Photobiomodulation: The Secret Weapon to Speed Healing and Recovery at a Cellular Level
August 31, 2021
As a parent of a child with a neurodevelopmental disorder, I was often overwhelmed by the options for therapies, tests and protocols that we should consider. It can be unnerving and have us question which path we should take for our child. Part of the process of determining the right path is being educated on these options. Having trusted practitioners to explain these therapies is crucial to our understanding of what to do next.
Photobiomodulation–low level laser therapy is one of the options to consider (and definitely one of my favorites) but it often brings up concerns about safety and questions about how it can truly help with brain function. This is why I reached out to Dr. Brandon Crawford to interview him for the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit. Dr. Crawford is an expert in the field and is able to explain the use of Low Level Lasers in neurodevelopmental disorders and how this might be a good fit for your child too.
I decided I wanted to share this interview from the summit with the My Child Will Thrive Podcast listeners which is why I’ve released the full interview from the summit on the podcast this week, too.
If you’d like to learn more about the summit and sign up for complimentary access to all the interviews, head over to www.mychildwillthrive.com/summit.
- What Photobiomodulation is and why it’s important? (7:16)
- How we know that photobiomodulation is safe. (9:47)
- Why the stimulation with the light actually plays a role in the generation of ATP. (11:58)
- The different types of lasers in laser therapy and how they are used. (17:21)
- How laser therapy is used for children with neurodevelopmental disorders specifically. (22:35)
- Lasers as a probiotic? (25:17)
- How Dr. Crawford uses lasers in his practice with children. (27:47)
- How do children usually respond to laser therapy? (32:12)
- The difference between the lasers that Dr. Crawford uses and why he promotes those to his clients. (38:36)
- How to find Dr. Crawford or other practitioners who work with Low Level Lasers. (46:28)
Resources and Links
Articles Related to Photobiomodulation: The Secret Weapon to Speed Healing and Recovery at a Cellular Level
More about Dr. Brandon Crawford
Dr. Brandon Crawford is currently licensed to practice Chiropractic in the USA in the state of Texas and in Dubai Healthcare City in the UAE. Dr. Crawford maintains a very active practice in Austin,TX at the clinic he founded, The Austin Center for Developing Minds, where he sees various types of patients seeking to restore their health.
A large part of Dr. Crawford’s practice is focused on helping families who seek help for neurodevelopmental disorders like Autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, OCD and similar issues. His practice also sees a large amount of chronic pain and other neurological conditions like traumatic brain injury and anoxic brain injury.
Dr. Crawford is considered an expert in the field of photobiomodulation and lectures around the world discussing research and practical application of light and laser therapy on the brain and body to improve health. Dr. Crawford has Co-founded NeuroSolutions; a company that designs protocols and distributes therapy lasers to clinicians and teaches them on proper use and implementation of the laser. Dr. Crawford also serves on the medical advisory board for SNA Technologies, maker of the Neurosage software.
He lectures regularly in many different settings. Some more notable platforms are the Childhood Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CND) lecture series that Dr.Robert Melillo has created. Dr. Crawford’s role revolves around laser use in the CND lecture series. He is also co-founder and lectures for Brain Chat Lectures LLC.
He has been asked to speak at the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehab, Life University, and Parker University. Recently, Brandon has launched his own seminar series for the general public called Balanced. This series focuses on the use of functional neurology, laser therapy, and holistic healing strategies to maintain health and wellness.
Brandon’s own life has been positively affected by the application of functional neurology and laser therapy. Both himself and his son have suffered from Tourette’s and it was the application of these strategies that brought relief. Brandon is married and has two sons. His interests include various sports, the outdoors, traveling, teaching and helping his patients optimize their health.
00:01 Tara Hunkin:
This is My Child Will Thrive and I'm your host, Tara Hunkin, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPs Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner, and Mother. I'm thrilled to share with you the latest information, tips, resources, and tools to help you on the path to recovery for your child with ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorder, or learning disabilities.
My own experiences with my daughter combined with as much training as I can get my hands on research I can dig into and conferences I can attend have helped me to develop systems and tools for parents like you who feel overwhelmed, trying to help their children. So sit back as I share another great topic to help you on your journey. A quick disclaimer before we get started.
My Child Will Thrive is not a substitute for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. The information provided on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat your child. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before implementing any information or treatments that you have learned about on this podcast. There are many gifted, passionate, and knowledgeable practitioners with hundreds. If not thousands of hours of study and clinical experience available to help guide you.
Part of our goal is to give you the knowledge and tools you need to effectively advocate for your child so that you don't blindly implement each new treatment that comes along. No one knows your child better than you. No one knows your child's history like you do or can better judge what is normal or abnormal for your child. The greatest success in recovery comes from the parent being informed and asking the right questions and making the best decisions for their child in coordination with a team of qualified practitioners in different areas of specialty. Today's podcast is sponsored by the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit. In order to learn more about the summit and to sign up for free, please go to www.mychildwillthrive.com/summit.
2:06 Tara Hunkin:
Hello, welcome back to the My Child Will Thrive podcast. I'm Tara Hunkin and I'm excited to bring to you today, an interview that I did with Dr. Brandon Crawford about photo biomodulation, which is otherwise known as low level laser therapy and how you could incorporate that into your child's neuro rehab program in order to get more and faster results with the programs that you're already doing.
So before we dive into that interview, the couple things that I want to tell you about this interview was actually a part of the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit, which you can sign up and listen to for free at www.mychildwillthrive.com/summit. So make sure you do that. And you can listen to all the interviews with all the many experts that I interviewed over the for that summit itself.
But today we will be bringing you the interview that I did with Dr. Crawford in its entirety here on the podcast so you can get a taste of the things that are to come in the summit. Now, since I recorded this interview with Dr. Crawford, he's actually made a couple changes and where and how he's doing his work. So I just want to update you with those. So
since the time that we last spoke, I spoke with him when I did this interview, he's now created the Austin Center for the Developing Mind. So we'll make sure there's new links to his clinic there if you are looking to reach out to him directly. And the laser that a company that he is working with is the name has changed for that as well. And that is Neuro Solutions.
So just so you know, you may hear reference to other names during the actual interview that you're going to listen to now, but the links in the show notes to this podcast have been updated, where you can find Dr. Crawford and his work. Now also, I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast so that you don't miss any other episodes that we have coming up.
I've got lots of really great interviews that I'm doing over the next couple of months. And please, if you can take the time to give us a rating or a review on the podcast player of your choice, because that helps us be seen and heard by more parents like yourself so we can help more of our children thrive. Thanks so much and without further ado here is that interview with Dr. Brandon Crawford.
4:50 Tara Hunkin:
Hi everyone. I want to welcome you back to the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit. I'm Tara Hunkin and I'm very excited to have with me today, Dr. Brandon Crawford. Dr. Crawford is licensed to practice chiropractic in the US in the state of Texas and in Dubai Healthcare City in the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Crawford maintains an active practice in Austin, Texas, where he sees various types of patients seeking to restore their health. A large part of his practice is focused in helping families who seek help for neuro developmental disorders like Autism, ADHD, Tourettes, OCD, and similar issues.
Dr. Crawford is considered an expert in the field of photobiomodulation and lectures around the world, discussing the research and practical applications of light and laser therapy on the brain and body to improve health. Dr. Crawford is also the cofounder founder of Shed Light, a company that distributes therapy lasers to clinicians and teaches them how to properly use and implement them in their practices. In his own life, he's been positively affected by the application of functional neurology and laser therapy.
Both himself and his son have suffered from Tourette's and it was the application of these strategies that brought relief. So as you can probably imagine our topic today is photobiomodulation, the secret weapon to speed healing and recovery at the cellular level. So I'm really happy and excited to share this topic with you and thrilled to have Dr. Crawford with us today.
6:27 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Thanks for being here and really thanks to you for doing this and for spreading such knowledge and giving so many people the hope that they really need. This is a very broad topic and there's a lot of chatter out there about this topic. So it's really good to have this going on.
6:44 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, this particular topic is something that people may not have heard about, but also there's a lot of, a combination of fear and unknown because they don't know enough about it to understand how it works and why it works. So we're going to dive into all that today. So we're going to start right from the beginning. So if someone hasn't had any exposure to what laser therapy or a photobiomodulation is, can you explain to everyone what it is?
7:16 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
So photobiomodulation literally means to change life with light. Okay. So what people don't realize is that we had things called chromophores. Chromophores is a receptor that's receptive to lights. So we are very receptive to light both on the inside and on the outside.
So whenever I started working with this, I've been using laser and light therapy for about 10 years now. And in my head, I kept going back to the Bible actually, because in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And then the next thing that was created was light. And so from there, which is my background, I was thinking, okay, so before lifeform was created, there was light. And so that always resonated with me. So in my mind, life cannot exist without light, right? And so we're receptive to light. Light is photons, little packets of light are called photons.
These photons come in and they generate some really cool cellular things. And it's very positive and it's very healing. But then more on a cellular level, what happens is this light comes in, it stimulates these receptors called chromophores, and then that can generate things like ATP. So ATP is like the fuel source for your cells. So if you give your cells more fuel, they're going to do whatever they need to do, but they're going to do it better. They're going to do it faster, right? So that's just at the very basic level.
So in the research we see whenever we use applications of light and laser therapy, we see healing happens faster, it happens more efficiently. A lot of times, whenever you may reach a barrier in your healing, adding some light therapy can just help break past that barrier. So there's various different types of applications. It is a broad topic. We like to use the red and infrared wavelengths, because those have been studied more. Now we're looking at blue, we're looking at violet, we're looking at all these different labelings, but there's not quite enough research on those topics yet. There there's some good research and there is some direction in that, but our therapies or our laser specifically are using the red and infrared wavelengths right now.
So, but something else is this photobiomodulation is very, very safe. It's very safe. It's very effective. There's been thousands of laboratory studies done. There's hundreds of human clinical trials done. It's extremely safe and it's extremely effective. There was one paper I was reading here recently that asked the question, should we consider photobiomodulation a drug equivalent? And I thought that was interesting and I read the paper and it was really talking about tissue regeneration.
It was talking about how you can use laser and light therapy to regenerate neurons, to regenerate cardiac cells, to regenerate the liver, to regenerate all these different things. And it was a very well written paper, and I enjoyed reading it, but I seem to disagree that it should be considered a drug equivalent. And the reason there's just so few side effects.
And when you think about drugs, there's all these side effects, right? And don't get me wrong. We need drugs when we need them and whatever, but it's not a drug equivalent. It has the healing capacity. It has more healing capacity, right? Because what it's doing is it's actually making your physiology work better, but the lack of risk, the safety is so great that I don't think it should be considered a drug equivalent. But I thought that was quite interesting that even in the literature we're getting those types of statements.
11:09 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. Well, I guess that goes back to the traditional medical model of thinking that it is pharmaceuticals that are how we get healing, as opposed to, so therefore it must be if it's stimulating healing or stimulating symptom relief.
In this case, it's actually stimulating healing versus symptom covering up that typically medications are used for. Can we dive a little deeper into, at a cellular level what's happening because I am a big fan of looking at any way we can support at the cellular level mitochondrial function, because we do a lot of talking about how we can feed the mitochondria and all the different interactions there. But if we could dive a little deeper into why the stimulation with the light actually plays a role in the generation of ATP. Cause I think that's a new concept for most people.
11:58 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Okay. Sure. Yeah. So like I was saying, we have these things called chromophores and each chromophore is going to be receptive to different wavelength of light, like I was describing. So what happens is this photon comes in, this packet of light, this unit of energy, comes in and it stimulates this receptor called the chromophore. From there is going to elicit a responses specifically at the mitochondrial level, like you were saying. So the mitochondria are like the powerhouse for our cells. So what's going to happen is it's going to cause the generation of more ATP.
Like I said, ATP is like the fuel source for your cells. So that's extremely important to note in healing, but there's other things that are going on too. There's growth factors. There's inflammation modulation because FYI, we don't want to just squash out and eliminate all inflammation. Some inflammation is good and we need some inflammation for healing.
For example, laser and light therapy is going to increase something called NF Kappa B. Well, NF Kappa B is necessary for neuroplasticity, but it can also be neuroinflammatory. So that's where laser therapy is regarded as the great regulator in the literature. And that's how it's quoted oftentimes because it's going to modulate inflammation. It's going to modulate growth factors.
It's going to modulate that cellular energy, right? So we're not just turning it up. I like to also compare it to adaptogenic herbs. Most people understand from an herbal perspective that when you take an herb, specifically an adaptogenic herb, it's going to raise or lower a system. Well, that's what laser and light therapy is doing. It's just providing energy into the body, energy into the cells and it is letting those cells work better.
So at the cellular level, there's so many different cascades that are taking place, but then at a physics level. And this is really where I've kind of stepped aside from the typical model that's being spoken about because there's another set of things that are going on whenever we're using light, like we're using specifically in regards to voltage.
Now we have people like Dr. Jerry Tennant, like Dr. Becker that talk about the electrical systems in the body. We are very electrical beings. In fact, in order for a cell to heal, the initial step is we have to raise the voltage of that cell. We have to raise it to minus 50 millivolts.
So if that does not happen, you're not going to produce new cells. You're not going to heal. And so in my mind, well, if laser therapy and light therapy is causing an increase in healing and it's helping this happen faster and more efficiently, there has to be a voltage effect. And so I started reading physics books and all sorts of really nerdy, geeky stuff, and finally found the answer. And basically Einstein was looking at this.Einstein found the photoelectric effect. That's what Einstein was really working on and obviously his other things. But one thing he was really central on was the photoelectric effect.
15:15 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
And what that means is that when these photons come into the cell or the tissue, we have this atom and around the atom, we have electrons. So the photon comes in and it selectively targets electrons. There's actually research and it was done here in Austin at the University of Texas, even though I'm an Aggie but whatever. So the photon comes in, selectively targets the electrons, pushes the electrons out either to a higher orbit or into the tissue.
Now, whenever you push electrons out of their orbit, you're going to increase the voltage because those electrons is where voltage comes from. The electrons have a negative charge and that negative charge is what we need to heal. So that is a very core strategy, very core effect that the laser's having is.
Yes, it's increasing mitochondrial function. Yes, it's modulating inflammation. Yes, we're releasing growth factors. Yes, we're regulating NF Kappa B and we're doing all these things, but we're also raising the voltage of tissue. And that's really where we're seeing increased speed, increase healing time and more efficient healing. Yeah and that's funny. We had a high school physics teacher that said physics is everywhere and it literally is.
16:35 Tara Hunkin:
I wish he was wrong, it wasn't my strongest subject. So one of the things, so when you start talking about again, and you've talked a bit about the safety of it, fears go up, right? Like when we talk about electricity, when we talk about laser, because everybody doesn't understand what that means because there's lasers that can obviously cause damage as well as lasers that can heal. So let's talk about what the different lasers are, what are all the different ranges of lasers that are out there and what makes low-level lasers using this type of model - how they differ from them so that we can take some more of the fear away.
17:21 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Sure. So, and in fact, the fear factor is somewhat of a reason why we actually started our company because I've been using lasers for a long time. And whenever I started talking to doctors about, Hey, why aren't you using laser therapy in practice? Because at the time the statistics I was looking at is only about 5% of doctors we're actually using laser therapy.
And that was absurd to me because I knew the safety and I knew the types of benefits my patients were getting. And so it was just crazy. So as I started to ask around, it was fear. They said, well, I don't know how to use it and isn't it kind of dangerous and all this kind of stuff. So there was a fear factor. And I think that some of that fear can actually be produced within the laser industry geared around marketing, but we're not going to get into that at this point in time. But basically there's a lot of information that you need to know about being physics to really understand this.
And what I mean by that is this, if a laser beam is really focused in coherent like this, right. And not diverging, actually converge. Okay. And we did that focused energy on a very small spot of the body that is where we can see tissue starting to heat up. That is where we can see burning. That is where we can see that type of response.
And that's going to be your surgical lasers and your type of lasers that are designed to cut and heat things. Is that very focused, converging light. Now a therapy laser should not converge like that. A therapy laser should actually divert. So actually go like this. Avant design, the laser press diverges at 25 degrees. And that type of beam physics actually is what allows us to have a higher power, but it still has a very good safety rating. So that's what really matters because when you're talking about the safety, what they're doing is they're pushing photons through a small circle about the size of the pupil. And that's because the retina is obviously the most sensitive tissue to light.
And so they want to know how much exposure in that surface area is going to cause damage to the retina. And that's really what they use to gauge safety. And that's where you get your class one, two, three, and four lasers, right?
19:47 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
So your class four obviously is your higher powered hot lasers if you will, is what most people call them, but they don't have to be. Cause it's really just a gauge of what I just said. And then you have your class 3B and your class 3A lasers. The lasers that we use are the class 3B, and that's going to be the most common therapy lasers, your class 3B. And then you had your class 2, which is your very, very low powered lasers. In class 2 lasers are good, and they're still going to produce an effect, but it's going to take a little longer to produce those effects. But again, they're good, also photons work. And that's what we say at Shed Light, all photons work, right?
And your class 1 are going to be your even lower powered devices like DVD players and stuff like that. So there is a fear factor, but like I said, if you understand that according to the beam physics that we have built-in and most therapy lasers have built-in they're designed so that you're not going to cause harm. As long as you're not converging that light beam, or it converging that being, and really just focusing in on one spot or just holding that laser over your eye you're not going to really harm anyone or harm anything. Especially again, going back to chromophores, we have receptors for lights. Our skin is designed to take light in.
Really, I've only been contacted once about someone feeling too much heat from the laser and it was because they were wearing a black shirt and they just held the laser over that black shirt for too long basically. Well, shirt doesn't have chromophores. So it's sitting there absorbing the photons, getting hot, and the shirt is what got so hot. So again, we're designed to take in these photons, we're designed to be responsive to the light.
So the fear is there. It's not unjust it's rightly so, but once you really understand the physics and the safety of all this, it's really a non-issue.
21:53 Tara Hunkin:
Right. So let's talk a little bit more about that because I think the very first time I met you was at a conference and you were showing pictures of your son with the laser shining on his own head just to give an indication of how safe it is. You're obviously not going to let your own child do that. How are the lasers being used and does it need to be used on bare skin? And can it be used through hair? Cause obviously we're talking about brain. What does it look like when you're using laser therapy in particular for neurodevelopmental issues? I know they can be used for all sorts of other things as well.
22:35 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
So for neurodevelopmental disorders, I'm specifically developing a whole subset of protocols that no one else is talking about. No one else is doing. But what we've done is we've looked at the research and there's a very key component to all this.
And number one, we have to acknowledge Dr. Robert Melillo's work, because that is foundational for everything that I do. And that's the hemispheric model of the brain, right? So we have networks in the brain that are underdeveloped or under-regulated or under integrated and we have other areas of the brain that are firing too much.
So when we layer that in with the laser research, what we know is that when you shine the laser on the brain, you're going to have a greater effect on the neurons that are more metabolically active. So if we stand back from there and go, okay, well, if we're just shining the laser over the brain of someone with a neurodevelopmental disorder, we could potentially cause more imbalance. And that's based in the research.
So what we have to do is we have to come up with strategies to then activate those systems and those networks that are under-developed. So we activate those networks, we get those neuronal pools firing, and then we laser specifically over those areas. And that's how we're getting better results. That's how we're getting faster results.
But yeah, you can also have an effect on the brain by lasering the body too, especially from a neuro-protection standpoint. So there's a study where they inject rats with this chemical that causes Parkinson's. And so they injected rats and then they lasered over the abdomen and the hind quarters of the rats. And what they found was that even though they didn't laser the brain directly, they still had a neuroprotective effect on the brain just by lasering the body. So anything that we do to the body, we're going to have an effect on the brain. We know that. But what we can do is leverage the things that we know and the things that we know can cause better results faster.
And especially with things like toxic insults with lymphatic drainage issues with whatever it may be. We can start to have an effect on all of that by lasering the brain and the body.
24:52 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. Well, and I think what's so interesting is that a lot of parents that are listening are dealing with a lot of gut issues, they are dealing with detox issues and other things. So like you said, because we know there's this bi-directional link between the systems in the body, in particular the gut and the brain, to be working on the gut and being able to having a too like a laser to help facilitate that healing, I think is really remarkable.
25:17 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
We have so many practitioners and now myself, I mean, I literally referred to the laser as my probiotic because there was literature done that showed when you use the infrared wavelengths in the study, it was quoted as 808 nanometers, which is a phenomenal wavelength. But when you use that over the gut, you actually increase the good bacteria and reduce the bad bacteria. Now, again, it doesn't do that because it selectively targets the bacteria.
It does that because it increases the health of the microbiome. That's what it does. Again, it regulates things. So yeah, gut health is huge. And that's how I start the majority of my patients is I have them in my laser room, right. I got a laser room and I'll actually laser over the gut and over the carotids, which is part of this protocol that I developed based on the Russian literature out there called Russian Blood Illumination. So absolutely we can have an effect on the gut. Absolutely we can affect the liver. And something else I didn't mention earlier is that it's known that we can have an effect on early gene responses.
So all these issues with the MTHFR, all these genetic issues that we're seeing come out, we can start to have an epigenetic effect on the genes and start to actually affect some of those. So, and again, that's all stated in the literature. So it really is a phenomenal tool.
26:37 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. No, well, it's funny, I joke. And I'm gonna date myself here, but I'd say it's like in a Big Fat Greek Wedding, it's the Windex. I don't know if you ever saw that, they spray Windex on everything? All in one. Yeah. It'd be all in one. It's the all-in-one solution. As you know, in this field and anybody that practices in an integrative model in any way, we always said, there's no one thing for any one person, but there are some tools that can be applied to pretty much everyone and this being one of those tools. So actually, if you can walk us through, because you do see a number of children in your practice, can you sort of walk us through an idea of like you said, you start in your laser room and you start lasering. How do you use this tool amongst others?
Cause I mean, you are a functional neurologist as well and you apply Dr. Melillo's methodology to your patients. Can you explain to people what that looks like? Because if you haven't been through it, it's very different than what a lot of people are seeing out there.
27:47 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Sure, absolutely. So the way I'm using it in my practice is like this. Number one, we're going to do the developmental exam. We're going to identify those networks that are under integrated like I was talking about, you have to do that first. You have to identify what you need to do with that child. There's no one size fits all approach in any regards. So after that's done, what I'm going to do is I'm going to have the kiddo in my laser room.
And what I'm going to do is start with the Russian Blood Illumination Techniques. And what that means is I'm going to laser over the artery. So I'm going to laser over the abdominal artery, the carotid arteries and anywhere else I need to. And what that's going to do is that's going to have a greater effect on the blood than the tissue because of the wavelength, right?
So at that point, I'd be using the red 637 nanometer wavelength. And so what happened is that laser energy is going to go into the blood and it's going to go throughout the whole body. And there's research that shows when we do that again, we're going to get great inflammatory response modulation. We're going to actually cause STEM cell proliferation, which is huge.
And by the way, there's a whole subset of kiddos and adults out there with non-fatal drownings or anoxic brain injuries. And they respond very well to STEM cell therapy. So they also respond very well to this protocol again, because we're getting STEM cell proliferation. So we're going to do this first and we're going to do this to prime the body, right?
Because when I activate a neuronal system, I want to make sure that it's not going to fail. And that that can happen if there's poor metabolism that there's, if there's too much inflammation, if there's auto-immunity, if there's any of those things are present and you start activating a system, it can and get tired and fail, right?
That's the threshold for someone. So back in the day, whenever I didn't have all this laser power, you didn't know how long you could work with someone before you would push them to failure. You could work with one kid for 10 minutes and with one kid for two hours, and you just didn't know.
29:45 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
So what this is doing is number one, it's making my therapy more consistent because I'm mitigating the inflammation and whatnot before I start working with them. So I'm going to do that first. From there, we're going to go into the neurosensory integration component, which I absolutely love using the neurosage. I serve on the medical board for neurosage, Dr. Kyle Daigle developed the system.
And this is a platform. It's a multimodal sensory integration platform where there's whole body vibration, there's acoustic frequencies in the ears. There's video game integration that has been designed specifically to help integrate the brain and build the brain. There's color therapy to simulate different neurotransmitters, all sorts of things. So we're doing this all at once.
Now, we're doing that, I'm then going to bring in a laser again, because that's activating neuronal pools, right? So now I'm moving into the hemispheric model where I'm starting to activate those under activated networks. Now I'm going to put the laser on top of the networks that I'm selectively targeting. From there, it kind of depends on the kid, but from there, we're gonna move them over to the therapy area, which is where we're going to start doing our primitive reflexes or whatever course, utilization or BOR or whatever activity they need to be doing. Maybe we need to do some motion guidance. Maybe we need to do some optogenetics or eye movement work or whatever, if they're ready for that.
So it really just highly depends on the kiddo, but that's how I'm doing it and how I'm using it in my practice is I'm using it to prime the person to help with the inflammation, auto-immunity, STEM cell proliferation and growth factors in early gene responses and all those things. And then I'm putting them into that hemispheric model where we start to activate the brain and start to develop the brain and then use the laser on top of that so that we get better, faster results.
31:41 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, that's amazing. So in your practice, can you give us an example of a kid that's come in and how this sort of plays out for them in terms of their experience and the results or the feedback you get from the parents? I think a lot of parents when they hear this, they're like, whoa, my kid's not going to do that. Or they don't think that they can handle that. What's typically the response from the kids, is it difficult to get them to go through this type of a model of therapy? Or what do you find?
32:12 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
So, first of all, no, it's not difficult at all, in fact it's easier. It's easier because the way that we've designed it. It's easier because we understand kids, we understand what they need, what they want, what keeps their attention. I'm never going to just force a kid to do something that they don't want to do. There's tricks around that. There's things that we can do.
It was sickening whenever I was in Jordan and hearing these stories about how they treat their kids and things that they make them do and whatnot. But so there's no one story. I can't even begin to describe how many stories I've got about the positive effects of laser therapy and the things that we do. But the one thing I hear consistently is this. People come in, they're hesitant at first, this is kind of their last ditch effort. At the end of the week or at the end of the two weeks or whatever it may be, everyone says the same thing they say, thank you. They think he profusely. And then they say, you've given us hope. They all say that because during that time, they see changes. And those changes can be dramatic.
Those changes can be minor, but no change to a parent with a neurodevelopmental disorder kid is minor. The first kid I remember doing nine years ago or whatever, in my intensive model, I worked with for a week. And the idea that at the end of that week, I was kind of scared.
I was like, oh no, I didn't see much change in this kid. And I started actually to apologize to these parents and they stopped me and they were like, my kid hugged me for the first time in 13 years. And I was like, really? I'm like, well, I haven't seen that. They're like it was worth every penny, every moment we were here. So even minor changes can be so big, but I've got videos of kids that come in, literally kicking, screaming, biting, doing these things. And yeah. Sometimes I have to kind of hold them and then we have to kind of do things that the kids don't like, I know I just said that we don't do that. But at times, there are these situations with the parents consent, of course. And then I have after videos of the kid literally completely changing.
And the one that I'm talking about specifically, this happened after a matter of weeks. And I only saw the kid twice. They actually got a laser for home because they live so far away. They approached me about it, I never pushed this, this isn't something that I want to try and do. But they said, hey, since we live so far away, can we actually get a laser and use this at home? And I said great, I think you could.
And they come back and they bring me a completely different kid. And I hear this all the time. Especially when we start using this in the home. And so the stories are, there's a lot of them, I'll say this. The thing that I do see very consistent results with obviously the neurodevelopmental disorders, but especially the autoimmune disorders.
So things like pans, pandas, the tans, those types of things. Because again, what I was talking about earlier is how the laser has an effect on autoimmune disease, inflammation, all of those things, right? So there's no drug per se to really affect the pans population. There's dopamine antagonists and there's things that people use, but nothing really gets to the core issue. And obviously it's an autoimmune issue. So you have to find and eliminate triggers, right? They try doing that with a four year old that's psychotic. It can be difficult, right?
So using a tool that you can shine on them even while they're asleep, cause that's how a lot of these parents are doing it because otherwise it's not going to happen and really have a dramatic effect on them, lowering the inflammation and doing all the other things is huge. So that population does extremely well. Obviously the neurodevelopmental disorders do extremely well and really, I mean, I get stories every week. So too many to talk about. Which is great.
36:22 Tara Hunkin:
No, that gives us a really good idea idea of what can be possible. You obviously do an intensive in your office and then I'm assuming you're sending them home with a home program whether they have a a laser or they don't have a laser because not everybody can make that investment right upfront. But so they're doing work at home, correct?
36:41 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Yes, absolutely. So, and that's the model that I really like and that other colleagues of mine are doing is they'll come in, we'll do a one to two week long intensive, and that's designed like that to create a neurodynamic change. Think about a river. We're trying to get these pathways in the brain that are really small, like little creeks, if you will. We're trying to make them big raging rivers. And the way to do that is we have to fire those pathways with intensity frequency and duration. And that's how you create neuroplasticity.
And so I want to see them intensely upfront to really get these rivers and these pathways larger and more efficient. And then at the end we do an exit exam. And based on that exit exam, you get a lot of information about what you can do at home. And again, you can even look at my home cares. It's never stated buy a laser.
Like that's never done. That's only when people ask me if that's a good idea and of course I think it is, but I'm never gonna do that. But, yes, so we'll create a home care plan and then from there they'll go home, we'll support them. After a period of time, they'll come back, we'll re-examine or do another intensive or whatever is needed at that point in time.
37:58 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. We talked earlier on about the different types of lasers and I think that some parents may have had some exposure to the different ones that was great, that you walked through all the different classes of lasers. So when they're looking at them, they can look at the different class they're looking at.
Obviously you've been doing this for a really long time and you decided that you wanted to go out and create your own for your practice and for the patients that you're working with. Why create your own, you obviously saw something missing in the market that wasn't there and what's different about the Shed Light laser from other lasers that might be out there.
38:36 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Sure. So you're right. There was a big hole in the market. There were these class 2 devices, there were a few class 3B, most of them were LED versus laser diode. And then there were your class 4s. At the time, I wasn't super comfortable about using a class 4 on the brain. I'm getting more comfortable with it as more literature comes out. I think more literature needs to come out before we move in that direction. But basically there was a hole. And so whenever, well, it goes back to this.
Whenever I was doing consulting in the Middle East and I was seeing such severe disorders in front of me and I was just going, man, we need something that is going to help the inflammation, infection, and all of these things but they couldn't afford all the supplements or even the medications or whatever. And so in my mind, laser therapy was an obvious answer. But I knew I wanted something with more power than a class 2, again, based on the research and based on my experience.
And so I wanted to develop my own, but then what happened was my business partner, Dr. Damien Griswold came in and he said, hey, there's this guy and he's kind of doing the same thing you're doing, but he's an engineer and his wife's a functional neurologist and they have actually designed this really cool laser.
And so we actually went, or he actually came to us, his name's Andy Hewitson, he's the owner of AvantLasers. And he had designed this too. And so it was this real compact, easy to use, really well designed class 3B laser. And so he already did the work for us. And so there was no reason to then go out and do my own, especially since he's so receptive to frequencies or wavelengths or whatever ways you want to alter it. And so shed Shed Light is actually a distributor of the Avant Laser. And so again, he's receptive to any changes that we need to have made. We have our own proprietary set of frequencies that only Shed Light users use.
And so it's a really great relationship. So they're the developers, the manufacturers, we're the clinical side of things, and again, have impact on whatever design and features that we think are necessary. There's some really cool stuff coming down the pipeline that we've talked with them about and have put together some really cool things, but there was a hole in the market. And I will say I did use just about all the lasers on the market. And from that I saw the hole in the market and this laser honestly really did fill that gap. So easy to use, compact, power is in my mind, perfect for what is needed, the wavelengths that are in there,
they're the most supportive wavelengths in the literature. So it really did fill the gap in the market.
41:49 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. Well, and talk a little bit about what you mean by frequency. So full disclosure, I'm a Shed Light laser owner. I forgot to bring mine to hold up, like I said, it's the Windex in our household. And you have these for your Shed Light owners, you have frequencies that you update on a regular basis based on a number of different things, everything from essential oil frequencies that have research behind them and others. So can you explain exactly what that means and how that looks on it? Because for someone who's never had an experience with laser, this is completely foreign.
42:27 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Absolutely. So that's a long discussion, but basically just like we have these chromophores that are receptive to light, we are also receptive to frequencies and that frequencies and that frequency can be in the form of acoustic frequency. It can be in the form of light frequency.
So if I turn on a light and it just stays on, that's a continuous wave. If I start pulsing the light off and on, off and on, off and on, at a certain rate, it is going to then generate a frequency. That frequency communicates to us at the cellular level. Our cells are very receptive to frequencies. In fact, there was a cool study done where at a continuous wave on the bottom of the foot, there was a different effect in the brain versus a continuous wave versus a wave or a light pulsed at 10 Hertz.
It was so even just basic studies like that, we see just pulsing on the foot at 10 Hertz versus a continuous wave, generates different effects in the brain. Now what we've done, what I've done is I've really toned over neuroscience research, NASA literature, and various other places and I found things that make our brain respond in different ways.
There's frequencies that produce dopamine, there's frequencies that produce serotonin. The very nature of our brain is that it works based on oscillations. Oscillations is a neuroscience term for frequency. So here's what I mean. We have sensory coming in from our body. It comes into our cerebellum. Our cerebellum oscillates at 8 to 12 Hertz.
And in fact, there's two structures. There's the cerebellum and the inferior olive. Those two structures that do a lot. The one thing that they do is they modulate muscle tone. And so everyone has this what's called a physiologic tremor. So our muscles turn off and on at a rate of 8 to 12 Hertz in order to be more efficient so that we don't have to use all of our energy throughout the day, just standing up right.
Now whenever those structures start to slow down or degenerate, we start to see that tremor come out a little bit and that's called an essential tremor. So what happens is as information comes in, it's integrated in the cerebellum and the inferior olive and then all of it then rises into the midbrain, which has a higher oscillation, into the thalamus, which then from the thalamus, it shoots into the cortex. And from there, if our neurons are happy and healthy, we should be generating these brainwaves, right? And these brainwaves are neuronal poles coming to life and firing at a certain oscillation rate.
So again, if we can target those brainwaves and we can induce brainwaves, we can then affect the function of the brain. And that's where these frequencies are really coming in useful because if I want to use therapy or laser over the cerebellum, I want to use 8 to 12 Hertz. If I want to wake up a cortex, I'm going to use a beta wave. If I need to calm down an ADHD kid, there's research that shows I'm going to use a theta wave.
So all these frequencies have different effects in the brain, in the body, and that's what we've done. And whenever you look at the frequencies we put together, it's all evidence-based, I didn't make this stuff up. It's out there.It's not easy to find, but it's out there.
46:02 Tara Hunkin:
Well, and that's why I'm so glad we had an opportunity to talk to you today because I think you've just demystified something that parents might've been wanting to try, or even practitioners that are listening and are interested in integrating this into their practice. So where can people find you and maybe other practitioners that have the tools that you use in your office?
46:28 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
So me personally, I'm an Austin, Texas. You can find me on Instagram @bcrawfordDC. Facebook is just my name. So if someone wants to find someone that's doing what we're doing, really the best thing to do is find someone who's gone through the childhood neurodevelopmental disorders course, that's being taught right now. It's being taught in Atlanta, but it's also online. And that's myself, it's Dr. Melillo's course.
So Dr. Melillo's the lead instructor, it's all his information, the hemispheric model and all the different ways to integrate brains and whatnot. And so, but what we're folding in is myself with the laser therapy, Dr. Daigle and the digital medicine, Dr. Skyer and all of his vast knowledge. And then we're pulling in other people every weekend to help with whatever they do best. So if you want someone that is well-trained not only in laser therapy, but in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, I think that's probably the best resource is to make sure that they've gone through that course gotten that certification.
And then for sure that they know the right things, they know how to properly use the laser because no one else is teaching how to use the laser lights. So that really is key. Now we are, we are going to do a laser course in Brazil and some other countries, but right now this is the course. So making sure that someone understands that information is key.
48:02 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, I agree. And we'll make sure we have links below this, to all those things. You, you, people can get access to those resources. I want to thank you again for spending this time with me today, sharing this really important information that I think is going to have really opened up a lot of opportunities for so many parents and practitioners that are out there. So thanks again.
48:24 Dr. Brandon Crawford:
Absolutely thank you. I appreciate your time.
48:28 Tara Hunkin:
So that's a wrap. Thanks for joining me this week on My Child Will Thrive. I'm so passionate about giving you the tools and information you need to help your child recover. And as they say, it takes a village. So join us in the, My Child Will Thrive village Facebook group, where you can meet like-minded parents and stay up to date on everything we have going on at My Child Will Thrive. This is Tara Hunkin and I'll catch you on the next podcast or over at My Child Will Thrive dot com.
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