Aging Athlete Seeks New Answers to Old Questions (aka How to Accidentally Become a Certified Light Therapist)

The life of an aging athlete …

One of the best parts of golf is that you can play it your whole life and you don’t have to be in excellent shape to enjoy a round of golf. The challenge with golf is that you are often playing
with an aging body that is in less than optimal condition. Many golfers have injuries from their past that haunt them and new ones that pop up over the years. As an almost 40 year old LPGA Professional, a former Division I collegiate golfer who dabbled at playing professionally, someone who has been in a major rear-end auto accident, and a kid that played every sport under the sun while growing up – managing pain on and off the golf course had become an endless venture.

My prior experiences with managing pain included icing, resting, stretching, TENS and “Stim” therapies, myofascial release, chiropractic care, and copious amounts of ibuprofen. Competitive athletic trainers often tell you (or used to tell you) to take four ibuprofen every four to six hours for inflammation and pain management. My husband (who had a similar athletic background but with more contact sports) and I had a grown accustomed to that advice, taking ibuprofen with that mentality into our late 30s. We would buy the big bottle of ibuprofen at Sam’s Club, pop it like candy at the first sign of pain, and preemptively take it when we knew we were probably going to need it later in order to get it into our system and “stay ahead of the pain”. It was just the way things we were done and how we had been shown to manage pain and inflammation while being able to perform.

I started to read articles online about the impact of long term use of NSAID drugs on the body. I didn’t like what I was reading, but I didn’t know what else I could do. One of the most depressing parts of being a former college athlete is no longer having access to trainers and the training room to use the latest and greatest medical equipment and methods for nursing your body back to health.

Problems mount …

My most immediate problem in August 2017 was that I was battling plantar fasciitis and standing on my feet for ten to twelve hours a day on the lesson tee. The pain was intolerable, and it affected my job and my day to day existence. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I couldn’t get the issue resolved. I had tried many approaches, including chatting with a friend who was a physical therapist. Most approaches had some success but not enough to get the pain to an acceptable level. Was my life (and career) over as I knew it?

Around that time a friend of mine who is also a golf professional saw my post on Facebook about my dilemma and happened to be visiting the Minneapolis area. In the past year she had found out about Light Therapy from a student of hers who had used it with great success. She had also experienced similar relief from pain and had begun working with the company, inLight Medical (now inLight Therapy, Inc). She believed in what she had experienced, learned, and witnessed with Light Therapy so much that she decided to take a break from the golf industry to help people through Light Therapy. She offered to bring one of her fancy (and very expensive) devices for me to try out while she was in town. She informed me the inLight Medical unit had an FDA Clearance for decreasing pain and increasing circulation.  I was quite skeptical, but I had nothing to lose, and after an extensive google search to see if she was crazy, I found out that many athletes were using Light Therapy at the collegiate and professional level.

Ooooh, was this a chance to have access to a device that is used in the training room?

The “Magic Lights” …

Once I got these “magic lights” home (which is what I jokingly named them), I put the inLight 2-port system on my foot and calf. I didn’t notice any magical effects after my 20 minute session, although I’m not sure what I was expecting considering I was dealing with a problem I had been struggling with for 10 months. I noticed it felt a little better, but I guess deep down I was hoping for a miracle. My mindset was it works or it doesn’t.

After a session on my other leg, I started to think about all the other parts of my body that were hurting that I’d nearly forgotten about because the pain in my foot was screaming the loudest. I decided to use it on my back and neck, which I have struggled with ever since I was in a pretty significant rear-end car accident in college.

The first thing I noticed after doing a session on my back and neck was that I didn’t feel so tight and I could turn better from my thoracic spine region – the area that tends to lock up and plague me in my golf swing. I got up to walk and noticed my calves felt looser as well and I could feel some of the tension gone from my neck as I turned it from side to side. The next day, I noticed that I felt hung over – lethargic, a little nauseous, and had a slight headache. What had these lights done? At least I knew they were doing something.

My friend had told me to start slow and I had not followed her advice. Instead I kept moving the pads from one area to the next doing multiple sessions while I sat in my recliner. I called my friend telling her I had done 2 sessions and felt under the weather. I completely fudged that 2 sessions number feeling a little guilty for not following her directions. Anyway, she told me to take a break, focus on getting proper hydration, and to restart with ONE session once I felt better. I felt better by evening and followed her directions from there on out. (I later learned that light can have a detox effect on the cells and the liver can get overwhelmed trying to clear everything out – which is why you are supposed to start SLOW!).

I continued to use the lights daily as instructed and to alternate with ice as needed. When it was time for my friend to return home I was intrigued, but not enough to purchase my own unit. I decided to rent the lights from my friend for a couple extra weeks. By the end of the third week I didn’t want to give them back. I couldn’t imagine my daily life without the ability to integrate Light Therapy into it. I noticed the pain in my foot from the plantar fasciitis wasn’t quite as intense anymore. Even more importantly, my calves seemed to be more loose and easier to stretch out. I had also learned that it would knock out my leg cramps and spasms after a long day at work in about 5 minutes. I noticed that my back and neck just felt better in general – it didn’t feel like there was someone constantly shoving a fist in the middle of my back. My husband was using it regularly with success on the pain in his shoulder region, and my Mom fell in love with it while she was visiting.

Should I do this? …

The choice to purchase a unit was agonizing. I was using the two pad system that my friend had rented to me on six different locations. At a 20 minutes per session, that ate up 60 minutes a day – which I knew wasn’t sustainable – even if a session meant sitting in a recliner relaxing. The upgraded 6-port package with three pads and a bonus pad, would cut that time to 40 minutes a day – or 20 minutes a day if I did my lower body and back on alternate days. My husband was also having fewer tension headaches. I thought about the cost of missed work from dealing with pain and the monetary amount attached to quality of life. At that point I called my friend told her I wanted to place an order – for the $3,000 unit. My palms were a little sweaty and I was so nervous to be spending that much money, but I kept telling myself that I was going to be able to make the money up from not having to cancel golf lessons when the pain in my foot was unbearable and I was going to save money in medical bills from when the ibuprofen usage decided to take its toll on my body.

Funny enough after I told my Mom “what I had just done” and the reasons why, she went on to convince my highly skeptical Dad to let her buy a two port unit since it helped her with the pain from her on-going medical saga. I continued my research on the internet as to how shining this light pad on my skin could have such a profound effect. Part of it was unrelenting curiosity and the other part was to justify with science the amount I had just charged to my credit card. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. By this time I had cut my ibuprofen use by more than half.

Now I’m curious …

A couple months later I had a better understanding of how Light Therapy assisted my body the way it did (and why I couldn’t have accomplished that with a string of red Christmas lights…and yes I actually researched that). Around that time my friend gave me a call. She said there was a Certified Light Therapist class a half hour from her home and was wondering if I was interested in attending in November. She said she had attended the program last year and that it would help me to fill in the gaps of how Light Therapy actually worked at a cellular level. I think she may have also been tired of answering my endless questions. I decided it was a great opportunity to see my friend and better understand what mechanisms the light used to affect my body the way it did. I took the plunge and signed up, knowing that it would also give me the knowledge and certification necessary to help others the same way my friend helped me.

The Certified Light Therapy class was amazing. I was completely blown away by the science behind all of it and I was thankful they presented it in a way that allowed someone 20 years removed from a biology class to understand. I previously understood what light therapy does, but now I had the why and how as well. I also met people with varied stories of how Light Therapy really impacted their quality of life (and the lives of their pets and horses…gasp…you can use these on your pets???)

Upon my arrival home, I began to do even more with my inLight pads than manage pain – I started using them to promote general health. I spent hours on the phone with my Mom and Dad telling them everything that I had learned. My highly skeptical Dad even started using them on his neuropathy.

What about my cats and dogs?…

In late November, I was looking into using Light Therapy on animals since I had two dogs that were nine years old and two cats in their mid teens. Achy joints and bodies were no longer reserved for the human members of our household. I found the website of Photonic Therapy Institute, ran by Kay Aubrey-Chimene. Her name had been mentioned a few times as a leader in the horse and pet Light Therapy industry at the Certified Light Therapy Class. One of the gals I met at the class had even taken a class from Kay. They also said she used light for acupuncture, which I knew nothing about. It turns out Kay lives and works out of Arizona but was hosting a Light Therapy course in Des Moines, IA for working with pets. The course material mentioned helping to support animal’s bodies through acupuncture for allergies, anxiousness, and upset tummies. Check…Check…Check.

Wow, that would be amazing if I could help support my pets using light. Despite my bank account telling me I probably shouldn’t, my intuition said that I needed to go to Des Moines. Luckily there was still a spot available. I teetered back and forth on my decision and at the last possible moment I confirmed my registration, found a cheap hotel, and decided to head down the night prior to the event. I’m glad I trusted my intuition. I not only forged great friendships on that trip, but I increased my knowledge of how to use light to help those around me. I learned to assist my animals with common issues and to help to balance their body with light. I cemented my career and passion for light therapy in that moment. I also formed a valuable partnership with Photonic Therapy Institute for education and sales that continues to this day. I now enjoy sharing what I learned and what I’m continuing to learn with those around me so that I can empower them to live their life to the fullest.

Where we are today …

As for my husband and I, we are 95% off of ibuprofen. We are more active and in considerably less pain. My plantar fasciitis is gone, and my chiropractor can tell when I’ve done light therapy before an appointment because I adjust better. Also, my ability to control my pain and work long hours paid off. I was awarded the 2019 LPGA Midwest Section Teacher of the Year Award!

My husband has way less day-stopping headaches. Our two cats and two dogs, who have all reached double digits in age are loving their light therapy sessions as well. My Mom continues to use Light Therapy to support her body through all sorts of conditions. She also overcame a condition that had her doctors confounded. She got approval to do Light Therapy from her doctor and at the follow-up appointment two months later, the doctor was taking all kinds of notes on the Light Therapy device and how she used it.

My Dad is now a full believer and uses the two-port unit on his neuropathy, his artificial knees, and any other random pains that pop up. My Dad used it before and after his second full knee replacement and his physical therapist commented that he’s never seen someone regain range of motion so quickly. The tingling sensation on the bottoms of his feet is also gone (unless he forgets to do his Light Therapy for a week or two – which rarely happens anymore). We’ve since added three pads to our inLight System.

We bought the Blue, Red, and Red+ torches from Photonic Therapy Institute for Light Therapy on the go. I keep the Red+ in my pocket for getting my body ready to perform and for pain management – especially when I play golf or go hiking. My parents got Red and Blue PTI torches as presents from me after threatening to steal my torches. I’m still learning and expanding my knowledge base into the world of photopuncture (acupuncture with light). I’m so glad I made the leap by trusting my intuition and my friend’s guidance. It has truly transformed our lives, gave us ways to respond to pain – both acute and chronic, and has taught us to support our body at the cellular level by giving our body light energy so it can heal itself. If you ever hear any of us go on and on about light therapy, now I hope you understand why!

“We’ve only got one shot at this life, and I plan to live it to the best of my ability!
And as we say at our house… If it’s worth complaining about, it’s worth putting light on it.”

Laura Patrick,
Certified Light Therapist and LPGA Professional

By partnering with Photonic Therapy Institute, I can better educate people on the benefits of Light Therapy and sell high quality Light Therapy tools approved for in-home use. This helps empower YOU to take control of your own health and well-being. If I add up all the times my family has utilized light therapy at home, we have already paid for our investment versus getting light therapy sessions in an office or clinic…plus your house is never closed or overbooked.

How I recommend getting started: Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of reduced pain and increased circulation while stimulating cellular repair.

If you are interested in renting a pad based system (like I did), visit:
https://dr336.isrefer.com/go/ILM/a185/

To gain free access to a short intro course on Light Therapy, visit:
https://dr336.isrefer.com/go/LETS-FREE/a185/ (note that the log-in information may end up
in your spam folder)

To visit the Light Store to purchase PTI and InLight Therapy devices, visit:
LightUpYourGame.com

For more information on Light Therapy education and tools, visit:
https://dr336.isrefer.com/go/PTI/a185/

 

 

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