Laser treatment offers alternative to smokers who are trying to quit

Posted on 09 Sep 2010 at 8:37pm

Study: LGBTs smoke at more than twice the rate of non-LGBT peers

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

PAINLESS  |  Xena Sebastian of Anne Penman Laser Therapy of Dallas demonstrates the laser she uses to help smokers kick the habit. She said the laser is a non-invasive and painless alternative to other smoking cessation aids. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

PAINLESS | Xena Sebastian of Anne Penman Laser Therapy of Dallas demonstrates the laser she uses to help smokers kick the habit. She said the laser is a non-invasive and painless alternative to other smoking cessation aids. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

According to a report released in July by the American Lung Association, the smoking rate among gay and lesbian Americans is twice as high as among other Americans.

The report — “Smoking Out A Deadly Threat: Tobacco Use in the LGBT Community” — says that gay, bisexual and transgender men are two to two-and-a-half times more likely to smoke than straight men. Lesbians, bisexual and transgender women are one-and-a-half to two times more likely to smoke than straight women.

And, the report notes, bisexual boys and girls have the highest smoking rates when compared to both heterosexual and LGT peers.

Why? Well there are a number of reasons, the ALA suggests in its report: “possible contributing factors to the LGBT smoking rate includ[e] stress and discrimination related to homophobia, the tobacco industry’s targeted marketing to LGBT consumers, and lack of access to culturally appropriate tobacco treatment programs.”

And quitting smoking is not easy. Studies have indicated the relapse rate for those who quit to be between 75 and 80 percent, even with aids like gums, patches and pills.

But Xena Sebastian believes she has a solution that is almost sure-fire: laser therapy.

Sebastian, a registered nurse, said she spent most of her professional career working in cardiovascular intensive care units, “but I got a little old for ICU duty, which is pretty intense.”

So she began working doing infusion treatments, and from there learned about laser therapy. She now operates Anne Penman Laser Therapy of Dallas.

Sebastian explained that the laser is a holistic, drug-free method of treatment developed by Anne Penman of Scotland specifically to help smokers become non-smokers. And, Sebastian added, the success rate for laser treatments is “higher than any other kind of [stop smoking aid], including gums and patches and pills. The best part is that it is non-invasive, drug free and pain free.”

Penman is based in Scotland, and according to her website, she used laser therapy to end her 60-cigarette-a-day habit in 1991 after her husband, also a longtime smoker, had a heart attack at age 39. That same year, she trained to become a laser therapist, and quickly developed her own protocol for the treatment. By 1994, she was training others to use her protocol.

Sebastian said that laser therapy works along the same lines as acupuncture, using the laser instead of needles to target energy points throughout the body, causing the release of seratonins and endorphins, “the same chemicals that are released when you workout.”

The laser, Sebastian said, “is a healing light that works on an intracellular and cellular level” to help detox the body, flushing out harmful substances, and to dampen that craving for nictotine.

Laser therapy can also be used for pain management and to reduce stress, and there are other applications, as well, although Sebastian said she does not promote laser therapy for those.

All Anne Penman clinics use the Thor Laser, which has been approved by the FDA for “tissue healing, inflammation, pain relief and wounds,” according to the Thor Laser website.

The smoking cessation packages at Sebastian’s clinic cost $499 for three treatments. She said patients come in for their first treatment and are then asked to return within 48 hours for the second treatment. The third treatment can be used down the line if the patient relapses.

Sebastian said many patients are ready to quit smoking after the first treatment, and almost all of them quit after the second treatment.

The package price also includes a supply of nutritional supplements and vitamins that help the patient detox and reinforce healthy habits.

Sebastian acknowledged that the nearly $500 price tag seems high to many people. She also noted that few insurance plans cover the cost of laser treatment to quit smoking.

But, she said, “If you smoke one pack a day and this treatment helps you quit, then you have paid for the treatment in a month and a half” of not buying cigarettes.

Sebastian said she is not condemning other smoking cessation treatments that use pharmaceuticals. “I am a registered nurse. I certainly believe pharmaceuticals have their place. But if you can [quit smoking] without them, with a holistic and non-invasive treatment, then try that first,” she said.

Anne Penman Laser Therapy of Dallas is the only Anne Penman treatment center in Texas. It is located at 6518 LBJ Freeway. For more information, call 214-503-7955, e-mail annepenman_dallas@yahoo.com, or go online to AnnePenmanLaserTherapyDallas.com.
For more information about Anne Penman and Anne Penman Laser Therapy, go online to AnnePenman.com. For more information about the laser used in Anne Penman Laser Therapy, go online to ThorLaser.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

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