Power Of Light
A CBS 2 Special Assignment

Oct 14, 2003 4:39 pm US/Pacific
(KCBS) Millions of people suffer from chronic pain. Now a breakthrough treatment could put an end to surgery and prescription pills. In this Special Assignment investigation, Linda Alvarez shows how the power of light is producing some remarkable recoveries.

Special Assignment: "The Power of Light" originally aired Tuesday, October 14, 2003

It's called light therapy and it's helping heal everything from muscle strains to broken legs to bullet wounds. In some cases, injuries that have existed for years, are suddenly healing. Now even our armed forces are discovering the power of light.

"You would just put your hand on buddy's back and he would go to the ground," says Dennis Anderson, creator of Theralaser.

But that was before Buddy was treated with light therapy. Now, Buddy and other horses at this Chatsworth ranch for the disabled are standing strong.

"We're putting a light that you can't see on him, a very, very bright light."

It's a device that emits infrared light, which penetrates the skin and underlying tissues. The invisible light helps boost the body's own healing process and keeps horses at "Ride On" Ranch ready to offer therapeutic lessons.

Anderson first developed Theralaser for horses, but then found people could also enjoy the amazing benefits.

"I think this is preventing me from having surgery," says Rolf Jager, one of the many human beings now using Theralaser.

The avid tennis player used to suffer from chronic shoulder and elbow pains. But after using light therapy, his pain practically vanished.

"People are looking for something else, they are tired of taking pills that causes liver damage, kidney damage, that make them drowsy," says Dr. Evelyne Llorente.

Dr. Llorente treats everything from muscle strains to broken bones to headaches and infections with light therapy.

Now even the military's mightiest are turning to the power of light. Special ops forces and U.S. Navy Seals are speeding up recovery time with a light therapy called anodyne.

The military uses it for gunshots wounds to heal up their soldiers quicker and faster," says therapist DeCosta Collymore.

Collymore is a therapist at Brotman Medical Center in Culver City. He offers anodyne therapy to patients who have skin infections, severe bruises, and all other types of aches and pains.

"First relief I've had," says former patient Judy Caditz.

Type 1 diabetes gave her crippling leg pain.

"My legs would start feeling really terrible, hurting tingling."

The pain was so severe, pain killers wouldn't help.
"I was up to 15 or 16 hundred milligrams a day," she says.

Desperate for an alternative, she tried anodyne.

"Amazing, amazing such relief."

Once nearly paralyzed by pain, Judy's now diving back into her favorite sport and it's all because of one of most ancient properties known to man -- light.

The key to light therapy is the infrared light. It stimulates the release of nitric oxicide, which increases circulation, effects nerve function and helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to damaged cells, tissues and organs. Some forms of light therapy are covered by insurance.