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The Brain’s Way of Healing

Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of


Norman Doidge, MD


Chapter 4

“Rewiring the Brain With Light”

“Using Light to Reawaken Dormant Neural Circuits”

“We require light to flourish.” Laser light is used to treat:



Autoimmune diseases (all of them, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus)

Bell’s Palsy

Bone repair

Brain Injury / Concussion



Cardiac disease

Circulation improvement

Collagen fiber growth

Degenerative osteoarthritis: “cartilage has been regenerated by laser therapy”


Diabetic ulcers


Herniated discs


Immune system


Neonatal Jaundice

Neurological Problems

Nerve injuries


Psychological Problems

Rheumatoid arthritis (28 visits)

Scar tissue (abdominal) and postsurgical adhesions




Traumatic brain injury

Wound Healing

“Our bodies are filled with numerous light-sensitive chemical switches and

amplifiers.” “Light turns on chemical reactions within living organisms.”

“We think of our skin and skull as absolute barriers to light, but that is wrong.”

“Human encounters with light are more than skin deep.” “Our bony skulls are not

sealed vaults and the brain evolved to constantly appraise and interact with light.”

The energy from light needs only to get into the blood to influence physiology.

Neonatal Jaundice is caused by excess bilirubin. The excess bilirubin is broken down

by the “wavelengths of visible blue light—passing through the babies’ skin and

blood and perhaps the liver too—had caused this marvelous curative effect.”

“Full spectrum light could be as effective as medication for some depressed

patients, with fewer side effects.” “And if sunlight influences mood, it influences the


A 2-year chronic shoulder problem was cured. “The laser was a low-intensity laser,

not the ‘hot’ high intensity kind that can burn.”

By 1965 it was known that low-intensity lasers could heal and promote the growth

of collagen fibers.

Low intensity lasers (also called soft lasers or cold lasers), “promote healing.”

“They give off little or no heat and work by producing changes in cells, mostly by

helping sick cells to energize and heal themselves.”

“Einstein showed that the color of light is a measure of how much energy it

contains.” The violet wavelength “contains the most energy.”

A 1-watt laser is thousands of times more intense than a 100-watt light bulb

because the photons are coherent (of singe direction) and monochromatic (of one


“A laser probe can deliver much more power than LEDs.” [light emitting diodes]

“The frequency most often used for laser healing is red light.”

“Unsightly scars called keloids could also be improved, as could the normal sagging

wrinkles of aging, because lasers trigger the development of collagen tissue.”

“Low-intensity lasers can help scar tissue heal normally.”

The body cannot heal without adequate blood supply. “Improving circulation is only

one of the many ways lasers help.”

Michael Hamblin (Harvard) is a world leader in understanding how laser works at a

cellular level. He “specializes in the use of light to activate the immune system in

treating cancer and cardiac disease; he is now branching out into its use for brain

injuries.” He recommends applying the light at the top of the head (transcranial

laser therapy).

“Patients paralyzed by stroke made significant improvements in their movement

when lasers were used to stimulate acupuncture points on the face and other


Laser Physics

“If an electron is in a close orbit to the nucleus, it has a low amount of energy; if it

is farther away from the nucleus, it has higher amount of energy. (These high energy

electrons are said to be in an ‘excited’ state.)”

Normally, most of an atom’s electrons are in the lower-energy orbit. By using lasers

one can bombard the atoms so that more of its electrons are in the excited high energy

state. This is called an “inversion.” When an electron falls from a higher energy

orbit to a lower-energy orbit, a photon of light is given off, stimulating

nearby atoms to release more photons, creating a cascade of additional photon


When living tissue absorbs photons, they trigger chemical reactions in light sensitive

molecules. We tend to think that light-sensitive molecules exist only in the

eyes. However, cytochrome is the most important of our light-sensitive molecules,

and it exists in all cells. “Cytochrome is the marvel that explains how lasers can

heal so many different conditions, because it converts light energy into energy for

the cells.”

“Most of the photons are absorbed by the energy powerhouses within the cells, the

mitochondria” because the mitochondria are “stuffed with light-sensitive


“Laser light triggers ATP production which is why it can initiate and accelerate the

repair and growth of healthy new cells, including those that make up cartilage

(chondrocytes), bone (osteocytes), and connective tissue (fibroblasts).” This ATP

can also be used by the “immune system for cell repair.”

Lasers also “increase the use of oxygen, improving blood circulation, and stimulate

the growth of new blood vessels, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues—

especially important in healing.”

Laser Physiology

“So many modern diseases, including heart disease, depression, cancer,

Alzheimer’s, and all autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus),

occur in part because our body’s immune system stays stuck on too long.” In

chronic inflammation, the immune system stays on too long. The causes of chronic

inflammation include diet and “countless chemical toxins that become embedded in

the body.” “Laser light can unblock the stalled process and quickly move it to a

normal resolution, leading to decreased inflammation, swelling, and pain.”

“Chronically inflamed bodies produce chemicals, called pro-inflammatory cytokines,

which contribute to pain and inflammation.” [IL-6, TNF-alpha, etc.] “Laser light

fights excess inflammation by increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines that bring

chronic inflammation to an end.” [IL-10]

Pro-inflammatory cytokines are primarily produced by neutrophils. Laser light

lowers the number of neutrophils.

Macrophages [the primary player of the innate immune response] remove foreign

invaders and damaged cells. Laser light increase the number of macrophages.

Oxygen free radicals “cause damage to cells and can bring on degenerative

disease.” Lasers decrease the stress on tissues caused by oxygen free radicals.

A “unique aspect of lasers is that they preferentially affect damaged cells, or cells

that are struggling to function and need energy the most.” “Lasers have a good

effect where they are most needed.”

Laser light releases serotonin.

“Laser light affects the cerebrospinal fluid.” “Cerebral spinal fluid and the blood

vessels carry the photons into the brain, where they influence the brain cells.”

Michael Hamblin from the Harvard group states, “lower doses are actually more

beneficial than higher doses.”

Precancerous skin lesions called actinic keratosis, instead of being burned off, with

the use of low-intensity laser the “skin normalized itself in several sessions.” “Some

basal cell cancers can also be healed by low-intensity laser light.”

Lasers can rapidly heal “all sorts of things that should not be healed—cartilage,

badly torn tendons, ligaments, and muscles.”

A case of traumatic brain injury responded excellently to laser, applied “over the

top of the head for short periods.” Some such patients may “need to treat herself

with light for ten minutes a day for the rest of her life.”

Brain injured patients may respond best to laser light positioned “over the skull

areas closest to [the] brain stem and cerebellum.”

Treating the higher part of the neck may improve the central nervous system of

brain problems, as the “brain’s cerebrospinal fluid, which flows around the spinal

cord, was probably flowing back to the brain after being irritated by the light.”

“His [Fred Kahn] review of the literature had proved to him that lower doses of

light, over longer periods, were effective for regenerating tissue and reducing

pathological inflammation, as well as increasing the general circulation of blood in

the brain—something that he, as a vascular surgeon, knew was essential to


Vascular surgeon Fred “Kahn had helped people who had brain and other nerverelated

problems such as headaches from concussions, vascular dementia

(dementia caused by blood vessel problems in the brain), migraines, Bell’s palsy,

and tinnitus.”

“Applying low-intensity lasers to peripheral nerves can help them heal.” “Lowintensity

lasers helped damaged nerves stop degenerating and start regenerating

themselves.” Cranial nerves can also be healed.

“To my mind [Doidge], every emergency room should have low-intensity laser for

people with stroke or head trauma. This would be especially important for head

injuries, because there is no effective drug therapy for traumatic brain injury.”

“Hospitals often seem recklessly indifferent to the role of light in healing.”

“Low-intensity laser can reduce scar formation in animals that have had heart

attacks; perhaps lasers should be used in emergency rooms for cardiac events as

well.” Lasers “has helped many patients with coronary artery disease, and that

symptoms often disappear after six months to several years.”

In patients with traumatic brain injuries, “all were disabled and not recovering, in

most cases for years, until they were treated with lasers. Almost all improved and

resumed everyday activities, and those who were not yet 100 percent better said, ‘I

got my life back’.”

In cases of depression, the “brain is chronically inflamed, it makes sense that

treatment that unblocks chronic inflammation could help.”

The Alzheimer’s brain is inflamed, and the mitochondria have difficulty functioning

and show signs of aging called oxidative stress. Laser light “can improve all three

conditions—inflammation, mitochondrial problems, and oxidative stress.”

Animal studies [2014] show that the laser lights “lowered both the pathological tau

proteins and amyloid plaques by 70 percent in key brain areas that Alzheimer’s


 “Light therapy improves damaged connections between neurons in Alzheimer’s by

increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).”


Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator


“As low-level laser light passes through the skull, it bathes all the individual cells in

its path and has effects on individual cells. Light unblocks chronic inflammation and

energizes injured tissues preferentially.”

PoNS “chiefly improves the specific network functions of neurons.”

“It makes sense to try low-level lasers first, to normalize the brain’s environment,

and then the PoNS to normalize the network.”


Thoughts, memories, perceptions, and skills, are “the cumulative electrical wave

patterns that are a result of all the neurons firing together,” like an orchestral

musical piece. [this is the goal of chiropractic mechanical integrity]

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