I was driving to clinic yesterday and heard an advertisement by Laser Associates of Chicago to promote their laser therapy for smoking cessation. I nearly crashed my car. "What the heck is that," I thought. So I did some research.
Low-level laser light (the stuff coming out of laser pointers) is red light that when reportedly applied to "acupuncture" sites, stimulates the release of endorphins - specialized neuroreceptors in the brain, that by some incredible circumstance, this helps you stop smoking! Wow! It's Star Trek in real life!!!
But closer inspection demonstrates the sinister plot developing. You see, this "clinic" is a "doctor-directed" clinic, so the web site says. I have no clue who is really running it or the exertise of the "therapists." Closer review demonstrates that the "clinical director" is a chiropractor named Thomas E. Newell. According to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation's license look-up web page, Dr. Newell had an active chiropractor license from 12/20/1960 through 7/31/1996 and failed to renew the license since that time. It seems Dr. Tom has decided to promote a form of smoking cessation that is not based in fact and aims to defraud people out of $299-$399 per "treatment." Similar clinics have popped up in Las Vegas and Detroit. The citizens' action group Public Citizen has made efforts to petition the FDA to stop fraudulent advertising by these clinics. But one of the firms, Freedom Laser Therapy has offered a weak retort to Public Citizen's claims citing their "IRB" (or Investigational Review Board) is on top of the data-gathering. But who sits on their Investigational Review Board? Are they all stock-holders in Freeedom Laser Therapy? Do they REALLY have the patients' best interests at heart? Are patients given informed consent BEFORE therapy? Is that consent signed and dated by the treating unlicensed doctor?
So please, beware. Avoid this scam. Save your money, or if you must spend your hard-earned $299 in cash somewhere, send it to the American Cancer Society to find a cure for cancer, or to Public Citizen to shut these guys down.