Posted by apgaylard on November 15, 2007
I’ve been continuing to pursue the evidence base for Lightwave Stimulation (LWS) Therapy (a.k.a Downing Technique, Lumatron therapy, Ocular light therapy, Photron therapy) as a treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) .
It’s the therapy that a BBC ‘news’ item called “… the answer …” for “… many… ” SAD sufferers.
Now it turns out that the ‘expert’ who appeared on the BBC, Pauline Allen of the Sound Learning Centre, has no medical qualifications. She does, however, run a private clinic that will sell LWS therapy to SAD sufferers for £60 an hour.
Given this level of confidence you might expect that there is some proper evidence to support these assertions? Well, try as I might, I cannot find any. If you can find some be sure to let me know!
My own trawl of the internet turned up just two papers from the Australian Journal of Holistic Nursing. One was an un-refereed retrospective on colour therapies; the other a single case study. They were both by the same author. Not a trial between them.
So I thought that I’d ask the Sound Learning Centre what research evidence was available. They sent me their Client Information Pack. The only references it contained were for light therapies generally. They were to just two books.
I try my best to be fair, so I bought one of them second hand: Light: Medicine of the Future (1991) by Dr Jacob Liberman. It contains no references to LWS, or any of its aliases.
It does mention what it calls “… the treatment of choice for Seasonal Affective Disorder …” Dr Liberman says this is: (full spectrum) ‘bright light’ treatment. (pp 124-126)
The only other ‘treatment’ mentioned is the wearing of coloured glasses.
Now I must make it very clear that my quoting from Dr Liberman’s book does not represent any kind of endorsement. It’s the sort of book that will boil the blood of a physicist. It’s endorsed by quantum flap-doodle devotee Deepak Chopra, enough said.
So, I only have one candidate left as a source of evidence for this therapy:
I have asked the Sound Learning Centre to confirm that this book does indeed provide evidence for the effectiveness of LWS in the treatment of SAD. As yet, I’ve not had a reply.
It looks like we have yet another example of CAM practitioners being happy to sell treatments to sick people without any real evidence that they are effective. This does not seem to be very ethical behaviour to me.
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