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Shepherd University officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday for the expansion of a pain clinic at the school.
The clinic uses a process called photobiomodulation, or PBM. It uses laser light therapy to reduce pain from degenerative diseases.
A PBM bed is included in the university’s Wellness Center expansion and will be used to help those in and around the school’s community. The school received $500,000 through the state’s federal COVID relief funds for the clinic’s expansion.
“The application could be for young and old, healthy and sick,” said James Carroll, CEO of THOR Photomedicine. His company manufactures PBM beds.
“We know with athletes that it’s very good; if you pretreat before training, you have less fatigue, you have less muscle soreness due to less inflammation,” Carroll said. “But then if you’re older, and you have degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis – that’s an inflammatory joint disease – it would reduce the inflammation and therefore they’ll have less pain.”
Praveen Arany is the interim director for Shepherd’s PBM Center for Excellence. He says the process is similar to exercising or taking supplements, helping build resistance against long-term health issues.
“It’s a non-drug, non-interventional, non-invasive procedure; it’s just like treatment,” said Arany. “The advantage of that is there are no known side effects. And more importantly, it works on the wellness or the resilience of the people (being treated).”
The university plans to use the technology to research PBM’s effect on long COVID fatigue and opioid addiction.
Wellness Center director Jennifer Flora says she sees this as a starting point for even more expansion.
“When this building was developed, we labeled it a Wellness Center with hopes to offer additional wellness services – and we do on a very small scale,” Flora said. “It’s really rewarding to actually have an additional wellness service to really live up to our name.”
The Shepherd University Wellness Center is offering three free sessions to the general public starting Wednesday.