Laser therapy: The new method to quit smoking in the Philippines
Mack Macasaet-Benauro is a woman on a mission—to help people quit smoking, change their lifestyle and, above all, become healthy.
A year after opening her laser therapy business in Manila people are coming from far and wide to try out the Anne Penman Laser Therapy method that Mack trained for and it’s working.
“I was willing to try laser treatment to help me quit smoking though I had reservations that it would work,” says Frank, who flew all the way from Indonesia when he learned about Anne Penman Laser Therapy (APLT) in Manila.
Frank was an addict—he’d been smoking up to 60 cigarettes a day for 30 years.
Three days after his first session—and without reaching for a cigarette during that time—his carbon monoxide reading registered a level corresponding to that of a non-smoker.
“Having tried alternatives in the past that proved unsuccessful I am now a firm believer that laser treatment can work to get past the nicotine withdrawal symptoms and help to stop smoking provided that the smoker is committed to quit the habit,” he says.
Another couple from Romblon, took an overnight ferry to make it on time for their appointment with Mack. The gentleman, who had successful laser treatment to quit smoking years ago in his native Austria, was delighted when he discovered laser therapy was available in the Philipines— and was sure it would work for his Filipino wife as well.
Six months after their treatments, both clients are still smoke-free.
The use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for smoking cessation has been widely practiced in Europe and North America for more than 20 years and Anne Penman, the founder of APLT (www.annepenman.com ), is the leading light in this industry.
World-wide there are now more than 30 locations bearing her name. Her first center in Asia-Pacific—APLT Manila ([email protected]) was opened in early 2013 and is fast gaining popularity not only in the Philippines but also in the neighboring countries.
Mack Macasaet-Benauro, independent operator and certified laser therapist of APLT Manila explains the process:
“The great thing about laser therapy is that it is pain free and drug free. We use a cold red beam of light to target specific points on the ears, nose and wrists to stimulate the release of endorphins or the so-called “feel-good” hormones. These “feel-good” hormones help combat symptoms of nicotine withdrawal such as irritability, anxiety, mood swings that clients are likely to experience when they stop smoking.”
The laser therapy works around the principle of acupuncture through electro-stimulation. In lieu of the needles which could be painful at times and would require 100 percent precision in determining the energy points, it’s the laser that penetrates tissues and stimulates nerve endings without any pain.
The laser is also equipped with a sensor that locates corresponding body points. And as the procedure is performed in a spa-like environment, most clients actually fall asleep during the treatment and wake up feeling rejuvenated.
The therapy does not involve any medication so there are no undesirable, even life-threatening side effects that are commonly associated with pharmacological interventions.
“As well as the laser treatment we take time to explain to our clients the concept behind nicotine addiction, the reason why they simply could not stop despite their willingness to quit,” explains Mack. “Based on their lifestyles and work schedules, we suggest activities that will make them stick to their goal of being smoke-free. We also measure the level of carbon monoxide in the body before and after treatment with an exclusive gadget used in smoking cessation programs abroad. This provides a scientific and objective confirmation if the client really has stopped smoking.”
Compared to conventional methods to quit smoking, laser treatment is reported to be four times more effective than nicotine patches or other medications in the market. A randomized controlled clinical trial involving 340 smokers was conducted in the UK and published in 2008 to validate the efficacy of laser treatment for smoking cessation. The Anne Penman Laser Therapy treatment, through its independent database monitoring system, is consistent with the reported clinical outcome. Success rate is defined as total abstinence from tobacco use in three, six and twelve months.
Priced at P13,850, the smoking cessation program involves two sessions spaced two to three days apart. In rare cases when there is a relapse, a third session can be booked at anytime and is free of charge.
Aside from Macasaet-Benauro, the APLT Manila clinic staff includes a respiratory therapist and two on-call licensed nurses who are all certified laser therapists.
APLT is powered by Thor Photomedicine Ltd. UK, the leader in LLLT manufacture and the only laser company with FDA, CE, TGA and NATO clearance to date.
APLT Manila aims to follow Anne Penman’s lifelong vision to help as many people as possible make long-term lifestyle changes.
“There is nothing more rewarding than helping people quit and I truly believe that with the right support you can do anything,” says Mack.
As well as the treatments at the clinic APLT Manila also offers on-site treatments in the workplace through the Corporate Smoking Cessation Program (CSCP). An early awareness campaign in school organizations about the ill-effects of smoking is also underway.
APLT Manila is located at Studio Two Building, Northgate Cyberzone in Filinvest Alabang.
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