Biostimulation - life stimulation - and tissue regeneration1 are the first effects of laser therapy2 cited in much of the scientific literature. How many therapies or drugs can make such a claim? Are there ways these healing benefits might be enhanced?
Intravenous and transcutaneous laser blood irradiation, as well as extracorporeal irradiation of the blood with broadband ultraviolet and other forms of noncoherent light, are widely practiced throughout Russia, Germany and eastern Europe. Although some of these techniques may seem foreign to many readers, it is possible to achieve similar effects noninvasively.
Levon Gasparyan writes, "Unlike the treatment mechanisms of local laser therapy, the medical effects of photo-hemotherapy methods are determined by predominance of systemic healing mechanisms above the local ones, increasing the functioning efficacy of vascular, respiratory, immune, other systems and organism as a whole."3
Blood Is the Mother of Qi, and Qi Is the Commander of Blood
A small stimulus in the right place can have far-reaching effects. When as little as 1 1/2-2 1/2 percent of the blood volume is irradiated with laser light, it may induce the entire circulatory volume to begin emitting biophotons.4 Imagine a wave of light expanding throughout the blood as more and more cells are recruited to emit biophotons.
This secondary emission, known as bioluminescence or chemiluminescence, may be far greater than the initial exposure to light. Now imagine light streaming from blood cells throughout the entire circulatory system, illuminating capillaries inside the liver, brain, kidneys, and everywhere throughout the body. The emission of biophotons5 by the blood itself is responsible for most effects.
Oxygen levels in venous blood rise shortly after blood irradiation, and may remain high for days or weeks afterward. Blood viscosity is reduced, improving capillary blood flow and peripheral circulation. LDL and total cholesterol decrease, while HDL increases. C-reactive protein drops. Red blood cell formation is stimulated, and white blood cell activity and numbers increase.
Blood irradiation may create the perfect vaccine, immunizing the body with its own invaders. Only a small percentage of microorganisms are killed during the initial exposure. However, during bioluminescence, all or a large portion of bacteria and viruses may be accurately targeted by biophotons. Most of the body's own cells and friendly flora seem relatively untouched, and may even benefit. Viruses, bacteria and many dysfunctional cells are highly vulnerable. It has been proposed that blood irradiation may be the most effective treatment available for HIV.
Blood Irradiation Is a U.S. Invention
Seattle resident Emmett Knott patented the first ultraviolet blood irradiation device in 1928. By the early 1940s, it was being used with great success to treat bacterial and viral infections, and in many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions as well.
It has been investigated thoroughly in a great many clinical trials, and numerous articles about it have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Positive results have been reported in the treatment of AIDS, appendicitis, atopic dermatitis, botulism, bronchial asthma, burns, cyanosis, emphysema, encephalitis, endocarditis, fever, gangrene, hepatitis, hypertension, infection (bacterial or viral), paralytic ileus, pelvic inflammatory disease, peritonitis, pneumonia, polio, rheumatoid arthritis, snakebite, thrombophlebitis, and thrombosis. Ultraviolet blood irradiation has been reported to cure the common cold and flu in case studies. However, with the advent of antibiotics and the Salk vaccine in the 1940s and 1950s, most of mainstream American medicine turned to drug therapies even though these did not exhibit ultraviolet blood irradiation's capability in viral infection or in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
Kenneth Dillon writes, "Biophotonic therapy is effective against many disorders. It was a serious lapse for American medical science to ignore the documentation - including various controlled studies that had been developed over 30 years beginning in 1928 regarding BT treatment of hundreds of thousands of patients by reputable physicians."6
The Russian Experience
By the 1970s, both laser therapy and ultraviolet blood irradiation were widely practiced in the Soviet Union. Intravenous laser blood irradiation is a Russian innovation, blending both techniques. Originally used to treat cardiovascular conditions, it was quickly found to have much broader therapeutic applications.
Thousands of practitioners throughout eastern Europe, Russia and Germany use many forms of invasive and noninvasive blood irradiation. The list of conditions being treated is exhaustive, and research is extensive. Although specific effects and mechanisms may differ, depending upon the methods, dosage, wavelength, and coherence/noncoherence of the light source, both laser and ultraviolet blood irradiation elicit biophotonic emission by the blood.
Intravenous laser blood irradiation is easier to perform, as coherent light may be transmitted through a fiberoptic light guide directly into a blood vessel. The most popular devices in Russia for this are helium-neon lasers with outputs of 1-3 milliwatts. Treatments last between 20 minutes and 60 minutes, and a typical course consists of between three and 10 daily procedures.
To irradiate the blood with ultraviolet or other noncoherent light sources, blood must be withdrawn, anticoagulated, irradiated, and then re-infused. This requires a relatively large needle and excellent IV skills. Ultraviolet blood irradiation has been practiced in the U.S. for more than 75 years.
Noninvasive Laser Blood Irradiation
An advantage of coherent laser light over all other light sources is that it can penetrate at red to near-infrared wavelengths to reach the blood noninvasively. Whenever laser therapy is given, some blood will be irradiated. This must surely account for many of the non-local health benefits that have been observed.
Two methods might be used to maximize the absorption of laser light by the blood noninvasively. One may treat either over large blood vessels or over capillary networks (muscle, mucous membranes, sublingually) in light contact. Although 20 milliwatts transcutaneously has been estimated as equivalent to one milliwatt intravenously if one is using helium-neon lasers,3 treating noninvasively is an art as well as a science. Effects are less predictable. As in any form of therapy, outcomes will be maximized with knowledge, experience, and the right clinical tools.
Laser therapy adds energy to activate immunity and increase the health of living systems. When we understand its deeper effects, we will know much more about ourselves. Laser therapy at low intensity is painless, without risk of infection or trauma, and has enormous potential benefits that deserve to be thoroughly funded and explored.
- Simunovic Z. Lasers in Medicine and Dentistry. Basic Science and Up-to-Date clinical Application of Low Energy-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). Locarno, Switzerland/Rijeka, Croatia, 2000, p. 279.
- Laser therapy is the most commonly used term to describe the therapeutic application of laser light at low intensity.
- Gasparayan L. Laser irradiation of the blood. Published jointly in Laser Partner (www.laserpartner.org) and Laser World (www.laser.nu), Oct. 1, 2003.
- Samoilova KA. Role of the Circulating Blood in Initiation of Therapeutic Effects of Visible Light. St. Petersburg, Russia: Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
- Biophotons, coherent, monochromatic light emitted by all living cells, are discussed at greater length in the second article in this series. Fritz A. Popp and colleagues developed equipment sensitive enough to measure and study biophotons in 1971. Popp proposed that they control most, if not all, physiological processes. The International Institute of Biophysics (www.lifescientists.de/ib_000e_.htm) coordinates international biophoton research and is a good resource for more information.
- Dillon KJ. Close-to-Nature Medicine. Washington, D.C.: Scientia Press, 2003, p. 15.
- Dillon KJ. Healing Photons: The Science and Art of Blood Irradiation Therapy. Washington, D.C.: Scientia Press, 1998.
- Douglass WC. Into the Light: Tomorrow's Medicine Today. Atlanta: Second Opinion Publishing, 1993.
- Tuner J, Hode L. Low-Level Laser Therapy - Clinical Practice and Scientific Background. Grägesberg, Sweden: Prima Books, 1999.
Click here for previous articles by David Rindge, DOM, LAc, RN.