The Laser Therapy way to quit smoking is one of the most popular and painless quit-smoking techniques. By directing laser beams to specific places in the body, the therapist tries to decrease the desire for cigarettes.
The term Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Many smokers have vouched that laser therapy has been successful in nullifying their nicotine cravings.
The soft laser therapy, or, Low Level Laser therapy has gained popularity over the last few years and claims to reduce the affinity to smoking in less than an hour.
The steps involved in Laser Therapy
Laser Treatments are known for their healing qualities. They can repair damaged cells and tissues and also stimulate cell functioning. The various steps generally involved in laser therapy for quitting smoking include:
- Laser beams are directed at energy points in the body. Some of these points include ears, forearms, wrists, nose and other acupuncture points. In this context, laser therapy is also referred to as laser acupuncture. The only difference is that while needles are used in acupuncture, laser beams are used in laser therapy.
- As the therapist places the laser head on the acupressure points, he tries to adjust and streamline the flow of energy between the points. For example, applying the laser head on the thumb regulates energy flow to the lungs. Ear press seeds are normally used to reinforce the acupuncture points.
- The light energy so absorbed stimulates release of endorphins that play a crucial role in doing away with withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings.
Preparatory phase before the therapy
As in any other smoking cessation, laser therapy requires both physical and mental co-operation from the person who is about to undergo it.
Normally the practitioners advise usage of behavioural techniques to make the smokers mentally acceptable to the treatment and to create an atmosphere of positivity by removing negative thoughts.
Stress can become stumbling blocks to success in laser therapy and patients need to plan their sessions on stress-free days.
Laser therapy achieves smoking cessation by curtailing nicotine cravings. Smokers will need to make healthy changes to their diet so that stoppage of nicotine intake does not lead to abnormal weight gain.
Advantages of Laser Therapy
Laser Therapy is gaining recognition as one of the most effective methods for getting even heavy smokers out of their addiction and succeeding even where all other methods have failed.
However the long-term efficiency of the method is yet to be established and is being monitored by several health institutions including the FDA in the United States. The advantages include:
- The procedure is painless. There are no pointed needles that sting smokers like what is done in acupuncture.
- Since the therapy is non-invasive, smokers need not get apprehensive on scars, bruises or any other visible marks on their skin.
- The method stimulates cell functioning and streamlines circulatory functions in the body.
- There are no proven harmful side effects associated with laser therapy.
- Laser therapy has been successfully used in many parts of the world including Europe and Canada for the past 25 years.
Criticisms against effectiveness of laser therapy
The efficacy of laser therapy as a permanent cure to the smoking addiction is yet to be established. There are many critics who feel that laser therapy is a waste of time and money. The major flaws in laser therapy as a means to get rid of addiction include:
- The therapy is expensive and a professional laser therapist may charge rates starting from $350 per session. Number of sessions needed depends upon the intensity of the addiction and receptiveness of the individual person. While in some cases a 30 minute session is all it takes, to quit smoking, some therapists may recommend even 3 to 4 sessions. Many medical insurance providers do not cover laser therapy.
- Since there is no established evidence that directly links smoking cessation and laser therapy, smokers may be yielding merely to the placebo effect.
- The therapy does not rule out relapses in entirety. Many smokers might find a temporary reduction in their cravings, only to find themselves succumb to them, at a later point of time.
The contention against such criticisms is that there is no one unique method for smoking cessation. It is wrong to depend solely on laser therapy and subsequently blame the method as inefficient.
Laser therapy can only aid in reduction of cravings, whereas it is only willpower and perseverance that can lead to absolute cessation.
Mental fortitude to quit smoking cannot be achieved either under the laser beams or any other treatment methods, including traditional acupuncture.
As for the commercial aspect, the therapy expense is far cheaper than the amount spent on buying cigarettes over a period of time and the cost of treating tobacco related health ailments.
To make laser therapy work
By following the guidelines given by the therapists before, during and after the therapy, smokers can make laser therapy work the best for them.
- Believe in yourself and in the effectiveness of the therapy. Co-operate with the therapist and be regular to the sessions.
- Be sure to consume vitamin and food supplements as prescribed by the therapist.
- Remove all triggers that can lead to temptation in order to avoid a relapse. Remove everything that reminds you of your past addiction, like cigarettes, ashtrays etc. Avoid the company of heavy smokers to reduce the impact of second-hand smoking.
Nicotine addiction differs from person to person and the success of laser therapy depends to a great extent on the dexterity of the therapist and on the receptiveness of the patient.
Each therapist has his own unique way of administering the treatment.
On the whole, laser therapy is not a universal cure for smoking cessation, but can be used effectively in conjunction with behavioural techniques to keep smoking temptations at bay.