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What could you do if you sprained your ankle during the COVID-19 pandemic? Or if you suffer a bad cut? You may feel that the last place you want to visit these days is a hospital. But do you have options? Maybe it’s time to learn more about light therapy. It’s sometimes called low-level laser therapy or low-intensity light therapy. And with one of the many portable devices available on the market, you can safely treat yourself at home. So, what should you know about this therapy as you get older and invariably develop various aches, pains, injuries and infections?

Dr. Mary Dyson, Emeritus Professor at King’s College, University of London, England, is an international expert on wound healing. She reports that light therapy provides a jump-start to the body’s natural healing process, delivering energy that’s transformed into biochemical energy. The end result is increased blood supply and accelerated healing.

Dr. Tina Karu, Professor of Laser Biology and Medicine of the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow, is an expert on basic laser research. She too has published articles about the positive healing qualities of laser therapy.

Dr. Fred Kahn, Director of the Meditech Laser and Rehabilitation Centre in Toronto, explains that light therapy triggers the release of endorphins, morphine-like substances, that inhibit pain sensation. It also increases cortisol, the forerunner of cortisone, and angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels.

Kahn says many medical conditions benefit from this therapy. The majority of his patients suffer degenerative arthritis involving the lumbosacral spine. And 60% of these patients also have degenerative disc disease causing compression of the spinal nerves.

Kahn adds that over the last 20 years he has treated hundreds of patients suffering from pain due to spinal disc disease. Many of these patients had previous back surgery or were scheduled for an operation. And by using light therapy he has been able to relieve their pain in a high percent of cases.

Another large number of patients suffer from a variety of sport injuries. Others complain of pain in the shoulder and neck due to long hours of working at the computer. These younger patients respond quickly to light therapy.

But light therapy treats more than aches and pains. It helps several skin conditions such as psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, acne, ringworm, impetigo, herpes lesions and warts, many of which fade away after 5 to 10 treatments.

The current epidemic of diabetes is causing more patients to suffer from chronic leg and foot ulcers due to decreased blood supply. Conventional medical treatments often involve compression, which requires months for the healing to occur, and pain medications become the common prescription for coping. Infected ulcers can require antibiotics. But light therapy can have a dramatic effect on healing these ulcers. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment reported an average 83% improvement from light therapy, with no side-effects.

Many patients are informed by their doctors of only their “medical” options. But few are told about the restorative potential of light therapy. Why? Because schools of medicine around the world have neglected to train physicians in integrative health practices that draw on nature’s many wonders. Light therapy is a natural approach to muscle injuries, cuts and wounds, ulcers, and other ailments. It does not require prescription painkillers and is a non-invasive treatment. Today, any treatment that reduces the use of painkillers is a step in the right direction.

During our lifetime it’s hard to escape life’s aches, pains, injuries, infections and aging joints. Even without a viral epidemic it’s convenient to have a light therapy home unit on hand for use as needed it. Several types are available, some more expensive than others depending on the quality. 

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, aka Ken Walker, is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Harvard Medical School. You can reach him online at his website, docgiff.com, or via email at info@ docgiff.com.

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