Ok, ok…you keep asking. At least once per week. You want the answer? Fine. What do I think of the use of cold laser therapy for the treatment of smoking cessation? Alrighty, then. It’s time I publicly comment on my opinion. The short answer is that it sort of works and sort of doesn’t. Cold laser therapy in the form of laser acupuncture, applying laser stimulation to specific acupuncture points, seems to reduce some of the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Great, you say…so it works…sign me up!
Well, not so fast. See, nicotine chewing gums and patches also reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal and their success rates are pretty lousy. By themselves, the success rates are about as poor as cold laser. Plus, they really do not help to break the actual nicotine addiction. To paraphrase Einstein, you cannot treat a problem with the exact chemical that caused it. In other words, treating an alcoholic who prefers vodka by giving him whiskey simply won’t do it. There is no easy fix, be it a pill, laser or what have you, that will make someone wake up one day and say “I never want to smoke again.”
The best recommendation is for someone who wants to quit to get educated about nicotine addiction and the cycle of addiction. Going to a website like www.whyquit.com or, well, quite frankly, there is no electronic media substitute. Reading what is posted there can change the way you look at nicotine and smoking.
In answer to the question, will I perform cold laser for smoking cessation? Okay, sure. As long as you understand that the treatment is not a cure for smoking cessation and that I make no promises and you are just using it to decrease your symptoms while quitting and will still get educated about nicotine addiction. I would rather know that you were getting the treatment in my office rather than somewhere where you might be lied to or taken advantage of.
Dr. Brett Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY who performs cold laser therapy — sometimes as part of a smoking cessation program.