Beth Hummel’s experience with heat laser treatments led her into a new practice in Sisters. photo by Jodi Schneider
Beth Hummel’s experience with heat laser treatments led her into a new practice in Sisters. photo by Jodi Schneider
Last summer Sisters Elementary School nurse Beth Hummel took a leap of faith and bought a class IV heat laser, a powerful therapeutic instrument that uses focused light to stimulate a process called photobiomodulation (PBM). It marked the launch of her new business, Hummel Massage and Laser Therapy.

With 23 years in nursing and 15 years as a massage therapist, Hummel was eager to begin a new chapter using the healing light source that changed her life, moving her on the road to recovery from chronic back pain.

“I was working in a hospital setting over 20 years ago when a patient fell on me,” Hummel told The Nugget. “It hurt my back and I was in chronic pain. Then a couple of years ago when I was working as the school nurse at SES, a district physical therapist saw how painful it can be for me to get out of my chair and said I should try deep tissue heat laser.”

Hummel made an appointment with the physical therapist’s friend in Central Oregon who uses laser therapy.

She said, “I had tried everything else. I did a series of treatments, and after that I was pain free. The laser therapist taught me about how the laser worked and that piqued my interest.”

She added, “The laser is amazing. It simply is a light source. The light goes into the cells, and this being a deep penetrating laser, gets through into the deeper areas where the cells are typically dormant due to an injury, lack of blood flow, inflammation, and old or acute injuries.”

Laser therapy generates a photochemical response in damaged tissue with the PBM process, which then stimulates healing on a cellular level by enabling cells to more rapidly produce energy (ATP).

“Simply put: The light goes into the cells, wakes those cells up and gets the cells active again,” Hummel explained. “The cells then start producing ATP, which is like cellular gasoline. The cell is now a happy healthy and productive cell that can heal our bodies, which it is meant to do, yet the injury has held the cells back.

“The big key factor is increased range of motion and decreased inflammation. It’s noninvasive and drug free.”

Hummel and her husband Rich moved to Sisters from Washington in 2001 with their first child. Rich worked at Sisters Athletic Club as a personal trainer and Hummel worked as a pediatric nurse in Bend. Rich is now a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) at Green Ridge Physical Therapy in Sisters.

Hummel noted, “In 2005 I attended Central Oregon Community College and got licensed as a message therapist. I left nursing for a while and worked at Shibui Spa when it was first built.”

In 2014 after working as a massage therapist at Green Ridge Physical Therapy for seven years Hummel reentered the world of nursing.

“I felt like I wasn’t done with that part of my life,” she said. “But I was struggling about this for a while. There’s a piece of me that has been in that tug of war between eastern theory medicine vs. the western medicine, nursing, and how I can find that sweet spot in between.”

Hummel’s job as the school nurse transitioned to working remotely at home when the pandemic struck, and she had time to think about a career shift.

She said, “I got sideswiped because that eastern side of me that’s all about healing was still calling to me. I want to be in Sisters without working in a clinical setting. I love helping people and love getting people back to doing what they love. That’s what really resonates with me. I wanted to find the right niche for myself and live in this amazingly active community.”

Hummel went ahead and got certified for class IV heat laser treatments.

“I knew I wanted to launch my new full-time laser business this summer,” Hummel said, “All the laser therapy I have done so far has been word of mouth. But I would like the community to know about my new business.”

“I stick by the COVID-19 regulations and am very cautious. All the equipment and everything in the laser therapy room in my home gets sanitized before each client. Masks are required. Sessions last anywhere from 7 to 30 minutes”

Hummel began treating a few people for free such as family and friends to see how it worked and for her to get more comfortable using the laser. She continues some massage but wants to emphasize her laser therapy.

“Laser therapy sometimes seems intimidating and people are kind of mystified by it. However, it’s really comfortable, pleasant, and warm,” she said.

Hummel Massage & Laser Therapy hours are Monday through Friday, with flexibility. Call 541-550-6234 for an appointment.

“Between 9 to 5 would be ideal but I will take an evening appointment if necessary. It’s usually 6 to 12 treatments depending on the body part and how much they use it,” Hummel said.