Meridee Hlokoff was a heavy smoker for half of her life, having tried to quit numerous times without success. She had tried everything from patches and nicotine gum to self-help books, but nothing worked.
“I would smoke two packs a day and I knew it was killing me,” she says. “It wasn’t until I started using cold laser therapy that my cravings went away.”
Meridee is now a proud non-smoker, and has been for a long time since . Her family history would question why she started in the first place, but like all addiction-related illnesses, family history is a huge risk factor. Both sides of her family died from cancer as a result of smoking and naturally occurring, but that wasn’t enough to make her quit.
Meridee’s Long History of Smoking
When Meridee was just 11 years old, she began smoking cigarettes. She’d tried everything to stop smoking, but when she became pregnant, she decided enough was enough. She tried quitting smoking several times before finally succeeding. However, after having gone through a particularly difficult period in her life, she fell back into her old habits.
“The thought of smoking never really leaves you, and a particular difficult time in your life can make you reach for those old habits as a way of self-soothing. We’re often told that smoking helps with stress, but in reality, it keeps you trapped in the cycle of stress”.
Cold Laser Therapy – The Final Straw
The final straw for Meridee came when she was introduced to a new technique known as Cold Laser Therapy (or LLLT), which uses low level lasers to stimulate nerves and muscles to help people quit smoking. The technology behind this treatment is called Photobiomodulation or PBM, and it’s based on the fact that light energy can be used to affect living tissue. It works by stimulating cells in the body to produce more energy than they normally do, and then sending that extra energy out to surrounding tissues.
This process is more commonly used to treat pain, but to Meridee’s surprise, her cravings for nicotine were significantly reduced after completing a program of cold laser therapy.
“The therapy itself helped with cravings, but it also gave me a boost to my mental well-being and energy levels, I was quite surprised at the time, given how many options I had explored, to see something like this actually work”.
If it Worked for me, it could work for others
Meridee became passionate about cold laser therapy treatment and decided to open a small clinic offering treatment for others in British Columbia. After reports of a 95% success rate for other clients, her vision for the brand – LaserQuit – was to expand into other regions of Canada.
“I was determined to bring this treatment to a wider audience. There had to be others like me out there that were losing faith in the various standard methods”.
She wasn’t wrong, and with 8 locations plus more to follow, cold laser therapy as a treatment for smoking appears to be gaining in popularity in recent years.
“It’s not just for smokers anymore, we’ve seen a lot of interest from people who are trying to lose weight, improve their health and overall wellness”.
A New Way to Treat Addiction
While cold laser therapy may seem like an unusual approach to treating addictions, it’s actually one of the most effective ways to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. As Meridee explains: “When you smoke, you release chemicals in your brain that trigger feelings of pleasure and relaxation. These chemicals are what cause the addictive effects of nicotine. By using cold laser therapy, we’re able to block these receptors so that the brain doesn’t get the same pleasurable feeling it does when you smoke”.
While cold laser therapy isn’t a cure for addiction, it can provide relief from some of the cravings associated with substance abuse. It is not a replacement for safe detox, but it can be a great way to support those in the early stages of recovery.
An Holistic Approach
Like most things in life, trying to find a solution to a problem requires looking at all sides of the issue. For Meridee, that meant taking a holistic approach and a strong determination to change.
“Cold laser therapy does work in conjunction with therapy, but it does not cure anyone from addiction, there is no cure for addiction, only tools to help us manage it in the future”.
For Meridee having a reason to quit (her children) coupled with a strong determination for change, in conjunction with cold laser therapy was what made the difference. Addiction is a complex illness and regardless of the substance in question, maintaining abstinence can be challenging, especially in the first few months of a recovery plan.
“Once you make a decision to quit smoking, you will feel the need to replace it with something else, sometimes it can be food or alcohol, which is the equivalent of swapping one addiction for another”.
She added: “Cold laser therapy will help you in the initial stages of nicotine withdrawal, but it will still take some determination and focus to stay quit. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with positive influences and have someone to talk to if you start to slip back into old habits”.