient’s skin for from 3 to 5 minutes if indicated. My apologies, but I haven’t burned anyone yet, Mr. Class 1 Cold Laser Sales Guy! And my cold laser device is 2.5 times as strong as the Class 3B in his example!
b) Then he said that his companies Class 1 LLLT device combined with electric stim was better than LLLT by itself because the patient can now “feel something”. Excuse me, but my patients don’t care whether they “feel something” or not. They only care about the fact that with LLLT I get them out of pain quicker and back in the game sooner. Doctors, if you’d like to spend an extra $3,000 to $5,000 to couple state-of-the-art LLLT with an outdated therapy so that your patients can “feel something”, then by all means be my guest.
#3) Next up was a highly respected acupuncture guru. He whipped out a $30.00 (5 milliWatt 635 nanometer visible red) laser pointer and claimed that this is all any doctor who wanted to practice cold laser therapy would ever need! If fact, he got on his soapbox and said that anyone that spends hundreds or thousands of dollars on a laser just got swindled. This is not totally true, although many doctors do spend way too much on their laser devices.
[That's where I come in as a Cold Laser Consultant who is NOT on the payroll of ANY Laser company. It is my goal to assist fellow doctors by helping them to wade through all of the BS to get to the FACTS, thus saving them thousands of dollars in the process. I'm sure they're all nice laser devices (most of them anyway), but there is no reason to spend $49,000 for a laser that penetrates 5 cm, when I can point you in the direction of a $2,000 laser (if that's what your practice needs dictate) that has the same depth of penetration!]
So while this 3rd doc is an outstanding acupuncturist and a knowledgeable (5 mW 635 nm) laserpuncturist, in my professional opinion, he should cease pretending to be a Cold Laser Therapy know-it-all, because he obviously doesn’t know diddly squat about infrared cold laser devices of any kind.
Once again my LLLT friends, “Caveat Emptor!”
Yours in lighting up healthcare,
Dr. Todd Austin