Big Idea: Laser Therapy Can Help Relieve Pain and Curb Substance Abuse

If you suffer from chronic or acute pain, are a smoker or battle other addictions, laser therapy can offer you an alternative treatment to needles and pharmaceuticals.

Using either a focused laser acting like an acupuncture needle or a scattered light beam covering a large area, laser therapy helps to stimulate the body’s cells and neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.

Now, Calgary is home to Nu Energy Laser and Addiction Services, the only clinic in the city to combine laser therapy with addiction counselling.

Matt Landsiedel, an addiction counsellor and founder of Nu Energy, turned to laser therapy to help him quit smoking three years ago. After successful treatment (for smoking cessation, it often takes only one or two sessions), Landsiedel decided to become a certified laser therapist so he could give patients more holistic care.

Being able to treat a person head to toe is especially important to Landsiedel when working with those who face substance abuse issues. He says combining laser therapy in conjunction with addiction counselling leads to a better overall treatment, even though there is no “cure” for addiction.

The treatment can also help those suffering from stress and anxiety or those who want to lose weight. Specific lasers have been approved by Health Canada and some health care plans may cover the therapy. There are no reported side effects.

For those suffering from pain, laser therapy can be a cure as it uses non-thermal red and infrared light to promote healing in the body. Treatments for pain, stress, anxiety and weight loss need more than one treatment.

Each year Avenue chooses one topic as its Big Idea to delve a little deeper in. The Big Idea is also the theme of the October print issue. This year Avenue is studying education, health care and design as the three cornerstones of a successful city. 

Avenue's 2013 Big Idea is sponsored by University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design

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