A few years ago I was lucky enough to borrow a veterenarian friend’s cold laser to treat my tendonitis. It seemed to help reduce inflammation and the sensation was pleasant — mostly, it just made the area feel warm.
I’d always hoped to try it on Freedom as she told me that many vets use lasers on horses, especially on horses that object to acupuncture. That describes Freedom to a tee. If (and that’s a big if) you got the acupuncture needles into him, he always gave big releases and seemed more relaxed. The problem was, he was just as likely to body slam you while the needles were being inserted and since my friend was doing this as a favor, I thought it wasn’t worth the effort.
I’ve done some Masterson Method massage on Freedom for many years, focusing on the bladder meridian. Here’s a video of Jim teaching the method. For those of you who have never tried it, Jim has a number of videos on his YouTube channel to get you started, and his instructions are very clear and easy to follow.
Sometimes, Freedom just doesn’t want to be touched at all, so I’ve wondered about the laser. About a week ago, I decided to buy an inexpensive cold laser to see if it had a therapeutic effect on my hands. I have some arthritis in the base of my thumbs and some days, it makes me quite uncomfortable. Of course, the laser I bought was far less powerful (and equally less expensive) than the one my vet friend owned. Sure, the area treated got warm, but did it work?
I decided to ask Freedom.
I started out on the same setting that I use on my hands — the highest. Wrong. The light immediately caught his attention and he got a bit worried. Ratcheting it down to level 2 (out of 4), made him more comfortable and he immediately started to chew and yawn. No question about whether or not he could feel the light. That’s what I love about testing on a horse — there’s no placebo effect. I used it to trace the meridian and also over his SI joints, where he often reacts to massage. Once he got used to the laser, he accepted it without worrying.
Whether it will work on my hands remains to be seen. The problem with arthritis is it’s intermittant. Some days are better than others. With the lower level lasers (this one operates at two wavelengths of light — 650 nm and 808 nm — you have to treat an area longer and it can take weeks of treatment before you see results. Some days my hands feel better. Certainly they feel better right after a laser treatment. I asked my physical therapist about them as they don’t have them in the office. He says they probably work, but that since many insurance policies don’t cover laser treatments, and the cost of the medical lasers is so high, they don’t use them.
But I figure it’s a two-fer. If I can treat Freedom with the same machine and he gets some benefits, it’s well worth it.
Have you had any success with cold laser treatments?