So, you want to quit smoking but are finding it difficult to control your cigarette cravings? Don’t worry, you are not alone! Most smokers have to go through this difficult transitional period, before they can start living a cigarette free life. The good news is that there are now a lot of techniques and aids available that can make the quitting process easier. Laser therapy is one of them.
The mechanics of Laser Therapy
The therapy involves using cold laser light to stimulate acupressure points in the body to reduce cigarette cravings. Apparently, the laser beams also stimulate energy points in the body that induce the release of feel good chemicals called endorphins.
Smokers induce endorphin production in the body with cigarettes, therefore when they quit smoking they tend to feel cranky and restless. This makes managing the withdrawal symptoms difficult. By inducing endorphin production in the body laser therapy is believed to make the transition period between quitting smoking and living a smoke free life easier. Some laser clinics also claim that they can help their clients manage post quitting weight gain by reducing their appetite through laser beams.
What has made this technique extremely popular is that it is completely non-invasive and painless. Most clinics use low-level lasers approved for pain management and arthritis treatments.
Does it really work?
Sounds too easy right? Skepticism, after all, is a natural reaction when we hear anything that makes a difficult task seem easy! So, coming back to the question-does it work? Unfortunately, there is no clear cut Yes or No answer to this question.
Though the therapy does not have the backing of the scientific community, the following facts shed positive light on it-
a) It has become extremely popular
b) Some research studies have admitted to the possibility that there may be some truth to the claims made by proponents of the therapy.
For instance, in a report published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine (2008), it was found that smokers, who had undergone four laser treatments over a period of three weeks, were more likely to quit smoking than those who had taken only three sessions.
The sample group was observed for 6 months and it was found the 55% of those who had taken four laser treatments had quit smoking. However, the researchers were not able to follow their sample group after that, as a result of which they could not ascertain whether the participants were able to avoid a relapse.
So, while the results looked promising, they did not provide strong enough evidence about the effectiveness of laser therapy.
What has strengthened the scientific community’s skepticism are the studies that have trashed the claims made by proponents of laser therapy and suggested that whatever little positive results people experience after laser therapy is in fact what is called the placebo effect. This means people feel more in control of their cravings because they are given a power positive suggestion about the same.*
The matter is still up for debate; however, with clinics opening up all over Europe, Canada and United Sates, it looks like people are willing to give it a shot with or without conclusive evidence.
Any side effects?
This is a natural question that anyone contemplating laser therapy will ask. The answer is not really. Even the anti-laser therapy lobby hasn’t pointed out any harmful effects of the therapy so far!
So, should you try it? Well, if you have time and money to spare and have a strong desire to quit smoking, there is really no harm in trying.
*Study published on http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab000009.html