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Laser therapy through clothes

By Jan Tunér

Chiropractic Economics is a journal distributed free of charge to chiropractors in North America. I spotted an article written by the US chiropractor Robert Silverman. He underlined the advantages of using LLLT in chiropractic treatment, and I agree. However, he also claimed that LLLT can be performed through clothes. (“It’s also noninvasive; patients don’t even have to take their clothes off during treatment. Almost anyone can have laser therapy safely. For the best, safest results, be sure the low-power laser you use is FDA-cleared and delivers light in the 635-nanometer wavelength”). This is, of course, not at all correct and knowing that the author refers to a very low powered 635 nm red laser makes it even less true. So, I contacted the journal editor, and he was kind enough to offer me an answer. In August, the following comment was published:

In the March 20 issue of Chiropractic Economics, Dr. Silverman who frequently lectures on behalf of Erchonia Medical, presents the advantages of using low-level lasers in chiropractic therapies. While I can subscribe to most of the text, it contains a stunning statement. Dr. Silverman claims that the light of these lasers can pass through clothes, so patients do not have to undress. This is some kind of a “flat earth” statement since it is only too well known that a red laser light will lose more than 90% of its photons even after having penetrated a thin white shirt. Then another some 90% is lost before the photons have passed through the skin barrier. Red laser light is excellent for superficial conditions such as open wounds and mucosa. For the average chiropractic conditions, infrared light (800-1000 nanometers) of fairly high power, and in contact, is needed to achieve a reasonable penetration. A 635 nm red laser through clothes is clearly only a placebo treatment.

For those interested, DR. Silverman’s long reply can be read on page 17 in the journal, by clicking here:

https://cdn.chiroeco.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CHEC_13-17.-WEB1.-pdf.pdf

My brief reply (not submitted to the journal) is below:

Dr. Silverman rather wants to shoot the messenger than to discuss facts. As far as I can see on PubMed, he has not participated in any published PBM study despite all his impressing abbreviated titles. My humble DDS title has 27 quotes on PubMed, out of which 12 are clinical studies. And this “self-professed expert” has been working unpaid with LLLT for 30 years, in cooperation with a laser physicist. Dr. Silverman thus starts by setting the standard of his answer. Then, reading the Bible like the Devil, he misinterprets parts of my books. For instance - yes, stimulatory effects have been seen at very low energies – in cell cultures! And yes, there is a paper on fat emulsification and I have read it and vividly discussed it with Erchonia director Steven Shanks. Also, the fact that a control study (Brown et al. 2004) could not verify these findings. The initial issue (beyond personal insults) is the penetration of low powered red laser light through clothes. My best argument is a simple YouTube demonstration on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkGJvvWD1vw. A power meter is impartial.

 

 

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