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Episode #30: Founder of Apex Brain Centers, Dr. Michael Trayford

laser light show

Dr. Chad Woolner: What’s going on everybody? Dr. Chad Woolner here with Dr. Andrew Wells and on this episode of The Laser Light Show, we have the privilege of being here with Dr. Michael Trayford, all the way from Asheville, North Carolina. We are super excited to talk to him. He is doing some cool stuff. And so yeah, let’s get into it. 



Dr. Andrew Wells

Dr. Chad Woolner

Dr. Michael Trayford


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. Chad Woolner: Welcome to the show everybody. We are super excited to have Dr. Michael Trayford with us. Dr. Michael, thanks for being here with us.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Thanks so much, fellas. I appreciate it. I love that intro too, because I’ve seen more than a few laser light shows.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Did you? That’s amazing.


Dr. Michael Trayford: That is Hayden Planetarium in New York.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Okay, yeah, I think you’re the first person to ever make that connection. They’re like, “That’s a laser,” like, that intro was very real because laser light shows were a big part of my teenage years. We would go to all the Metallica shows that my parents, my parents—I can still, to this day, remember—they took me to the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” shows. What they do is they take the whole album and just play it from start to finish. They’ll queue up lasers, and then, like, for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” they’ll have an image in lasers of a guy drumming and a whole band marching, along with all sorts of cool images. Then they’ll blow the fog machine in, and it’s impressive. Really cool.


Dr. Andrew Wells:  When I was a little guy, I went to one of those events, and only afterward did I realize that you were supposed to be on drugs to fully enjoy it.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Just gonna say, I was probably one of the few who weren’t stoned while there because, you know, I never realized that someone would just say you don’t need to be on drugs to enjoy it. And to this day, you don’t need drugs to benefit from laser therapy either.


Dr. Andrew Wells: whether you’re a young man or a young woman, listen here: don’t do drugs.


Dr. Chad Woolner: This is our PSA regarding drug awareness. Dr. Michael, you’re achieving remarkable outcomes in North Carolina. Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but you are a chiropractor and a functional neurologist, specializing in traumatic brain injuries as well as neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, among others.


Dr. Michael Trayford: I am a board-certified chiropractic neurologist and also board-certified in Neurofeedback. We can discuss EEG neurofeedback; however, my primary focus is on trauma and traumatic brain injury, covering the whole spectrum from concussions to anoxic and diffuse axonal injuries, including vegetative states. I specialize in brain injuries, with some attention to spinal cord injuries and conditions, and delve into cognitive impairment, learning, and behavioral issues as well.


Dr. Chad Woolner: And how long have you been using lasers in your practice?


Dr. Michael Trayford: Lasers? I would say probably about seven or eight years.


Dr. Chad Woolner: And when did you go through the neurology training?


Dr. Michael Trayford: That was what I went through during school, during chiropractic college when they weren’t giving credits for that. So, I was just attending the courses because I loved them. As if I didn’t have enough to do, taking 25 to 30 credits a semester, I was trying to take neurology courses every weekend. And then, finally, right after school, I did my three years’ worth, and so I’ve been doing this for probably the better part of the last 25 years.


Dr. Chad Woolner: It almost makes more sense to me to do it that way. Just because you’re already in that mode of learning. You’ve already got momentum on your side. You know, where your brain is already in that “feed me” type of mode.


Dr. Michael Trayford: It helped give me a lot of answers to what I wasn’t understanding in chiropractic college. I learned many amazing things, but I still had more questions than answers. I believe diving deep into the brain answered many of those questions for me.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Yeah, that’s incredible. And where did you go to chiropractic college in New York? Okay. All right, New York. Awesome. Fantastic. So tell us a little bit about how you’re using lasers. As part of this, we heard from someone here that you’re actually using the Zerona for brain-based stuff, which is, you know, for those who are listening, the Zerona laser is FDA-cleared for non-invasive fat loss. And so when we think of the Zerona, we typically use it in my practice. As of now, we have not been using it for brain-based stuff. And so now I’m very intrigued and, quite frankly, excited to hear how you’re using it. Erchonia would consider this as an off-label use for that, but it is fascinating nonetheless. So, yeah.


Dr. Michael Trayford: So Zerona is a new addition to our practice, in the past six to eight months or so. And, you know, I’ve been thinking about it for years and talking with Doctors in the field like Trevor Berry and others about Zerona applications beyond cosmetics. We’re still using it for its intended purpose, which is to reduce belly fat. But we’ve been delving into the connections between belly fat and brain function, particularly studies examining cortical atrophy, the decrease in size and thickness of certain parts of the cerebral cortex in individuals with excess belly fat. And there’s a distinction between subcutaneous and visceral fat. Many of the papers are linked to visceral fat. So we’ve encountered that conundrum too: can we target visceral fat with Zerona? We’re reducing fat, which ultimately benefits people’s health. Coupled with lifestyle changes, medical food protocols, or whatever it may be, we can address visceral fat through exercise programs, and whole-body vibration, and tackle both aspects of fat, leading to changes in brain function, particularly in populations unable to move. We see many individuals in wheelchairs, quadriplegic, hemiplegic, or even locked in, putting on significant weight due to higher caloric intake requirements stemming from hypermetabolic syndromes common after certain brain injuries. Yet, they can’t burn this extra energy due to their immobility, leading to the accumulation of belly fat. Their waist-to-hip ratios can be as high as two to one or even higher. This correlates with findings on CAT scans, showing cortical thickness. We’re having people undergo neuroquant imaging, a software that analyzes MRI data to examine cortical thickness and establish baselines. We’re observing thinner areas in individuals who can’t move. For those who can undergo cognitive testing, we’re conducting pre-and post-tests, along with laboratory analyses to monitor shifting markers. We’re observing physical and cognitive improvements, now measurable to an even greater extent.


Dr. Chad Woolner: You’re not even changing the placement of where you’re using the laser if I’m understanding this correctly. No, you’re simply applying it, let’s say, to the belly area. So, the abdomen. But what you’re doing is paying particular attention to how it’s impacting and affecting all these other holistic markers, including brain markers.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Yeah, it was just a no-brainer for us because we were addressing these things anyway, with changes in diet, intermittent fasting, medical food protocols, you name it. But we weren’t able to get that fat off fast enough. Yeah. And also, too, you know, they feel better because these folks, you know, they want to move; they want to exercise, they can, and they look down at their belly every day. And it’s just another thing that causes them to be, you know, withdrawn, depressed, not wanting to be around people. So just that alone, that social factor, having them feel more comfortable and close and being out with people, that impacts their brain as well.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Yeah, when you considered adding Zerona, was it because you wanted to help people lose weight? Or did you realize that by helping them lose weight, it would also improve their cognitive function? Or was it a little bit of both?


Dr. Michael Trayford: I brought it in 100% from a brain-based perspective, you know? If we get that belly fat down, their brains are gonna work better. Absolutely. Because, you know, we do get calls. We’re so busy with what we do. We do have people wanting to come in for the cosmetic end of it, but often we may just refer them out because we are so focused on the populations that we serve.


Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s amazing. Yeah, we’ve had our Zerona at our clinic for a couple of months now. We’ve talked about its systemic impact in a positive way. But when I say systemic impact, I’ve thought about more than just inflammation or gut health microbiome-type stuff. Going above and beyond and discussing its potential to improve brain function is a cool added benefit for the patient.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Getting somebody to understand that if they don’t have a severe traumatic brain injury, and even if they’re overweight, helping them grasp that what’s going on in their belly area is linked to how their brain functions. Witnessing that change in perception in a person is quite impactful. It shifts the focus from just the waistline, preparing for a wedding or fitting into a bathing suit, to realizing that it’s about longevity and improving quality of life.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Yeah, although I would say it tends to be an easier gateway for most people to start, as almost kind of crazy as that sounds, you know what I mean? It’s easier to get people to pull the trigger on aesthetic things than on more logical things, you know what I mean, in terms of most people, particularly women. I get it, you know, they are concerned with their appearance, and I understand that. I do, you know because we have these conversations with patients all the time. Look at your spine, look at your XYZ, whatever other condition, and they’re not nearly as quick or as apt, or even, I should say, excited to move forward, whether it’s a financial investment, or, you know, actual engagement in their care plan, or whatever it is, versus with this. Ronette kind of sells itself, in that sense of, hey, we’re gonna put this laser on you, it’s gonna help you, right? You know, lose inches off your waist.


Dr. Andrew Wells: Now, we’re going to cover this in a future podcast, but did you happen to make the connection between Zerona and, for example, your nephew? That might be or…


Dr. Chad Woolner: I don’t know if you made that connection. Yeah, he just started. Yeah


Dr. Andrew Wells: I think this would be a good time to share that story. And maybe Dr. Tray, could you share some stories that are similar to this? 


Dr. Chad Woolner: Yes, sir. Yeah. So, my nephew has autism. As soon as we got him, we started using the FX 405 with him. He had been doing it pretty consistently, once or twice a week. Within a few treatments, his mother started to notice a significant difference in his overall mood, behavior, and communication. You know, just a lot of these kinds of baseline day-to-day markers, if you want to call them that, with his well-being. He’s been doing it consistently now for several months, and it’s made a huge difference. We talked with Steve Shanks on a previous episode about what an incredible difference it’s made. He just started on this Zerona as well because he wants to lose a little bit of belly fat. I’m curious to see what that does for him as well. He’s been through two treatments already and has lost a total of four inches. So, I’m really curious to see what further results he achieves.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Yeah, particularly because, you know, generally speaking, autism, they’re not so concerned about their appearance, so it’s not going to be good looking. Feeling good. It’s going to be more of a pure reflection of the metabolic influences. Yeah.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Yeah, that’s gonna be cool. So awesome. So you have this Zerona, what other lasers do you use?


Dr. Michael Trayford: The FX 635. We’ve been using that for years and just love it. So many applications. My goodness, we started primarily with transcranial applications. We don’t treat pain in our clinic, so we went directly to neurological applications. Over time, we started to learn about the amazing benefits of working away from the brain. We spend just as much time on the gut as we do on the brain. We’re doing some pretty amazing protocols. We also work with a subset of people who have a crossover between concussion and addictive and compulsive behavior. So we’re seeing some pretty amazing things when we look at, you know, especially somebody treating for that. They might say, ‘Why are you putting a laser on my belly? I’m dealing with an addiction problem.’ But when you talk about the hotbed of serotonin production in the appropriate frequencies, people feel better when they work through their gut. Sometimes, particularly with learning and behavioral issues, we see better results than when we work directly on the brain. So it’s not about going for the obvious tremendous applications are going right on the brain, especially when coupled and layered with other therapies, be it physical therapies or Neurofeedback audio-visual entertainment. There are lots of layering and stacking applications. But yeah, I don’t know, where do you want to start?


Dr. Chad Woolner: Well, let’s talk about it from just the standpoint of my curiosity. When you talk about addiction, you’re not referring to people who have developed addictive tendencies post-concussion; you’re just saying there’s a crossover there in terms of overlapping findings, right? So if somebody comes to you as a patient and says, ‘I’m struggling with addiction XYZ,’ with no history of head trauma whatsoever, you would work with those patients. Right?


Dr. Michael Trayford: So there are a couple of ways to look at this, you know, addictions, in general. Aside from the genetic factors, there’s an understanding that there’s a learning and behavioral basis for addiction. So if somebody has preexisting ADHD, OCD, etc., and they experience a car accident resulting in a mild traumatic brain injury, they’re going to magnify those challenges. That’s just a magnification of something preexisting. However, some people develop attention deficit and other issues post-concussion; we see that every day. So it can be the creation of or magnification of preexisting conditions. Furthermore, there isn’t a person I’ve seen with a brain injury who wasn’t, at least at one point, on massive amounts of medication. For instance, there’s one individual I’m currently working with who is significantly dependent on benzodiazepines and Xanax, unable to stop taking these drugs. This is one of the unspoken addictions and one of the hardest addictions that people are dealing with these days because they virtually can’t come off of them. Laser therapies, when combined with other treatments, are helping to ease the burden a little bit, allowing individuals to work with their doctors to gradually reduce the medication that was given to them, which subsequently caused the addiction following the brain injury.


Dr. Chad Woolner: That alone, I mean, one of the fascinating things that we have found in interviewing so many experts, is all of these sub-niches, if you will, that we have discovered. Like, when we were talking to Jamie Thayer, she mentioned they’ve developed this whole niche of having a program for post-tattoo lasers to help people speed up the healing process. I thought, “What a brilliant niche!” You know, it’s like, what an incredible niche that is. When you’re discussing that, I’m once again struck by what an incredible niche you have there. It’s probably not being addressed in terms of the whole idea of addiction, but not necessarily addiction alone. Just the concept of using lasers as a bridge or a tool to help people who want to get off medication, to ease that process for them. Because there are so many people out there in that situation right now. How many people are unhappy with a particular medication, but feel like they’ve already crossed that bridge? My wife was one of them. She was on Ambien for years and knew it was a dead-end road. But the mistake she made, at the time we didn’t realize, was quitting cold turkey. That was a nightmare, a real nightmare. And I know, many others, they’re in the same situation. So if lasers can potentially be used, and I know we’re talking off-label here, but if you’ve seen in your clinical experience that it’s a really effective tool to help ease that challenge, then I’d say, “Yeah.


Dr. Michael Trayford: And that too, and also, you know, all the things that come with addiction, or are the crux of addiction: challenges with attention, focus, impulse control, and self-regulation, all prefrontal dorsolateral, prefrontal cortical issues—you know, lasers, aside from delivering energy and all the good things they do with photons, they stimulate neural activity. So, if you have somebody who has areas in the brain that just are not accessible because they’re largely living in fight-flight mode, their cortex is offline because of the nature of being hijacked, so to speak, if we can activate these areas while they’re engaging in different cognitive tasks, physical tasks, then they have greater access. And that’s the ability now to self-regulate emotional output, to control impulses, to create space between stimulus and response—we’re really big on that, you know, the whole idea, you poke the dog, you get bit because they don’t have any space between stimulus and response. As humans, we should have that as developed humans, as a baby, not as a senior with a deteriorating cortex who doesn’t have that ability. But we should have that. People with addiction either didn’t develop it or have lost that ability. So they get the craving, they use, they numb the pain, or seek pleasure. If we can tap into some greater access by using physiology, by harnessing the power of the lasers and what they can do to physiology, neuronal physiology, that’s a pretty cool thing. And those are where we can see some of those changes.


Dr. Chad Woolner: What’s interesting about what you’re saying, in general from a high-level perspective, is that it’s not necessarily the use of the laser itself that’s noteworthy, but rather, the laser is employed to facilitate various therapeutic activities or used in conjunction with them to assist in the process. This concept is quite similar to what we often hear from doctors regarding Erchonia’s applications: ‘good’ involves simply turning the laser on and letting it go; ‘better’ entails incorporating some form of movement if we’re discussing musculoskeletal issues, and I’m confident the same applies to brain-based applications; and ‘best’ involves introducing resistance alongside the laser, thereby creating a more significant physical challenge. Does this accurately represent what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, in general?


Dr. Michael Trayford: yeah, if you have somebody who’s had a stroke impacting the left side of the brain, they may have trouble moving their right hand or experience spasticity of flexors, making it difficult to extend their hand. What we can do is target the left side of the brain, specifically over the areas that control the affected hand, and provide stimulation while they engage in physical activity or receive electrical stimulation on the right hand. This helps the brain better understand the location of the body part and facilitates co-activation. It’s akin to dual-tasking, where engaging in multiple activities simultaneously often yields better outcomes. Whether it’s combining physical tasks with cognitive ones or integrating modalities like laser therapy alongside physical exercises, the goal is to enhance co-activation and establish stronger connections between brain and body.


Dr. Chad Woolner: It has to be rewarding for you to see this and to be engaged in this. It almost makes me feel like I’m, when you’re saying all these things, it’s like reminding me of a mad scientist, although you’re not mad, like, where you’re remapping and reprogramming at such a root level. It’s got to be rewarding and fascinating, and almost like a certain level of excitement and curiosity. That’s one of the things I’ve said so many times about these lasers—knowing that there is little to no risk associated with them. It’s like your playground; you can do so many different things in so many cool, unique and innovative ways. It opens up this wide opportunity for you to innovate, you know what I mean? In such a cool way?


Dr. Michael Trayford: Yeah, there’s no end to it. You know, we were talking a little bit before the show about my space. One of the areas I specialize in is EEG (electroencephalography), quantitative EEG, s Loreta imaging, particularly for traumatic brain injuries. Sometimes, we can’t conduct examinations, or we can only perform bedside examinations, but we can’t utilize many computerized diagnostics on unresponsive patients. So what can we do? We can place a cap on their head and record the electrical output of their brain. Then, we can observe how a laser might impact that output. If they have excessive theta brainwave activity, causing their brain to function slowly and be non-functional and bogged down, we can attempt to speed that up through various frequencies. Laser, like sound, electricity, or vibration, operates on frequencies. We can use higher frequencies to hopefully increase brain activity, allowing them to engage more with their rehabilitation. Currently, a significant area of study is examining the impacts of lasers on cortical output through EEG.


Dr. Chad Woolner: And so far, what are you seeing?


Dr. Michael Trayford: It’s mind-boggling, really, particularly with what’s called S Loretta imaging, which is more database-driven real-time electrophysiological imaging. So we can see, from a standard deviation perspective, how far away from the, you know, the bell curve, that individual’s brain is concerning a certain Brainwave. So delta, theta, alpha, beta, gamma, we can pick out a certain brainwave, we can look at that, you know, the initial EEG tells us where we need to kind of, like you said, mile-high, where we need to kind of, you know, home in and strike, so to speak, so we can look at specific parts of the brain and see if there’s, you know, for the addicted person if there’s trouble with the posterior cingulate not having enough Alpha brainwave activity. Well, now we can go in and use a laser that is at, you know, 10,12 hertz on that posterior cingulate region and we can see some shifts towards normalization. So instead of seeing the blues on the screen, we start getting more of the greens on the screen, and just decrease that standard deviation gap. Some people are so far outside the bell curve, you know, major outliers, they’re 4, 5, 6, 7 standard deviations out. And if we can get them, you know, with a couple of laser treatments down two or three standard deviations, that’s pretty remarkable. So that’s what we’re trying to quantify now.


Dr. Andrew Wells: One of the biggest issues we see, Dr. Trayford, Chad and I recognize, is that brain health is becoming a massive epidemic. And it’s only getting worse; the trends are worsening. We see laser therapy as a powerful tool to help with that, and we see Neurofeedback as another powerful tool. Sometimes doctors listening to this may think, ‘Yeah, this is all great. But I don’t have a neurology diplomat. Where do I even begin?’ And I think sometimes doctors, like this, it all makes sense to them, and they want to help patients with these issues. They already have these patients in their practice, but they don’t know what to do. Then you hear on one side, someone will say, ‘You can’t do any harm. So start somewhere.’ And then you’ll be talking about a specific area in the brain. And doctors might say, ‘I don’t remember CNS when I went to school.’ Is there, in your opinion, any bridge between where you are and your years of experience? And then, when a doctor picks up a laser, how and where do they start? How do they help people with these tools?   


Dr. Michael Trayford: Yeah, it’s interesting. I think everybody needs to appreciate their lane and what they do. For good reason, stay in that lane. That’s what we do; we don’t take on pain patients or many of the things we used to because we’re so concentrated on what we do. So it’s really all about collaboration and working with people who know what they’re doing. If we have somebody coming in dealing with pain associated with brain injury, we often work with chiropractors in our area, or most of our clients come from out of state. We have networks of doctors around the country that we can connect these people with—chiropractors, psychologists, other mental health professionals, laser practitioners, whatever it is. They have to start somewhere, but if they haven’t undergone ample training regarding brain function, it’s more like experimentation. I prefer to thoroughly study everything before onboarding it. I’m a bit of a stickler like my father; I need to understand something well before I execute. You have to start somewhere, learn, appreciate what you’re good at, and stay in that lane. More importantly, collaborate with people around you. I recently returned from a conference for the International Society of Neuroregulation and Research. I gave a three-hour talk to mostly Ph.D. counselors, licensed professional counselors, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals. Most of these professionals can’t provide laser therapy in their practice, but they were fascinated and wanted to know who they could refer their patients to. It’s about building bridges and connecting people, especially in mental health and neuroscience. Often, those two camps aren’t communicating. Bringing them together has been a passion of mine. Collaboration is the ultimate key; you need people around you who excel in their space.


Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s an unfortunate disconnect that you’re talking about there, in my opinion, from where I sit, shouldn’t be there. I mean, it’s like peanut butter and jelly, you know what I mean, in terms of why those things do not go together? You know, when you’re talking about mental health space? You’ve got it, it’s like two sides of the same coin, you know, in terms of—think about it, again, for…and I don’t know why I’m not…so I don’t know why I’m surprised by that. Because we see that a lot, you know, because of ego and territorial nature of so many providers of all disciplines. At the end of the day, patients are the ones who suffer, you know, as a result, and innovation is what suffers. So I can’t agree with you more when it comes to this idea of collaboration. Collaboration is, and I don’t mean this from an overly optimistic kumbaya type, because it might sound like that. But the truth of the matter is, I find that through collaboration, greater innovation happens, and also I find that business improves when you can develop good, strong strategic partnerships. We found that in our business as well. It’s been fantastic, so yeah, it’s a good mentality to have.


Dr. Michael Trayford: My business sucks. I loaded it a long time ago when I decided I didn’t want to treat what I didn’t like to treat and when I wasn’t that good at it. Yeah, and also to where I wasn’t leaving a huge void in the market, so to speak. Yeah, there were a lot of people treating pain; I didn’t like treating pain, so I was more than happy to let that go. And when I did, that’s when the phone started ringing off the hook. Yeah, so, you know, as chiropractors, acupuncturists, etcetera, etcetera, we’re more kind of generalist-minded; we can treat everything, and I believe we can have an impact on everything. I just chose to hyper-focus on what I do. And that’s what worked for me.


Dr. Chad Woolner: I have always enjoyed the generalist specialists. When you visit their websites, it’s like going through the alphabet, from A through Z, showcasing what they specialize in allergies, ADHD, auto accidents, and everything else in between.


Dr. Michael Trayford: I often encounter patients who insist on having a particular provider. For men, especially, we have to navigate through their websites and sometimes even make phone calls. There are many great professionals out there. However, for the unique cases we deal with, especially those involving genetic and neurodevelopmental issues, we need specialists who are well-versed in this area and comfortable working with it. These specialists constitute a small portion of providers. For instance, I once called a doctor—I can’t recall the state—and asked if they treated addiction cases. The response was, ‘I deal with junkies all the time.’ That ended the conversation right there. If he had experience with addiction cases, such a derogatory remark wouldn’t have been made.


Dr. Chad Woolner: I treat junkies all the time, you know. Spoken like a true professional, there’s.


Dr. Michael Trayford: It’s a shock. And I just said, ‘Okay, we’re done here.’ But it’s just to say that you know, I wouldn’t… it’s that whole thing. You know, if I don’t know something, I’ll tell the patient, ‘I don’t know.’ But it’s so common for people to say, you know, their provider told them, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that,’ without any knowledge of what that person does. So I’m all about investigation. Yeah.


Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s a great point. So, addiction recovery, that’s kind of a unique avenue. What other areas might surprise patients or practitioners regarding patient cases or types you’ve seen?


Dr. Michael Trayford: I spent a lot of time in areas we don’t focus on as much now because we’re so fixated on what’s visible. But I spent probably seven or eight years in the Movement and Balance Disorder arena. Dealing with everything from Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, and vertigo. So, we still receive calls related to neurodegenerative conditions, just for what we specialize in. It’s a significantly different approach to rehabilitation because those individuals are experiencing decline. We want to do whatever we can to assist them. We’ll try to find people who can work with them, but I’m very comfortable with that. I love working with Parkinson’s patients because functional neurology is probably one of the best tools they have, and when you add lasers on top of that, it’s a recipe for success in reducing symptoms.


Dr. Chad Woolner: And most of these folks, have you seen many ALS patients in your time? Unfortunately, yes.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Yeah. And we know how that goes. Yeah, that was very challenging. There was a time when we were getting a lot of those referrals, you know, it just wore on me because getting these calls and attending patients’ wakes and funerals a year after meeting them. But it was comforting to know that we did what we could to help them along their path. There’s a doctor in here talking about improving the transition, you know, so people transition easier. That’s great, but it just wore on me. I took that stuff home and couldn’t let it go. Yeah


Dr. Chad Woolner: There’s a great documentary I don’t know if you’ve happened to see yet. It’s called “I’m Not Dead Yet”. It’s about Jason Becker. Does this ring a bell? Yeah, I haven’t seen it though. Okay, so this was important to me because I grew up playing guitar. Jason Becker, if you know, is great – you’ll have to, so anybody who’s listening, you have to check this movie out because it’s worth watching. It’s a great documentary. Jason Becker is probably one of the greatest guitar players that you’ve ever heard of. A lot of people haven’t – mainstream, you know? And yet, if you look at his accolades, he is one of the most accomplished not just guitar players, but musicians that have ever lived – amazing. He got asked to play lead guitar for David Lee Roth and started playing lead guitar for David Lee Roth. When we’re talking guitar players here, I mean, this guy was a savant – just incredible. This guy could shred on the guitar. It was so cool. As he started going on tour with David Lee Roth, he started noticing some unusual symptoms – weakness in his hands and things like that. So he went to the doctors and was shortly thereafter diagnosed with ALS. It progressed as ALS progressed, and it got to the point where he was in a wheelchair and could only move his eyes. The most fascinating part about the documentary, as fascinating and incredible and moving as this is to see him as a guitar player, he continued to compose and produce music with his eyes. He had this special computer made where he would compose entire symphonies with his eyes – he would move his eyes and place the notes. So you could see, there was still so much left inside of him, you know what I mean? Hence, the “I’m Not Dead Yet” – there was still more. You should have heard – that’s why the documentary is so good. You got to hear it, to see it, and hear it because the stuff he was still producing even with ALS was just unbelievable. Such a good documentary. So yes, I can appreciate not having seen ALS patients myself, but I could appreciate how that could very much wear on you. It’s unfortunate.


Dr. Michael Trayford: The beauty of the tragedy in this situation is that their cognition remains unimpaired. Yes


Dr. Chad Woolner: Yeah, they’re fully aware of everything. Yeah. So great. Great documentary, though. It’s really good. So yes, um, yeah. Jason Becker. Amazing guy. So yeah, it sounds like you’re doing some incredible stuff out there. And it seems like it’s been quite a few years you’ve been at this now.


Dr. Michael Trayford: I always forget that stuff. 23 to 24 years.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Okay. And no slowing down. It looks like I’ve been to your website. It’s beautiful. Your clinic looks amazing. And so clinic now.


Dr. Andrew Wells: It’s actually under construction. So yeah.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Oh, you’re building a new one. Huh?


Dr. Michael Trayford: We are. Yeah, we’re moving. We need more space. So we bought a building; we’ve got about 4000 square feet now.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Are you in downtown Asheville? Or are you on the outskirts? Oh no, we are. Yeah, we’re moving. We need more space. So we bought a building, we’ve got about 4000 square feet now.


Dr. Michael Trayford: We’re on the outskirts of South Asheville. Okay. There’s a little more room to spread down there. It’s a beautiful area. Yeah. And we have this great place right on the lake. So there are walking trails and picnic tables, and fantastic families come and stay for 2, 3, 4, or 5 hours a day in the office with their exclusively immersive rehab programs. So they come for 5, 10, 15 days, in some cases a month or more. But they’re there all day, every day. So the families, you know, this will be nice. It was very intentional that they’ll have space; they can just get out and decompress. And yeah, we’re building caregivers’ rounds in the new place. So caregivers can go in and do all kinds of cool stuff for themselves while they’re there.


Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s amazing. What a neat layout and design. That’s incredible.


Dr. Michael Trayford: It’s taken a while, but you know, the wisdom and intentionality are all coming together. And we’re getting there. We’re looking at the replication end of things too. So, we have a couple of areas of interest that we’re going to be expanding into over the next couple of years.


Dr. Chad Woolner: When will this be finished? 


Dr. Michael Trayford: Construction is pretty much done. I have to go back and check it on Monday. But moving in will probably be mid-December after the new year at this point because schedules are super tight


Dr. Chad Woolner: So, I have to imagine this has been a long time in the making


Dr. Michael Trayford: The other new office? Well, that was, you know, actually something that popped up. We were talking about the whole purchasing versus renting for years and the advantages to both are clear, but something popped up, and we couldn’t pass it up.


Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s awesome.


Dr. Andrew Wells: So, what are you envisioning for the next 5 to 10 years? What excites you in the brain health space? What are you looking forward to doing?


Dr. Michael Trayford: You know, just looking at light and the brain, my goodness, fiber optics, and lasers, to me, is the biggest area of interest, particularly in the neurodegenerative realm. Big universities acknowledge that light heals the brain, even at a genetic level. So, it excites me to see where laser research is heading. You can Google low-level laser and find papers on its application to almost any nervous system condition. It’s very exciting to be at the forefront of this research before it becomes more controlled. Also, the applications of electrophysiological interventions and diagnostics are areas where I feel few are focusing. If I’m examining the brain, I’m looking at EEG every day. The learning curve in this field is tremendous; even after 10-12 years, I still feel humbled by it, continuously learning something new with each EEG I review. As the scope broadened, I felt more humbled; I felt like I knew everything, but now, it seems like I know nothing. It’s just how the process goes, or maybe that’s just the dementia kicking in.


Dr. Chad Woolner: No, you’re talking in that Socrates’s true wisdom lies in knowing you know nothing, right? So, like, the greater that seems to be a very common theme in my life as well. I look back at the previous 10 years, and I’m like, “Man, you didn’t know anything.” And then I just take it now at face value that I’ll know 10 years from now and say the same thing about where I’m sitting right now. So, it also further helps accelerate that whenever we talk to dogs like you, because I’m like, “Okay, yeah, there’s a lot that I have to learn.” And we talk just seriously. So I say this almost every episode: one of the cool benefits that we get is we get to talk to some incredible people on this podcast, you being one of those Docs. So yeah, we appreciate you being here with us. This has been a great conversation. We appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to be with us. And we’re excited about all the amazing things that you’re doing and the lives that you’re changing with the work that you’re doing. So keep up the good work. It’s incredible. We’re excited to hear more. And we hope to have you back on again to talk more.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Thank you guys so much. Keep up the great work. Yeah


Dr. Andrew Wells: Trying to orchestrate some episodes with some of the Olympic athletes you work with. Oh, hopefully. Yeah. We’ll get them on schedule. And if anything, if we don’t get them on the schedule, we’d love to have you back.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Absolutely. Yeah


Dr. Chad Woolner: All right, Dr. Trayford, thank you so much for being here. And for all the doctors and patients who’ve been listening, we hope this has been a really fun and eye-opening episode for you, showcasing some incredible advancements with lasers and all things neurology. It’s been cool.


Dr. Andrew Wells: One more thing before we get going. If you’re a patient, we know we have patients who listen to this podcast, which is fantastic. If you are dealing with brain health issues or if you know someone who is dealing with brain health issues, that’s what Dr. Trayford specializes in. If you look up Apex Brain Centers.


Dr. Chad Woolner: We’ll make sure to include a link in the show notes as well, right? Because what percentage of your patients come from out of town?


Dr. Michael Trayford: Probably about 85? I would imagine. Yes. 


Dr. Chad Woolner: So if you’re listening, and you’re like, ‘But I live in California,’ or ‘I live in Texas’ or whatever. Great, good news. That’s where he sees people, people fly in and see him. So that’s great.


Dr. Michael Trayford: Just on that note, when people detach from their daily lives and enter into something kind of a child going away to soccer camp, they learn more in those five days than they did the entire year before. This is because they’re not just immersed in it, but they’re also detached from the daily hustle and bustle. There’s something powerful in that, you know, kind of like a brain reset.


Dr. Chad Woolner: Unplugging from the norms. Yeah, that’s huge. So, great point. We’ll make sure we put that in the show notes, and that way, people can have a link to that. But yeah, we appreciate it. And we’ll talk to you guys in the next episode. Have a good one. 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 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 additional resources, including advanced training and business tools, for free. Again, thanks for listening, and we will catch you on the next episode.


About The Guest(s):

Dr. Michael Trayford is a board-certified chiropractic neurologist and neurofeedback expert from Asheville, North Carolina. He specializes in treating traumatic brain injuries, neurodegenerative diseases, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Known for his innovative use of laser therapy, particularly the Zerona laser, Dr. Trayford integrates this with traditional chiropractic techniques and neurofeedback for a comprehensive approach to brain health. His work emphasizes the connection between physical health and cognitive performance, 

highlighting his commitment to advancing neurological health through clinical practice, research, and collaboration.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of The Laser Light Show, hosts Dr. Chad Woolner and Dr. Andrew Wells sit down with Dr. Michael Trayford, a chiropractic neurologist specializing in traumatic brain injuries, neurodegenerative, and neurodevelopmental disorders. The conversation explores the profound impacts of laser therapy in medical practice, focusing on brain health and the innovative use of lasers for treatment beyond traditional applications.

Key Takeaways:

  • Laser Therapy’s Broad Applications: Dr. Trayford shares his extensive experience with laser therapy, highlighting its effectiveness in treating brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and cognitive impairments. He emphasizes the revolutionary use of Zerona laser, typically FDA-cleared for non-invasive fat loss, for brain-based applications, shedding light on its off-label benefits for improving brain function.
  • Focus on Brain Health: The episode underscores the critical role of brain health in overall wellness. Dr. Trayford illustrates how reducing belly fat with Zerona laser can positively affect brain function, linking physical health with cognitive performance.
  • Innovative Treatments: The discussion delves into the combination of laser therapy with neurofeedback and other interventions for enhanced treatment outcomes, particularly in the realms of addiction recovery and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Collaborative Care: Dr. Trayford stresses the importance of collaboration among healthcare professionals, advocating for a multidisciplinary approach to patient care that leverages the unique strengths and specialties of various practitioners.


  • Dr. Trayford on Laser Therapy: “Lasers? I would say probably about seven or eight years. It was just a no-brainer for us because we were addressing these things anyway”
  • Dr. Wells on Drug Awareness: “Whether you’re a young man or a young woman, listen here: don’t do drugs.”
  • Dr. Woolner on the Impact of Lasers: “It’s like your playground; you can do so many different things in so many cool unique and innovative ways. It opens up this wide opportunity for you to innovate.”
  • Dr. Trayford on Brain Health: “If we get that belly fat down, their brains are gonna work better.”