On today’s episode, we sit down with Dr. Kirk Gair to discuss some of the most common misconceptions about the laser industry. Not all lasers and light therapies are what they seem and Dr. Gair unpacks some of the alarming and misleading claims regarding various products on the market…. Buyer beware!
Dr. Chad Woolner: What’s going on everybody? Dr. Chad Woolner here with Dr. Andrew Wells and this is Episode 23 of The Laser Light Show and on today’s episode we’re going to be talking about laser myths and misconceptions with Dr. Kirk Gair. So let’s get started.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I used to love going to laser light shows at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. They would put on these amazing light shows with incredible designs synced up to some of my favorite music. From the Beatles to Pink Floyd to Jimmy Hendrix and Metallica; they were awesome. Little did I know then that lasers would have such a profound effect on my life decades later. As a chiropractic physician, I have seen first-hand just how powerful laser therapy is in helping patients struggling with a wide range of health problems. As the leader in laser therapy, Erchonia has pioneered the field in obtaining 20 of the 23 total FDA clearances for therapeutic application of lasers. On this podcast, we’ll explore the science and technology and physiology behind what makes these tools so powerful. Join me as we explore low-level laser therapy. I’m Dr. Chad Woolner along with my good friend Dr. Andrew Wells and welcome to The Laser Light Show.
All right, everybody. Welcome to the show. And Dr. Kirk Gair, welcome to the show, man. Glad to have you here.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Thank you guys. I’m glad to be here as well. Thanks for having me as your guests, it’s some important information for doctors to get.
Dr. Chad Woolner: Yeah, so let’s get right to it. The big problem we have with Erchonia is the lasers just aren’t powerful enough. Right?
Dr. Kirk Gair: Right. Right, right. You know, it’s amazing how we hear this so often and, and yet, it’s so easy to dispel that type of myth that’s out there. But people can, it’s kind of like all the fake news and information in the last couple of years too, where you can just be perplexed looking at what people believe that’s like, this is so easy to show you that that’s not the truth. But yet people are believing the inaccuracies. And if you look at the research on that, going back to the 1960s, when laser really got started, and you got to figure by 1974, the Russians already had laser as part of their state sponsored standard health care. And they were doing a lot of research on lasers. And they clearly showed that you have this, what’s called a biphasic dose response called the orange Schultz law, and this is to where when you do higher dosages, you don’t get a better result. And they found that the most effective dosages, if you look at the paper called low level laser therapy in Russia published in 2017, they talked about that the most effective wavelength they found was 635 nanometers. And they found that a lower energy was more effective. And when you bump up the energy, and you can find you go into PubMed, you can just look at tons of research. And you’ll see this, that as you increase the dose, you get a different response, you can go from having a positive response to having a very negative one or a completely opposite effect.
And it’s like going out in sunlight, you know. If you go out and sunlight at the right time of day to get the right kind of UV rays, for say, 10 or 15 minutes, you can get all the beneficial effects of sunlight, you can get, you know, the melatonin production, you can get all kinds of things like vitamin D, etc. But let’s say you stay up and say, “hey, I want to amp up the dosage of this. And let me let me like, get a reflective aluminum surface here. And let me moist up in baby oil. And let me stay out here to get a higher dosage.” You don’t get a better result. And you can actually get DNA damage.
And that’s what you see in the research is that over and over again, when you go beyond certain dosages, and it’s usually shown that the therapeutic window is around two joules, up to maybe 10 joules, when you start going over that to 20 joules or 50 joules, you can get very damaging effects on it and it can go very rapid, and once you go over these thresholds there. So that’s easy to dispel. But doctors keep believing this, more power, kind of like remember the 1990s show Home Improvement? With Tim “The Toolman” Taylor? Anytime Al would bring out, you know, some equipment, Tim would look at it and say, “Hey Al, you know, this baby needs, it needs more power.” And he grabbed the power up and what happened? He ended up blowing something up. Now we’ll have to fix it. Yeah, and Al would come in and say “no, no, no, Tim, you don’t need more power. You need the right power.” And that’s a key thing for doctors to understand is they don’t treat laser like you’re Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, be more like Al and be sensible and look at the research and use the right amount of power.
Dr. Chad Woolner: You know, as you’re, as you’re saying this about the sunlight, I’m totally envisioning these people that we’ve all seen. They’re like, you know, in their 40s and yet their skin looks like it’s their 80s, you know, and they’re just like walking around these these leather bags, you know? No amount, no amount of logic that you’re going to tell them is going to change their mind. And I think that’s…the equivalent would be the same thing. You know that it’s funny as you say that because I used to…I really did, like truly, I used to think that same thing. There’s something inherent that we gravitate towards in terms of that, that feeling of heat, you know. We’ve used in our clinic, a class four laser, and we really liked it. It’s it’s great, you know, I like the fact that you’re that you feel the heat and you can feel a kind of deep penetration of that heat. And all the while I’m thinking, again, prior to my understanding the state of the research, all the while I’m thinking this is really doing something more than it’s actually doing. And again, not that it’s not good and not doing something it clearly not has a physiological effect.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, I think that’s a key thing you pointed out there too, is that when you talk about you feel that heat and that, you know, that especially those infrared higher powered lasers, that’s what their effect is, is it’s a thermal impact, right. And that’s what they’re FDA cleared for this is what doctors don’t understand is they think, “Oh, well, this is, I can do all the same things with this other high powered laser, and I can do in a shorter period of time.” It’s like, No, you can’t, that’s not what the research shows. And your FDA clearance shows that look, and I encourage doctors to do this, look at what your high powered laser is cleared for. It is for topical heating to temporarily reduce pain. You don’t get the same kind of enzymatic and photochemical changes with those other wavelengths and with those higher powers that you do with the lower powers.
Dr. Andrew Wells: So a question for you Dr. Gair. I think a lot of the misinformation that doctors are getting about lasers and their effects come from other device manufacturers. And a doctor will go to like a seminar, they go to a conference and they meet people selling these other devices. And the reality is there’s other low level lasers on the market besides Erchonia. But, I’ve seen and maybe you’ve seen as well, that other manufacturers and reps are claiming, like, “oh, like, you don’t need to spend the money on Erchonia Laser, just get ours. And by the way, ours is more powerful.” And essentially, which means it’s better. So is it like, without naming names? Is that Is that really where this is coming from? And if so, why? Why do you think that the other manufacturers are doing that?
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, that’s definitely where it’s coming from. And there’s one particular company that’s doing this quite a bit. It’s a company that’s very popular in the neuro world. And the irony is these companies, even these class four ones too, is they’ll knock Erchonia, and then on their own web pages go on there and look at what research they cite. They actually cite Erchonia research and just support their device that’s completely different.
And that’s the that’s the irony that’s on there. And even when you look at the research papers they cite, they’re all almost exclusively low level laser research papers, that even in those papers will say that if you go beyond this certain power and whatnot, you’re going to get an opposite, opposite effect. And that’s where it’s really being driven.
Some of it is because some of the reps are ignorant. And they’re just repeating what they’ve been told to repeat, because it’s a great sales point. It reminds me of, do you guys watch Mad Men? So it’s when, when when Don Draper is sitting there, and he’s trying to figure out, you know, the pitch line for the cigarettes. And he just comes out with “oh, it’s toasted.” And they’re like, “Yeah, but you know, these other cigarettes are toasted too.” He’s like, “Yeah, but it doesn’t matter. It’s the pitch, and people are gonna, like, buy into the pitch.” And that’s what it comes down to is what is the pitch that sells things. And that’s what people hear.
And like here in America, especially, we always think bigger is better, more power is better, regardless of the research. So when they see this, like this, take this particular laser that’s popular with the neuro community here’s, not naming names so much, but they will they do all kinds of crazy stuff. Like they’ll claim that they’re the most powerful laser in the class three, or you know, low power category. But yet, by claiming most power, the power that they list actually makes them class four. So they’re going back and forth on things. And then they talk about how a class four doesn’t work as well, because it’s got the high power. So that’s why we use low power, and they’re all over the place. And they talked about being less expensive. Well, one of the reasons why they’re less expensive, is their laser is not collimated. And you can see this in the pictures that the doctors who are using it online will show they’ll show using it on the head, which is not FDA cleared, or they’re only FDA clearance is as the thermal laser. So it shouldn’t be used on the head, but they’re using it on the head, you see it away from it, and you don’t see clear lines of the laser because it’s non-collimated, you see a big fuzzy spot.
So it’s basically turning it into an LED at that distance. And so they’ll use our research to try to claim that you know that theirs is better because it’s more power. And their usual claim is they’ll say, “By being more powerful, we can do that treatment in a fraction of the time.”
So let’s take like the FX for low back pain. It takes 20 minutes for us to do the chronic low back pain treatment. That’s what we showed with the double blind placebo controlled study where eight sessions over 20 minutes caused an initial pain reduction of 58% at the end of the two months. And then at the 12 month follow up there was an additional 17% reduction in pain for a total of 75%. But they found that and studies show that when you do low power over longer time, you have a different and a better effect than high power in a short time.
But these companies, they pitch their lasers like it’s a microwave oven. So the analogy I like to use when I’m teaching doctors this, let’s say, we’re going to go have a barbecue, and I bring out a slow cooker, and I’m gonna cook these ribs. I’m gonna put this certain amount of energy into the ribs for, say, three hours at a certain lower energy. And then somebody else comes in, says, “Hey, I’ve got this microwave, I can put the same amount of energy into those ribs, and I can do it in 30 minutes.” Are those ribs, is the texture gonna be the same? And it’s gonna be completely different, because that high energy in a short period of time changes what’s going on in the molecular structure. And this is shown time and time again in research, you look in the book by Tuner and Hode, and that talks about it. You look at the study, biphasic dose responsive, low level light and laser therapy by Hamlin. It talks about these things, it talks about how longer time at lower power has a better effect than higher power and short time. So there’s not really any research to support these claims, but they’re making the claims anyway. You know, and they get away with it, because the FDA is not really cracking down on them very much, and it’s a great sales point for them.
Dr. Chad Woolner: Yeah, as I hear that, I’ve been very sensitive of the fact that our listenership on the podcast has been, you know, doctors, as we kind of figured it would be, but also some somewhat surprisingly, patients as well. And so, I’m thinking from this perspective, both doctor and patient that, you know, for those who maybe might have a concern, potentially have like a higher investment cost with Erchonia. I think both doctor and patient can appreciate the the security, if you will, I don’t know if that’s the right word, or the peace of mind in knowing that what you’re investing in isn’t just the device itself, but you’re also investing in the research that has gone into that to ensure that A, it’s safe, and B, it’s effective.
There’s, I’m telling you man, that has been a really cool thing for me. In fact, we just had a new patient come through the door, who had been talking to a podiatrist about her plantar fasciitis. And the podiatrist was like, “Well, if this splint thing that we’ve prescribed for you doesn’t work, then it’s going to be surgery.” It was like straight to zero to, like, Mach 10, in terms of his approach. And it was, it was so cool to be able to tell her look, we have the research to back it up. And so often in the realm of Physical Medicine, and I appreciate it in certain realms, we give these approximations, and I get it, but it was cool to be able to say we should see resolution in six to eight treatments. That’s the timeframe that we’re gonna be banking on, because that’s what the research shows. And so it’s powerful.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, it’s so true. And that’s what I tell when I do my travel across the US and train with other the doctors, I tell them, “hey, don’t even listen to me, don’t believe me. Fact, check me, but do it in the legit way, not the Facebook way.” Really look into things, read the research. And you’ll you’ll see these research papers that Erchonia has to get the 20 different FDA clearances, I say look at the other companies and see if they have any research on their product. Almost none of them do. There’s a few that have some research on their product. Most of them don’t. Most of them cite our research or the low level research on there. But like you said, here we can clearly say these are expectations if we go back to the brain ones too. So let’s use that as an example with this other company that’s coming out and saying, “Hey, we can put more power into these kids’ brains. And we can make a big difference.”
And we’re getting reports of kids having seizures, because they’re putting in one watt, which is 1000 milliwatts into these kids, and sending them home telling the parents to do “Hey, do an hour on your kid with this laser.” And this is…that’s a huge, huge dosage that’s actually contraindicated, especially when you have an infrared laser because you have a thermal impact. So now you’re actually putting an infrared thermal laser on the brain at high power, you’re heating up the tissues. There was one that Dr. Brock shared, where he knows of a guy who had this laser used on him and he had a psychotic break and had to be institutionalized. Because the body is not designed to receive that much power. It makes as much sense as saying, “hey, you know what, if I take you know, this much Tylenol in a day, it’s beneficial. But let me take 10 times the recommended dose instead of going up to 2500 milligrams maximum, through that 25,000.” What’s going to happen you’re gonna get liver failure. And we see this with everything with all kinds of medications that you have a therapeutic window and when you go beyond it, it doesn’t work well, but for some reason, trying to get this through some doctors minds is making me think of like that scene from back the future where where the guy’s grabbing his head and going, “Hello? McFly? McFlye?” trying to wake them up. And it’s like, I want to take some these doctors. No, we read McFly. We read the research here because we’ve got clearly showing the dosages that work, let’s say for autistic kids as we submitted that paper to the FDA, and you know, are kind of like Steve Shanks, says you they don’t just pick these values out of the air that he tried higher power things and thought it didn’t work as well. And they’ve tried to teach particular times and they found what are the sweet spots that are in there. So there’s a ton of research, like you said, that gives peace of mind to the individual who’s buying this laser that is beneficial, that is therapeutic, it’s going to do what it says to do. And and we have these parameters where it can be effective.
Dr. Andrew Wells: This reminds me of a thought when I was in…I was studying for national boards. This was probably like 14 years ago. And I was sitting in on a board review class with Dr. Danoffrio, he’d just mentioned the kind of like in passing us “Oh, yeah. And by the way, I use lasers on on brains.” I remember thinking like, “wow, that sounds like really dangerous. Like, why would you have a laser on somebody’s brain?” Because I’m thinking there’s all kinds of different wavelengths that can go through someone’s brain, some are healthy, some are really dangerous. And I was even thinking, “Well, I would never put a laser on my brain, because who knows what kind of effect that would have like 10 or 15, 20 years down the road?” Or even immediately, like you mentioned, you have these people who have these really immediate adverse reactions.
So I remember like, just banking that and I heard it, and I kind of dismissed it. And then I also, you know, I also kind of categorized lasers as just just for musculoskeletal pain . And because of the research, we’re seeing now that there’s there’s a huge scope, very wide scope of applications for lasers. And then, so doctors are now realizing this. And they’re starting to feel comfortable lasering brains.
Not, you know, but just based on misinformation from brands and companies. You can very easily do harm, because we’re talking about right brain tissue, it’s super sensitive to heat changes, it’s very sensitive to a lot of different things. And so, I think these well intentioned doctors, and also patients are looking for solutions and answers unwittingly subject themselves to damage. And that’s like the worst outcome for everybody, not only for the patient, the doctor, it’s a massive liability, but it’s also black eye to the industry, where people are already I would say, you know, somewhat skeptical about things like light therapy, We’re used to biochemical approaches where, here’s your symptom, here’s the pill, we’re gonna make a biochemical change in the body, and you’re gonna get some some kind of symptom relief, some kind of hearing as a result of that.
And when we’re talking about laser therapy, we have, I think, a really unique opportunity now, especially backed by the research and the hard work that Erchonia has done to really put their best foot forward and say, “Hey, this is not only effective, but it’s safe.” And then spoil it by just giving misinformation and and right kind of the shell game of like, “Hey, look over here, look over here, we’re doing the same thing.” But it’s actually not the same thing. And I think it’s, that’s why we’re doing this episode right now for not only for doctors, but also for patients to know that like, if you’re gonna laser somebody’s brain, or any part of their body, no know what it actually is. That’s just based on marketing and sales hype.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, that’s so true. And you brought up a good point there, when you talk about we’re used to like photochemical, photochemistry, or we’re used to biochemistry kind of reactions. That brings up a good segue into, you know, the difference in these wavelengths, too, is that you get a different reaction with say, visible light, versus say infrared and far infrared because, and this is basic physics too so again, please, I encourage people to fact check me go and look at the articles on the physics of light. And so if we look at infrared, that’s going to have more of a mechanical or a photo thermal effect in the body. That’s why like when you use that, that class four laser on the arthritic knee, it feels good, because you feel the heat that’s going on, there’s a photo thermal kind of effect on it. We go on the visible spectrum, we’re not really we’re not getting that thermal impact. We’re getting photochemical and enzymatic, and we’re getting signaling cascades. And there’s a fascinating paper that Steve Shanks, just showed me recently talking about the effects of, say, violet wavelengths of lasers. And this is something that definitely patients don’t know, most doctors don’t know, I didn’t even really understand this very well until doing deep discussions with Steve.
When we look at, say, like a violet wavelength laser that we’re using on the body, the energy in every individual photon is the highest energy of any type of wavelength we can use on our body. And this has nothing to do with the wattage, what it has zero impact on it. It is the inherent energy of it. And this energy is at like 3.06 electron volts per individual photon. Then we go down to like, say a visible red one that’s clicking at about 1.9 electron volts. So it’s still energetic, but it’s less. When you go down to infrared instead of 1.49 electron volts, so much lower. Now, the reason that’s important is that it takes at least that 1.9 electron volts to cause an electron in the cell, when laser hits it, to jump that electron into a higher energetic state. If you use an infrared laser, it doesn’t have the energy to trigger this electron to jump into a higher state.
So why is that important? Why do we care about that? Well, some cool things happen. There’s a whole cascade that happens. So let’s say you get the violet laser, and you get it on the cell, the electrons going to jump into a higher energetic state, and then when it falls back down, and especially sometimes it’ll stay there a little longer. As it falls down, it can trigger this release of other fluorescent lights, as the cell… as the as electron’s flowing back down. So if you have a violet laser, it’ll jump that electron to a higher state, it’ll be there for a little bit as it falls back down, you’re gonna get this phosphorescence to where it’ll release a green photon.
And then you get all these enzymatic cascades and suddenly cascades that only occur with that wavelength. Because specific wavelengths can trigger specific changes. And so there’s things you can do with the violet that you can’t with an infrared. Things with the green that you can’t with a red or an infrared. So the violet will get its reactions at that wavelength. And then it’ll trigger the release of this green one that gets specific reactions. And then that electron is gonna fall back down and release a red fluorescent photon that’s going to trigger red types reactions. And so it takes just one photon to trigger cascades like a domino effect. And we’re talking about millions of reactions that occur with a single photon. So this is why it’s there’s a huge difference between visible and infrared. So when an infrared company tries to quote our research and say they can do the same thing, it works differently. It works photo thermal, not photochemical.
Dr. Andrew Wells: You know what I’m seeing as well, and I want to get your take on this, Dr. Gair, is we’re talking about lasers and other manufacturers that make lasers, what what is what’s your take on LED lights? because I often find even probably even more so than Erchonia being compared to other lasers, it’s actually Erchonia being compared to two LED products, and those are a lot more prolific just because they’re, like, extremely cheap to buy for doctors and patients. But yeah, what are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Kirk Gair: Well, and especially now, like, if you’re on social media, you’re gonna get bombarded by LED products from China that make outrageous claims that are not supported by anything FDA backed on there at all. I think the easiest way to kind of, in a sense, debunk that one is let’s look at the studies that Erchonia did to get FDA clearances. They always use the double blind and quadruple blind placebo controlled studies.
And guess what the placebo is. It’s an LED device that’s actually of the same wavelength. And it’s actually turned on, it’s doing the same amount of dosage, the same amount of everything. So they’re not even like trying to say, Oh, it’s just a sham treatment, which turned off, they’re actually using an LED and comparing it.
So let’s go back to the autism study. So in the autism study, they took two groups of kids and one group got the Erchonia lasers, the other group got an LED of the same amount of dosage and everything, same wavelength, there was no impact at all, no change with the LED on there. They then took the kids who are in that LED control group and crossed them over six months later, and they received laser. And you saw that those kids got the same kind of benefits from the laser. So it’s nothing unique to the kids, just the LED didn’t really work very well on it.
When we look at the Zerona for fat loss, there’s a lot of LED companies out there that claim that they can that their LED device is just as good as Zerona, but it’s a fraction of the cost. Many of them actually will quote the Zerona research ironically, on their page. One even used our study showing the effects of the Zerona laser on fat cells were triggers that transitory poor, and causes the emulsification of the fat, which we had to give them a cease and desist letter on that one to stop using that and misrepresenting it.
Well, in that study, to get FDA clearance, guess what the placebo device was? It was an LED. And the LED showed about 10% as effective as the as the true laser. So we’ve got that one. Awesome. Let’s go to chronic low back pain or as you mentioned earlier, plantar fasciitis. Both of those ones, the placebo was an LED device. And you see some benefits while the LED is being used. But where the big difference comes is that the LED doesn’t show long term benefits. So both with the plantar fascia, fasciitis study and a low back study, we showed that even when the laser was stopped, the patient continue to get better towards creating long term changes where it’s actually getting tissue to heal, whereas the LED didn’t.
So we have those studies that help to really support that an LED may have some impacts, but it’s nowhere near maybe about 10% as effective as a laser. So I think for a doctor using it in a clinic, would you want to get something that’s 10% as effective? Or do you want something that’s more effective in your office? I know for me, I want to blow people’s minds when they come in. Now when we go into one of the big guys who’s who’s talking about LED being equal to lasers is Michael Hanlon. And Michael Hanlon started off as a researcher at Harvard. And now he basically is as on the advisory board for practically every LED company around the world. So a lot of this information came from a paper he published with, Hiscanin (sp?) was his co-author. And it said LEDs being equivalent to lasers basically. And so I was online and this Hiscanin, he has a social media page for LED therapy. And he shared the Erchonia laser study on autism, “what a great day for, for lasers and led this is showing the impact of LEDs on the brain.”
And he’s talking about how great of a study it was that Erchonia did. And so I go on there, “Hey, man, thanks for sharing, but I gotta let you know, LEDs were the placebo and they were showing they have no impact.” And so we got into this discussion that I can send you guys to the little picture so you can see about our discussion. He immediately goes from supporting the research to knocking it. “Oh, well, you know, you must have used LEDs that were different powers, different, you know, different, you know different dosages etc.” I said, “no, no, it was identical. And then those kids actually got laser later they had a change.”
And he said, “Well, you know, yeah, but that’s just this is just one study. But, Hamlin and I did this study where we had 359 articles that show that LED was just as effective as lasikplus.” Well, what he didn’t know is that I had read all 359 of his studies, I actually went to his paper, because I looked and said, “Hey, I’m objective. Let me read this and see Is it true or is it not?” And I looked at his 359 research papers. Well on there one was a study on a bumblebee on using LED on a bumblebee literally on a single bumblebee. A lot of them were low, low level kinds of studies on just, like a doctor’s case study that they wrote this thing up and sent it in. So very low quality, not placebo controlled. Out of the 359 studies, they only had three studies that directly compare to LED and a laser, none of the other studies directly compared it, because to say that it’s equal, you need to put them on an equal playing field. It’s kind of like saying, “who was the best boxer of all time, like if Mike Tyson fought Muhammad Ali in his prime who’s going to win or if it’s the Dodgers are today versus you know, the Dodgers of 50 years ago, who would win?” The only way you can compare that is a direct comparison, you need like a hot tub time machine, to put them back together and at the same time and go head to head. And I told him, “You didn’t have head to head studies, you got three studies. Two are on two hypersensitivity and one was on post surgical cardiac pain.” So when I called him out on that, then he actually admitted, yeah, you’re right. There’s more research on lasers being more effective than LEDs right now. But then he spun into, “but I think in the future it’s going to be different.” But he just admitted that he didn’t have the research to prove his claims. Now when they did that study, Hamlin failed to mention all of his conflicts of interest. So Steve Shanks, Erchonia’s owner and president and chief researcher caught that. And he reported it to the journal and they had to issue a correction that he failed to list like, there’s like 30 different conflicts of interest he had. So again, that’s where you have money influencing, influencing things, because you’re selling a product on there.
Dr. Andrew Wells: So science is, what is the saying? The sciences is what?
Dr. Kirk Gair: The Science is settled?
Dr. Andrew Wells: Science is settled. Yeah.
Dr. Chad Woolner: The question that keeps coming to my mind, and I want this to be a sincere question, not a loaded question. Because I want to…I’m genuinely curious about this. Why do you think it is that Erchonia seems to be, and correct me if I’m wrong, but it sure seems to me they’re the only one that is sincerely engaging in research. I know that there’s a massive time component and money component that goes into it. I know that Erchonia spends a significant…why do you think it is that so few, if not no one else in the laser space is engaging in the research?
Because I know the easy answer for us to say,” Oh, they’re just lazy, and they just want to make money.” Maybe that might be it. But the thing for me is, and not not to say that, “here we go on the Laser Light Show chat gonna start a, a rivaling company with Erchonia.” But the thing is, I think that there would be an opportunity for a laser company who was sincere enough to say, you know, what, there’s, there’s a huge opportunity. There’s only one laser company right now that’s actually sincerely engaging in real legitimate research. There’s a huge opportunity for us to also do the same and not just piggyback off of there. Do you think it’s that laser companies just think too little too late? There’s no way we can catch up to Erchonia? Or what other factors do you think are there as to why so few are actually engaging?
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, I’ve thought about that. I’ve got I’ve got a couple of events is tha, first off, why does Erchonia do so much research? I think one of the things is we’ve got the Tom Brady of lasers with Erchonia. Steve Shanks. I mean, if you sit down, Steve Shanks, and I sat down at the annual business meeting last year, and for four hours, just talk laser. And I felt like I was just like, talking with Stephen Hawking, you know, because he knows lasers so well. So when you have someone like that directing the research, that’s really unique. And he just he loves the research.
So as he told me, he said, “Look,” he said, “if a different wavelength or different powers is better, we’d use it. We’re not married to a specific wavelength. All we care about is research.” And I think that’s the unique thing is he comes in with an open mind of like, let’s just do what shows what the research shows works. Whereas a lot of other companies come and say, “we’re making this product like this. So let’s make sure that everything fits to support what we’re doing,” instead of saying, we make the product that fits with research, right? So Steve started with the research of what was what was the research showing, and then built it up from there and then continues to research it. That’s why he thinks changing. Like, if it was 20-18 years ago, when I start with Erchonia, we look at the treatment times that were recommended. They were recommending 30 and 60 second treatment times.
Well, as time goes on, we know that’s not the most effective thing. So we look at them a lot longer. So that’s that’s the aspect of where Erchonia is coming from. Now, let’s talk about the other companies. I can tell you, particularly about this one company that I’ve been mentioning without saying it name like Lord Voldemort. I’m not saying the name of it, but it’s popular in the, in the neuro community. My associate doctor used to be their second in command and their main researcher. So after he left that company, he told me, he said, “Dude,” he said, “Here’s what our research was.” He said, the owner of that company actually said, “we’re not going to do any research. There’s no point in us spending any money, all we need to do is we sit back, we wait for Erchonia to do their research, spend their money on it, spend their time, let them get the FDA clearance.” And he said, “all we have to do is we just file an equivalency with the FDA.” And he said he couldn’t believe that they could get an equivalency with like, say, a completely different wavelength, a completely different power. But they just have to file an equivalency with the FDA and say, Hey, we’re a laser too, we can do everything this device claims to do. And instead of spending $5 million, they just sent in a paper to the FDA and they get a clearance.
So it’s a really easy way to do it. And a lot of these companies are you know, they’re newer, they’re smaller, they don’t have the resources to do it. And they don’t have a Steve shanks. So I think that’s a big reason for doing what they do. And you look at all these companies, almost all those companies those class IV ones, their FDA clearance is based on claiming equivalency to a 1970s heat lamps study. And I encourage people to fact check me, go look at the 510 clearance for the other lasers, and you’re gonna see that and I’ll bring up some specific ones. So the Yvonne laser 510 clearance is for increasing topical temperature to decrease pain. That’s the only clearance cutting edge MLS laser increase surface temperature to decrease pain for temporary payments. That’s what the clearances are for. So I can at least speak to that one particular company as to why I hear from their former main researcher who, as he said they never did any research they just copied Erchonia on there.
Dr. Chad Woolner: Oh, yeah, and for me, I, my mind immediately first goes to at the end of the day, you know, the people and I don’t want to say they’re gonna suffer, right? Because it sounds like very melodramatic and disingenuous. But what I mean by that is is imagine if every laser company, put in the same level of effort and money and resources into the research where lasers would be collectively, right? The tide rising for everybody. Because clearly these other these other laser companies have benefited from Erchonia’s research.
Imagine if they were engaging in high caliber research? How Erchonia you could benefit too, vice versa? Do you know what I mean? And I think Erchonia would be open to that, like, Hey, that’s a cool study that was done by XYZ laser company, this was this was powerful this, this shows and validates what we’re doing too you know, like almost like this, you know, field where everybody was collectively engaged with at the end of the day, the patient in mind, right? For the benefit of the patient is the real idea there that that to me is where my mind automatically goes it means.
And that kind of goes back to a little bit of you originally stating, or you were talking, when you talk about like Russia and these Eastern Bloc countries, why do you think it is, they see, and again, maybe this is just my perception, but they they seem to be further ahead in this game than we are? With with a lot of like, not just lasers, but a lot like the cutting edge stuff. You know, I was at a seminar with Jerome Rerucha. And he was talking about some of the studies back in like the 50s and 60s that Russia was doing with vibration plates and vibration therapy and things like that. What do you think it is about those countries or that region that that at least again, the perception where where they’re kind of further ahead on those things?
Dr. Kirk Gair: I hate to say this, because I am a capitalist, but I think it’s capitalism, you know, it has been the healthcare system. Here, we are so dominated by our pharmaceutical companies. They are the dominant driving force. So anything that’s outside of their control for their financial benefit gets suppressed and gets poo-pooed.
So in that study, if you look at that one, low level laser therapy in Russia, in 2017, they actually talked about this, and the Russians were confused. They’re like, “What the hell is wrong? Because you guys, you guys are not? This works really well, you know, this works really well.”
And I think the thing is that, you know, their system was designed just to save money, you know, because you’re trying to socialize it, and they’re trying to save money and just look at the results and and looking objectively at the research. And also in sports performance they’re looking at how do they get that unfair advantage too so they’re looking at it objectively.
Whereas when it comes to the US, there’s so many, and just looking at our FDA. I mean, come on, you know, you’ve got, we got the autism study, we submit that in 2018, and it still hasn’t gotten approved. And meanwhile, you got these radical Alzheimer’s drugs that all kinds of experts came out and said they’re dangerous and they got approved. So it’s just we have a completely different model. And I don’t say we should have a model like Russia at all, but I’m just saying that’s the downfall, that’s the negative impact of, of our type of system, especially when it’s dominated by by big pharma. The Russians also talked about that study, they said, one of the problems was that the studies in Europe, and in the US were using the wrong set of parameters. They said they use the wrong wavelengths, they use powers that were too high. And so and they said, they would then find one study that said, like say Aetna would find one study that said, Oh, at least it was ineffective. So they extrapolate that out to all lasers are ineffective. So they didn’t even use logic. They were just looking they had their conclusion in mind and look at how do we support? You know, the conclusion we want to have? So they had that bias going into it.
Dr. Chad Woolner: What would you say are some of the other most maybe common myths or misconceptions around laser? Anything else? I mean, because obviously, this is the big one. Yeah, talking about is the wavelength versus power.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Right. I’d say perhaps the biggest one that is going to be depth of penetration. Because you hear this to where everybody starts hammering on, “oh, just the deepest penetrating laser. So it’s the best laser that’s on there.” Well, okay, the depth of penetration is going to be important. If you’re like, what you’re saying you’re using that class IV laser to try to heat up a joint to get that deep pain relief. When you use a high powered deep penetrating laser. The high power is inhibitory for pain signaling, but it’s also inhibitory for other types of cellular processes, the deep penetration, then you can get like into an arthritic joint or into a painful disc, you can get that thermal kind of a relief. However, that’s not what has to drive the bus for healing.
So let’s look at this, again, I encourage the doctors to fact check me. There are studies by Oran and Microphonics on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, where they actually lasered over the tibia and showed, in a mouse model, they showed improvements in spatial awareness and cognitive functioning. And they said, “Wow, we didn’t even have the laser the brain but by using a visible laser. We were able to affect tissues far away.” And one of the theories was they said that lasering with the tibia stimulate mesenchymal stem cells, which then migrate up to the brain and clear it out amyloid beta plaquing, and improve brain function. And they said also created this whole signaling cascade, far away from the site of application. Kind of like having sunlight, I can get sunlight on my arm, and it’s not just going to stimulate vitamin D here, I’ll get melanin, I’ll get a melanin in here, but I’m gonna get vitamin D throughout the body, I’m also gonna get melatonin production, or effects in the brain by light stimulus here.
And so we look at this we can have, the depth of penetration is not what determines the factors. There’s a study on photobiomodulation in anulus cells effort for disc herniations. And it talks about violet, green and red wave into lasers, which do not directly penetrate to the disc. But they showed that with these lasers, you can stimulate these signaling cascades, that will stimulate extracellular matrix modifying enzymes to actually repair the disk. So that deep penetrating laser will not stimulate the extracellular matrix modifying enzymes, but you’ll get a thermal impact. So it feels good while you’re under it, but you don’t get long term changes. Whereas with these ones, you’re actually repairing the tissue with a surface penetrating laser.
And this goes back to what I mentioned earlier about that electron jump into the higher orbit. In that particular study, and this is basic physics for lasers and light, that is where they say you can take a violet laser, because some people are gonna say, “Oh, well, that’s just a dermatological, laser it only hits the surface.” Well, yeah, initially, but you get this cascade of events that occurs that can go deep through the tissues, because it’s signaling things deeply. Steve also talks about with the body being 60%, water, and blood being 90% water, that the blue and violet light propagates the best through water membranes, it goes the deepest, whereas infrared goes the shallowest, you hit these thermal impacts, whereas violet, and blue doesn’t get that. So you have this whole myth that visible lasers don’t penetrate deep enough to do anything beyond the surface. And that is easily knocked out by just reading about the physics or talking about the way these electrons jump up and fall down.
Dr. Chad Woolner: Well, Kirk, you can you can talk probably more specific on this, but I remember being shown at least one I’m sure there’s probably more than one study that they could visibly see on either functional MRI or something where when they laser your brain, they saw an immediate impact on various brain regions. And so, again, correct me if I’m wrong here, but what what you’re saying and we’re what the study is implying is though, even though it’s not directly like, “Okay, I shine a 635 nanometer or a 405 nanometer wavelength on the head, that is penetrating through the head and hitting the brain.” It’s not that it’s that it’s, there’s a signaling cascade, like a domino effect, if you will, indirectly. But but the but the thing that we’re seeing, at least on whatever imaging is taking place, that’s in real time, correct? I mean, it’s the signaling cascade is instant, I mean, the speed of light, right?
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, it’s happening as you’re doing it. So like, we go back to the Erchonia autism study, they use functional MRIs on there. And they showed the kids brains before they got the laser and you’d see, you know, red showed where there’s neural activity and blood flow. And then they do the functional MRI and you see changes in that to where you’re seeing increases in blood flow, increases in neuronal activity, especially to the cerebellum and frontal lobe, which are very important for kids with autism to try to manage those symptoms.
And you and like you said, you’re seeing that in real time happening. It’s not like you’re trying to follow up months later. This isn’t a five minute treatment that you’re sitting it Calixto Machado who did the research on on autism, he also did studies with quantitative EEG is on the brain doing vagus nerve stimulation with the red violet combination, and you can see changes in the EEG that happen while you’re doing it.
I talked with my good buddy, Dr. Datis Kharrazian, about this stuff and he sent me a paper that was published when he was at Harvard getting his PhD in research showing that there are these canals too, that connect the bone marrow in the in the skull to the surface of the brain, and that stem cells and immune cells can migrate through these canals and our visible lasers to stimulate stem cells and, and immune cell migration too, so you get that benefit.
And then Penny and I, Penny is the West Coast sales rep for California. She and I had a really fascinating experience when we’re at Life West’s Wave in August of this year. We had our booth for Erchonia across from this company called the Wavy that does EEGS of the brain, they partnered with Crocs to create this new type of the EEG that doesn’t have all the mess and it’s got a really nice kind of kind of cap it’s put on there. And one of the administrators for Life West had a stroke. And so he’s over there and he’s getting the scan done. We didn’t know he was getting the scan done. But he’s getting the scan done it like at like 9:55 in the morning, and it maps his brain. You can see this complete dysfunction to where this whole hemisphere is just not firing at all. And so in between this time he comes over and he sits down under the FX.
We do a 10 minute session on the FX. We didn’t do any like functional neurostimulation know he just had the laser on his brain. So I didn’t even deal with any kind of eye movement activation or cranial nerve stimulation, just the laser on his brain. Out of curiosity. He didn’t tell us he did this, but he goes back across and he has Wavy run another brain scan on him. So it’s just one hour apart. And we have this paper showing it. It’s where Wavy didn’t know he got the laser. We didn’t know he got the Wavy done. And he gets this print out. It comes out. He’s like, “guys, check this out.”
And the guy who was who, who was there with Wavy comes over and asks us, “what the heck did you guys do?” We said, “why?” He’s like, “look at this scan. we saw a change here in just one hour apart, that we never have seen it change this rapidly for. Normally it takes,” he said, “months to see a change in the brain base. And you see how we had this little X on here, that’s where there was minimal brain activity. And that’s where his stroke was. And look at that you see the color change here indicating increased neuronal activity.”
And we saw really quickly, so we have objective evidence that it did it. And it’s safe, we’re not lighting them up with tons of too many photons, they’re like, you’re gonna see some of these other companies, the Voldemort laser that I mentioned earlier, they’ll show sticking 200 joules in two minutes on a person’s head. There’s one of them where they have four lasers doing 700 joules per spot for 2800 joules. On the patient’s brain. The World Association of laser therapy recommends only going between 2 joules and maybe 16 joules for a dosage. And they’re doing 2800 joules, which there’s no research to support it. So as you mentioned earlier, these doctors are going to get in trouble at some point because that laser is not FDA cleared for use head and the way they’re using it. There’s no research to support it. So whereas we’ve got all the studies that you said, showing the changes showing the benefits and the safety.
Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s wild. absolutely wild. Andrew, anything else you want to cover, myths and misconceptions? Any other questions? Burning Questions about lasers? You’ve given us a ton to chew on here Dr. Gair, a ton.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Cool. Awesome. I’m a total laser nerd.
Dr. Chad Woolner: No, that’s awesome.
Dr. Andrew Wells: I just want to say, yeah, they know I really appreciate this. When I read before we started recording, you know, we said “this is probably going to sound like a rant. But also this is all true information.” And I like when Dr. Gair says, “just look up the research fact. Do your fact checking. And you’ll find the information.” And that’s what we found as well. You know, we’ve had the opportunity to interview a lot of really brilliant doctors, many of whom use, or actually all of whom use their Erchonia lasers, and they all say the same thing. Like there’s a lot of comfort and safety and peace of mind like Dr. Woolner mentioned in knowing their research and know what you’re putting on your patient’s body. What’s the best way to do that? If doctors are like, “Yeah, you know, I’m going to take you up on that challenge. I do want to look at the research, what is the easiest way to find the research specific to Erchonia lasers?”
Dr. Kirk Gair: Specific, just go on to the Erchonia website, that’s an easy way to do it, because they have links, you just click on Research. And that’s where, you know, I’d say if you’re looking at getting other lasers go on to the other lasers, companies websites, look to see if and list their their their FDA clearances. And they can see most of them just say “FDA cleared.” Which doesn’t say what and you need to know that because like, let’s say, here, I’m in California. And I do realize that six seminars three times a month training doctors, I tell him, “hey, whatever you’re going to do, make sure you see what it’s FDA cleared for because then you know how to use it.” Here in California, the board says not only does your laser has to be FDA cleared, you can only use it as its FDA cleared. So like any of these doctors who are using the Voldemort laser on the head, they’re in violation of the state board. It’s a board violation, what you’re doing right there.
And then if they’re marketing it, if they’re saying, “hey, I can use this laser for these brain conditions,” it’s not cleared for even use on the head. Whereas your Erchonia laser, and you can see this on the website, head to toe clearance for chronic pain and inflammation from the head to the toe. So that way, let’s say if something did happen, and the board asked you, “Hey, why did you use this laser on the head?” I’ve got an FDA clearance. “Is there any research that supports this?” Yes, we have the autism study, we have the acute EEG study by Calixto Machado. We have a pending FDA clearance for this stuff.
So you’re backed by it, whereas these other ones, they ask you, “do you have an FDA clearance for use on the head?” “Well no.” “What’s your laser FDA cleared for?” “for topical heating?” “Should you hate the brain” “Well No?” You know, you’re gonna get yourself in trouble. So you got to look at those things and think think objectively, and you got to think like a lawyer too. I mean, let’s be honest, that’s just what our nation is like. And even if you didn’t cause the actual injury, truth doesn’t matter. It perception is what matters. It’s kind of like when Bill Clinton was on trial for being impeached. And they asked him a question he told him “well, at depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.” Spoken like a true lawyer that he was. You know, the truth doesn’t matter in the law. It’s just perception and how you spin it.
And that’s the thing is you open yourself up to vulnerabilities when use those ones in different ways. So you look there under the websites, compare one to the other, compare their FDA clearances, compare the research and do this, if they cite research, read the paper that they cite, because most of the time they’re gonna cite an Erchonia research paper or they’re gonna cite other research that doesn’t even support their laser most of the high power devices cite low power or research done there. So it’s like how can you use that to support your device when your device is completely different?
And the way they tried to do is by saying, “we could do this in a fraction of the time, we can do it one minute what took 20 minutes and fact check me on that.” Go on to PubMed, read the nuts and bolts of low level laser therapy, read the biphasic dose response even by by Hamlin, which was with Harvard. And you’ll see them talking about that those things are not accurate. The best way if you really want to dive into get the book by Tuner and Hod on low level laser therapy. It’s expensive. It’s like 170 bucks. It’s super thick, though in there they cite. There’s like 125 pages of research in there citing 2500 studies. So if you really, really want to learn this stuff, look at that. They have a great section, even talking about sales tricks on there, and it’ll list all the things we talked about, that’s talked about in that book, and they’re independent. They’re not associated with any laser company. So they’re just talking about the research, but that’s a great one to do.
Dr. Chad Woolner: For those who prefer microwave ribs. You can go for another laser company.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yes. Exactly.
Dr. Chad Woolner: The other thing I was gonna say before our webinars start our webinar, our podcast episode started with you here. I told Andrew, I said you need to pass this up the chain to Steve Shanks and everybody there at Erchonia. Tell them, they need to change the slogan for Erchonia to rip off micromachine’s slogan, “If it doesn’t say Erchonia, that’s not the real thing.” You know, remember the old machines slogan, “if it doesn’t say micro machine, it’s not the real thing”?
Dr. Kirk Gair: Exactly, exactly.
Dr. Chad Woolner: So anyhow. But yeah, Dr. Gair, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to be here with us. You’ve really given a ton of value and a ton of great information and appreciate you really helping.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, if I can add one thing, for docs to continue this discussion to make sure you join my Facebook group Dr. Gair’s Laser Therapy and Marketing Secrets on Facebook. Yeah, cause we’ve got close to 800 doctors in there now. And it’s a great discussion, it’s a great place where you can learn more. Yeah, any questions open. You know, even if you don’t have Erchonia lasers, I have doctors in there who have high powered lasers, because there’s benefits to those as well. Sure. But I just want to dispel the myths and see how you use different things for different conditions on there. And that’s a great place to learn more and to make connections with doctors.
Dr. Andrew Wells: Yeah. Thanks for offering that Dr. Gair. And I hope docs take you up on that, because sometimes I think docs listen this podcast and they have questions like “man, it’d be really cool to talk to Dr. Gair.” Well, here’s your opportunity to do that join the direct access to Dr. Gair. And yeah.
Dr. Chad Woolner: Number one, I’ll put a link here in the show notes for that. But also, number two, I’m a member of that group, too. For what it’s worth. Not that not that there’s any value of me being there. But just what I can attest to is the fact that that Kirk, you are extremely engaged in the group, and constantly number one, on top of answering questions really, really well and effectively and quickly. And then number two, constantly putting out great, you know, articles, research papers, food for thought, tips, tricks, you name it, it’s a really high value groups. And what’s cool is at least for now, anyways, it’s a free group. And so docs should really take advantage of that. So great, great opportunity there. So awesome.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah. And that’s my intention is to keep it free. Because it’s, you know, I started with lasers 18 years ago. And that was before, we had podcasts, and webinars and seminars. I know how difficult it is. And I based my whole purchase of the laser off of Dr. Murphy. I trusted him. And so that’s what my basis was, but now we have access to more information. And my whole goal is, as you mentioned earlier, when things are done improperly, it’s bad for the whole category of lasers. Because then as they say, someone, a patient goes in, they get a bad result, or they don’t get the right device or someone said-
Dr. Chad Woolner: I tried that already, it didn’t work.
Dr. Kirk Gair: Yeah, exactly. We all do that. And you know, then that patient comes away they say, “Oh, laser doesn’t work.” And that’s bad for everybody. So my whole goal is just to help people be as good as they can be. Because I’m maxed out, I’m so booked. It’s just crazy that I have more than enough patients to deal with. People need help, especially now in the post COVID world where we’re seeing long COVID. And there’s things you can do with the lasers to help with that. And we really need like an army of doctors who have lasers and who have the knowledge of how to use it to help people so that they don’t succumb to the greed of the corporations who are just looking to get them on their drugs for the rest of their life.
Dr. Chad Woolner: Yeah, great. Great point. They’re so awesome. Well, thanks again. Dr. Garrett. Docs, thank you so much, though I should say Doc’s and patients, thanks for listening to this episode. We hope that this has been incredibly valuable for you. Share this with others. If you’re feeling like they need a little bit of a healthy dose of truth to help offset some myths and misconceptions to set them straight. Share this with him. And we will talk to you guys on the next episode. Have a good one.
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