Dr. Brian McLaren, Q.D.A.H., B.V.Sc., C.V.A.(IVAS), P/Grad.Dip(acu), M.App.Sc.,
5 Marina Drive, Pacific Haven, Queensland, Australia. 4659 Ph. 61 (7) 4129 0794
Photonic Therapy is the scientific application of light as a therapeutic modality, which can be fully understood through the study of bioenergetics and biophysics, and is now some 20 years old.
Medically, ECGs, EEGs, MRIs, etc., are used diagnostically, to interpret the body’s electromagnetic discharges, yet the use of electromagnetic forces for therapeutic purposes are severely limited or largely ignored.
The essential premise of this paper is that all external physical stimuli create a change in the electromagnetic field (EMF) potentials of the skin. In lower life forms this stimuli is conducted through, and recognised by, the external pellicle. In humans and higher life forms, this information is transmitted mainly, though not exclusively, by the sensory nerves to the brain, which in turn releases neurochemicals, or employs a panoply of other responses, to protect and enhance life, reduce pain and promote healing, in the case of injury.
While all external physical stimuli create a change in the electromagnetic field (EMF) potentials of the skin, only Photonic Therapy offers a quantifiable, safe, scientific method.
To understand the electrophysiological function of light as a therapeutic modality, this paper is divided into a simple list of thirty-six incontestable, relevant points, followed by a scientifically referenced explanation of such points. A summary and conclusion, references, and an Appendix are included.
List of Relevant Points
- Photonic Therapy is the scientific application of light as a therapeutic modality.
- Electricity, magnetism and gravity are all part of the same force, a force we can measure and use, but have not seen.
- Each cell is electrically charged and maintains an electric potential difference from inside to outside.
- All tissue is negatively charged under pressure, while tissue under tension is positively charged.
- Any cut through the skin is positively charged at the surface and negatively charged at the bottom of the cut.
- The electromagnetic changes in tissue accompanying physical pressure stress, results in a measurable physiological change.
- Under the skin is connective tissue comprised of collagen, which occurs in all multicellular animals and is the most abundant protein in vertebrates.
- Collagen is a semiconductor and in common with most other semiconductors absorbs light energy.
- When tissue is subjected to mechanical deformation, interstitial fluid flows away from regions of compressive stress, transporting the positively charged mobile portion of the electrical double layer located at the outer membrane boundary.
- Tissue is also sensitive to fluid flow shear forces, particularly the vascular endothelial cells, which change shape accordingly.
- Tissue is known to be sensitive to electric fields, and can respond directly to streaming potentials.
- Altering skin electric potentials via pressure alters the electrical activity in the corresponding areas of the brain.
- Changes in the electric potential of the skin due to pressure can be equated to the electric potential changes, due to certain narrow-band forms of light falling on the skin.
- The electromagnetic change due to either light or pressure on the skin, is related to the redox potential of the tissue, and is not an all or none reaction.
- For over two centuries it has been known that human skin drives ionic current out of wounded regions.
- The field potential near wounds in skin varies with the severity, being from 10 – 400 mV/mm.
- By definition, an acid is something that donates a hydrogen ion H+.
- An acupuncture point is not a small point, but a zone the size of your thumb nail, of increased electrical conductivity, 5-45 mV more positive than surrounding skin, and originally found through palpation as being tender or more painful than the surrounding skin.
- When tissue is injured, not only is it painful, but the surrounding skin also becomes more sensitive.
- A chronic injury exists when an injury remains positively charged for more than six weeks.
- Positive charges, acidity, and pain may now be equated.
- The energy of the photon depends on the wavelength at the source of the light, not how it was produced (laser, non laser, or candle).
- To stimulate tissue one must use a photon of an energy that is proportionate to the tissue’s requirement for the continuous replenishment of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), by the respiratory chain of the mitochondria, or other photosynthetic electron transfer systems.
- When any molecule (tissue or otherwise) absorbs a photon, the photon is converted to an electron and the molecule is considered to be electronically excited. There are four main ways that such a molecule can dissipate its excitation energy.
- Light has been defined as a transverse pulse of energy travelling longitudinally, where the amplitude of the radius is the feature of importance.
- An important step in identifying a biological photoreceptor is to compare the absorption and action spectra, as a substance largely absorbs when cold, the same spectra emitted when heated.
- All organisms (bacteria, insects, fish, reptiles, birds, monotremes such as the platypus, and mammals) are sensitive to particular forms of EMR, and have varying arrays of sensors built into their skins, depending on the ecological niche they occupy.
- A common fallacy is that the higher the wavelength the greater the penetration.
- The reason for the sudden rise in penetration (lack of absorption) may be seen as a function of the refractive index of the tissue in reverse.
- There are two immutable conditions that govern all physiological function, these being the law of mass action, and the body’s requirement for homeostasis.
- Electrical energy in the skin is created through EMF potential changes from both exogenous and endogenous reactions.
- The main acid-base regulatory systems in the body are primarily via respiration and secondly through the kidneys, though the body also relies on a series of buffers.
- Muscle fatigue is defined as the inability of a muscle to maintain a given power output.
- All proteins function according to their shape, which also affects their absorption spectrum.
- The safety for persons and animals from over-dosage when using this equipment is assured, through the factors of the redox potential, pH scale, and protein shape absorption spectrum function.
- An acupuncture needle functions through the production of pressure which is converted into an electrical charge differential, which can be equated to the equivalent of that produced by 660nm light.
Explanation of Points
- Photonic Therapy is the scientific application of light as a therapeutic modality. While the use of electromagnetic radiation is well recognized for diagnosis, the use as a therapeutic agent is less well accepted.
- Electricity, magnetism and gravity are all part of the same force, a force we can measure and use, but have not seen. For all electric fields there is a magnetic field at right angles, therefore we are discussing electromagnetic fields and their potential, rather than electric currents.
- Each cell is electrically charged and maintains an electric potential difference from inside to outside. While the trans-membrane potential is in the order of 70-90 mille-Volts, due to the minuteness of the cell membrane, this is equivalent to 170,000 Volts per centimetre. It only takes an action potential of 20 mV to trigger a reaction such as depolarisation (Voet and Voet 1988).
- All tissue is negatively charged under pressure (Yasuda 1953, Becker 1976, Martin and Burr 1988) while tissue under tension is positively charged. This is due to the piezoelectric effects of the collagen, plus the stress generated and fluid flow shear potentials (Turner et al 1994). (Refer diagram Appendix 1.)
- Any cut is positively charged at the surface and negatively charged at the bottom. It is the negative electromagnetic field potential in the order of 10‑400 mV/mm that provides the galvanotaxis to attract keratinocytes and fibroblasts to heal the wound (Nuticelli 2002).
- The electromagnetic changes in tissue accompanying physical pressure stress results in a measurable physiological change. There is an increase in erythrocyte content of the plasma, an activation of the glycolytic process, and an increase in plasma glucose, lactate and piruvate levels, and importantly depresses the antibacterial potential of neutrophils. Shifting the pro-oxidant/anti-oxidant balance in membranes serves as a signal for triggering stress reactions, and neurohumoral mechanisms allow changes in metabolic parameters of the system, to optimise its function in conditions of adaptation. The regulatory effect in cells is determined not so much by the absolute content of their various products, as by the changes in their ratios (Brill et al, 1993. Nicholls D, Fergusson S 1992).
- Under the skin is connective tissue comprised of collagen, which occurs in all multicellular animals and is the most abundant protein in vertebrates. Depending on the species, there are between 16 to 19 types of collagen, comprised of at least 30 genetically distinct polypeptide chains. Collagen’s structure and great tensile strength suits its role as the major stress bearing component of bones, teeth, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and the fibrous matrices of skin and blood vessels (Voet and Voet 1995).
- Collagen is a semiconductor and in common with most other semiconductors it absorbs light. Bone, comprised of collagen rods, is also a semiconductor. If the negative lead from a battery is placed on one end of a section of bone, while the positive lead is placed on the side, an electric field (in the form of light) will be discerned coming from the end of the bone furthest from the negative lead. When a light is shone onto the bone, the electrical discharge is greater (Becker 1985).
- When tissue is subjected to mechanical deformation, interstitial fluid flows away from regions of compressive stress (Turner et al 1994), transporting the mobile portion of the electrical double layer located at the outer membrane boundary (Otter 1992). The deformation of the cell membrane changes the charge distribution on its external surface, and the corresponding counter-ion distribution in the extra-cellular fluid (Naegele et al 1991) (Chakkalakal 1989). This creates a change in the electrical polarity of the local tissue, and the electro-mechanical effect is known as a stress generated potential or a streaming potential (SGP/SP) (Otter 1992).
- Tissue is also sensitive to fluid flow shear forces, particularly the vascular endothelial cells, which change shape accordingly (Ando et al 1990, Malek et al 1999). The cells recognise the shear stress on the membrane, and this mediates the signal to increase cAMP and the intra-cellular free calcium ion (Reich et al 1990). To distinguish streaming potential from shear stress effects, it can be shown that shear stress is a function of viscosity, while streaming potential is not (Reich et al 1990).
- Tissue is known to be sensitive to electric fields (Becker et al 1976, Becker 1985, Turner et al 1994), and can respond directly to streaming potentials (Fitzsimons et al 1989). Tissue cells are sensitive to the magnitude of deformation, and not the frequency at which deformation occurs (Turner et al 1994). Thus it may be understood that dermatological and musculoskeletal injuries are associated with significant changes in the endogenous electromagnetic activity, in the vicinity of the epidermis associated with the injury.
- Altering skin potentials via pressure stress alters the electrical activity in the brain. A causal relationship has been shown to exist between the variation in concentration of the neurohormones, (noradrenalin, dopamine, 5HT, cAMP), particular ions (Ca++), and the concentrations of DNA and RNA synthesis (Martelly and Franquinet 1984 Reich et al 1990, Karu 1999).
- Changes in the electric potential of the skin due to pressure can be equated to the electric potential changes due to certain narrow-band forms of light falling on the skin. It is the extent of the electromagnetic potential change that is important, and not how it was produced.
- The electromagnetic change due to either light or pressure on the skin is related to the redox potential of the tissue and is not an all or none reaction (Karu 1998, 1993). The closer the tissue is to full oxygenation (redox couples in oxidised state), the less is the effect of light or pressure.
- For over two centuries it has been known that human skin drives ionic current out of wounded regions. Luigi Galvani in 1794 discovered the current of injury, and by the 1840s, Carlo Matteucci using the newly invented Galvometer, could directly measure a small direct current. DuBois‑Reymond (1848) used one of the earliest galvanometers to measure about 1 μA leaving wounds in his skin. As this wound current known as the discharge of injury, traverses the epidermis it generates a local electric field that points away from the wound in all directions, the strength of this field potential has been consistently measured by numerous authors (Stux and Pomeranz 1989, Nuticelli 2002).
- The field potential near wounds in skin varies with the severity, from 10 – 400 mV/mm. The field is generated immediately upon wounding and is present until the wound is healed (Becker 1985, Nuticelli 2002).
- By definition, an acid is something that donates a hydrogen ion H+. A Hydrogen ion is the nucleus of the hydrogen atom, and is a single positive charge. Therefore, by definition an acid is something that donates a positive charge of electricity.
- An acupuncture point is not a small point, but a zone the size of your thumb nail, of increased electrical conductivity, 5-45 mV more positive than surrounding skin, and originally found through palpation as being more tender (Becker 1985). The stimulation of such areas can alter physiological function and are a function of the dermis itself and not the living being. (Ulett 1989, O’Connor and Bensky 1991). Mathematically, at the normal body temperature and pH, 5 mV is equivalent to 0.083 of a pH unit, and 45 mV represents 0.75 pH, which is about as much as normal tissue can accept before cellular damage occurs.
- When tissue is injured, not only is it painful, but the surrounding skin also becomes more sensitive. When tissue is damaged it immediately becomes positively charged (the discharge of injury), and painful, and remains so until healed (Becker 1985). Positive charges can now be equated to pain. The surrounding electric field points away from the injury in all directions (Voet and Voet 1995).
- A chronic injury exists when an injury remains positively charged for more than six weeks. By applying photons, electron equivalents or negative charges, and by using light to make the wound relatively negative, the pain can be alleviated and the wound encouraged to heal. The more positive, the more acidic, the more pain which can be neutralized by 660 nm photons, that are converted to electrons in the tissue to give less positive charges, less acid, and less pain.
- Positive charges, acidity and pain, may now be equated. Acidity is measured on an inverse, logarithmic scale, where the lower number is equivalent to more hydrogen ions. The body normally functions just on the alkaline side of neutral, at a pH of 7.4. Swollen areas stretch the skin creating tension, positively charged areas and pain.
- The energy of the photon depends on the wavelength at the source of the light, not how it was produced (laser, non laser, or candle). The brilliance or intensity is the number of photons passing a point in the beam each second. The power transmitted equals the energy in each photon, multiplied by the intensity (number of photons).
- To stimulate tissue, one must use a photon of an energy that is proportionate to the tissue’s requirement for the continuous replenishment of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), by the respiratory chain of the mitochondria, or other photosynthetic electron transfer systems. Molecules, like atoms, have numerous electronic quantum states of differing energies. Moreover, because molecules contain more than one nucleus, each of their electronic states has an associated series of rotational substrates that are closely aligned in energy values. A given molecule can only absorb photons of a given energy value that closely match its existing energy state. By considering peak solar radiation, the tissue refractive index, and the electrical energy of a hydrogen ion. Mathematically it may be shown that light of 660 nm (+/- 10nm), which by definition is both athermal and non-ionising, would appear to provide the ideal photon energy level.
- When any molecule (tissue or otherwise) absorbs a photon, the photon is converted to an electron and the molecule is considered to be electronically excited. There are four main ways that such a molecule can dissipate its excitation energy (Voet and Voet 1995). Internal conversion to the kinetic energy of molecular motion, i.e. heat; Fluorescence, i.e. re-emit a photon; Resonance energy transfer to nearby unexcited molecules. (This is analogous to the interactions between mechanically coupled pendulums of similar frequencies, and is of particular importance in funneling light energy from antennae proteins to reaction centres); Photo-oxidation, which occurs between redox couples, where the light-excited donor molecule is oxidised by transferring an electron to an acceptor molecule, which is thereby reduced. Only the last two systems are involved in photonic therapy.
- Light has been defined as a transverse pulse of energy travelling longitudinally, where the amplitude of the radius is the feature of importance. In tissue red light of 660 nm is refracted down to about 478 nm equivalent. The refractive index of tissue varies between 1.33 for water, to 1.45 for adipose tissue with a tissue average of 1.38 (Mobley and Vo-Dinh 2003), which would provide a refractive range equivalent of 470 – 500 nm. The solar radiation that reaches earth, peaks in the visible light range at about 450-500 nm.
- An important step in identifying a biological photoreceptor is to compare the absorption and action spectra (Hartman 1983), as a substance largely absorbs when cold, the same spectra emitted when heated. A red light near the 660 nm level increases oxidative phosphorylation (Gordon and Surrey 1960), increases the intracellular concentration of cAMP (Karu 1998), increases b endorphin in human blood (Laasko 1995), and the proliferation of Schwann cells (van Breugel et al. 1993). Irradiation of tissue at higher levels, between 780 – 830 nm, decreased all of the above functions. Hydrogen gas, when exploded emits a reddish-orange flame of 4 distinct bands, being 656, 486, 434, and 410nm, the major one of which is 486 nm. If you take 660 nm, divide by the refractive index of tissue (1.38), we have 478 nm. Therefore, the claim that light can reduce pain can be scientifically substantiated.
- All organisms (bacteria, insects, fish, reptiles, birds, monotremes such as the platypus, and mammals) are sensitive to particular forms of EMR, and have varying arrays of sensors built into their skins, depending on the ecological niche they occupy (Kramer 1990, Manger 1994). Skin is the largest organ in the body representing some 16% in all species. Skin has three main functions, being protective, sensory and thermoregulatory. The two latter functions are controlled by the thalamus and hypothalamus in the base of the brain. As this area contains a major somatotopic map and acts as a primary relay area to other specialized parts of the brain, by stimulating the skin in given patterns, the corresponding areas in the brain are directly stimulated.
- A common fallacy is that the higher the wavelength the greater the penetration. This conception grew from work prior to1990, regarding light penetration into tissue (Kolari 1985, Basford 1989). It may be shown that there is little penetration (< 15 mm) up to 600 nm, due to absorption by the various peptide bonds, chromaphores, porphyrins, haemoglobin, oxyhaemoglobin, and photo-inducible components such as urocanic acid and melanin (Wilson and Jaques 1990). From 600 nm to 700 nm there is a steep rise in penetration (about two and a half times) and then it stays roughly constant to about 1100 nm, with a sharp dip at 960 nm due to the high absorption by water at this level. Above 1100 nm all effects are purely mechanical, due to heat (Anderson and Parrish 1981, Wilson and Jaques 1990, Smith 1991).
- The reason for the sudden rise in penetration (lack of absorption) may be seen as a function of the refractive index of the tissue in reverse. When the external wavelength of 660 nm red light is divided by the refractive index of the tissue (1.33 – 1.45, average value of 1.38), it refracts down to the equivalent of 478 nm, and therefore is highly absorbed.
- There are two immutable conditions that govern all physiological functions, these being the Law of Mass Action, and the body’s requirement for homeostasis. There are numerous messages about the environment from sight, sound, touch, smell, and even taste, going to the brain at any one time. The brain tends to ignore those that are constant, non-harmful, and potentially non-life threatening. Because the body’s electromagnetic sensing system is constant and unseen, it tends to be ignored and is largely transmitted through the autonomic nervous system.
- Electrical energy in the skin is created through EMF potential changes from both exogenous and endogenous reactions. Within the CNS neurones are arranged in histological recognisable layers, where they are and are also organized topographically, and grouped according to function. By using EMF potential changes in the skin at known somatotopic areas on the body provides a simple, safe, scientific, method to promote health.
- The main acid-base regulatory systems in the body are primarily via respiration and secondly through the kidneys, though the body also relies on a series of buffers. When pain occurs, it is not uncommon to see an increase in the depth or rate of breathing. All acid-base reactions must take place with the two substances in contact. In the body, the reduction-oxidation (redox) system also controls acid base balance, but with the difference that redox couples do not have to be in close contact. The application of the light as a photo-synthetic electron donor can assist in this process and reduce pain.
- Muscle fatigue is defined as the inability of a muscle to maintain a given power output. Such fatigue and muscle soreness is not caused by the exhaustion of the muscle’s glycogen supply and the build up of lactate, but the generation of glycolitically generated acid, which can drop the intramuscular pH, from its resting value of 7 to as low as 6.4 Muscles can maintain their work load in the presence of high lactate concentrations, if the pH is kept constant at 7 or above (Voet and Voet 1995, Nicholls and Ferguson 2001). This explains how the use of red light (photons, which get converted into electrons in the tissue) can assist in the recovery and reduce pain.
- All proteins function according to their shape, which also affects their absorption spectrum. As a protein absorbs light it changes shape, and its absorption spectrum, without suffering from destructive interference, which explains why a narrow band monochromatic light is more efficient than a laser in stimulating tissue.
- The safety for persons, from over-dosage when using this equipment is assured, through the factors of redox potential and pH scale function. As redox couples become more oxidised, the possibility for electromagnetic reaction becomes less, while at the same time, the electric potential (being related to the pH), would require logarithmically increasing amounts of energy to effect any pH change.
- An acupuncture needle functions through the production of pressure, which is converted into an electric charge differential, as well as the electrical gradient created between the top and bottom of the wound, plus the discharge of injury on needle withdrawal. The intended purpose of the torch is to produce the same effect as acupressure, which in turn temporarily alleviates pain and assists the body’s natural healing processes. Acupressure and acupuncture work by creating a pressure to change the electric potential of the tissue at predetermined points. The torch creates pressure equivalent to an acupuncture needle or acupressure non-invasively. Physical pressure, measured in dynes or gm/cm2, can be directly related to Newtons (kg/m2).
When an acupuncture needle is inserted into tissue it creates a pressure, which is transduced into an electric potential change. Acupuncture needles may be divided into body with sharp tip and a handle. Common needle gauge range from 26 to 32 with corresponding diameters from 0.45 mm to 0.22 mm, and body lengths of 25-30 mm. A 28 gauge, 0.38mm diameter, 30 mm body is possibly the most frequently used, with such a needle weighing 1.33 gm. When inserted 2.5 cm deep, the potential surface area of the tissue in contact (well of damage) is 2πR*L = 0.2985 cm2. With the pressure applied by the needle being 1.33 gm/ 0.2985 cm2, this equals 4.445 gm/cm2, or the equivalent in Newtons.
If 1 dyne equals 0.00101972 gm/cm2, then the pressure applied by an acupuncture needle is equal to 4359 dynes, or 4.359 Newtons. The energy of light cannot be directly equated to pressure, though mathematically both pressure and the energy of light may be expressed in Newtons, as the Newton, which is a unit of force, can also be interpreted as a unit of weight. The Joule, a unit of energy, can be directly equated to a Newton.
The (2012 model) 5 Watt torch emits 5 Joules/cm2 in any given second from its lens of 1cm2. Thus the 5 Newtons of light energy equates approximately to the 4.359 Newtons produced by the needle. The advantage of light in respect to acupuncture needles is that light is more easily quantifiable, significantly reduces operator variability, and most importantly, is non-invasive.
An acupuncture point is an area of increased electrical conductivity, 5-45 mV more positive than surrounding skin, and originally found through palpation as being tender or more painful than the surrounding skin.
An acupuncture needle functions through the production of pressure, converted into an electric charge differential, as well as the electrical gradient created between the top and bottom of the wound, and the discharge of injury on needle withdrawal.
Stimulate the skin and you stimulate the thalamus and hypothalamus directly and the rest of the brain indirectly. Altering electric potentials of the skin via pressure or to certain forms of visible light is related to the redox potential of the tissue.
By definition, an acid is something that donates a hydrogen ion (H+) or a positive charge of electricity, therefore positive charges, tissue acidity (pH), and pain, may now be equated.
Accepting the electrophysiological function of acupuncture, explains how acupuncture can treat viral diseases, alter physiological conditions even in the anaesthetized patient, prophylacticly reduce bleeding by 70%, treat endocrine conditions such as Cushing’s Disease, or using the concept of ‘Surrounding the Dragon’ can eliminate pain from conditions such as Post Herpetic Neuralgia, amputee phantom pain, post surgery injury and trauma.
In the process of evolution of life on earth, health may be considered as producing maximum growth and productivity at the peak radiation parameters, while disease may be seen as a disadvantageous change in our internal environment’s pH, which can be related to pain, and electromagnetic field potential disturbances. The use of Photonic energy as the therapeutic skin stimulant is quantifiable, scientific, and safe.
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Figure 1. All tissue is negatively charged under pressure, and positively charged under tension.