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Light and Laser Therapy: CLINICAL PROCEDURES, by Curtis Turchin, MA, DC (book review)



Light and Laser Therapy: CLINICAL PROCEDURES

Curtis Turchin (Author), MA (Author), DC (Author), Rebecca Dwan (Editor), Patricia Holland (Illustrator)

Dr. Curtin Turchin

Sixth Edition


Light and Laser documents hundreds of light therapy dosages.


This boook is for healthcare professionals using LED and laser therapy to treat their patients.


This text is instructional, with some science, but not too deep into the weeds.


The genius of Light and Laser is that it doesn’t matter what power laswer or LED light device you’re using to follow the instructions.

Your goal is supplying so many joules of energy. As long as you know the device’s milliwatts rating, the book’s charts will give you the correct treatment times.


Light and Laser Therapy: Clinical Procedures
Light and Laser Therapy: Clinical Procedures

Light and Laser History and Science

Light and Laser gives a short history of light therapy. Then it compares lasers to LED lights. LED delivers therapy as effective as laser devices.

Laser Diodes

Diodes control the wavelength emitted that the laser device emits.  Gallium-Aluminum-Arsenide (GaAlAs) diodes produce 630-670 nm (red) or 700-1,000 nm (infrared).

Medical and Home Use Lasers

Class 4, class 3B, and class 3R lasers are too strong for home use.

Class 2, 2M, 1 and 1M deliver less than one mW (milliwatt) and are safe for consumers.

Joules per Ailment

Dosage is key for light therapy. Too light and too much energy are both useless.

The Joules per Ailment provides exact doses to deliver for each target area.

A Joule is energy delivered in one second. Its formula is:

Energy = Power x Time

This breaks down to:

joules = watts x seconds

2 W (watts) for 60 seconds delivers 120 joules.  1 W for 60 seconds delivers 60 joule. .5 W for 60 seconds delivers 30 joules.

Continuous or Pulsed Light

While acknowledging that pulsed EMF has therapeutic advantages, the book is agnostic on pulses versus continues beams.

If you’re using a low level light device, pulsed and continuous are worth exploring.

If you’re using a high power laser, pulsed might be a requirement in order to avoid burning the target.

Pulsed Treatment Protocols

Light and Laser then gives a wavelength chart for different treatment types. The range is huge. This is because the community has not yet scentifically settled on best frequencies for each therapy.

For example, the accepted pulsed treatment protcol for acute musculoskeltal  problems is 2.5 Hz to 20 Hz. For wounds, it is 20 Hz to 5 kHz.

Losing and Gaining Light

RATS (Reflection, Absorption, Transmission, Scattering) is the four types of photon penetration.

Light reflects off oily surfaces, lowering the dosage accepted.

Light scatters off metal and plastic implants, also lowering the effective dose delivered.

Absorption is the photons journey thorugh the skin.

Transmission is the light’s journey from under the skin to the target.

Any distance of the light from the skin dramatically decreases the dose delivered.

Notes and Contraindications

There’s no evidence that light therapy induces tumor growth except in purely laboratory conditions. There’s no evidence light harms a pregnant woman or baby.

Regardless, practitioners do not use light on tumor areas or on pregnant women out of caution.

Avoid the thyroid gland because it’s exceptionally good at absorbing light.

Also avoid tattoos, infections, the immune suppressed, and children. (The author weirdly offers dosage advise for treating children on the next page.)

There’s a reasonably long list of contraindications that boils down to: don’t point a laser at fragile people or cancerous tumors.

Translate Your Device’s Power Here

Then there are three charts to help you use your light device according to this book’s treatment guides.

“Chart A. Time to Deliver Approximately 200 Joules, Based on Probe Output”

  • translates the laser power to the joules required
  • this is the “approximate amount of time necessary to deliver a specific number of joules, based upon the output power 2000 mW
  • for example, a 10,000 mW laser produces 600 joules in 1 minute
  • a 10 mW laser produces 0.6 joules in one minute
  • application considerations
  • lower power lasers require less joules per treatment because they’re more accurate than higher power lasers
  • higher power lasers produce dangerous heat
  • LEDs are dimmer so require more treatment time

Chart B is the “Probe Power and Time to Achieve Pain Relief”

  • for example, if the Probe Output in mW is 10, it will output 9 to 18 joules in 15 to 30 minutes
  • if the Probe Output in mW is 10,000, it will produce 300 to 600 joules in 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • this is the treatment time expected to pain relief and a maximum dose guide

Chart C is the “WALT Recommended Anti-Inflammatory Dosage for Low Level Laser Therapy”

  • this chart applies to laser classes 3 and 3B, 780 to 860 nm GaAlAs lasers that are either continuous or pulse and that are less than 0.5 watts.
  • for example, carpal tunnel treatment is 2 to 3 centimeters2 requiring 12 780 to 820 nm joules, and requires a minimum of 6 joules per point.

Assessing Photon Quantity

After these charts are specific points about deciding if the treatment is too little, enough, or too much.

Treatment Guides

The rest of the guide is hundreds of examples of how to treat specific ailments. Each is formatted the same way.

  • self-reported and observed symptoms of each treatable condition
  • treatment guidelines and anatomical diagrams for treating:
    • head and face
    • spine and pelvis
    • “systemic”
    • upper body
    • lower body
    • brain
    • the research section includes dozens of peer-reviewed studies supporting light therapy
    • the bibliography contains dozens of references
Light and Laser guide headache face treatment points
Light and Laser guide headache face treatment points

Here’s an example using the migraine advice:

  • match the patient’s subjective symptoms with the treatment guidelines list, e.g.,
    • prodrome
    • throbbing
    • nausea
    • light sensitivity
  • make an objective assessment
    • history
    • paint pattern
    • medication response

assessment, or what to expect with light treatment

  • symptom relief
  • no long term cure

The laser treatment plan:

  • treat specific points seen in diagrams
  • use 5 to 25 joules per point
  • up to 50 to 60 joules per session
  • for 1 to 2 days

The adjunctive treatment plan:

  • triggers
    • dietary
    • heat
    • stress
    • lack of sleep
  • techniques to address triggers
    • meditation
    • visualization
    • biofeedback
    • stress reduction
    • medication
    • nutritional advice
    • herbs


Curtis Turchin, MA, DC

  • light and laser therapy expert
  • “In 1998 and 1999 he was Director of Clinical Sciences for Bales Scientific, the developer of the first FDA cleared laser.”
  • “He has developed laser and LED devices that are sold all over the world.”
  • “He developed the Apollo Laser which is sold by Pivotal Health Solutions and the LightDoctor which” WAS sold on Amazon.

Turchin is author of:

  • Light and Laser Therapy: Clinical Procedures
  • Veterinary Laser Therapy
  • :60 Second Mind/Body Rejuvenation: Quick Tips to Achieve Inner Peace and Body Fitness
  • Treating Addictions with Laser Therapy


With a few exceptions, the book is understandable to a lay person. “WALT” used to be the World Association for Laser Therapy.” They kept the name, but the organization is now known as the “World Association for Photobiomodulation Therapy.”

You can view WALT here.

If you have a higher powered device, I imagine you’ve also had training, and this is not your introduction to using lasers on patients. As such, I think it’s a great guide. It shows you, using any powered device, how to repeat the treatments that experienced professionals have found successful.

Light and Laser is a useful book with detailed instructions. It’s definitely worth a read.

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Light and Laser Therapy: CLINICAL PROCEDURES

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