Stop-smoking laser treatment is supposed to work by stimulating the release of endorphins that are reputed to relieve the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation. The laser is used to stimulate specific pressure points on the body that cause the endorphins to be released. Stop-smoking laser treatment typically consists of one session lasting from 30 minutes to one hour, with effects that are supposed to last for a month or more. This treatment is considered an alternative therapy, and there are no reputable clinical studies that support its effectiveness.
Smoking cessation often leads to many withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to the lack of nicotine — the substance that makes cigarettes so addictive because it causes the release of endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals released in the body that promote feelings of well-being. Proponents of stop-smoking laser treatment claim that it works primarily by stimulating the release of endorphins, so that nicotine is no longer needed. These "feel good" chemicals also purport to help relieve many of the unpleasant symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which can include cravings, irritability, nervousness, depression, and physical discomfort.
Practitioners who perform stop-smoking laser treatment generally use a low level laser also known as a cold laser, which emits light and gets no hotter than a light bulb. This is applied to places on the body known as pressure points. The pressure points derive from the ancient Asian practice of acupuncture. The pressure points used for stop-smoking laser treatment include areas on the fingers, wrists, hands, nose, and ears. Applying the laser to these areas is supposed to result in the release of the desired endorphins.
Generally stop-smoking laser treatment takes place in the practitioners office, with the patient comfortably seated. The treatment is painless and typically takes between 30 minutes and one hour to complete. The process is supposed to leave the patient feeling calm and to eliminate the desire to smoke. Supporters of the treatment claim the effects last for 30 to 45 days, which is supposed to be long enough to break the addiction cycle.
Experts on smoking cessation state that there are no confirmed clinical studies from reputable sources supporting the effectiveness of stop-smoking laser treatment. As such, it is considered to be an alternative treatment. It is generally considered to be harmless, and there have been no negative effects reported. It is sometimes recommended, however, that patients use it in conjunction with other methods like behavioral therapy or with nicotine replacement products.