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Smokers Have New Way to Quit

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Original Title:
Smokers Claim Laser Acupuncture Helped Them Kick the Habit

Give them 15 minutes and they can help you stop smoking forever. That's the bold claim of laser acupuncture advocates.

A low-level laser mimics the needles of ancient Chinese acupuncture. The application of a fine point of light around the face and arms is said to release feel-good proteins known as endorphins.

Laser acupuncture therapist Lee Ann Berryessa says the cool laser is painless. She spoke to News10 while treating a client with a 45-year smoking addiction at Remedy Laser Therapy in Roseville.

"She feels like she's had cigarettes because endorphins are being released," Berryessa explained. "She doesn't feel the craving and need to grab a cigarette to relax."

News10 spoke with another laser acupuncture client three days after his treatment. "There's got to be a little willpower involved," said Jerry Streit, as he chewed on sunflower seeds. "But this definitely takes the edge off."

Another client who'd been smoking for 30 years is smoke-free nearly a month after her laser therapy. "I'm here to say right now that it does work," said Valerie Lewellen.

Laser acupuncture has been used to treat tobacco addiction for decades in Canada and Europe. The U.S. Food and Drug administration recently approved low-level lasers to treat pain, but the FDA doesn't officially recognize laser acupuncture as an anti-smoking treatment.

Berryessa and her partner, James Shepherd, are both respiratory therapists who've made a career of treating smoking-induced lung disease. They're now focusing their practice on preventing disease in the first place with laser acupuncture.

"Any time you can help prevent (disease), you feel like you're saving a life," Shepherd said. "It's actually very exciting."

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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