The healing power of laser
Chera Sowers loves helping people feel better.
For nearly 10 years, she has been a massage therapist in her hometown, but she's thrilled to have recently added a new tool to her toolbox to help people on a whole new level.
It's called a Lightforce, and it's a tool that does deep tissue laser therapy, also called photobiomodulation.
"It affects the body at a cellular level to accelerate the body's own natural healing response," Sowers explained. "My clients' results have been really amazing."
Her clients' testimonies vary from relief of foot numbness; reduction of scar tissue; osteoarthritis in the hands, knees, shoulders, necks, elbows and wrists that no longer causes pain; reduced swelling; and reduced pain.
Deep tissue laser therapy accelerates the body's own natural healing process through photo-bio-stimulation, which stimulates the mitochondria of the cell to create ATP. Laser therapy can treat chronic conditions, acute conditions and post-surgical pain.
Acute conditions, such as injuries, may only take a few treatments to see results. Chronic conditions, such as arthritis, would take six to 10 treatments for best results followed by monthly maintenance treatments.
Sowers' Lightforce laser is an FXi, 15-watt, class 4 continuous wave laser. The light can penetrate up to 4.5 inches into the tissue. It has a variety of wands, such as no-touch cones and massage cones, in several sizes. Sowers adjusts the wattage, power and duration and gently moves the wand over the bare skin. The patient will feel the warm laser moving slowly back and forth.
"Laser treatment is very, very relaxing," Sowers said.
Sowers began offering laser therapy on Nov. 1 at her office, New Beginnings Restoration Center, on Northwest Fourth Street.
Health insurance does not cover laser therapy yet.
"It's still considered an experimental procedure, but it's affordable," Sowers said.
Kristy Radford had been seeing Sowers for massages but decided to give the laser therapy a try last fall. She suffers from psoriatic arthritis, which causes her joints to swell and ache.
"The pain comes from the swelling and the inflammation," Radford said. "The laser light therapy treatments shrink that down and helps it relax and then will relieve some of the pain."
She had 15-minute treatments on her spine and seven-minute treatments on each hand each week.
"I've been sharing with my friends and coworkers about this treatment to help get the word out because I think a lot of people can benefit from it," Radford said.
Sowers tells of a client who suffered a sprained ankle.
"Within a 10-minute treatment, the swelling on the ankle was gone, and the pain was almost completely gone," she said. "After two treatments with the laser and a very brief massage in the very specific area of the muscle, he was able to go without a boot."
An elderly client had broken her tailbone twice and was numb from the knee down.
"The morning after the first treatment, she could feel the tops of her feet. In six treatments, her lower legs were coming alive again," Sowers said.
Bev Garrett said she was hopeful but a bit skeptical when she went to Sowers for help with arthritis in her hands.
"I went because I couldn't close my hands," Garrett said. "I've done hair for over 50 years."
After one treatment, she could close her left hand and was able to bend the fingers on her right hand.
"My fingers were moving, which is remarkable," Garrett said, adding that the swelling and pain have diminished and she can now knit again.
She convinced her husband, Cliff, to have laser treatments on his swollen, cold feet, a result of diabetes.
"For the first time in probably 25 or 30 years, he can actually move his toes, and the swelling is down," Garret said, adding that warmth is returning to his feet. "He also had a toe fungus for over 20 years, and the fungus is gone."
Sowers understands her clients' pain.
She injured her back at work 10 years ago and not long thereafter lost her job due to cutbacks. As she was going to physical therapy to treat two herniated disks in her lumbar spine, she heard about Sage School of Massage and Healing Arts in Bend.
She became a licensed massage therapist in October of 2009 and continued on for nine more months, earning a master's in therapeutic treatment. Her kinesiology background helps her get to the root of her patients' pain.
"When you use the laser on an area that is hurting, you want to go to the actual foundation of where the pain is coming from, not necessarily where it hurts," she explained.
Sowers' clients are grateful for her new tool.
"I would recommend it. I keep telling people, 'If you have a pain, go. She takes it away. Well, the machine takes it away,'" Garrett laughed.
Editor's note: Beckie Griffith Medical Massage Therapist also offers laser therapy services. Her business is located at 694 N. Third St. in Prineville. Her number is 541-848-3735.
Owner: Chera Sowers
Address: 172 NW Fourth St., Prineville
Facebook: New Beginnings Therapeutic Massage
Hours: Weekdays by appointment