How quickly might you expect a profound loss of sensation to come back "online"?
Consider the body part that you are sitting on. Do you feel it as you sit? If you move? Standup and then quickly sit again?
Consider what happens when your fingers get cold? Do you feel the coldness after a while? For most people, the experience of skin temperature fades after a few minutes. What might you experience if you continuously adjusted your shower water temperature?
Couldn't sensations quickly return to normal functioning if the experience got stuck in the "off" state?
1. Could touch sensation have been turned "off" and the therapy prompted it to turn "on" again?
“Brenda’s” right fingers were numb after an elbow surgery that did not relieve her elbow pain. She enrolled in a PhotoMed sponsored feasibility study to see if the therapy might relieve the pain in her elbows. Brenda’s pain was temporarily relieved. She never considered that her fingers might feel normal again. The Instant Verification System recorded her visits.
Brenda was excited to explore her “new” finger sensations as she put them to a test. (0:54)
Figure 1 -The unexpected resumption of sensation maybe tested via cross-sensory perception. The person may be perplexed such that they look intently at their fingers while touching or moving them. Touching familiar objects also seems to help with accepting the sensations that would normally have been taken for granted.
Figure 2 - Interesting events may be efficiently found by reviewing clips at high speed (5x in this video). The high-angle camera in the Instant Verification System recorded details that the not noticed by the technician.
2. Weird, could sensations come back online, but not be aligned with his feet?
“George” arrived at his first visit walking stooped over from back pain, or so the practitioner thought.
Rather than responding to pain, he was looking at his profoundly numb feet to keep from falling. 40 years of diabetes had taken a toll on his body. He and his wife reported that he hadn’t felt his feet for about the last 8 years.
During his first visit, his back pain lessened. That was a win for George. He hadn’t considered that the “dead” nerves in his feet might be revived.
Therapy to his feet at his first visit yielded a “maybe” to strong pressure applied to his toes.
George returned a week later not looking at his feet. He complied with a request to not move or look at his feet until asked. The technician didn't explain how often that sensations in other volunteers had returned after years of being offline.
Within minutes after the test therapy began, George reported touch sensations from a 19 grams vonFrey monofilament. Then on down to 5.1gm.
However, George reported incorrect locations when he reported being touched. He didn't know that his answers were wrong.
Could cross-sensory stimulation be needed to keep touch maps normally aligned?
Figure 3 - For more than 20 minutes, George could feel being touched but reported being touched at a different location. The maps would have realigned if George had moved or looked at where he was being touched.
Figure 4 - Watch as George looks at his feet for the first time after a few minutes of testing. The time bar starts when he first received a treatment during his 2nd visit. (2:05)
3. George's experiences led to the concept that healing is automatic
George and his wife arrived at the feasibility study with the certainty that his doctors were correct that the nerves in his feet were dead. The newly restored sensations puzzled George as had occurred with Brenda and others in the study. The team was excited to see that George was able to fulfill the "don't look and don't move your feet" request.
Previous cases with restored sensation involved cross-sensory perception that had occurred before the map alignment could be tested. George provided an easier case because feet may be less instinctive than to rub fingers, as Brenda shows in Section 1.
The real-time recordings let the team re-examine the events to test new concepts. The return to normal functioning describes the outcome but not how the "right" photons might interact with the "nonexistent nerves" in his end-stage peripheral neuropathy. It was daunting to challenge the "there is no cure for diabetes-related neuropathy" described on the websites of prestigious institutions. However, it seemed preposterous for a few photons to force the body to heal itself.
The team began to look upstream from the loss of sensation and all of the other crazy-fast "impossible" responses and outcomes. The term "autonomic" nervous system suggested that the automation "works" at all levels of living things. Automation runs the myriad interactions that give life to every cell, structure, and up to whales. It is intention that directs where the automation goes. When the automation stalls, then the cells (etc.) that follow miss the correct directions.
The team didn't find a Quick Event that requires additional explanation beyond a restart of automation. The apparent wondrous events were simply the ordinary responses and outcomes that the automation would have produced, but hadn't yet. Observing only the response and outcome isn't special. It is ONLY knowledge of the "before" state that makes healing feel like magic.
PhotoMed's variable-wavelength therapy happens to reproducibly prompt the body to switch-on the automation while recording the event using PhotoMed's Instant Verification System.
Figure 5 - For more than 20 minutes, George could feel his feet being touched but reported being touched at a different location. The maps would likely have realigned if George had moved or looked at where he was being touched.
The team is testing the concept that the body's automation can go on "offline" (1) to cause a cascade of problems. George had the loss of both touch (1-3) and touch-location (1-4). The Varichrome therapy (2-3) interrupted the abnormal state (2) until the automation of his touch maps resumed (3). However, his touch-location maps were not updated. His cross-sensory experience (4) prompted an update of his touch-location maps. These recorded offline/online events are ordinary in every respect except for their years of delay. Thus, the outcome of his ordinary sensing and its continuation (5) aren't special.
Could "automation" explain how other non-invasive therapies might work?
The real-time recordings may be the first to show the crazy-fast switch from impaired to normal functioning. However, anecdotes without recordings of other therapies certainly could be the return of ordinary automation.
Isn't the aim of physical therapy to prompt the return to normal functioning? The same for cognitive behavior therapy?
Like with nature videos, the viewer gets to see an ordinary event in new ways.
Could this diagram unify 20 years of data?
Could the quick events occur only if the healing processes are complete except for the last step?
Contact PhotoMed to learn more if you may be interested in follow-on studies as a researcher or funder.
Figure 6 - A comparison of the aims of different photobiomodulation (PBM) research methods. The opsins, etc., absorb the photons that leads to the restart of healing.
Conventional (PBM) studies often seek a dose-responses relationship for a single sign or symptom with light energy from a fixed wavelength source.
The Variable-wavelength therapy (VWT) studies aimed to prompt the body to restart its automatic healing processes. Then, the healing processes relieved or eliminated the signs and symptoms.
Responses to the VWT typically occur during the session. The quick responses can be recorded in real time.
Just a change in the automation state?
The term "automation" acknowledges the basic concepts of the autonomic nervous system.
Like with a burr in your finger, your signaling and healing systems perform their tasks but don't care what humans name the problems.
Could some treatment-resistant forms of pain and impaired functions be a stalled state of automation?
Couldn't the healing processes be continuously attempting to resume? For most injuries, couldn't the healing processes stop-resume multiple times before completing?
Could "managed" pain be possible when the automation is "working" but conveying wrong information that may be blocked?
Note that the automation concepts are compatible with other mechanisms that describe the paths to normal functioning. For example, photobiomodulation has been shown to improve mitochondrial functioning that is automated within each cell.
Figure 7 - Depiction of healing states: normal functioning, automation attempting to resume, and the change-in-state as the automation resumes.
We welcome comments and suggestions for how to describe entirely new, but basic, ways to look at injuries and how they might heal.
Could "automation" explain how other sensory functions might work?
"Kathy" had complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS or RSD) for many years. She had a sympathectomy that turned off the automation of skin temperature control in her left hand. Her hands had both turned unresponsively cold.(1 in Figure 8)
The pain in her hands felt like holding ice at its worst.
The variable-wavelength therapy prompted her hands to warm (responses are typically bilateral) but her left hand was prevented from warming.(2) Despite the unilateral warming, both her hands felt the relief as if both had warmed.(3) Her right hand continued to be responsive to temperatures.(4) The benefits continued for about a year and were repeated.
The team thought that the bilateral comfort didn't make sense. That is, until they realized that the feeling of a temperature is a transient response. The feeling of a static cold or warm state ordinarily fades to nothing.
The real-time recordings and data let the team revisit this and other examples that show basic functions of the sensory and motor systems. It took 22 years before the data screamed "automation" as the common denominator.
Figure 8 - Depiction and thermal images of unilateral warming with the return of bilateral comfort from pain and the feeling of intractable coldness.
Figure 9 - Thermal imaging of Kathy's unilateral hand warming. She reported that the warming sensations were bilateral.
In summary, the concept that "healing is automated" at the most basic levels accounts for the versatility of non-invasive therapies.