Dubious Claims Made for Mac Beam InfraRed Devices

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Mac Beam, Inc., of Garden Grove, California, would like you to believe that its patented low-level laser devices can provide a wide range of health benefits. Its Web site states:

Mac Beam has taken Laser technology to an entirely new level. Combining the ancient wisdom of Eastern Medicine with the modern technologies of Western science, the scientists and engineers at Mac Beam have developed a gamut of Low Level Laser Therapy medical devices for treatments ranging from stroke recovery rehabilitation, pain management, diabetes diagnosis and treatment, substance abuse detoxification, needle-less acupuncture treatment therapy, computerized urine and hair analysis, to herbal supplements, and water purification systems. Other researches and developments include products such as: coma recovery systems, stimulated consciousness recovery, blood clot evaporation, non-invasive heart by-pass, cyst and benign tumor reduction, HIV control, hepatitis and liver treatment.

“What can one treat with low-level laser therapy?” As answered by Dr. David Rindge, OMD, Professor of Oriental Medicine, “Nearly anything.” If laser therapy can be delivered at an appropriate dosage and wavelength to the target, hypo functional cells and tissue are likely to accept and use this energy to rejuvenate and to restore function similar to the way you are charging a battery, laser therapy re-energizes depleted cells and tissues. “Light is the medicine of the future”, stated Dr. Jacob Liberman, OD, PhD, past president of the College of Optometry. As phototherapy (low level laser therapy) can either stimulate or inhibit cell activity, Mac Beam device applications range anywhere from regeneration of connective tissues via electrical and photo stimulation, to laser photobiology cell repair of diabetic ulcers, to inhibition of malignant cell growth commonly found in cancer and hepatitis patients [1].

The Web site also states:

The patent application states:

The invention combines techniques and methods from several different areas of medicine into an inventive treatment method. It also enables one to apply acupuncture and moxibustion to regulate Qi in TCM, or Prana in Ayurvedic, or vital life force of Hippocrates, without using metal needles or burning wools.

By using LEDs of five different colors (such as white, blue, green, red, and yellow), one can perform color therapy. According to the TCM, these colors correspond to the five elements of the world. Red and infrared diodes are absorbed by the skin, muscles, tissues, and bones and work at the cellular level. The color red represents the element fire, or the cardiovascular system. Yellow represents the element earth, and provides a neutral/central balance state of the body, as related to the stomach. The yellow lights can be a great stimulant for the nervous system as well as toning muscles (spleen dominates muscle according to TCM). White represents the metal element and transformation of the body system that relates to your lung system, especially allergies. Blue represents the water element that relates to the kidney and your willpower; it is best for calming and gives a relaxing effect on treatment therapy. Green represents the wood element in TCM, which relates to the liver, tendons, and emotional state (stress), harmonizing the bio-electromagnetic energy field that surrounds our body [5].

FDA Approval: Yes and No

Mac Beam further states that six of its models are FDA-approved and "ready to proceed to market" in the United States. Their "areas of treatment" are: "pain management, injure [sic] sport therapy, bone spur control, immune system enhancement, HIV control and pain management control diabetes (type ii), stroke rehabilitation, facial deviation, paralysis and mute." [6]. Its product catalog makes more than a hundred disease-related claims [7]. Does this mean that the devices are approved for the purposes for which they will be marketed? The answer is no. The MB BioEnergy Light Therapy System received FDA approval in 2004 as an infrared lamp that is substantially similar to previously approved infrared devices. The manufacturer asked for approval for providing "temporary increase in local blood circulation, temporary relief of muscle pain, spasms an stiffness, temporary relief of minor joint aches associated with arthritis, and relaxation of muscles." It is common knowledge that heating pads, hot compresses, and heat lamps can provide temporary relief of common aches and pains. The 510(k) approval document permits these "indications for use" but does not authorize marketing for strengthening the immune system or treating any disease [7].

Mac Beam's disease-related claims are not modest. The graphic below illustrates the device intended for diabetes treatment and states that it "enhances metabolism," enhances insulin level" and is "clinically superior to other forms of therapy." The patent application states that it does this by:

a) applying light energy with an ear probe to the mouth area of auricular acupuncture point, a wand at the stomach area of auricular acupuncture point, another wand at the subcortex area of auricular acupuncture point, b) placing another wand 2.0-2.5 inches lateral to the right side of the umbilicus of the patient and another wand at 135.degree. to the umbilicus and about 2-2.5 inches away, c) placing a probe 1.5-2.0 inches above the umbilicus, and another probe at 225.degree. to the umbilicus and about 2.0-2.5 inches away, d) continuing treatment for one week, then e) measuring the glucose level to check if it is stable and decreased and if so, then f) reducing medication to half then repeating steps a-d or, if the glucose level is increased or unstable then g) repeating steps a-d without reducing the medications until the glucose level stays stable and h) continuing the treatment for one to three months.

 

The Bottom Line

Mac Beam's devices have been approved by the FDA as ordinary heat lamps but are being marketed with illegal claims that they can treat a wide range of diseases. The patent application indicates that these claims are based on elaborations of traditional Chinese medicine and ayurvedic medicine theories that manipulating a "vital life force" can exert major healing effects throughout the body. There is no logical reason to believe that the devices will provide what the company promises.

References

  1. The science. Mac Beam Inc. Web site, accessed Dec 24, 2006.
  2. Intellectual property. Mac Beam Inc. Web site, accessed Dec 24, 2006.
  3. Training. Mac Beam Inc. Web site, accessed Dec 24, 2006.
  4. Low level laser technology. Mac Beam Inc. Web site, accessed Dec 24, 2006
  5. Mac B, Iest J, Quach T. Method and apparatus for treating the body. U.S. Patent 20030228463, approved Oct 13, 2005.
  6. Products. Mac Beam Inc. Web site, accessed Dec 24, 2006.
  7. Macbeam instrument catalog. Mac Beam Inc. Web site, accessed Dec 24, 2006
  8. Witten CM. Letter to John Iest, Nov 29, 2004.

This article was posted on December 25, 2006.

Links to Recommended Companies