Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role

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Wen-Long Hu, Yu-Chiang Hung and I-Ling Hung

1. Introduction
Acupuncture has been widely used in the treatment of many diseases for over 2000 years. It is traditionally performed by inserting thin needles into acupuncture points in human body; this is known to affect the functions of various organs. According to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, energy (or Qi) flows through the body along specific paths known as meridians. Any disturbance in this Qi results in an energy imbalance in the body; this imbalance may in turn result in disease. Acupuncture attempts to regulate and restore energy balance by stimulating specific acupoints along the meridians and thereby treat the underlying disease. In 1979, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified 43 conditions that might benefit from acupuncture. In 1996, WHO confirmed 64 indications for acupuncture treatment.
Recently, laser acupuncture (LA) has been used as a complementary and alternative therapy in addition to traditional acupuncture. It was first introduced clinically in the 1970s [1, 2]. LA is defined as the stimulation of traditional acupuncture points with low-intensity, non-thermal laser irradiation [3]. A laser beam is an electromagnetic wave and can stimulate the acupuncture points in the human body by depositing energy without heating. In doing so, the beam excites the channels and properties, regulates the function of organs, and promotes metabolism. It can function as both acupuncture and moxibustion via different frequencies, e.g., the information of the needle type (steel, gold/silver, left/right turn etc.). According to the researchof Manfred Reininger et al, frequencies

(Reininger frequencies: LU= 824 Hz, LI= 553 Hz, ST=
471 Hz, SP= 702 Hz, HT= 497 Hz, SI= 791 Hz, BL= 667 Hz, PC= 530 Hz, TE= 732 Hz, GB= 583,
LR= 442 Hz; Bahr frequencies: B1= 599.5 Hz, B2= 1199 Hz, B3= 2388 Hz, B4= 4776 Hz, B5= 9552 Hz, B6= 19104 Hz, B7= 38208 Hz; Nogier frequencies: A’= 292 Hz, B’= 584 Hz, C’= 1168 Hz, D’= 2336 Hz, E’= 4672 Hz, F’= 9344 Hz, G’= 18688 Hz)

can be applied to acupuncture points to improve the meridian energy. In this chapter, we explore laser acupuncture’s role in modern
medicine with a focus on how it strengthens and promotes the current methods of treatment.

© 2013 Hu et al.; licensee InTech. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use,
distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.206

Acupuncture in Modern Medicine

2. Laser acupuncture vs. acupuncture
Instead of using a metal acupuncture needle, LA uses red or near-infrared light with a
wavelength between 600 and 1000 nm and power between 5 and 500 mW. It is also referred to as low level laser therapy (LLLT), with 0.1–0.5 J/cm 2 being deposited per acupoint, or 1–4 J/cm 2 per Ashi point. Because of the low absorption of laser light by human skin in the given wavelength range, it has been hypothesized that laser light can penetrate deeply into the tissue, where it may have a photobiostimulation effect [4].
LA combines the advantages of traditional Chinese acupuncture and modern laser
medicine. However, in some ways, laser energy may be more suitable than the tradition‐
al needle for stimulating the oscillating energy field of the meridian system. The correct
frequency modulation of the monochromatic laser beam energizes the meridian and
acupuncture point and thereby improves the oscillation of the meridian’s own frequency.
In addition, some patients may avoid acupuncture because of fear of pain and LA may be
less invasive, less painful, and safer than traditional acupuncture. It may also be an
improvement over traditional moxibustion, because it uses similar energy levels but avoids harmful effects related to smoke and heat (Table 1).

3. Review of the clinical literature

3.1. Pain
Assessment of the methods and findings of clinical trials on LA is confounded by the lack
of detail in some studies in the literature. It is also noteworthy that all studies reporting
negative results (no significant benefit of LA compared with control or sham conditions)
lacked details regarding treatment parameters, such as laser power or dose [5].
Treatment Instrument

Invasiveness Sensations Pain

Traditional Needle Invasive Soreness, numbness, Painful

Laser acupuncture
expansion, or pain= none
Low-level laser
Non-invasive. Heat-None or slight
warmth (if > 10 J/cm 2 )

Table 1. Comparison of traditional and laser acupuncture
Painless Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role


3.1.1. Low back pain
Glazov used multiple regression analysis to identify which baseline characteristics predicted pain changes in the immediate, short, and intermediate terms. They found that higher pain scores at baseline predicted greater pain relief after LA for chronic non-specific low back pain.
Adjusted analysis suggested a clinically significant effect on pain with LA compared to sham treatment (P < 0.05), at short term follow-up only [6]. Later, Glazov et al. performed a randomized controlled trial comparing the effects of laser acupuncture (LA) and sham laser treatment in reducing pain and disability in adults with chronic non-specific low back pain. Their results showed no effect of LA in reducing pain using infrared light at 0.2 J/point [7]. A possible reason for this result is dose dependency issue [8].
On the other hand, Fiore et al. [9] examined the short-term effects of high-intensity laser
therapy versus ultrasound therapy for the treatment of low back pain in a randomized
controlled trial without placebo control group. At the end of a 3-week intervention period with 5 treatments per week, participants in the laser therapy group showed a significantly greater decrease in pain and an improvement in related disability compared with the ultrasound group. This study suggests that laser therapy is a promising treatment option for the rehabilitation of low back pain.

3.1.2. Myofascial pain

LA has been used to treat myofascial pain in the masticatory musculature and trapezius
muscles. Some trials focusing on the ability of LA to relieve myofascial pain found negative or contradictory results, which may reflect the poor methodologies used before 2001 [10].
In recent years, randomized controlled trials revealed significant decreases in pain during both rest and activity, and an increase in pain threshold in patients treated with LA compared to those treated with needle-acupuncture and placebo, respectively. Although no definite conclusions can be drawn due to the low number of participants (n = 11), LA may be a good treatment option for patients wanting a noninvasive, complementary therapy [11]. LA appears to be an effective form of acupuncture for the management of these conditions [12].

3.1.3. Temporomandibular dysfunction
The effectiveness of LLLT for the control of pain in patients with temporomandibular
disorder (TMD) has been evaluated in studies with various research designs. In one study, LA was applied to acupuncture points in TMD patients, and the results showed significant pain reduction and improvement in the electromyographic behavior of masseter muscles in maximal habitual occlusion after treatment, but no significant improvement was observed in mandibular movement. This shows that LA may have an effect for controlling pain in TMD patients [13, 14]. 207208

3.1.4. Lateral epicondylitis
LLLT is a conservative treatment for lateral epicondylitis (LE). A recent systemic review
evaluated therapeutic effects of LLLT in treating LE in terms of pain, grip strength, range
of motion (ROM), and weight tests. The results revealed that applying LLLT on myofas‐
cial trigger points is an effective means for pain reduction and also led to increases in grip
force, ROM, and weight test [15]. However, most of the reviewed studies, which were all
several decades old, showed no significant differences between the laser treatment and the
placebo groups [16]. This may be related to dose or wavelength effects. LLLT at optimal
doses of 0.5–7.2 J at 904 nm and possibly 632 nm administered directly to the lateral elbow
tendon insertions, has been shown to offer short-term pain relief and reduce LE disabili‐
ty. No serious side effects were reported in that study. This finding contradicts the
conclusions of the previously mentioned review [16], which failed to assess treatment
procedure, wavelength, or optimal dose [17].
3.1.5. Knee osteoarthritis
Laser acupuncture has been widely used in treating knee osteoarthritis. A study by the Western
Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) found a significant decrease in pain score in
knee osteoarthritis patients treated with LA compared sham treatment [18]. Yurtkuran et al.
used a range of pain indices to investigate the effects and minimum effective dose of LA in
treating this condition. Although they found some pain reduction in the placebo group,
statistically significant reduction in knee circumference was observed only in the laser group.
They concluded that LA was effective in reducing periarticular swelling. They also noticed
different effects for different knee joint acupoints. The most common acupoints they used were
Dubi (ST35) and Neixiyan (EX-LE 4) [19].
3.1.6. Headache
Several randomized controlled trials have found LA to be an effective treatment for headache,
especially in children, including both migraine and chronic tension-type headaches [20, 21].
LA was shown to decrease headache intensity, duration of attacks, as well as number of
headache days per month.
3.2. Other conditions
3.2.1. Obesity
LA has been reported to be effective in weight control. Wozniak (2003) compared the efficacy
of a low-calorie diet with and without concurrent LA in reducing visceral obesity in postme‐
nopausal women. They observed a significantly greater drop in body weight, body mass index,
and waist-to-hip ratio with the combined treatment [22]. More recently, Hu et al. evaluated
the therapeutic effects of LA in subjects with simple obesity using a non-restrictive diet
protocol. Significant reductions in body weight and body mass index were seen after 4 weeksExplore Laser Acupuncture’s Role
of LA treatment. Moreover, patient compliance was high, since this is a comfortable and non-
restrictive diet protocol [23].
3.2.2. Carpal tunnel syndrome
In patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), lower-level-laser therapy plus microamperes
transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) applied to acupuncture points has been
shown to significantly reduce pain. In this study, both subjective (McGill Pain Questionnaire
scores) and objective (sensory and motor latencies and Phalen and Tinel signs) measurements
revealed that this combined approach was effective in treating CTS [24]. Branco examined the
effects of various conservative treatments on CTS patients, including LA, TENS, needle
acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine formulas, pain reductions were significantly
greater with the LA compared to the other treatments, including some patients failed to have
symptom relief after surgical release. Suggested mechanisms of pain reduction they proposed
included increased adenosine triphosphate (ATP) at the cellular level, decreased inflamma‐
tion, and temporarily increased serotonin level [25].
3.2.3. Postoperative vomiting
Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) are frequent side effects of general anesthesia in
children. In 1998, LA was shown to reduce PONV in children after strabismus surgery. In this
study, laser stimulation of PC6 occurred 15 min before administration anesthesia and again
15 min after arriving in the recovery room. In the laser stimulation group, the incidence of
vomiting was significantly lower (25%) than that in the placebo group (85%) [26]. In another
study, Butkovic et al. compared the effectiveness of LA to that of metoclopramide in preventing
PONV in children after sevoflurane anesthesia. There were no statistically significant differ‐
ences between the LA and metoclopramide groups in occurrence or timing of vomiting (P <
0.001). They concluded that LA is equally as effective as metoclopramide in preventing PONV
in children [27].
3.2.4. Smoking cessation
A prospective observational 2 year study showed that the Smokex-Pro method (Table 2)
is an effective aid in smoking cessation. The treatment was well tolerated and showed only
mild and temporary side effects. Additional advantages included lower cost and shorter
treatment duration compared to other smoking cessation programs. However, controlled
clinical trials are still needed to confirm the results of this study and to refine the treatment
for maximum efficacy [28].
3.2.5. Alcohol addiction
Auricular acupuncture has been used in the treatment of alcohol addiction for many years.
Zalewska-Kaszubska et al. performed a study aimed at intensifying this method by adding
Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
laser biostimulation for treatment of patients with alcohol dependence syndrome. The
patients received a single helium-neon laser neck biostimulation and 10 auricular acupunc‐
ture treatments with an argon laser. After 2 months of treatment, improvements in Beck
Depression Inventory-Fast Screen (BDI-FS) scores and increases in beta-endorphin level
were observed. These results suggest that laser therapy can be useful as an adjunct
treatment for alcoholism [29].
3.2.6. Asthmatic children
It has been shown that LA significantly decreases mean weekly PFV as a measurement of
bronchial hyper reactivity in asthmatic children. In this study there were no significant effects
on FEV1, quality of life, or additional medication [30]. Another randomized control trial
concluded that a single LA treatment offers no protection against exercise induced broncho‐
constriction in pediatric and adolescent patients [31].
3.2.7. Neurogenic pruritus
Stellon described successful LA treatment in a 6-year-old girl with neurogenic pruritus of the
abdomen, which was the first case report on LA treatment for this condition. The main
advantage of using low energy laser light to stimulate points, as opposed to using acupuncture
needles, was that it causes little or no sensation during the treatment which is particularly
useful in pediatric population [32].
3.2.8. Depression
Depression is a major public health problem, and there is some evidence supporting the
effectiveness of needle acupuncture in its treatment. Quah-Smith et al. investigated the effects
of LA in treating depression patients and found that Depression Inventory scores decrease
from baseline by 16.1 points in the intervention group and by only 6.8 points in the sham control
group (P < 0.001). However, the beneficial effect was short-lived. The LA was well tolerated,
with transient fatigue being the most common adverse effect [33]. Additional controlled
clinical trials are needed to confirm the results of this study and to refine the treatment for
maximum efficacy.
3.2.9. Nocturnal enuresis
LA therapy has been shown to be significantly more effective in reducing bed-wetting in
primary monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis patients compared to placebo treatment. In
this study, they found no significant effects on maximal voided volume (first morning void
excluded), maximal morning voided volume, voiding frequency, enuresis frequency before
and after treatment, or nocturnal urine production after LA treatment. However, they did
find significant increases in average daytime voided volume compared to the placebo
group. They concluded LA was a safe but inefficient treatment for these patients [34].
However, a different study showed subtle effects on bladder reservoir function after LAExplore Laser Acupuncture’s Role
treatment [35]. In comparison with pharmacological therapy using desmopressin, another
study showed no statistically significant differences in success rates between desmopres‐
sin therapy and LA. LA is an alternative, noninvasive, painless, cost-effective, and short-
term therapy for children with primary nocturnal enuresis, normal bladder function, and
high nighttime urine production [36].
3.2.10. Autonomic nervous activity of night shift workers
Many studies have demonstrated high levels of affective disorders in night-shift workers.
Wu et al. examined the impact of LA on autonomic nervous system (ANS) and heart-
rate variability (HRV) of such workers. Compared with a placebo group, the treatment
group had a statistically significant improvement in high-frequency (HF) HRV, low-
frequency (LF) HRV, and LF:HF HRV ratio. This suggests LA may increase vagal activi‐
ty and suppression of cardiac sympathetic nerves and could be used to help patients who
have circadian rhythm disorders [37].
3.2.11. Whiplash injuries
Following introduction of compulsory seat belt use in cars, whiplash injuries of the cervical
spine have become commonplace. Current treatment approaches resolve symptoms within a
short time in most cases, but a small proportion of patients still develop persistent health
problems. Aigner et al. combined LA with cervical collar treatment and medication (parace‐
tamol and chlormezanone) to treat whiplash patients. They did not observe significantly
greater improvements in any outcome measure at any time for LA compared to the other
treatment protocols [38].
3.2.12. Postural instability
It is well known that the risk of falling is high among elderly people. Bergamaschi compared
the effectiveness of auriculopuncture, ultralow-power LA, and placebo treatment in improv‐
ing postural control in an elderly population. Balance performance was measured on a force
platform before and after treatment. Although the small sample size did not allow reliable
statistical analysis, the observed balance improvements were remarkable, and some differen‐
ces were observed between the two kinds of stimulation. They found that both LA and
auriculopuncture reduced nociceptive interference, thus improving postural control [39].
3.2.13. Peripheral artery disease
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in humans. The use of acupuncture
as a complementary and alternative treatment for cardiovascular disease has been suggested
in both humans and animals. Possible advantages of using acupuncture are the low cost of
treatment and the low risk of collateral damage when used in combination with other medical
treatments. In 2010, a trial was performed to compare the effects of traditional acupuncture
and LA on arterial pressure and peripheral circulation of the inferior limbs in patients with
Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
circulatory deficiencies. The results showed that only those treated with LA exhibited a
significant increase in systolic pressure in their lower limbs, with a resulting improvement in
Revascularization Index. This suggests that different stimuli on acupuncture points generate
different variations of peripheral resistance in the lower limbs [40].
3.2.14. Cerebral cortical and subcortical activations
As recent studies have demonstrated, acupuncture can elicit activity in specific areas of the
brain. Siedentopf et al. investigated the cerebral effects of LA at both GB43 acupoints with
functional magnetic resonance imaging. Their results showed that LA produced significant,
predominantly ipsilateral, brain activation within the thalamus, nucleus subthalamicus,
nucleus ruber, the brainstem, and the Brodmann areas 40 and 22. No significant brain activa‐
tions were observed within the placebo group. The fact that the observed effects were primarily
ipsilateral supports the assumption that LA is mediated by meridians, since they do not cross
to the other side of the body [41].
4. Discussion and conclusions
LA is a non-invasive technique involving the stimulation of traditional acupoints with low-
intensity, non-thermal laser irradiation. Its clinical application is widespread even though its
mechanisms are not well understood. LLLT can decrease inflammation by reducing the levels
of biochemical markers (prostaglandin E2, messenger ribonucleic acid cyclooxygenase-2,
IL-1β, TNF-α), neutrophil influx, oxidative stress, edema, and hemorrhaging [42]. Analgesia
induced by laser phototherapy is mediated by peripheral opioid receptors [43], however LA
has both local and distant analgesic effects that may be mediated by different mechanisms.
LA combines the positive effects of traditional acupuncture with LLLT. Compared with
needle-based methods for manipulating Qi, LA has the advantages of being non-invasive and
aseptic. Moreover, it is painless and safe because no heat is generated during the procedure,
and it is more effective in some medical condition and requires less time than needle-based
acupuncture [23]. No side effects or complications resulting from LA have been reported in
any study so far.
We have presented evidence supporting the use of LA in the treatment of various types of
acute and chronic pain, postoperative nausea and vomiting, nocturnal enuresis, alcohol
addiction, smoking cessation, obesity, and cerebral cortical activation (Table 2). Inappropriate
selection of points and frequencies, insufficient energy and therapeutic sessions will lead to a
failure in laser acupuncture therapy. Further studies are needed to better define optimal
treatment parameters, including wavelength, dose, and intensity, and to maximize the
physiological benefit and cost effectiveness of treatment (Figure 1). In conclusion, LA integra‐
tes traditional acupuncture with LLLT, and is effective in treating many conditions. In the
hands of an experienced physician, LA can be an effective alternative treatment method in
modern medicine.Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role
Study Subjects Design Parameters Acupoints Intervention Results
Fiore et Low back RCT 1064 nm, 760 Trigger points 5 times/ week Greater decrease in
al, 2011 pain for 3 weeks pain and an
[9] n=30 Katsoulis Myofascial NR, 690 nm, 40 et al, pain blind mW, 40–60 J, 2010 n=108 control 15 min
mJ/cm 2 , pw
improvement of
related disability
ST6, SI18, SI3, LI4
Twice a week Pain reduction >
for 3 weeks 50%
Hotta et TMD Case GaAlAs laser, Once a week Improve painful
al, 2010 n=10 series 780 nm; 70 for ten symptoms and
mW, 35 J/cm 2 sessions electromyographic
LI4, HT3, ST6, ST7
activities of
masseter muscles
Mazzetto TMD RCT, GaAlAs laser, Affected condyle Twice a week Immediate decrease
et al, n=40 double- 830 nm, 40 lateral pole: for 4 weeks of painful symptoms
blind mW, 5 J/cm2 superior, and increased range
anterior, of mandibular
posterior, movements
Ren et al, Knee OA
2010 n=41
Thrice a week Improve the pain,
laser, 650 nm,
ST35 and EX-LE 4
for 2 weeks, stiffness and
36 mW; and then twice a functional limitation
CO 2 laser, 1006 week for of knee
nm, 200mW, 40 4weeks
Hz; 2 min
Yurtkura Knee OA
n et al, n=52
5 times per Reducing
mW/cm 2 , 4 week for 2 periarticular
2007 mW, 0.48 J, 120 weeks swelling
[19] s Gottschli Headache
ng et al, n=43
904 nm, 10
SP 9
30 mW, 830 Frontal: LI4, ST36; Once a week Headache
nm, cw, 3.8 lateral: TE5, over 4 weeks decreased
2008 W/cm 2 , 0.9 J/ GB34; occipital: [20] point, 30 s SI3, BL60;
Ebnesha Tension
hidi et al, 2005
GaAsAl laser, LU7, LI4, GB14, Thrice a week Improvement for
Headache 830nm, 39 GB20 bilaterally for 10 sessions headache intensity,
n=50 mW/cm 2 , 1.3 J/ median duration of
point, 43s attacks, and median
number of days
with headache per
Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
Study Subjects Design Parameters Acupoints Intervention Results
Wozniak Viseral RCT 900 Hz, 24 mW, CV12, ST36, ST25, Twice a week Higher efficacy in
et al, obesity after 0.1 J, 10–15 s/ LR3, PC6, HT7; with low- lowering body
2003 menopause point, 150 s auriculotherapy: calorie diet for weight, body mass
[22] n= 74 55, 87 6 weeks index and waist-to-
Hu et al, Simple Case GaAlAs laser, Stomach, Thrice a week Reduce body weight
2010 obesity series 785 nm, 50 Hunger, ST25, with and body mass
[23] n=95 (M/F mW, 0.25 J/ ST28, ST40, SP15, non-restrictive index
22/73) point CV9 diet for 4 632.8 nm, cw, PC7
Naeser et CTS
al, 2002 n=11
35 to 45 min, Significant
15 mW on thrice a week decreases in MPQ
shallow for 3-4wk score, median nerve
acupoints; 904 sensory latency, and
nm, pulsed, 9.4 Phalen and Tinel
W on deeper signs
Branco et CTS open HeNe laser, 670 PC7, 8, 9; LU9, 10, Thrice a week 33 of 36 hands
al, 1999 n=36 protocol nm, cw, 5 mW, 11; LI1, 4; TE1, 5; for 4-5 weeks (91.6%) no pain, or
study 1-7 J/point, SI1
pain reduced by
TENS; 904 nm,
more than 50%
pw, 10 W, 1 J/
point and/or
Schlager PONV
et al, n=91
670 nm, 10
mW, cw, 30 s
15 min before Lower incidence of
induction of PONV (25%)
1998 anaesthesia
[26] and 15 min
after arriving
in the recovery
Butkovic PONV
et al, n=120
GaAlAs laser,
15 min before Equally effective as
780 nm, 20 induction metoclopramide in
2005 mW, cw, 1 J/ of anesthesia preventing PONV
[27] point, 60 s For 24 months Long-term
Breivogel Smoking prospect Smokex-Pro Defined regions et al, cessation ive method in the ear and abstinence rates
2011 n=156 observat (electric nose were 49.3% (1 year)
ional stimulation and and 47.95% (2
study laser at 650 nm, years)
1.5 mW, 10 Hz)Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role
Study Subjects Design Parameters Acupoints Intervention Results
Zalewska Alcohol Case HeNe laser Neck and For 20 days Improved BDI-FS
– addiction series 632.8 nm, 25 auricular and increase in
Kaszubsk n=53 mW (neck); acupoints: 82, 83, beta-endorphin
a et al, Argon laser, 87, 51, 55 level
2004 514 nm, 100
mW, 10 s (ear)
Stockert Asthmatic
670 nm,10 mW, LU1, 5, 7, 9, 11; et al, children 20 s/point up to LI4, 6, 19, 20; weekly Peak flow
2007 n=17 16 points + BL13, 17, 18, 20, variability and days
probiotics 21, 23; ST13, 25, of acute febrile
36, 40, 44; SP3, 6, infections
For 10 weeks
Decreased mean
9, 10; HT3, 5, 7;
SI3; KI3, 6, 8, 27;
PC6; TE5, 15;
GB3, 34, 40, 41;
LR2, 3, 8, 13; CV4,
6, 9, 17, 21; GV4,
Quah- Depression
Smith et n=30
100 mW, 0.5 J, LR14, CV15, Twice weekly BDI scores fell from
5 s CV14, HT7, LR8 for 4 weeks baseline by 16.1
al, 2005 then weekly points in the test
[33] for a further 4 group and by 6.8
weeks points in the control
Karaman Nocturnal RCT, 635~670 nm, < CV3, 4, 6, and Thrice a week Decreased the mean
et al, enuresis in single 5 mW, 1 min/ bilateral SP6, for 4 weeks number of weekly
2011 childern, blind point ST36 [34] n=91 Radvansk Monosympt RCT, 670 nm, 20 s GV20, HT7, ST36, Thrice a week Increase in average
a et al, omatic single- SP6, LR3, KI3, in the daytime voided
2011 nocturnal blind CV3, CV4, BL23, first 2 weeks, volume
[35] enuresis GV4 then Twice a
week in the
next 3 weeks
Wu et al, Healthy Case 830 nm, 60mW,
2009 night shift series 9.7 J/cm 2 , 10
[37] worker
Single Increase vagal
treatment activity and
suppression of
cardiac sympathetic
Bergama Postural prelimin 0.03 mW, BL60, KI3, Single Reduce nociceptive
schi et al, instability ary 100Hz, 0.3 mJ/ Auriculotherapy treatment interference and
2011 n= 34 report point zones
improve postural
Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
Study Subjects Design Parameters Acupoints Intervention Results
Cunha et Peripheral RCT AlGaAs laser, 10 acupoints Single Increase in systolic
al, 2010 artery 650 nm, 2.4 treatment pressure of lower
[40] disease J/cm 2
limbs, improvement
in Revascularization
Siedento Healthy
pf et al, male
2005 n=22
10 mW, 670
nm, cw
Time series Significant brain
RARARARAR activations within
(on: A/off: R) the thalamus,
nucleus ruber,
Brodmann areas 40
and 22
Aigner et Whiplash
al, 2006 [38]
HeNe laser, B10, B40, G20, Thrice a week No statistically
injury 632.8 nm, cw, 5 G34, TE5, SI6, for three significant
n=45 mW, 0.075 J/ LG14; ear points weeks advantage in the
cm 2 , 15 s 29, 37, 41, 55
acute or chronic
Table 2. Summary table of clinical researches into laser acupuncture
BDI-FS: Beck Depression Inventory–Fast Screen, CTS: carpal tunnel syndrome, cw: continuous
wave, MPQ: McGill Pain Questionnaire, NR: non-randomized, OA: osteoarthritis, PONV:
Postoperative nausea and vomiting, pw: pulsed wave, RCT: randomized controlled trial, TMD:
temporomandibular disorders.
Figure 1. Graph of the therapeutic effects of laser acupuncture divided into psychological (pink) and physiological (dark blue) effects. The latter is determined by the shown factorsExplore Laser Acupuncture’s Role

Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role

Author details
Wen-Long Hu 1,2,3,4 , Yu-Chiang Hung 1,2 and I-Ling Hung 1
1 Department of TCM, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan
2 Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taiwan
3 Kaohsiung Medical University College of Medicine, Taiwan
4 Fooyin University College of Nursing, Taiwan

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