Laser research: Acupuncture abstract and studies


The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. 38, No. 5, 861–867 © 2010 World Scientific Publishing Company Institute for Advanced Research in Asian Science and Medicine

Clinical Observations on Laser Acupuncture in Simple Obesity Therapy

Wen-Long Hu,*,y,z Chih-Hao Changy,z,x and Yu-Chiang Hung*
*Department of Chinese Medicine
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Kaohsiung Medical Center
Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taiwan
yKaohsiung Medical University College of Medicine, Taiwan
zFooyin University College of Nursing, Taiwan
xDivision of Chinese Internal Medicine
Kaohsiung Municipal Chinese Medical Hospital, Taiwan


Objective: A previous study has shown that laser acupuncture is a useful healing method for the treatment of visceral postmenopausal obesity in combination with a low-calorie diet. We observe and evaluate the therapeutic effect of laser acupuncture in subjects of simple obesity with a non-restrictive diet protocol. Background data: Subjects included 73 women and 22 men with simple obesity and body mass indices _ 27 kg=m2. Daily energy intake recommendations for obese females and males were 1620.0 and 1894.2 kcal in average, respectively.
Methods: The gallium aluminum arsenide Handylaser Trion was used to apply 0.25 J of energy to each of the following acupuncture points three times per week for four consecutive weeks: Stomach, Hunger, ST25, ST28, ST40, SP15, and CV9. The subjects’ body weights and body mass indices were recorded before treatment, and four weeks after treatment, and the percent reduction in each parameter was calculated.

Results: Statistically significant reductions in body weight and body mass index were detected after four weeks of treatment. The mean reduction and mean percent reduction in body weight were 3.17 kg and 3.80% (p < 0:0001), respectively. The corresponding values for the body mass index were 1:22 kg=m2 and 3.78% (p < 0:0001), respectively.
Conclusions: We concluded that laser acupuncture was found to exert a therapeutic effect on simple obesity by reducing both body weight and body mass index. Moreover, subjects showed good compliance with this comfortable and non-restrictive diet protocol.


Photomedicine and Laser Surgery Volume 30, Number 9, 2012

Electrophysiological Effects of Single Point Transcutaneous 650 and 808nm Laser Irradiation of Rat Sciatic Nerve: A Study of Relevance for Low-Level Laser Therapy and Laser Acupuncture

Electrophysiological Effects of Single Point Transcutaneous 650 and 808nm Laser Irradiation of Rat Sciatic Nerve: A Study of Relevance for Low-Level Laser Therapy and Laser Acupuncture

Roberta Chow, MB BS (Hons), Ph.D., Weixing Yan, Ph.D., and Patricia Armati, Ph.D.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate effects of transcutaneous 650 and 808nm laser irradiation (LI) to a single point overlying rat sciatic nerve; a comparison to four point LI and relevance to the clinical application of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and laser acupuncture (LA).

Background data: Transcutaneous LI inhibits somatosensory and motor conduction when delivered to four points overlying sciatic nerve; however, effects of the same total energy delivered to a single point over the nerve, equating to laser acupuncture, are undefined.

Methods: Transcutaneous 808 nm, 450mW, (13.5 or 54 J) continuous wave (cw) mode or 650 nm, 35mW, (1.1 or 4.4 J), cw LI or sham LI, was applied for 30 or 120 sec to a single point overlying the midpoint of rat sciatic nerve. Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs) were then recorded after 10 and 20 min, and after 24 and 48 h.

Results: 120 sec of 808nm LI increased SSEP amplitudes only at 10 min, with no effect of 30 or 120 sec at other time points on SSEPs or on CMAPs. LI 650nm for 30 or 120 sec did not alter SSEPs or CMAPs at any time point.

Conclusions: Localized transcutaneous 808 LI to a single point overlying sciatic nerve increases SSEP amplitudes when compared with delivery of the same total energy to four points, which causes decreased SSEP amplitudes and conduction block. Therefore, the area and duration of delivery are important, independent variables with implications for clinical delivery of both LLLT and LA.

Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. Volume 27, Number 2, 2009

Study of Autonomic Nervous Activity of Night Shift Workers Treated with Laser Acupuncture

Jih-Huah Wu, Ph.D.,1 Hsin-Yang Chen, M.S.,2 Yu-Ju Chang, M.S.,3 Hung-Chien Wu, M.D.,4 Wen-Dien Chang, M.S.,5,6 Yi-Jing Chu, B.E.,5 and Joe-Air Jiang, Ph.D.5


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of laser acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system (ANS) of the night shift worker.

Background data: Many articles have demonstrated that levels of affective disorders and stress are high in night shift workers. We applied laser energy to the Neiguan point (PC6) to examine the impact of laser acupuncture on the ANS of 45 healthy young males who were night shift workers and evaluated their heart-rate variability (HRV).

Materials and Methods: The laser group (n 15) received laser acupuncture (9.7 J/cm2, 830 nm) for 10 min, and the placebo group (n 15) received sham laser treatment.
The effects before and after this intervention on the HRV of the subjects were assessed, along with those seen after 30 min of lying down.

Results: After treatment and after the 30-min rest period, the independent sample t-test showed that both groups exhibited statistically significant differences in high-frequency (HF) HRV, low-frequency (LF) HRV, and the LF:HF ratio of HRV (p  0.05). Compared with the placebo group, the paired samples t-test showed that after laser treatment the treatment group had a statistically significant improvement in HF HRV (p 0.001), LF HRV (p 0.001), and the LF:HF HRV ratio (p 0.02).

Conclusions: Laser acupuncture stimulation applied to the Neiguan point increased vagal activity and suppression of cardiac sympathetic nerves. This effect was positive and could be used to help patients who have circadian rhythm disorders.

Lasers in Medical Science

ISSN: 0268-8921 (printed version)
ISSN: 1435-604X (electronic version)

Abstract Volume 15 Issue 1 (2000) pp 57-62
Specific Effects of Laserpuncture on the Cerebral Circulation

G. Litscher (1), L. Wang (1), M. Wiesner-Zechmeister (2)

(1) Biomedical Engineering, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Graz, Graz, Austria
(2) European Forum for Lasertherapy and Fractal Medicine

Paper received 10 May 1999; accepted after revision 23 August 1999.

Abstract: Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has developed over thousands of years. We studied the effects of laser puncture, needle acupuncture, and light stimulation on cerebral blood flow in 15 healthy volunteers (mean age 25.0±1.9 years, 5 female, 10 male) with non-invasive transcranial Doppler sonography. In addition 40-Hz stimulus-induced brain oscillations, heart rate, blood pressure, peripheral and cerebral oxygen saturation, and the bispectral index of the EEG were recorded. Stimulation with light significantly increased blood flow velocity in the posterior cerebral artery (p<0.01, ANOVA). Similar but less pronounced effects were seen after needle acupuncture (p< 0.05, ANOVA) and laserpuncture (n.s.) of vision-related acupuncture points. Furthermore both, laserpuncture and needle acupuncture, led to a significant increase in the amplitudes of 40-Hz cerebral oscillations. Stimulation of vision-related acupuncture points with laser light or needle acupuncture elicits specific effects in specific areas of the brain. The results indicate that the brain plays a key intermediate role in acupuncture. However, brain activity of itself does not explain anything about the healing power of acupuncture.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Brain; 40 Hz brain oscillations; Cerebral blood flow velocity; Laserpuncture; Light stimulation; Middle cerebral artery (MCA); Posterior cerebral artery (PCA); Transcranial Doppler sonography (TCD)

Therapy of cervical tendomyosis

A randomised controlled double-blind trial comparing dosed lasertherapy on acupuncture points and classical acupuncture

Ulf Seidel, Christine Uhlemann

Klinik für Orthopädie Klinikum Neustadt
Institut für Physiotherapie Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Aim of this randomised controlled, concerning lasertherapy double-blind study was to investigate therapeutical efficacy of a dosed lasertherapy (low level laser therapy, LLLT) on acupuncture points and conventional acupuncture in influencing symptoms of cervical tendomyosis.

Methods: 48 patients (43 f, 5 m) with relevant neck pain were treated twice weekly for 4 weeks (8 treatments), randomised into four groups of different kinds of therapy: LLLT, output power 0 mW (placebo), 7 mW, 30 mW or needle acupuncture (4 ×n = 12).

Acupuncture was performed as a conventional meridian acupuncture, 15 minutes per session to a maximum of 15 needles.

LLLT was done as a stimulation to the same meridian points, 1 minute per point, totally 15 points. Laser parameters: cw-IR-GaAlAs-Laser, 830 nm, energy density 0 J/cm2; 21 J/cm2; 90 J/cm2, irradiation area 0.02 cm2, laser-skin-difference 8 mm. Subsequent evaluation was done four weeks after treatment (follow up). Assessment of outcome measurements comprised:

  • Primary outcomes:
    1. pain: pain intensity (visual analogue scale, VAS), pain sensation (pressure pain threshold, PPT);
    2. cervical mobility: range of motion (ROM) (clinical distance measure, three-dimensional analysis of cervical spine, Zebris®).
  • Secondary outcomes:
    1. mental health (questionnaire);
    2. subjective assessment (pain, mobility);
    3. clinical autonomic parameters (blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature).

Results: Acupuncture and LLLT showed a significantly reducing of pain intensity, this effect could be proved four weeks after the end of the series (follow up): reduction in VAS by acupuncture 82.2 %, by LLLT 7 mW 55.4 %, 30 mW 29.1 %, 0 mW 26.1 %. PPT was significantly increased by all kinds of therapy.

There was a significant improvement of cervical mobility caused by acupuncture, LLLT 7 mW and LLLT 30 mW in contrast to placebo (0 mW LLLT).

Mental health was influenced positively by all therapy modes, significant only by LLLT 7 mW. With regard to subjective assessment (pain, mobility) there was no complaint aggravation. An increased (systolic and diastolic) blood pressure by decreased heart rate and increased skin temperature post each procedure with either method was measured.

Conclusions: Acupuncture is a therapeutical option in the treatment of common neck pain. Dose dependent effects of LLLT seems to be relevant, outcome power and energy density has to be considered as important parameters in efficacy of this method. LLLT 7 mW (energy density 21 J/cm2) seems to be more effective but also placebo influences pain and mental health positively.

Keywords: Acupuncture - Low level laser therapy (LLLT) - Dosed lasertherapy - Cervical tendomyosis - Clinical trial

Source: Dt Ztschr f Akup 2002; 258-269
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-36555


Pekka J. Pöntinen, M.D, Ph.D, F.I.C.A.E., Tampere University, Tampere, Kuopio University, Kuopio, Finland E-mail:

Traditionally acupuncture means stimulation of specific points on the surface of the body in order to produce mainly regulatory effects on the functions of the internal organs. The same points have been used to increase or decrease the functional state of different organs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the acupuncture points (AP) are connected by channels or meridians in and under the skin and have deep connections to the internal organs. The selection of the proper points has been as important as the correct type of stimulation, either reinforcement or sedation. In the traditional Chinese medicine the human model has been mainly energetic, physiological, not anatomical. The changes in the energy flow induced by the blocks in the channels or acceleration of the flow leading either to the deficit or excess of the vital energy, Chih, were believed to be the origin of diseases. The APs were the loci to balance the energy flow through needle stimulation. Modern acupuncture has a different nature. For the consensus conference arranged by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and held in Bethesda, Maryland in November 1997 the term acupuncture was defined as stimulation, primarily by the use of solid needles, of traditionally and clinically defined points on and beneath the skin, in an organized fashion for therapeutic and/or preventive purposes. Application of stimulus to the reactive points (by needle, heat, massage, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation/TENS, laser, etc.) according to TCM can influence the pathophysiological function of the affected organ-meridian systems.

In modern Chinese AP therapy, a combination of local tender points (AHSHI) and classical peripheral APs is common. Laseracupuncture (LAP) Today LAP provides a noninvasive and low risk alternative to needle stimulation. A combination of local reactive (tender) points or Ahshi points and active muscle TPs form a practical and effective basis for LAP in pain treatment. LAP can replace needles in the treatment of functional disorders and is then directed to classical APs. As a painless modality of acupuncture LAP is well accepted by children and other sensitive patients. LAP provides excellent possibilities for clinical studies on acupuncture. Recently Schlager and coworkers confirmed the efficacy of AP Neiguan (PC6) in the prevention of postoperative vomiting in children undergoing strabismus surgery. In another randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study low-intensity laser therapy effectively prevented the recurrence of Herpes simplex infection.

Our study groups at the Universities of Kuopio and Tampere have studied the analgetic effect of peripheral stimulation (needle acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical stimulation/TENS, massage, electric stimulation, low energy laser) applied on APs or TPs using pressure algometry . We have conducted a series of experiments using different wavelengths (633-904 nm) and both coherent and noncoherent irradiation. LEPT was given directly to TPs (1-2 J/TP) or local tender spots.

In blind, cross-over studies both HeNe- and IR-diode (904 nm) lasers elevated pressure pain threshold (PTH). In a follow-up study on 54 MPS patients LEPT (820 nm, 1-2 J/TP) PTH increased from 2.94+1.44 tp 6.56+0.96 kg/cm² (p<0.001) and MGF from 0.60+0.28 to 1.03+0.29 bar (p<0.05), whereas VAS decreased from 44.6+11.3 to 9.3+6.4 (p<0.001). In this and other series we have found that the effect is greater on the side where PTH and MGF values are initially lower. As in our earlier studies with low and high freguency TENS one sided HeNe-laser irradiation elevated PTH of the corresponding, contralateral nontreated TPs in addition to the response on the treated side. More recently the main emphasis has been turned to the central mechanisms and pathways. In a pilot study LED-light (880 nm, 1J/cm2) given to TPs in trapezius muscle (TE15) bilaterally and upon proc. spinosus of C7 (DU14) significantly altered regional cerebral blood flow e.g. in thalamus, caudate nucleus and prefrontal cortex.

In our experience less than 1 J/point or 100-200 J/cm² given in a contact mode is mainly ineffective in clinical practice when treating musculoskeletal disorders and myofascial pain through TPs. In many well controlled, blind and double-blind cross-over studies showing insignificant results the actual radiant exposure to the target site has been a mere fraction of the dose normally used in clinical practice. When treating APs of low resistance and high sensitivity the irradiation dose should be reduced to about 0.1-0.2 J/point (10 per cent of the normal dose [1-2 J/point] used at muscle TPs).

Treatment of the acute Periarthritis humeroscapular with laserpuncture.

Odalys Gonzáles Álvarez, Main Educational Clinic of Urgencies "Antonio Maceo", Cerro Municipality, Havana City.

The periarthritis humeroscapular is a syndrome that contains very precise affections: the bursitis, the calcified tendinitis of supraespinoso, the bicipital tendinitis, among others. Pain and limitation of the joint movements of the shoulder characterize it. The treatment with laser of low power can produce resolution of the lesion, whenever it is made in early phases of the disease. In this study we propose the use of the laserpuncture, due to our accumulated experience in the treatment of these affection in acute phase, with acupuncture.

A prospective study was carried out during 2 years (1997 - 1999), where 62 patients were selected because they accomplished the Approaches of Inclusion for the study. The sample was divided by aleatory assignment in 2 Groups of Treatment. Th study Group I was treated with laserpuncture, using Cuban laser equipment of HeNe of 632,8 nm and a dose of joule/cm2 was applied, and the Control Group II was treated with acupuncture needles. The conventional medical treatment was suspended. Daily sessions were given from Monday to Friday, for two weeks, until a total of 10. Both techniques demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of these affections, improving the clinical and radiological symptoms significantly when the treatment sessions was concluded. The patients accepted the laserpuncture better because of its painless character, less time of application, and the absence of bleeding and stress.

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Hinweis: Die Lasertherapie (LLLT) ist in Deutschland wissenschaftlich noch nicht anerkannt und gehört zu den komplementären Therapieverfahren.