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GIFFORD-JONES: Shining a light on treating pain


LILT is a natural remedy to treat a variety of acute and chronic conditions

Years ago, I nearly made a bad decision.

I was asked to attend a pain conference and initially declined. The meeting was about treating pain and other medical problems with low intensity light therapy (LILT). I thought it resembled old-fashioned snake oil. But then I noticed the speaker’s credentials and decided to attend.

Now for the last 15 years, I’ve seen how this natural remedy is able to treat a variety of acute and chronic conditions.

Dr. Mary Dyson, emeritus professor at King’s College, University of London, England, is an international expert spoke about wound healing. She provided evidence that LILT gives a jump-start to the body’s natural healing process, delivering energy that is transformed into biochemical energy. The end result is increased blood supply and accelerated healing.

Later, at another medical meeting, I met Dr. Tina Karu, professor of laser biology and medicine of the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow and an expert on basic laser research. It was obvious these distinguished scientists were not gypsies pedaling snake oil medicine.

Fred Kahn, director of the Meditech Laser and Rehabilitation Centre in Toronto, explains that LILT also triggers release of endorphins, morphine-like substances, that inhibit pain sensation. In addition, it increases cortisol, the forerunner of cortisone, and angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels.

My first personal experience with LILT occurred 13 years ago when an attack of sciatica, due to a ruptured spinal disc, struck like a pain from hell. A neurosurgeon gave me bad news. Surgery offered only a 70 per cent chance of relieving the pain and might make it worse. So I declined surgical treatment as I believed the odds were better at Las Vegas.

also remembered writing about LILT, so after discharge from hospital, I arranged to be treated at Kahn’s clinic in Toronto. A few weeks later I was pain free and grateful that this natural remedy had prevented a major operation.

During visits to Kahn’s clinic I learned that the majority of his patients suffer from degenerative arthritis involving the lumbosacral spine. In addition, 60 per cent of these patients have degenerative disc disease causing compression of spinal nerves or spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the diameter of the spinal column. In the process of evolution humans have paid a price for standing upright.

Another large number of patients suffer from a variety of sport injuries. And there were several patients diagnosed with the shoulder-neck-arm-syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome – both related to long hours working at the computer. These younger patients respond quickly to LILT.

But LILT treats more than aches and pains. Kahn has an impressive number of photos showing how LILT treats several skin conditions such as psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, acne, ringworm, impetigo, herpes lesions and warts, many of which fade away after five to 10 treatments.

But what was more dramatic was the effect of this therapy on chronic ulcers. Patients, particularly those with long-standing diabetes, are prone to develop chronic leg and foot ulcers due to atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries). Kahn reports that the average cost of treating these ulcers in a health-care facility is $27,000, and it can be done by LILT for $1,000. Yet, it is ironic that in spite of this financial benefit, the health-care system does not cover the cost at his clinic.

Many patients are often told, “You have to live with your pain.” But this is not always the case as Kahn claims LILT improves over 90 per cent of his patients. Equally important, it’s a natural remedy that does not require prescription painkillers.

My ancestry is Scottish, so I don’t like to spend money needlessly. But, like other aging people, it’s hard to escape aches and pains. So several years ago I purchased a low intensity light therapy home unit that I often use while reading the morning newspaper. It’s proved to be a valuable asset for me and other members of my family when an infection, injury or aging joint becomes painful. See for more information or contact Dr Kahn’s clinic at

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones is a syndicated columnist whose medical column appears in The Guardian every Tuesday. Check out his website,, which provides easy access to past columns and medical tips. For comments, readers are invited to email him at He can also be found on Twitter @GiffordJonesMD.

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