Stacking the Deck?

We received an email from a reader with regards to this presentation: (Light Years Ahead 1.7 MB PDF), asking for our comments. Here they are:

I had a look at the presentation by Dr. Godbold and have made a few observations, as listed below. In most statements, the document is correct, but in too many doubtful or completely wrong. And if completely wrong on too many points, the entire document must be dismissed.

1. The author makes a major issue of distinguishing between Class IV and Class III. This limit is quite vague and mostly an administrative invention. I can make a Class III laser into a Class IV and vice versa with some optical dexterity. I get the overall feeling that the author is trying to say that Class IV lasers are better than Class III. This is an overstatement or even incorrect.

2. A blatant mistake is to claim that Class III lasers only penetrate millimetres whereas “Class IV” lasers penetrate “inches”. The laser supposed to penetrate best here is in fact a 980 nm laser (could not find this information in the document, though). It is well known that the optimal penetration window is found around 830 nm and that 980 nm is absorbed more by tissue and therefore penetrating less. In fact, the best penetration is found with the 904 nm superpulsed laser, but this is fairly new knowledge. But the fact remains that a “weak” Class III 808 nm laser of 500 mW or less penetrates much deeper than a “Class IV” 980 mW laser, disregarding of the output. And due to the reduced penetration, a lot of heat is produced and much care has to be taken not to cause burns. Heat is also a poor therapy for treatment of inflammations.

3. “Longer wavelengths penetrate deeper”. True, up to 830 nm and then reduced, with the 904 as an exception. It seems implied here that the long 980 wavelength is the one supposed to be best. This is not correct.

4. “Class IV laser therapy vs LED’s”. Correctly described, but what happened to the Class III options?

5. In the last frames I recognize a LiteCure laser. The information given here gives me the impression that the author is closely linked to the laser manufacturer.

6. The list of references is not impressing. Thank you for quoting my own book with a misspelling and the excellent book on cell cultures by Tiina Karu, but the rest is a book written by Dr. Godbold and followed by manuals produced by the Lite Cure company. This underlines the problem with very intense therapeutic lasers – the market arrives way ahead of research.

7. I had a look at the alleged independent educational institute “American Institute of Medical Laser Applications”. Not surprisingly, this is operated by the manufacturer LiteCure!

Summing up, I find the presentation devious and biased or, at the best, ignorant. To me it is a sales presentation and not an independent view of a laser user.

I am not against “Class IV” lasers, they have their place in LLLT, generally in physiotherapy where they are able to inhibit pain conditions due to the inhibitory energies. When it comes to wound healing and inflammation, I am more sceptical. As underlined by studies from Harvard, the best anti-inflammatory effects are achieved by low power and long time.

LLLT is fantastic, the truth is good enough.

Best regards

Jan Tunér