By Sharon Gittleman
On a business trip to Hong Kong, Craig Nabat made a big mistake.
“I was a former smoker. I quit for seven years,” he said. “I picked up one cigarette and found myself smoking like a maniac.”
Patches and gums didn’t help him stop smoking, Nabat said.
“I heard about this process in Canada. With one 30 minute treatment, I broke my addiction,” he said.
Nabat was so excited about the new therapy, he opened his own treatment center in Los Angeles in October, 2003. Last week, he brought the unique approach to relieving nicotine addiction to Royal Oak, where he opened Freedom Laser Therapy.
“We use a low level laser that stimulates energy points on the hands, face and ears,” he said. “It virtually relieves all the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.”
When a smoker quits he goes through a state of withdrawal, Nabat said.
“The nicotine is leaving the system and the body is saying, ‘I need more nicotine.’ The laser masks a similar endorphin rush a smoker would normally get from nicotine,” he said. “It helps smokers through the crucial detox period, which is the first 72 hours.”
Most smokers need seven to ten days to quit smoking, he said. Once the drug has left their bloodstreams, the psychological draw is the next enemy.
While they undergo their treatment, Freedom Laser Therapy clients watch a video offering them tips for living a nicotine-free life.
“All nicotine urges pass within three minutes,” he said.
When smokers reach for a cigarette, their mental and physical status changes, he said.
“The nicotine causes a natural high, an endorphin rush that reaches your brain in seven seconds,” he said. “It’s a physical and psychological rush. In just two weeks, you can become totally addicted to them.”
While the pleasures of smoking are nearly instantaneous, Nabat said the serious damage caused by the addiction is a distant future threat.
“Smoking cigarettes is like a slow bullet,” he said. “They don’t see it coming at them.”
Most smokers don’t think about the fact that there are 4,700 toxins in one cigarette, including 60 cancer-causing substances, said Nabat.
“In all reality a cigarette is just a transportation system to get the narcotic nicotine in the body,” he said. “Seventy percent of people smoking want to quit but they can’t.”
Nabat said his Los Angeles center has treated 2,300 people. While the one-time painless 30 minute treatment costs $399, if people need a second bout of therapy, they’ll only pay $30, he said.
“I know from follow-up phone calls, nine out of ten of our clients have quit,” he said.
Freedom Laser Therapy is establishing its own clinical trial based on its specific treatment process over the next month, Nabat said.
Nabat said both of his high-tech centers use an ultra-modern approach to smoking cessation.
“You’re sitting back in a comfortable leather chair and watching waves crash on a video,” he said. “A soothing voice is telling you how you should get off smoking, why you should get off smoking and why your life will be better because of it.”
Nabat hopes to help mend more than people’s smoking addictions. He has created a foundation called the Cleft Lip Surgery Fund, an organization designed to help pay to repair a problem that afflicts thousands of newborns, he said.
“I was born with a cleft lip,” he said. “One out of 700 children is born with a cleft lip. They’ve found it’s related to mothers smoking during their pregnancy. It costs $20,000, on the average, to fix.”
You can visit Freedom Laser Therapy at 401 S. Washington in Royal Oak or call them at 248-547-5600. For more information, look to their web page at www.freedomlasertherapy.com on the Internet.