Complementary and alternative medicine Friday Woo Humor Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Your Friday Dose of Woo: There’s no woo like laser woo


Things have been getting a bit serious around here. Of course, there’s been a lot to get serious about, what with Suzanne Somers promoting cancer quackery, Generation Rescue exploiting a young woman with problems in order to promote its anti-vaccine agenda (leading to my “friend” J.B. Handley launching yet another hilariously off-base love letter to me), and my ruminations on the disappointment of cancer screening, things have gotten heavy to the point where they may be a bit of a downer. Add to that the fact that over the last week we’ve had one of the most persistent and annoying infestations of anti-vaccine trolls that we’ve had in a long time, topped off by an infestation of Holocaust deniers, things have become a bit of downer here.

That’s why I need some woo, and I need it fast. In fact, I need Your Friday Dose of Woo-grade woo to lighten things up. And what better to lighten things up, both literally and figuratively, than lasers?

Yeah, baby! I’m talkin’ laser woo, and you all know that every woo is better with lasers! What better laser woo to take on than QLaser Healing Light Low Level Lasers?

None that I’ve seen recently.

Now, if you want to make your woo to seem credible, what’s the best thing to do? Well, one favored strategy is to try to make it seem as though a great scientist is responsible for having originated it. The scientist should be a famous one from history, so that the marks–I mean customers–will recognize who it is, and the scientist should have discovered something that has some tangential but mostly meaningless relationship with the product you want to sell, and voilà! Instant credibility! At least to the marks–sorry again, I mean customers–to whom you want to hawk your product! Most important of all, the scientist must be deader than a doornail, so that he or she can’t possibly ever complain about the abuse to which his or her good name is being put. After all, remember how poor Nikola Tesla was–shall we say?–appropriated in the service of selling the Tesla Purple Energy Shield and the Body Regenerator Tesla Coil. Indeed, the very best woo seems to be “branded” with a dead physicist.

This time, the dead physicist is Albert Einstein:

Albert Einstein was, quite possibly, the most intelligent person who ever lived. His theories and ideas were so far ahead of his time, that even now, the smartest scientists alive are still discovering his value.

One of his theories published in 1917, worked out the theory of how lasers function. However, it was not until May 16, 1960 (43 years later) that the first actual laser was developed by an American scientist. Since then, scientists and inventors have developed many types of lasers and all kinds of uses for them. They can be used as a scalpel that is so delicate; it can be used on the eyes of human beings. Lasers are used to read price codes at your local supermarkets. And they’re used to play music and video on your CD’s and DVD’s.

But now, there is a new type of laser so effective against human disease and injury that it is rapidly changing the practice of medicine. This is a new type of low level laser which produces an unfocused light that has been…

Registered With the FDA to Be 100% Safe!

Of that, I have no doubt, although no laser is “100% safe.” Even low power lasers can injure your vision if you shine them in your eyes. Of course, the “registered with the FDA to be 100% safe” is such a blatantly obvious ploy. The assumption is that, just because something is FDA-registered or FDA-approved, people will assume that it must be effective for what the woo-meister says it’s effective for. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. But, hey, everything is better with a laser beam. Heck, as we’ve been taught by Doctor Evil, there’s nothing like sharks with friggin’ laser beams on their head to dispatch a pesky secret agent, and there’s nothing like woo-ful laser beams to cure whatever it is that ails you. And cure what ails you is exactly what Dr. Larry Lytle claims his lasers can do:

If you hold a low-level laser device against the skin of your body and turn it on, you will be able to see the laser light… but… you will not be able to feel it. There probably won’t even be a sensation of warmth. Laser light is as gentle as the kiss of a butterfly. But, from a healing point of view, it is quite possible it is more effective than drugs or surgery. Low-level laser therapy is not just the medicine of the future. For many people who know about it, it is the “medicine” they use now. The problem of trying to explain the healing powers of low-level laser therapy is…

It Works So Well On So Many Different Problems, It Seems Like It Couldn’t Possibly Be True! But it is true!

As mentioned earlier, all injury and illness creates an interruption of energy to the cells of the human body. The body will never recover until the proper amount and type of energy is restored to these cells. But once that energy is restored…

The Body Can Recover From Almost Everything!

With the correct equipment, properly used, low level lasers have been clinically shown to Reduce Pain* Reduce Inflammation* Increase Cellular Energy* Normalize Damaged Cell Walls* (so that the nutrients the cell needs to heal can get into the cell) And Even Help Correct Faulty DNA!*

Ah, yes, just what I want, the kiss of a butterfly through laser light. Of course, because this is woo worthy of a Friday “discussion,” it isn’t enough to list various treatments for which there is actual evidence that laser light may work. Oh, no. That would be too…science-based. He has to say that it can cure almost anything–excuse me, help the body recover from almost anything. Personally, my favorite claim is that laser light can correct faulty DNA, whatever that means. Does that mean, for example, it could cure Down Syndrome. After all, it’s trisomy 21; cells have an extra chromosome they shouldn’t have. I perused the list of diseases that Dr. Lytle claims he can treat, and I didn’t see any Down Syndrome.

Sounds like “faulty” DNA to me. So can the Q1000, 660 and 808 probes being sold by Dr. Lytle cure Down syndrome? Inquiring minds want to know! Or what about cancer? If there’s a disease out there with “faulty DNA,” it’s cancer, given the aberrations, deletions, amplifications, and mutations in DNA so prevalent in cancer that drive the disease. So, I would ask Dr. Lytle: Can your laser probes cure cancer? If not, why not? So I perused again the list of diseases that Dr. Lytle touts. Nope. No cancer.

I did, however, see a couple of things that caught my eye, the first of which was DNA. You know I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. All I found were a bunch of articles that were irrelevant to the claim that low level laser light can “help correct faulty DNA.” Bummer, but no surprise. The second thing that caught my eye as a surgeon was strangulated intestinal obstruction. Wow! Back when I still did general surgery, many were the strangulated intestinal obstructions that I operated on! True, we sometimes use lasers in general surgery, but for the most part they don’t have a lot of use, other than as glorified cautery instruments. But what about Dr. Lytle’s lasers? Sadly, not so impressive. All that was there was a single abstract about how ultraviolet laser light can supposedly increased the elasticity of arterial walls of the blood vessels within the walls of the bowel. Worse, the abstract didn’t even list a journal in which it was published, which suggests to me that it wasn’t even peer-reviewed. I quickly got bored failing to have my expectations met. So I wandered on to the books that Dr. Lytle has written.

Now there’s some woo! Check out Energy Trancendence:

Energy is everywhere. [Orac notes: Apparently energy is just like Elvis.] Everything in and of the universe is energy, including, but not limited to those things you can see, such as, the material things around you and the bodies of all creatures including, humans. Energy extends well beyond what you can see and even into the depths of the unknown – the black hole. Energy is before you and around you and in you as you read these lines. It is there waiting to be tapped into and utilized. The most important and misunderstood and misinterpreted energy is thought. For most people it seems nearly impossible not to think. Unfortunately, an estimated 80% of people’s thoughts are negative. Negative thoughts are counter productive to mental and physical health and wellbeing as well as longevity of the material body. Energy Transcendence not only gives you a background in energy but it also gives you answers to pave your road back to a healthier happier YOU.

Energy, Dr. Lytle. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. You do get props for managing to mention black holes in an article about medical woo. If only we could send some of your laser healing light into the aforementioned black hole in order to see what’s stronger, woo or physics. It would be best if Dr. Lytle himself were operating the laser, of course. Pay no attention to that event horizon, Dr. Lytle!

Or, perhaps we could move on to other woo by Dr. Lytle. For instance, shades of Dr. Emoto, he’s into serious water woo:

Hannaman the father of Homeopathic Medicine over two hundred years ago based Homeopathic Medicine on the principle that water stores vibrations or frequencies and the body can utilize these frequencies when the remedy is placed under the tongue or else where in or on the body or even within the body’s aura.

The new break through in treating water is to use the Q1000 laser to apply frequencies to water. It is simple. Just apply mode three of the Q1000 laser to your glass bottle of reverse osmosis water for on cycle. The proprietary frequencies of mode three are now stored in the water and will be released when the water is consumed. Rather than use these proprietary frequencies of mode three, it is possible to personalize your frequencies and have them placed in your Q1000 by using Innate Wisdom, a workbook to help you select your own beneficial frequencies.

I have a theory that by applying two Q1000 lasers with complimentary frequencies opposite one another to a 5 gallon glass bottle of purified water; the amplitude is increased creating a soliton wave with a vortex of energy that is even more beneficial to the body. This theory is based on the fact that three underground streams of water come together at Lourdes, France and creates an undisputable healing energy that is not available from the individual streams. Some conventional or western medicine thinkers may pooh-pooh this type of theory, but I remind the reader that much of physics is just theory including Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.

That’s right! Dr. Lytle don’t need no steenkin’ physics–or any other science! After all, physics is “just a theory,” just like evolution! (Theory: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. OK, OK, I’ll stop with the Princess Bride quote!) I would point out, however, that, if you’re going to invoke the most persistent and ridiculous form of quackery ever conceived, you should at least spell its originator’s name right. It’s Samuel Hahnemann, dude! On the other hand, what the heck does the observation that three underground streams of water come together at Lourdes have to do with applying laser beams to the water? I wonder if it’s anything like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters? Maybe it’s not so bad to cross the streams after all–but only if they’re streams of woo.

Dr. Lytle may be on to something, though. I guarantee that he’s come up with something just as effective as homeopathy. After all, homeopathy dilutes a substance to the point where it is nearly statistically impossible for there to be a single molecule of the substance remaining above background noise or contamination. It’s just water. So lasering the water is guaranteed to be just as effective. Hey, I have an idea! Here’s a way to make lasering Dr. Lytle’s water fun.

Sharks with laser beams on their heads.

Really. Why not? Or, if you can’t get sharks, there are always sea bass, preferably mutated, ill-tempered sea bass, to fire lasers in the tank of water in which you place them. At least then your woo will be fun.

And, no, Dr. Lytle, you don’t have to thank me. It’s my pleasure.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

76 replies on “Your Friday Dose of Woo: There’s no woo like laser woo”

I would like to know what the heck a “proprietary frequency” is. Can you patent a frequency?

Hmmm. Maybe someone should patent this “proprietary frequency” and sue the homeopaths for patent infringement. I’m sure you could make a device that would measure this frequency, well in everything. How could they(the homeopaths) prove it’s not in their medicine?

“It Works So Well On So Many Different Problems, It Seems Like It Couldn’t Possibly Be True! But it is true!”

Haven’t we heard a variation of this somewhere? If it’s too good to be true…

We have lasers in my lab. Heavily regulated lasers that you cannot enter the room without PPE when they’re even turned on, not just when the beam is on. You don’t screw with lasers.

It really sounds like he’s got a watered down laser pointer filled with woo. Which would make it a homeopathic laser, right?

Wait – isn’t an “unfocused, low-level, laser” just a plain old light? Maybe I can cure all that ails me with my daughter’s Hello Kitty flashlight (patent pending).

BwAHAHAHahahaHAHAHAA! Woonderful!
That reminds me of “pi water” and magnetic woo.
A friend’s mom once asked (since I was all “smart” and stuff) if she could let her boss demo some products for me, and get my “scientific opinion”. Chief among this wobbly woo-biscuit were “Infrared-reflecting ceramic long underwear”, “pi water”, and my favorite, “magnetic soles” for your shoes. His mom left disheartened (she’d spent several grand on all this useless crap, intending to sell it), and probably a bit humiliated, given what I had to say about it. The quack reminded me of some of your more recent “readers”, namely the ones that live under bridges. Heck, he might be one of them. We’ll know if he comes in trying to hock the next big scam, injectable “pi-pee” and magnetic chelation therapy (magnets work!)

heh-heh. That indeed is funny. I am a bit surprised he didn’t talk about laser tweezers which can manipulate things like cell membranes. Even the legitimate description of laser tweezers sounds like woo

An optical tweezer is a scientific instrument that uses a focused laser beam to provide an attractive or repulsive force (typically on the order of piconewtons), depending on the refractive index mismatch to physically hold and move microscopic dielectric objects.

Maybe I shouldn’t give him any ideas?

This is great! I’m going to heal what ails me by aiming my STAR TREK COMMUNICATOR LASERPOINTER that I got in a cereal box directly into my brain! Maybe it’ll cause me to invent WARP drive! (Screw you, Zephram Cochrane! I got me a quantum healing low-level laserpointer!!!)

Energy is everywhere. [Orac notes: Apparently energy is like Elvis.] Everything in and of the universe is energy, including, but not limited to those things you can see, such as, the material things around you and the bodies of all creatures including, humans. Energy extends well beyond what you can see and even into the depths of the unknown – the black hole. Energy is before you and around you and in you as you read these lines.

And he was actually doing so well here. This is actually decently consistent with the modern understanding of mass and energy in physics.

It is there waiting to be tapped into and utilized. The most important and misunderstood and misinterpreted energy is thought.

But then he just HAS to fall off the rails again.

Thanks for the lighter side today. Although it is still a little sad to think that this guy will actually make money off of gullible people with this.

I like that it creates an “unfocused light”. Isn’t that the opposite of a laser?

Isn’t a “low level laser which produces an unfocused light” basically just an LED? That’s what it looks like in the videos on the site.

Yeah, got a bit sidetracked with my last comment, and went off on a tangent. I meant to say:

First, LASER is Light Amplification, which in order to happen requires coherence, thus inherent focus. So yeah, “unfocused” light is a LUSER (Light Unfocused by Simple Emission of Radiation).

Second, I predict the new wave of profitable woo will consist of Blue-Bays.. tanning-booth like things that, rather than cooking you with UV (which would also work), bathe you in a cool, calming ocean of 405 nanometer blue LEDs. What with this discovery –

When I did the Obligatory Family Visit in September my mother had a brochure from this guy and wanted to buy herself a “low level unfocused laser.” I gave her my LED flashlight. We had a conversation about why it was the same thing.

I have an uneasy feeling she might have bought this crap anyway after I left. Some people are awfully in love with “vibrational energy.”

@mojo –
Regarding that superb link you shared on Patient-Practitioner-Remedy (PPR) Entanglement, perhaps they could call it MIME (Manifested Intra-Mirror Entanglement) therapy.
“I’z in ur bafrume, mimmiking ur photons”. Maybe the French were onto something. Just have the patient face the doctor, keep silent, and play monkey-see-monkey-trapped-in-an-invisible-woo-box. Hey, we could innoculate two birds with one shot! All we’d need is to give the fake syringe to the doctor, and the real one to the patient, add a dash of face paint and silent mimicry… problem solved!

Ah, “conventional and western medicine thinkers”, when will you at last think out of the box? When will you open your mind to alternative, non-linear thinking, to unfocused lasers, positive thought, and the wonders of mode three? When?

This is a new type of low level laser which produces an unfocused light that has been…
Registered With the FDA to Be 100% Safe!

I invite Dr. Lytle to prove this assertion by looking into the laser beam with his remaining eye.

My boyfriend’s mother (a woo-crazy massage therapist) has one of these (or some very similar thing) that she uses on her clients. She tells them it is “the healing light of Jesus”.

On a rather unrelated note, my boyfriend’s parents are also anti-vaccine and he had never had a shot in his life (except one tetanus shot when he fell at school at age 10) until he started dating me. Every time we visit them I get to hear his parents talk about how their family is just super-sensitive to vaccines and don’t react well to them.

Two weeks ago he started his childhood vaccine series AND got his H1N1 shot, a total of 5 shots in one day. He had no negative reactions at all (other than some stinging when the MMR went in). His arm didn’t even hurt. Not even from the tetanus shot. The hardest part of the whole thing was coming up for the money to pay for the shots, which insurance won’t cover since he’s not a child.

He was fascinated by the shot record card they gave him (“Does everyone have one of these?”) and is excited about being able to fill out the health records like a normal person when he switches schools to start his PhD next year. At least one of his siblings is considering getting shots now too!

“Registered with the FDA to be 100% safe” reminds me of “so effective the US Patent Office has granted them a patent.” Not quite the same error, but still trying to conflate things and confuse the consumer.

De finibus Bonorum et Malorem, Lauren. Evil knows no ends. Now pass me that +3 Sword of Ineffable Woo, we gots trolls to smite.

@DA, good show. I’m sure it’s not the optometrist across the street… or is it? I bet they have lasers!

OMG laser kitteh!

On a slightly less insane note, is there something about woo that makes one immune to standard English? That opening sentence in the homeopathy bit is all over the damn place. Not To Mention Using Capitalization For Emphasis. Argh.

Heinz Pierce:

I would like to know what the heck a “proprietary frequency” is. Can you patent a frequency?

Nope, you can’t patent a frequency. If it’s in the RF spectrum, you might get the FCC to reserve some of it for you. Or I suppose you might patent a device which happens to use a particular frequency.

But “patent” and “proprietary” don’t mean the same thing. “Proprietary” actually just means “we won’t tell you what it is, so there.”

here is a quote from a document available on the laser light thingy site:

“Even the most basic scientist agrees that our bodies are composed of atoms and the most renowned physicist still do not know why the electron is lost from the atom. So why isn’t medicine placing the blame where it belongs – loss of electrons and provide treatment that puts electrons back.”

didn’t dan quayle say something about this?

“What a terrible thing to have lost one’s electrons. Or not to have an electron at all. How true that is.”

oh, wait. he was talking about having lost one’s MIND. hmm…i guess it still applies to people who fork out $3k for some flashy LEDs.

Albert Einstein was, quite possibly, the most intelligent person who ever lived.

You know, I’m not so sure of that. JS Bach wasn’t exactly stupid. He didn’t do it with revolutions in physics, but what he did was pretty damned astonishing nevertheless.

It Works So Well On So Many Different Problems, It Seems Like It Couldn’t Possibly Be True! But it is true!

Huh. And all these years I thought lasers involved pumping ruby rods (surprising, actually, that the woosters haven’t latched on to the fact that originally lasers were made of crystal), energizing HeNe, or passing a charge through a semiconductor. Turns out that you can even lase snake oil.

Oddly enough, lased snake oil is apparently no more coherent than it was when it started.

Anent “faulty DNA”, the thought occurs that DNA is the molecular biological equivalent to “quantum”. It’s bandied about incessantly by nitwits who haven’t the vaguest idea what they’re talking about, and surely has a nontrivial effect on the blood pressures of real scientist.

“Normalize Damaged Cell Walls”

Wow. Apparently these woo-meisters have become so in touch with Nature and the Earth that they are now some kind of human-plant hybrid with Cell Walls instead of just cell membranes. Amazing!

i don’t think the picture of the cat WFLB (with frickin’ laser beams) is real. the output of the laser appears yellow, which is a difficult color to produce in lasers. sure, you can do it with a frequency doubled solid state laser. but those are bulky and would not fit on a kitten’s delicate paws. if they were solid state lasers, it would be like a little ball and chain around the kitten’s paws. it wouldn’t be able to chase down bad guys to bring them to justice!

@ChadMac – Nice catch on cell walls, I was so stunned by the general woo level I didn’t even notice that. Maybe their just using it to heal wilted houseplants.

@rob – Obviously this is not a mobile laser unit, the laser itself is a larger remote housing and the beams are conducted through optical fiber to allow the cat to fire from its paws.

Ha ha, puny hoomans! LazerCat haz Healing Light of CeilingCat, so there!
LazerCat no needs powerpak nor optiFiber for firiing powerful kittie lazers! LazerCat uses majik power of…of…Itteh Bitteh Kitteh Majik Power, Ha ha!


@Gus Snarp: but the kitten will STILL be tethered to the base unit. say you use 20 m fiber. if the bad guy runs more than about 100 m away, out of beam range, the kitten will not be able to bring the perp to justice!!!

wait, i have an idea…perhaps an african swallow could grip the remote housing by the husk and carry it. then the swallow and kitten could go on a justice rampage!!!

no, wait, it’s a simple question of weight ratios. A five ounce bird could not carry a 2000 lb remote housing unit…


No, see, you don’t get it. The laser unit has been homeopathically prepared. You just have to strap the little vial of water to the kitten’s back, and you get even MORE power than the original 2000 lb unit could produce!

Good stuff. If you go to the website’s “Contact Us” link:
you will see that apparently they are located at an empty lot in South Dakota. I guess they forgot that Google Street View allows you to actually see what their fake address looks like.

It is very possible that their office is homeopathic, and has been highly dilutede.

If they are basically LEDs that means you can’t even use them as a cat toy when you figure out they aren’t curing your diseases or fixing your DNA. That’s a total ripoff!!

On another note, it’s funny that the website notes that (at least) one of the probes is “not recommend for use on the eyes.”

“Good stuff. If you go to the website’s “Contact Us” link: you will see that apparently they are located at an empty lot in South Dakota. I guess they forgot that Google Street View allows you to actually see what their fake address looks like.”

Well, to be fair, Google isn’t exactly always up to date. A friend of mine wanted to show me her house and there was only an empty lot there, although the house had been built a couple years previously…

Fantastic. Its one of the first blogs Ive seen where the comments are as erudite and as interesting as the article. And I cant believe Ive never come across Qlasers or Dr Lytle. The mans a gift and I feel special like its my birthday. He should be lifted high and carried through the streets lit by the dull glow of 1000 low level lasers. Isnt there anything that hasnt been Alternativated? Some obscure plantpot therapy or toenail elixer. Its frankly very inspiring.

Duh, everything is better with lasers. That was obvious. Now, I want a laser treated homeopathic chocolate milkshake, the superdilute concentration makes the shake especially creamy and tasty.

Egads, did anyone watch that video? What a sleazeball, and what the Frakk to they mean by Lasers anyway? Those are just LEDs or maybe holiday lights on a circuit board. Then comes the real treat, the Quack Miranda at the end of the video in which they basically tell you these are for VETERINARY USE ONLY and if you “experiment” with them it’s your own damn fault if any bad shit happens. Unbefrakkinlieveable Quackery. This man is just a sociopathic (and possibly homeopathic) criminal.

They had some sort of “laser therapy” booth at a festival downtown in Sarasota, FL. I’m not sure if it’s related but it was obviously the same bullshit.

Wow. Apparently these woo-meisters have become so in touch with Nature and the Earth that they are now some kind of human-plant hybrid with Cell Walls instead of just cell membranes. Amazing!

what do you think of this link from MedPage?

I think it indicates what all of us evidence-based toads already knew, that lasers do in fact have medical uses, a fact which does not change in the least the fact that the specific laser described in Orac’s post and all the promotional claims for it constitute one huge stinky flaming bag of woo.

Seriously, you just embarrassed yourself pretty badly by showing that you can’t even comprehend basic logic. Here’s your argument, with the enthymemes spelled out:

1) Scientific evidence suggest some medical benefit from specific lasers, used in specific circumstances.
2) If specific lasers used in specific circumstances have legitimate medical purposes, then every laser out there must have legitimate medical purpose.
3) Therefore the “QLaser Healing Light Low Level Lasers”, which are said to “repair faulty DNA” and “normalize damaged cell walls” and even to “apply frequencies to water”, must have legitimate medical purpose.

Unfortunately for you, your premise 2 is nonsense. Fallacy. Delusion. Doo-doo. A college freshman with a single class of symbolic logic under his belt could demolish it utterly. Too bad for you; perhaps you should go back to an undergraduate program and humbly ask if you can be admitted as a freshman to make up the classes you slept through to your detriment. Ribbit!

Is this related to “cold laser therapy”? An in-law swears by it, but it sure smells like quackery to me.

Well Anatus, hmm you seem to be missing the point. Most of the coments here seem to be on the side that it was worthless quackery and had no actual benefit. Ooops, but MedPage said otherwise.

Well, DrWongFoo, you seem to be missing the basic abilities of reading comprehension.

“Most of the coments here seem to be on the side that it was worthless quackery and had no actual benefit.” Yes, when “it” is the ‘QLaser Healing Light Low Level Lasers’ that were the subject of the post.

Your idea that what the commenters said about these specific lasers, and the astoundingly ridiculous claims made for them, are automatically their opinions on all low level lasers everywhere, is nothing but an artifact of the confusion in your mind.

Even if the study reported by MedPage was, arguendo, 100% guaranteed to be absolute medical gospel (and it’s funny, I never hear people mention “MedPage” in the same breath as JAMA and NEJM …) it still means absolutely none of what you claimed it meant unless you can prove that the MedPage researchers were using the QLaser Healing Light Low Level Lasers and no others. Otherwise you’re just rambling like a street-corner crazy, making no sense.

Well. I have a laser pointer for the cats. . .I could try using it to heal myself, but if I pointed it at my body, the cats would do more damage than the laser could heal, I think.

HOOOOOboy!! dr Lytle must have learned to write by studying Criswell’s narration from Plan 9 From Outer Space.

What I want to know is, does Dr. Lytle mention quantum physics? All good woo-meisters have to bring in quantum physics, otherwise their junk is just that, junk.

But kudos for mentioning all the “free energy” just waiting to be harnessed for the Good of All Mankind by crackpot inventors nationwide.

Bwahahahahahahahaha!! I mean uh, oh the humanity..ish…ness.

That medpage article gave me a few questions…
For one, it states: “Current diagnostic terms ‘suggest distinct clinical entities; however, there is strong evidence that a definitive diagnosis of the causes of neck pain is not possible in a clinical setting,’ the researchers wrote.”
So, they didn’t have the funding or the equipment necessary to validate the level of pain these folks were in. Fair enough, is it mediocre science? Yes, but I’m willing to give them some room there. I certainly know when *I* have neck pain, even if others cannot validate it. But in the picture (and given “the primary safety concern with the treatment is the possibility of inadvertently directing the laser into patients’ eyes”), I would think the image is accurate, and that they place the device against the skin of the neck to minimize “leakage”. I’ll grant that maybe intense light “[inhibits] prostaglandins and/or cytokines,” and “may reduce oxidative stress and muscle fatigue,” and since I truly have no idea, maybe it also damages lactic acid (or not). But how much of the clinical result was due to light, and how much was do to having something smooth and substantial caressing the back of your neck? It’s a notable erogenous zone in most people, and I know that my wife’s touch is far and away the best analgesic I’ve found for relieving neck pain. If a similar study was done with, say, feathers, or a cool glass rod, or a vibrator, how would the results compare? Is it really the light, or the endorphins released by touch? (Granted, there are some assumptions made here. Just curious.)

I had brain cancer until I started controling my TV with the remote directed through my ears.

Who would of “thunk it”

Now Orac, you have to admit that many of the claims this website made about “lasers” are true, in a particular set of circumstances. For instance:

“With the correct equipment, properly used [emphasis of “weasel words” added], low level [poorly defined term – “low” relative to what?] lasers have been clinically shown to…

You will note that they don’t say that their “low level laser” will do any of these things, only that the “correct”, “properly used” “low level laser” can. Let’s investigate this further.

Reduce Pain*

If you use a surgical laser (which is “low level” compared to the lasers used to cut sheet steel) to cut the nerve supply to a painful area, you will definitely “reduce pain”. This procedure is used in certain conditions, such as intractable cancer pain.

Reduce Inflammation**

Again, using a surgical laser to eradicate an area of chronic inflammation, such as around basal cell carcinoma or a varicose vein, can definitely “reduce inflammation”.

Increase Cellular Energy**

It goes without saying that hitting a cell with a surgical laser – or any laser – will “increase cell energy”. The most common demostration of this “increased cell energy” is a rise in temperature. If continued long enough, it will “increase cell energy” to the point where the cell dies.

Normalize Damaged Cell Walls* (so that the nutrients the cell needs to heal can get into the cell)*

This one is a bit more problematic, since humans don’t have cell walls. I reserve judgment on this claim until they clarify their meaning.

And Even Help Correct Faulty DNA!**

A good example of “correcting” faulty DNA with laser energy would be the laser ablation of malignant and pre-malignant skin lesions. The DNA is “corrected” in the sense that the genetic aberrations in these malignant and pre-malignant cells are eradicated – along with the cells, themselves.

So you see, it’s all true – in the right circumstances.

However, their lame LED laser-wanna-be isn’t capable of doing any of that.


Such is the moral depravity of the man that last month he addressed a crowd of some 6000 Christian fundamentalists—of the Armageddon-doomsday kind—at some event hosted by the John Hagee Ministries.

You think Hagee gave him his blessings?,yes

My own mother bought a device after attending Dr. Lytle’s Healing Light Seminar, “scaminar” as I call it. She bought this device for thousands of dollars to alleviate her pain from fibromyalgia. She saw no results and no pain alleviation. THEN, when she tried to return it “Dr.” Lytle accused her of not using it correctly calling her a liar, so she was charged a “rental” fee. She received hundreds back after giving this man thousands.
After researching him a little, his “PhD” is not from an accredited university; even former employees have openly discussed just what kind of man he is:

Years ago, my mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Shortly after, she attended one of Dr. Lytle’s Healing Light Seminars aka “Scaminars”. She noticed no difference from the QLaser that she spent THOUSANDS on. She called about returning the laser. “Dr.” Lylte was incredulous about it. He accused her of lying and using his QLaser incorrectly. She returned it anyway and was charged a “rental” fee. She received hundreds back on the device.
I am astounded that this is even legal. Even his former employees are speaking out about this man:

Just out of curiosity have you bothered to investigate that Dr. Lytle is not the only person or company selling low-level lasers? There are several companies making similar devices sold to professionals (Chiropractors and Physical Therapists, these are real licensed doctors) that use them in sports medicine. The science is sound, you just have to look past the goofy crystal wearing guy in this particular scenario. Try looking up Erchonia (who I rep for,, or some of our esteemed competitors like Thor ( or Microlight ( or Quantum ( Now I will admit Dr. Lytle comes across a bit on the fringe side of things (would love to know what you think of that show, I think it’s the second coming of the X-Files, just some good fun sci-fi, yes that’s right fiction with a bit of science thrown in for fun), and that does not always help matters, but he does make a decent laser. We don’t enjoy getting in bidding wars with him over clients. Anyway, I just thought you should know that the products are real and they do work, (sometimes as much as 60% over placebo). There are also real organizations out there trying to help build credibility for this new alternative.

World Association of Laser Therapy
North American Association of Laser Therapy
Laser World

RE: Alex Bird post

I agree that there maybe some benefits of low level laser therapy. However, this man is a complete embarassment. Businesses like yours suffer because of his incompetence.

Just because woo can create an association for itself doesn’t make it woo….the beauty of pseudo-science is that it sounds credible enough that people actually believe it…where would the seduction in trickery be without the trick? I wasted almost a year of my life working for one of these scam outfits..was fired by a quack for my lack of quackiness, ashamed I hadn’t left of my own accord.

Dr. Lytle has a web, and other sales persons including Shaun Ford in the Columbus, Ohio area with web Mr. Ford pitches the laser device in the Pittsburgh, Pa area at local hotels. He got 5 people to buy it in June 2010. My elderly mother was one buyer. I think she originally got the info at her church or chiropractor. The device cost $5500. No one can figure out how it works. It came with a huge manual. I reported these people to the FDA and FBI. The BBB has not heard of them and warned against doing business.

I am noo to woo and have been going thru Google results on this guy and his laser since I saw the ad in my local paper. This is the first critical article in 2.5 pages of results. That’s SAD.

Reggie, I read your link about the LIESH Therapy and although it sounds similar I did note that it’s only supposed to deal with tumors by heating them and it involves injecting some material into the tumor, which I assume absorbs the heat from the laser and makes it useful in the tumor ONLY. I’m not pro or con here, “I’m just sayin’…” I know that an RF engineer is working with a system using specific radio frequencies and tiny bits of gold in the tumor to absorb the RF and make the tumor heat up ( But none of this has any direct relation to “Dr” Lytle’s Cold Laser (with life-giving energizing PHOTONS in every box!)

I mostly wanted to say that it takes a lot to make me laugh these days and both the article AND the readers’ comments made me LMAO. Everything is very well written and, apart from some expired links over the past year or so, very kewl and informative. To quote our ex-gubernator, “I’ll be back”. Thanks

Interesting… mainly because Lytle has a half-page ad in the San Diego Union Tribune which is worded exactly as you have quoted above! How does he get away with it after so many years … isn’t anyone (FDA, BBB, or ???) taking a look at these folks? And how can a newpaper publish an ad for such a fraud? Seems to me it calls for a letter to the editor.

And here we are, a full two years later, and I see a half-page ad in the Portland Oregonian newspaper.
My favorite bit: a subhead that proclaims his low-level lasers are “To Help Almost Every Health Problem Ever Experienced By a Human Being!”
In tiny print at the bottom (requiring not only reading glasses, but a bit of squinting): “No medical treatment claims made or implied.”

I have personally known Dr. Larry Lytle for several years and, like many of you, have been skeptical about the Q1000 laser system. However, I have seen the Q1000 successfully manage pain and promote healing, not only on myself, but on many friends, and family members as well. In fact, just the other day I was doubled over in pain from stomach cramps and could barely get out of bed for almost two hours. My sister brought me the Q1000 and after one cycle on mode 1, my pain and cramps were relieved.

Furthermore, even though he is not the most eloquent man with the most conventional or orthodox ideas, he believes in helping others and making the world a better place. He is a caring and generous man, far from the scam artist you are trying to depict, and he is definitely not out to “hawk” a product. He is out to help.

Re: BR post
I suspect your favorable result (and quite probably that of many others) was classic placebo effect – the temporary friend of quacks everywhere. How’s that “magic” working out for you lately?
Exorbitant prices/”rental fees” don’t sound real “helpful” to me. I found this after laughing through his half-page ad in the Las Vegas Review Journal, today. I guess threats from the federales don’t sway MR.Lytle!
Caveat emptor.

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