Donna Karaz, a stop smoking therapist with Azure Medical Spa, demonstrates the use of cold laser therapy on ‘patient’ Tiffany Rego. *Photo by B. Candace Ray
Donna Karaz, a stop smoking therapist with Azure Medical Spa, demonstrates the use of cold laser therapy on ‘patient’ Tiffany Rego. *Photo by B. Candace Ray

Bad breath, burn holes, isolation, anxiety, addiction — does this sound familiar?

You hate the habit, but have been smoking so many years you feel trapped in a cloud of your own making, tied to the ashtray, or attached to the cigarette bin outdoors and now choked by the cost.

That they’re called ‘coffin nails’ is no surprise when you consider the shortness of breath, cough and poor circulation that accompany the pastime.

And pastime it is. You use cigarettes to keep your hands busy while waiting for friends; to look involved in what’s going on around you when you’re alone, or to appear sophisticated in an uncomfortable setting. It’s a crutch akin to the days of lollypops in kiddy-land.

You’ve tried to quit; you really have, but found it difficult to stay focused when what you really wanted was to smoke. That cigarette is as much your enemy as your friend.

You might have succeeded ‘cold turkey’ 15 years ago, or even five years ago, had you had the necessary self-discipline.

But smoking is an addiction and it is not easily withdrawn from a body dependent upon it. Nicotine gum and patches have prompted smokers to attempt giving up the habit, and perhaps some do. Nothing is 100 per cent, however.

Here in Bermuda, Azure Medical Spa & Wellness Center boasts of a 95 per cent success rate in curbing those cravings. Its ‘stop smoking laser therapy’, in which cold laser light is directed at the same points that acupuncture addresses, promises that clients will quit the habit after their first one-hour appointment.

According to laser therapist Donna Karaz, the treatment satisfies the physical body and reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms, so that a client’s 20-second temptation fades before any ‘chemical hit’ compromise is made.

Ms Karaz said: “The odd thought… passes quickly and without anxiety.”

The treatment takes about 40 minutes, according to the therapist, who noted the programme’s cost-effectiveness, time effectiveness and absence of needles or pain.

Ms Karaz accompanies the laser therapy session with hints clients can use to get past the times of day they would normally have had a cigarette — with coffee after a meal or during a break, with an alcoholic beverage or in the company of another smoker.

“Our clients are surprised that they get to sit back and relax, sip on some water and just listen to us as we talk them through the process of quitting, while we do their laser therapy.

“We explain to them how the laser is working with this type of addiction, why it’s so successful and how, if they follow our suggestions, they can achieve that smoke-free life they always hoped and prayed for.”

Succeeding this first session is a 30-minute ‘boost’ within the first two weeks and a 30-minute complimentary follow-up treatment.

“I call these [further] treatments a ‘reward for not smoking’,” Ms Karaz said.

Azure Medical Spa’s stop smoking laser therapy is priced at $499, or the equivalent of six cartons of cigarettes at $80 per carton.

The payback comes in the 1,200 cigarettes you will not have smoked following the treatment and all that would have come in the years thereafter.

Noting that the points to which the laser is directed support key organs and bodily systems and assist in the excretion of built-up nicotine and toxins, Ms Karaz said: “Our programme is medically supervised by Dr Elaine Hodgson, MD.”

The technology has existed in Canada for over 20 years, according to the therapist, with no negative side effects. Azure Spa has offered Stop Smoking Laser Therapy these last two years.

Ms Karaz said: “A lot of the doctors, pharmacies and healthcare professionals are showing support and referring people to the programme.”

According to the therapist, clients returning for their boost report less stress, better sleep, improved breathing, lack of smoker’s cough, increased energy and a sense of wellbeing.

Referring to one in particular, she said: “Marilyn looks so different. Her skin improved right away. There is more light in her eyes and a big smile on her face. Her cough has now completely stopped, and she is so excited to tell her doctor, this week, that she finally did quit smoking.”

“Laser really helps take the edge off… It helps (her) to deal with life in a calm effective way.”

Tammy Moniz was also a client of Azure Medical Spa. In early August she wrote: “I quit smoking immediately after receiving the laser treatment and have been smoke-free for almost two months now… There was no pain or tingling or anything like that. I was wondering to myself if it was even working because for the first 30 minutes of the treatment, I still had the overwhelming urge to run out and smoke a cigarette. By the end of the treatment, the urge was completely gone.”

Ms Moniz added: “I would recommend the treatment to anyone who is truly ready to commit to quitting. If you are not fully ready to quit, I don’t think any treatment will work. This treatment works to help get you over the physical addiction to cigarettes, so that you can focus on breaking the habit.”

Azure Medical Spa & Wellness Center offers free evening information sessions on stop smoking laser therapy. You’ll meet the laser technicians, learn about the programme, have your questions answered and enjoy light refreshments.

Azure can accommodate 20, so please call 232-7333 to register for the next one.