A lame horse led one woman to help others using an unconventional treatment. Katie Baldwin reports.
Clare Barker has treated top flight footballers, athletes who represent Great Britain and even ballet dancers.
But Clare isn’t a physiotherapist, as you might expect.
She offers Cold Laser Therapy, which is also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), and is used to improve tissue repair, reduce inflammation and pain.
The treatment has been proven to help relieve pain in areas like the neck and also in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
Clare says it also has many other uses, including helping wounds heal and treating muscle, tendon, bone or nerve damage.
“Because the light beam triggers the repair of damaged cells in its path, without the need for the therapist to identify the exact problem, it can lead to a reduction or resolution of hundreds of different illnesses or conditions,” she said.
“I have treated a huge range of conditions, from damaged or severed nerves to horrendous wounds that refuse to heal with conventional medicine.”
She learned about LLLT in an unusual way – through her horse, when it was lame and the treatment was suggested.
“I thought ‘if it can do this with horses, what can it do for people?’,” she said.
The 46-year-old was so taken with its success, that she had a complete career-change.
Previously she’d worked in the financial and legal sectors, but also trained for two years as a midwife, which has proved vital in her new role offering LLLT.
After first starting to treat horses and dogs, she was asked by owners whether she could help them.
“As I could provide evidence of training in anatomy and physiology during my time in the NHS I was able to access train and qualify as a human therapist too,” she said.
Since then she spent two years providing LLLT to footballers at Huddersfield Town.
“I did it on three players and it worked,” she said.
“After that all the players said ‘I want that’. I had a queue of eight to 10 people having rehab every day.”
The treatment was so popular, she said, that in the end the club bought their own treatment equipment.
Clare, who has a new base at Thorpe Park Hotel and Spa in Colton, Leeds, gave up her full-time job to devote all her time to developing her own practice.
Clients so far have included professional cyclists, ballet dancers, rugby players and members of the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Team.
When seeing a client, she draws up a treatment protocol to plan how many sessions they will need.
“If I encounter anything I haven’t treated before, I go to the medical director of Thor Photomedicine – the manufacturers of the equipment I use – for advice.
“He will then review all the available research and write me a treatment protocol if appropriate.”
She says her clients have included doctors, despite some being sceptical about the benefits, and people with longstanding injuries such as whiplash 15 years ago.
One client says her treatment was so successful that it meant she did not need surgery recommended by her doctor – but which was impossible because of her job.
Hayley Chapman, 33, who runs her own secretarial firm UniquePA.com, had suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands for five years.
“It stops circulation, which is a massive problem when you’re a typist,” she said.
Her doctor suggested an operation, but she could not afford to take the six-week recovery period off work.
After looking online, she found Clare and thought she would try LLLT – and the results were dramatic. Not only did symptoms improve, a ganglion cyst on her hand disappeared.
“I was as sceptical as they come,” said Hayley, from Monk Fryston near Selby.
“After eight sessions, I wasn’t having any problems whatsoever. I was absolutely delighted.”
Clare added: “It can be a quick cure but you cannot guarantee that and people need to stick with it to get results,” she added.
Log on to www.cold-laser-therapy.co.uk or call 07523 851907.