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Episode #27: Lasers in Acupuncture with Dr. Dustin Dillberg

laser light show

Dr. Andrew Wells: Hello and welcome to The Laser Light Show, this is episode #27. This is Dr. Andrew Wells, with special guest Dr. Dustin Dillberg and today we’re going to be talking about lasers in acupuncture.



Dr. Andrew Wells

Dr. Chad Woolner

Dr. Dustin Dillberg


Dr. Chad Woolner: 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 Jimi 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. 


Explore the transformative benefits of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for athletes in our blog, How Laser Therapy Helps Athletes Physically and Mentally. Learn how LLLT can accelerate recovery, reduce pain, and enhance mental clarity. Dive into the world of laser therapy now!


Dr. Andrew Wells: Dr. Dillberg, welcome to the show. Great to have you here, my friend.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: Happy to be here. Thank you.


Dr. Andrew Wells: So we were just talking a little bit offline before we hit the record button. And I think this is going to be a really interesting episode. And I think this is what we’re going to dive into obviously, as the title would suggest Lasers and acupuncture. But there’s a lot we can talk about here. And so to kick it off, maybe Dr. Dillberg, if you can just kind of give us a little bit of a background on who you are, what you do, where you’re from, and we’ll start there.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: I am a doctor of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. I was raised and still practicing in the land of Hawaii, thanks to my father. He’s a chiropractor who has really interesting experiences that led him to be exposed to and get into Chinese medicine as well, ultimately becoming an acupuncturist himself. But I was just raised in this clinic, similar to the way my boy is in my clinic, crawling around full rugrat, I was. That’s the earliest memory I have; just in my dad’s practice. And I still have an interesting flashback to an experience watching him bring in a woman who wasn’t even able to walk through the threshold, a tiny little threshold in the doorway, in excruciating pain with a walker. And it just kind of rocked my world when I was young, as I was sitting at this little desk, definitely right next to me right now, coloring and watching an inadequate like this woman in agony, walk back to the treatment room, come out, probably 45 minutes later – my attention span was way shorter than that, I was already on to a whole different coloring book, but watched her walk out, walk around her back, laughing and with tears of joy, just this huge impact. And I remember like coming out of Superman, you know like a completely different person was transformed out of that woman that came into her office. And I wanted to be a part of that. And thankful for his experience, his past, his mind, and his willingness to kind of think outside the box and push hard to integrate new techniques that hadn’t been joined together before and just kind of formed my mind into thinking that’s just the only way to do things. And so I continued to follow in his footsteps. After I was hit by a car when I was seven, I had terrible whiplash, ligament damage throughout my spine, hip, and shoulder issues, and a lot of it went semi-undiagnosed because I was young and I bounced back and I wanted to go jump on the trampoline shortly after the accident, which I was unconscious for quite a while. You know, kids bounce right back, but later on, with a migraine setting in and the limitations in athletics and things like that, that were found, it was evident that I needed a lot more work and luckily, he had amazing mentors. Dr. Gilbert Yvonne was able to work on me and impact my life. He took me under his wing and taught me a ton of stuff, as well as some of the DCM mentors and other techniques. So it’s just been a really fun experience. I’m proud and happy to be a second-generation practitioner. And yeah, just bring more new things into this amazing clinical experience that we get to identify, you know, what works best for that individual patient, what works best for that individual situation or case, and identifying the way that one plus one doesn’t always have to equal two, that there’s a synergistic value between multiple treatments. And that’s certainly something that I found later there. It’s just undeniable.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Yeah, I found what you mentioned. So your dad was a chiropractor. Was he also into Chinese medicine, or was he just kind of like a classic chiropractor who would experiment and dabble in different things?


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: He knew he wanted to be a chiropractor at a very young age, as well as after having an experience where a chiropractor helped him after a baseball injury right there on the field. And so he’s really interested, he was like, head down, that know what his future had in store for him. And as he went to high school, was able to get his car back to school really quick and early. So they went to Cleveland Chiropractic School. The way the story goes, the first day that you go into the bookstore, to buy all your books, you have to do your readings prior to your first day of class and all that kind of stuff. You notice an elderly gentleman, in his, like, early 60s, he was Korean, and he wasn’t getting treated very well. I mean, this is way back in the 70s. And there was a certain level of racism and things like that, that surrounded the Asian population in certain areas. And so this gentleman was just frustrated, you didn’t know why he was being treated this way. And he was just trying to get his books, he didn’t speak English very well. So people were scoffing at him and things like that my dad just happened to have a soft spot in his heart for him that day, look at his schedule. And we have like three of the same classes. Let’s take a look at you have all the same classes, but three of them, I’ll actually be in at the same time, follow me around with grab all the same books, and I’ll let you know, on your way, they grabbed all the books, he led this gentleman, his name was Mr and go before him in the lines. And they, for some reason, didn’t want to accept his personal check. He didn’t have enough cash to cover it. He was 20 bucks short. And my dad was like, Alright, I’m a starving student. He already had my older brother at the time. He was very concerned about just cash flow as he entered chiropractic school. And he said, here’s 20 bucks, or more, I forget exactly how much less but here’s 20 bucks, but I will find you if you don’t give me this that my dad is like, high school wrestling guy. And you know, the whole, the chiropractor that I Joker has way too many similarities to CrossFitters these days, which I love and adore. But um, so he’s just jacked. Basically high school kids and I will find you if you don’t give me my money back. And they said, Thank you, you paid for his books in cash waiting outside for him, I’d have no idea waiting for him, went through it paid for his books walked outside in the stone. And it happened to say you were, you know, an American that showed me great gratitude, or just like kindness. And for that, I will let you be my people. And my dad looked at him and said, You’re entering school dude at the same time as I am. I’m like, 18, 19, I think I’m alright. But thank you so much. I just remember the basket eventually. But go ahead. And you know, thanks. It turned out this guy was the grandson of one of the last emperors as a Korea’s personal physician. So that went down the lineage in this family. So he was basically born and bred to be a practitioner or a doctor. And he has Korea changed in their political environment. He was sent off at an early age to become westernized through the different countries. So he’s spent time actually treating and spending time with royal families all over the world. But he spoke like eight different languages in English, this wasn’t his strong suit. He had an immense amount of knowledge in medicine in traditional means and a number of other techniques. And when he came to the US, he was very, very fearful. Like most acupuncturists actually have been, as they brought acupuncture and Chinese medicine into the US, very fearful of being deported, being attacked for going against standardized Western medicine going against the standard of the American Medical Association. They wanted to be really quiet, really respectful, and careful of doing anything and so he realized that he wasn’t able to practice in California without a license and degree of some nature and so he started looking into what intrigued him because he could have went and got a degree in acupuncture with his eyes closed or taught at the school and probably had an honorary degree, but this neurology in this brain-based stuff In this terrible practice, you know, the physics and the, the anatomical understanding was so much greater than what he knew. He wanted to study that. So that’s why he was going back to school. And he actually somewhat by force pushed my dad into like, No, you’re going to be an acupuncturist as well, you’re gonna blend these things together. And so, back in the 70s, there weren’t that many people that were, you know, had dual degrees, and chiropractic and acupuncture, and my father was literally one of them.


Dr. Andrew Wells: That’s an amazing story. Wow, that’s incredible. Okay, so I totally understand why you’re an acupuncturist now. Yeah, it’s so your dad. So he started then from his initial education as a chiropractor and learned acupuncture along the way.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: And really, his mindset is still that way. Once you’re a chiropractor, you’re a chiropractor first, right? And so his mindset is still incredible. And he does everything with a chiropractic focus and supports it with acupuncture. Actually, when I was going through a lot of my work with Dr. Brock Pettibone, I was enrolled in Elysee, which turned into Southern California Health Sciences, in the chiropractic program. And around dinner, your uncle, as he was visiting my dad, pretty proudly, he was like, ‘Hey, girl, ask Dustin what he’s got in his future.’ And so the girl asked me, and Dr. Pettibone, like, ‘I’m really proud of him, accepted into the school, I’m going to be a chiropractor, and I’m going to go through a dual program of chiropractic and acupuncture.’ And he kind of chuckled. He was in the process of starting his own chiropractic program at that point as well and had a very specific way that he wanted things taught and things like that. And he actually told me some experiences that he had, studying Chinese medicine and the five-element theories and things like that. He’s like, ‘I think you can do everything that you would ever want to do, and potentially more if you work under an acupuncture license rather than a chiropractic license.’ And this.


Dr. Andrew Wells: This came from Dr. Yvonne. Yeah. Wow. Okay.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: He taught me how to go to chiropractic school.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Wow, that’s crazy.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: I am very thankful it hasn’t worked out exactly the way he described in terms of every state having their unique situations, there’s scope of practice issues, no matter what industry you’re in if you go from state to state and all of that. But overall, it has kind of opened up opportunities for me in very unique and neat ways. While I was going through medical school, I was still going through his curriculum and under his tutelage, and he was challenging my way outside the scope of what my brain could handle at the time to just push me into thinking differently. And so, I went through and I must say that I have more of an acupuncturist-first mindset because I talked to my dad and my mind works, TCM first, Cairo second, and he works out with first TCM, second, we just have some interesting dancer in the way that things are discussed or thought of. But yes, it’s kind of neat that like, actually, it was mentioned, I think, in one of the podcasts that you did with Brock, and Trevor, and the late-night one, they were talking about the friend that went back and got the MD, which I actually considered myself and like when you enter into a new scope of practice, sometimes there are limitations to what you can or should do. And I’m actually really used to being an acupuncturist in the state of Hawaii, and in the US.


Dr. Andrew Wells: It’s an amazing story. Thank you for sharing that. It’s interesting when you look at natural healthcare providers, whether it’s a chiropractor, acupuncturist, Chinese medicine, nutritionist, or naturopath, there’s a lot of fluidity between the philosophies, and the approach to health. The tools that we use, and the techniques that we use are very, I find, very interchangeable. Except when you get into the medical field where it’s very, very strict protocol-driven systems. Not that we don’t use protocols, we do. But yeah, you’re exactly right. There’s a lot of limitations there. And I think healthcare started off that way, where you just had a bunch of really smart people that were really interested in helping people get healthy and had some really good, lots of really good tools that they would use interchangeably and not so specialized. And I think we’ve very much gotten away from that in healthcare, except for chiropractic and acupuncture. I think we’re like the two healthcare professions that are still kind of looked at in a little bit of a funny way because we don’t just do one thing. We’re not like a one-trick pony. And that’s yeah, I can help people that way. Yeah, yeah. Can’t leave them out. Yeah, absolutely. Right. And yeah, and I think my gut is that we’re actually trending back toward that. I think that patients, especially, are starting to realize that we’re not just a bag of chemicals that can be adjusted up or down or left or right to treat symptoms, we’re actually a vitalistic being that’s more than just chemical reactions and physical reactions, that there’s something a lot more to health. And so, you know, and maybe you just got to get to talk to smart doctors, like you think and act the same way. But I, you know, I think I’m seeing our profession grow in ways that I didn’t even see 10 years ago when I first started. And I think it’s patient-driven. You know, I think docs like us do a good job and our professionals do a good job of educating patients. And I think it’s coming around, hopefully.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: I agree. And it’s not just, you know, the bag of chemicals. But it used to be seen as a bag full of individual bags of chemicals, where your serotonin levels were uniquely individualized, they’ve had nothing to do with the rest of it. And so if we just influenced one chemical that would change that. And it’s just, that we know that everything’s connected. And we’ve known that for a long time, we’ve gotten distracted or skewed away from that idea. But we’re coming back full circle, the pendulum starting to swing it sure seems like again, and it’s so fascinating and interesting to me, with just the history of that you just heard, to now see, tools that used to get laughed at, when I would, I would pull out a, you know, a wash off tool, it’s like a piece of bone or, you know, metal, and somebody is like, you’re gonna scrape that on me, it’s going to do something like, Are you kidding me? And now that is like a very common tool, or cupping, or, you know, you’re gonna put a needle in me that has nothing in it, like me full of syringe, right? And now dry needling is one of the fastest-growing things in medicine. And these are things that have been tried and true for thousands of years. Maybe even up to like 7,000 years or older. Like it’s incredible data. That’s tried and true, right? Yeah, yeah. It’s coming back full circle into like, you want to know the coolest, newest, hottest thing in medicine. We’re gonna stick a needle in, you are gonna throw a cup, a suction cup on you. And Olympians are gonna rock it all over. It was pretty funny.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Yeah, that’s right. I always say, with Erchonia lasers, it’s kind of a shame that you can’t see any burn marks on people’s skin, because you don’t know that you’ve had it done. And that’s like that. I would lump laser into that therapy as well because you have laser done on you. And it’s like, is it working? I can’t feel it. It’s not tingling yet. And patients haven’t seen like, yeah, it’s just, it’s just light


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: We can just put a stamp like a rubber stamp at the right next to the laser, and then just stamp it at the end just so people have evidence. That’s beautiful.


Dr. Andrew Wells: I love that. Yeah, that’s exactly right. It’s nice that it doesn’t have any evidence. But it’s like, yeah, it’s not a very good marketing tool. In that respect, is it?


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: That’s the truth. And, truthfully, you don’t need to show all those bruises or marks from scraping or copying to have an effective result either. But it’s almost become like that, like, put it on a little longer. Everybody will see it.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, it’s at the CrossFit gym, and you have your tank top on. It’s like one of those marks. It’s like it’s the best advertising tool. It’s like, oh, you’ve never done cupping, you should go do it. And then yeah, every now and then everybody else starts showing up with the leopard print on their skin. So maybe you can share, you were sharing with me before we started the recording that you also do some teaching and lecturing. What does that look like? How are you involved in educating other providers?


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: But in my heart is the ability to train, impact, and change the future of our profession as much as possible. Being just one guy on a little spot of a rock in the middle of the ocean and being quite removed from a lot of the seminars and conferences, symposiums just due to location, has really empowered me and got me excited and pumped to be able to teach others. Being able to influence how other doctors are then able to teach or impact their patients that much faster hits the nail on the head for me. I feel blessed and privileged to be able to talk and speak all over the place for a number of different entities. For example, Pacific College of Health Sciences and their acupuncture program, as well as their other awesome programs. Also, Zymogen Nutraceuticals and Erchonia for breast belts, which is one of my favorite tools. Teaching, at this point, for me has been primarily in seminars, conferences, symposium setups, and some intensives like week-long intensives, and things like that. However, I’ve always wanted to have more of an impact in terms of potentially having more resources online, whether that’s a training program or something along those lines, and publishing a couple of the books that I’ve been working on for a long time. So, there’s more in the future, I’m sure. But right now, I just travel around and speak and influence, trying to encourage and motivate.


Dr. Andrew Wells: That’s amazing. Now, when I think of acupuncture, traditionally, I don’t think of laser therapy. And so I’m kind of curious, and it almost seems like there’s a little bit of a yin and yang there, where it’s, I think, when I think acupuncture, I think thousands of years old, very traditional type of approach. And then when I think of laser therapy, I think of futuristic technology, and I don’t necessarily think of those I know how they fit together. But I’m just kind of curious how you brought those two modalities together.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: It does seem, yeah, which is kind of special, right? The balance of opposites is amazing. And I think it’s certainly needed in the more traditional medicines, ancient medicine, and that we need to bring them up to speed and utilize the new tools, which has happened quite a bit actually. And so there’s actually a movement just to take a small step back, there’s a little bit to change the perception and understanding of what acupuncture is because acupuncture is really just one technique within the system of medicine that is a complete system that is something that utilizes so many different tools, from hands-on, you know, bodywork massage between our shiatsu cupping gua sha, the herbs, a lot of the investigation or examination, processes of tongue diagnosis and post-diagnosis and seeing the body of an integrated unit where one aspect influences and changes all the other components of the body. It’s such a beautiful functional medicine, I see it fitting that functional medicine paradigm perfectly from 1000s of years old. And it’s also used, including most of the major tasks, such as acupuncture or what we call complementary acupuncture and moxibustion. And moxibustion was a huge part of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Moxibustion is for those that don’t know, like that cigar-looking around the rule that people would light on fire and burn, and it emits oddly enough wavelengths between 400 and 1000 nanometers, that are influencing the tissue on a cellular level on what we would always see a meridian and acupuncture and neurological impact, changing the potentiation of healing. And being able to, in a simple way of providing free energy provides warmth and vitality to a tissue and a system that is deficient and you can even treat access with that type of power and energy. And so, the way I see it, the same way our needles have changed over the years, you know, acupuncture needles that have been found in tombs and new Egypt have been found in the pyramids, used to be made of certain materials that we no longer use, we use, you know, surgical stainless steel at this point, right? We should also update our tools and other ways. I think the updated Moxa literally is laser therapy. It’s as simple as that. If you know how to provide acupuncture or moxibustion, you know how to use laser therapy, you can influence the acupuncture points with that laser. It’s been proven in so many studies. Now, it’s been really effective for changing all sorts of things from all of the traditional uses for acupuncture points, centers on the foot being able to treat liver three. For eye disorders, you can do that with a laser. If someone is very needle phobic, you’re dealing with pediatrics that are going to try and kick you or scream. When you get anywhere near them with a laser or a needle. You can use a laser really effectively. We know that there was a study that showed pericardium six changing heart rate variability and neurological function and brain changes just by lasering with the 405-nanometer wavelength P six, which is that point that a lot of people know of as being kind of that C stickiness point or motion sickness points that those pressure points things that they sell on the counter gas stations and things like that. You laser that point, and you actually have a profound and systemic, neurological shift and change that optimizes the body. So acupuncture and lasers, I think fit in better than lasers in just about anything else that I’ve ever come across. It’s already been built into our medicine for 1000s of years, already trained on how to use it, it’s just a new tool that needs a brief introduction and owner’s manual, or use as my you gotta know how to turn this one on instead of lights the tip with a flame.


Dr. Andrew Wells: When we first discovered low-level laser therapy, when Dr. Woolner and I discovered it, we were like, ‘Wow, why?’ And as chiropractors, we were like, ‘Why isn’t this in every chiropractic practice around the world? It just made way too much sense for us.’ It’s like, here’s an easy, simple way, just like you were describing, to affect tissue at a local level, at a systemic level, on an energetic level, to help improve their outcomes. And we were just, you know, we kind of stumbled across it, but just by accident. And my question for you is, in Chinese medicine and for acupuncturists, why, I guess, why isn’t this in more practices? And are you seeing any kind of resistance there to adopting things like laser therapy?


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: I am? It’s a great question. There has been far more resistance than I expected in terms of introducing laser therapy. I think a lot of it is because the acupuncture profession, as we kind of mentioned, was very careful, scared, and worried. One of the biggest pushbacks I get is, well, lasers, can I use that in medical practice? I can understand that when you’re speaking of maybe the class for lasers and things like that, that is quite dangerous to use, which, like you, and a number of other people who have been interviewed on this podcast, I did fall into that trap as well. And to take a small step back, before I continue answering that question, I was actually introduced to full-time stimulation and laser therapy at my acupuncture school, but not because it was a part of the program. It was actually a colleague of mine, a fellow student, his father was a scientist who started making photons stimulating devices, Martin Bales my colleague’s name, and his father, Dr. Bales, who was a PhD, I believe, was making things out of biosales, scientific and stimulating photons. He realized how that lower-level stimulus was quite profound and therapeutic. So, in our clinics, we started using infrared cameras and charting, noticing the facts that would change when you use these photons, which was completely outside of my understanding at the time. I didn’t grasp the importance and the power that it would have in my future. It was a really fun thing to experience clinically and put together some minor case studies and research that we were able to do in the clinic at Pacific College. Later on, realizing that things were progressing really quick. And as I mentioned, I got sucked into the sales trap of a little bit of that power was doing think about what more we’ll do, which is completely false. And from an unknown what I know now when I was purchasing my first lasers. So, there’s been a lot of pushback in the scope of practice of being scared about introducing something that they didn’t have a lot of understanding or knowledge. Because it does seem so different and new, people aren’t explaining laser therapy as a new form of moxibustion like I think it should be shared, it really is using energy, which is, you know, a photonic energy. It’s using light into a specific channel. That happened to be really effective when it’s done right when it has FDA clearances and proof of why it’s so effective in a certain way. But it’s also within your scope of practice, I would hope, to turn the lights on to practice in your clinic. If you have the use of turning on a light bulb, you also should have within your scope of practice. The use of light to be therapeutic means that you can recommend someone to go outside and observe the sunrise and sunset because of the hormonal and neurological changes that has within your medical practice. You should also have the means to recommend a specific type of stimulus from that same type of source, a light source, to be able to stimulate your body to heal more effectively. So, there’s been a lot of pushback. There’s also a huge amount of people that have tried what I jokingly call the gas station version of lasers, the little pin lights and things like that, that really don’t have the effectiveness or they don’t work. So, people may have tried to get in at their cheapest level with a non-professional grade and on, you know, proven version of laser therapy and feel like, I tried, it didn’t work, it didn’t do anything, which I can completely understand and respect that perspective when you don’t use something that is over Erchonia is great. It’s a completely different ballgame. Lastly, like what you said, there are a lot of people who feel like, I want to be more traditional, I mean, I’m a traditional practitioner, and I wanted to use traditional means. That’s where I think we hit a certain roadblock of our patient understanding. What our patients are there for and what they want, they want to get better as fast as possible, and their time is valuable. They want to go to practitioners that really have their very best interests at heart. They want to identify and see them for who they are, a unique case of one. They aren’t someone who sits somewhere on a bell curve in a research study. We actually want to treat them uniquely and personalize their protocols. They want to go to someone who has an open mind and is very experienced or educated. I think integrating multiple techniques is one way of really becoming more educated, and more knowledgeable. Laser is certainly one of those things that will help your patients see you as someone who is more cutting edge or more advanced with new technology and incorporating that into the tried and true ancient philosophy and the groundwork, the framework that we’ve been given in the types of careers that you and I have. We have this amazing education that we get to then add in new influencers like laser therapy or other modalities that will carry us to the end goal that much faster. That’s how I kind of present it to patients who are skeptical or worried about laser therapy. What I’ve personally seen as my visits when I incorporate laser therapy into the other modalities that I normally do anyway, is far more effective. So, you need, you know, usually about half or less the number of treatments that leave the need for you to get to your health goal. Each treatment is more than doubled in value than it previously was. So, there’s a little bit back, there’s a little skepticism, and there’s definitely the hurdle of price, which is something that I think as practitioners, we need to get over, especially as you are helping your patients. Your patients are happy to pay you for your services. They’re even investing in your practice and use professional grade equipment, medical grade equipment, you are going to be able to reap the benefits of getting not only better results but actually having a better income for your time. So, you can use that income any way you want, whether that’s to take more time for your family or to give back to charity work and start sponsoring other patients who may not be able to afford it. That’s the type of stuff that really gets me excited and happy is that our treatments have become so valuable to people that I’m now able to give back in ways that I’ve always wanted to and make an impact in people’s lives that I was having a hard time accessing prior to that.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Yeah, sometimes I think it’s natural for healthcare providers. We tend to be martyrs in our profession. And oftentimes, like you mentioned, I think a lot of it has to do with hanging on to traditions for tradition’s sake. And sometimes I think it’s especially, I’m speaking from a chiropractic perspective, we can be a little bit dogmatic about our techniques and our approaches. And it’s like, well, you know, in chiropractic, we have BJ Palmer, and the question that we have, like debates of like, what would BJ Palmer do if it was 2022? Would he be doing these things? And so sometimes you look at it through that lens, like, you know, we have, for example, regenerative medicine, we have peptides, we have some interesting nutrition approaches to helping tissue heal. And the question is, like, would BJ Palmer have used that, or would he just be sticking to his manual, like, you know, done-by-hand techniques? And I gotta imagine, as forward-thinking as he was back then, that no doubt he would be very much into these tools because at the end of the day, as practitioners, we want the end result of our patient getting better. And most practitioners, I think, would argue it doesn’t necessarily matter how you get there as long as you get there without harming the patient, and you’re truly helping the patient. And I guess in Chinese medicine, who is your BJ Palmer?


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: That’s a great question. I am having the hardest time getting the image of these bracelets with WWJD out of my head. And I would hope that as that bracelet says that on one side, and you flip it over, you would see ‘laser’ on the other side because you would laser. And within the acupuncture world, it has such a dynamic and rich history, I will not be able to sit and name one person. I think that would do a huge disservice. You know, there have been so many masters in this medicine that go back eons, historically beyond my knowledge of the history of it. And it comes from so many different areas, we really don’t know the origins of this medicine very well because it dates way past where our historical knowledge goes, we don’t have written accounts. But we do have things inside of caves and tombs, like I mentioned, and, you know, they go way back a long time. So I don’t know who that would be. But we certainly do have some masters that are even still living that I know are very intrigued and interested in laser therapy. And unfortunately, they’re, you know, they’re so respected in what they do. And a lot of them are more in the educational role of teaching what they know best, rather than in the stage of their career where they’re adopting new technologies and actually putting it into use in practice. But I was talking to a number of my colleagues and they literally have said verbatim, quotes, like ‘I truly believe light is the future of medicine.” I think being able to influence ion channels and influence the body in ways that are as subtle and gentle as possible that restores that homeostasis and balances the body back to its, you know, God-given original design is what we need to achieve. We are so heavy-handed, so often, that light can reprogram our tissues, we’ve proven that. And so I think that, like we’re talking about the pendulum swinging in different ways, I really do think it’s going to be hugely adopted in the future. I also see acupuncturists and I hope and pray that they continue to kind of break out of their shell and become the leaders in healthcare that I truly believe they’ve been educated to be, they’ve been designed to be, rather than a little bit more quiet and reserved, and so respectful that they choose not to share, if that makes sense. I want to encourage that person to come out of their shell and actually make a bigger impact and adopt these new technologies. Because everybody else is adopting their old technologies. It’s incredible how many physical therapists, chiropractors and MDs are striving for the use of dry needling or acupuncture-style sports med needling, motor point therapy, trigger point therapy, cupping, gua sha, all of that is being adopted by the rest of mainstream medicine right now. And it’s quite a compliment, honestly, that they’re taking our tools and their jaws are dropping with how effective it is. That’s awesome. Let’s go ahead and continue to push this medicine further. Because of the people who came before us, it wasn’t easy for them to make a dent in the American Medical Association or in medicine worldwide. There are other advances. And this is certainly, and I mean, are Erchonia being so fantastic at actually doing the research of identifying not just what’s flashy, what’s most marketable, what’s most high-powered and, you know, something you feel but actually doing the research to identify what’s most effective? What’s going to make the most powerful long-term changes in the safest way possible. It’s so in line with TCM.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Yeah, I hear that, it’s interesting. You say that because I’ve been in the chiropractic space, and maybe I’m naive to this, but I’ve been waiting for acupuncturists in my community and globally to kind of stand out a little bit more. Chiropractors are funny. Say that again.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: I hope they will. But yeah,


Dr. Andrew Wells: I hope they will too because the world needs them and they need to be a little bit loud. I think you know, chiropractors can sometimes do that to a fault. And also sometimes tend to shy away from conversations that need to be had with patients or other healthcare providers. But, you know, I really appreciate you being on this podcast, because I think you’re somebody who’s maybe an exception to that. And that you’re talking about moving healthcare forward, not just moving Chinese medicine forward. And I don’t mean by not carrying the tradition of Chinese medicine, I mean, making sure that you’re using the same practices and principles to help more people. I think as natural healthcare providers, whether you’re a naturopathic chiropractor and acupuncturist, or a Chinese medicine practitioner, like it is, the world is counting on us to make a big change. And it’s one of the words that you said, really stuck in my brain, it’s not being so heavy-handed in our approach. And literally and figuratively, when you’re looking at laser therapy, that’s one of the beauties of it is you can affect health in such a great way by talking about not being heavy-handed, it’s such a gentle approach, without having to blast people with high power, hurting them, even actually having to put hands on them. What a cool modality. And I think, if I were naive to acupuncture, which I very much am, I know a little bit about it. I’ve been to an acupuncturist just because I wanted to know what it was like. But if I was a layperson, a patient seeking therapy, and I walked into an acupuncturist’s office and saw that they had a laser, knowing nothing about it, that would make sense to me. That seems rational, like, Okay, I could see how an acupuncturist would use light or laser therapy to help somebody heal, it seems like that’s kind of in line with the philosophy. I just can’t. Right? Am I right?


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: Absolutely. And it goes back to what you’re saying. Like it’s not a disservice or a disrespect to our traditions, it’s actually with such utmost respect that I feel so privileged to know what I’ve been taught, thanks to the, you know, the Masters long before us, that we want to use that information in education to push it forward, to be able to utilize tools that weren’t available at their disposal to take the knowledge and combine it, right? And so if you’re an acupuncturist, which I have to also say you do know about acupuncture more than you would ever give yourself credit for, probably because most chiropractic techniques that are kind of specialized, you have your nat, or bioenergetic, synchronization technique, your best technique and those types of techniques have five elements and Chinese medicine written into them in their framework all over the place. If you look at even a lot of like the AMC manual for the URL, you got not only your neurological stuff, but you have all your acupuncture components to that, your five element components into that, the understanding of different frequencies and wavelengths are all within the acupuncture medicine paradigm as well. And so chiropractors and neurologists, Emotional Freedom Technique practitioners, massage therapists, they’re all utilizing things that are grounded in Chinese medicine, that’s crazy. So you already do know that. And it’s just funny that the ones getting out there and preaching it and sharing the information from Chinese medicine, commonly are acupuncturists, which just breaks my heart. Because a lot of things can be lost in translation when you don’t have as thorough of a knowledge base in the medicine, things can be taken inappropriately, such as cupping, and only wanting to show cupping marks as that’s when the therapy is done. That’s a former direct misrepresentation of the therapy itself. Right. And so, unfortunately, you know, there’s a lot of different types of practitioners that don’t know the ins and outs of cupping therapy that are using that and they’re actually known as a couple of specialists because acupuncturists aren’t actually saying the word as well as they could. But if you are an acupuncturist, or you’re a patient and you go into an acupuncture office, and you see a laser in use or in their practice, it only makes sense to me that you would think that while they are certainly up on their continuing education, they are adopting new technology and protocols. They are able to treat things that usually hit roadblocks like roadblocks of most patients in acupuncture, are going to say they’re scared of needles, and they are worried about if it hurt or not. They’re worried about cleanliness, because like acupuncturist office sometimes can be kind of dusty, or, you know, like, is this actually medical grade, those types of things. Yeah. Laser overcomes all of those fears. And it can also assist every other type of technique, whether you’re doing functional medicine, or you’re doing herbology, or you’re doing I mean, I leave it through cups, I laser over needles, I laser. With one hand, as I’d got the laser, I’ve got my quad shot tool, and the other and I’m going, you know, side by side, it just fits into everything, or you have your stance, you have your FX four or five, that over the scalp acupuncture points, or the ear acupuncture points, or over the Oregon and meridian or symptom, while you’re focusing on another area just it’s supercharged, some superpowers your treatments to literally be able to act like you have six times instead of two and make you so ridiculously efficient in your practice, that you can see more people in less time and have an impact, it’s just out of control.



Dr. Andrew Wells: I want to circle back to one of the things that you mentioned before what you just said, stimulated something, and I personally feel that acupuncturists, chiropractors, and naturopaths should earn a very good living without having to break their backs doing it. And congratulations to you, you have a brand new family and a little guy at home. Off air, we were talking about how fun that is and how important it is to spend time with family. And I’ve worked with a lot of providers who don’t allow themselves to do that. They spend way too much time just trying to over deliver to patients, and they don’t necessarily make a good financial living doing it. They’re gonna get stuck in their practices and feel like, you know, that’s not why I think every healthcare provider got into the profession. Number one, to help people, and number two, because they were interested in and have a passion for it. But number three, also to be able to make a living doing it. And I think that’s one of the things that laser therapy provides is I know a lot of practitioners that from a financial standpoint, do really well with their practice. And I don’t mean that in a sleazy way, I mean that in a way that they’re helping more people. And if you’re helping more people, you should be making more money. But also, this is you know, this is a technology that can be done passively. Just like you mentioned with FX 405, it has a stand. Or if you have a, you know, a technician helping you or somebody like an assistant chiropractic assistant, medical assistant, they can do this, you know, they don’t have to have training in how to put a needle into somebody’s body, you can just wave it over a body part literally, without having to worry about hurting somebody. And so that was an end.


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: You can empower your patients, you can literally teach them protocols and send them home with a laser. And it’s hilarious how with just what you mentioned, the practitioners, you know, with the greatest parts commonly have the worst business. And I’m guilty of it for sure. If it wasn’t for my wife and my office staff, I would only spend seven hours teaching one patient, everything I can. So I’m just exhausted and breaking my back kind of doing everything for them. And then on the way out, it’d be like, “Hey, you want my shoes, my shirt too.

Dr. Andrew Wells: And my kids like laughing because I used to be the same way. Yeah, I feel you on that


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: Which isn’t doing your service like a true service. It’s more of a disservice to your patient when you can empower them to take responsibility for their own healthcare. You can value their time and yours. Something that any travel agent or anybody who travels knows, you’re willing to spend a little extra for a direct flight. If you want to get better faster, you’re willing to pay a little bit more for it, right? You don’t have to take that much time off of work in order to come to the office. You don’t have to come in five times a week or three times a week for this many weeks, and then two times a week for this number of weeks. We can treat you less often and get you the results you’re looking for and then teach you and empower you how to treat yourself. If that’s something you’re interested in and using lifestyle myths and other means to continue the changes that the laser will do in-office, we know that it changes your brain. And I have another pushback that I just wanted to touch on really quick is that I know doctors are scared to death of doing brain-based treatments because they don’t know enough. And I do not know what you know, Trevor knows. Dr. Berry is brilliant and Brandon Brock is a brilliant gentleman I love being close to him, and you know, certainly an idiot in comparison, but it shouldn’t shy you away from being able to treat. As an acupuncturist, you either have access to charts, or you can look it up on Google or DuckDuckGo, or you can already rely on your experience of laboring over acupuncture points, laboring over the scalp neurological points. If you don’t know where to treat for vertigo or where to treat for a movement disorder post-stroke, refer to your scalp acupuncture points. And chiropractors, you can do this too. PTS, you can do it. Like I love teaching other professions, chiropractors how to influence their practice what they’re already doing by just adding a tiny bit of Chinese medical knowledge, a little bit of acupuncture knowledge, and all of a sudden, they can supercharge and superpower what they’re doing with the laser specifically. I love that.


Dr. Andrew Wells: If you’re a practitioner listening to this, maybe if you’re an acupuncturist listening to this, I would really encourage you, and I think Dr. Gilbert would also encourage you, if you’re curious, to learn more about it, do a little bit of studying on what lasers can do for your patients and for your practice. On the Erchonia website, they have tons of really helpful resources, lots of research, a list of events with doctors who are experts in this area speaking, and they host lots of local and larger events. So, I would really encourage you, if this has sparked your interest, to follow up on it. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy a laser tomorrow, or next month, or next year. But if you look into it and really do your due diligence, I think you’ll find that it’s a really powerful tool for a wide scope of issues that would fit very nicely into the practice model and also the philosophical model of Chinese medicine. And so, that being said, Dr. Dillberg appreciates your knowledge, your insights, and your expertise in helping bring this technology and therapy into the forefront, because you and I both know there’s immense value in that and it’s much needed. 


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: Is there anything you want to build and be on the same podcast as so many of these excellent doctors? Honestly, whatever Erchonia is doing, what you’re able to do, this podcast is helping so many people. And it’s an honor to be a part of.


Dr. Andrew Wells: If doctors want to connect with you or learn more about what you’re doing in your practice, what would be a good way to do that?


Dr. Dustin Dillberg: Email is probably going to be the best way to reach me. My name is DustinDillberg@gmail.com, which is easy to remember and use. I’m happy to answer any questions or assist in any way I can.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Thank you so much. That’s beneficial. And if you just Google “Dr. Dustin Dillberg, Hawaii” he pops right up there and appreciates you being willing for the doctors to reach out to you. So thank you for that. Thank you for listening to this episode. I hope you found this immensely valuable, and I look forward to connecting with you on the next episode.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Thanks for listening to The Laser Light Show! Be sure to subscribe and give us a review. If you’re interested in learning more about our Erchonia lasers, just head on over to Erchonia.com. There, you’ll find a ton of useful resources including research news and links to upcoming live events, as well as the Erchonia e-community where you can access free additional resources including advanced training and business tools. Again, thanks for listening and we will catch you on the next episode.

About The Guest(s):

Dr. Dustin Dillberg is a second-generation practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture.



Episode #27 of the Laser Light Show podcast, hosted by Dr. Andrew Wells, featured Dr. Dustin Dillberg. The episode delved into the integration of lasers in acupuncture, exploring its scientific, technological, and physiological aspects. Dr. Dillberg shared his personal journey influenced by his father, a chiropractor turned acupuncturist, and his experiences that led him to embrace Chinese medicine. He discussed the transformative power of acupuncture, his recovery from a car accident with the help of Chinese medicine, and his passion for integrating new techniques into traditional practices.


Key Takeaways:

  • Integration of Lasers and Acupuncture: The podcast highlighted the synergy between traditional acupuncture and modern laser therapy, emphasizing how lasers can enhance the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.
  • Personal Journey and Professional Growth: Dr. Dillberg shared his path from being inspired by his father’s practice to becoming a skilled practitioner, emphasizing the importance of learning from past generations while incorporating new technologies.
  • Educational Role and Future Directions: Dr. Dillberg discussed his involvement in teaching and lecturing, aiming to influence the future of the profession and integrate more advanced tools like laser therapy into acupuncture.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: The episode addressed the skepticism and challenges within the acupuncture community towards adopting laser therapy, while also highlighting the opportunities it presents for enhanced patient care and professional development.



  • Dr. Dillberg on the Impact of Acupuncture: “I remember like coming out of Superman, you know like a completely different person was transformed out of that woman that came into her office. And I wanted to be a part of that.”
  • On Integrating New Techniques: “I continued to follow in his footsteps… pushing hard to integrate new techniques that hadn’t been joined together before and just kind of formed my mind into thinking that’s just the only way to do things.”
  • On Teaching and Impacting the Future: “Being able to influence how other doctors are then able to teach or impact their patients that much faster hits the nail on the head for me.”
  • On Lasers and Acupuncture: “Acupuncture and lasers, I think fit in better than lasers in just about anything else that I’ve ever come across… It’s been proven in so many studies. Now, it’s been really effective for changing all sorts of things.”