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A Practical Handbook: Laser Acupuncture

Volkmar Kreisel and Michael Weber - (Book)
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This book is like a bible for laser acupuncture. It is the most detailed book on the subject that we have been able to find. It can be a little hard to get out because the publisher is in Germany. Dr. Weber operates a large clinic in Germany where he treat a wide variety of conditions. He also does training classes for acupuncturist and is a leader in the field of laser acupuncture. In addition to having a detailed explanation of how lasers stimulate the body, her provide some great general guidelines on the use of lasers and his book includes beautifully detailed protocols. Chapters in the book include 3 major sections: High-Tech Acupuncture with Laser Light, Practical Guidelines and Treatment Concepts. Within the treatment concepts are group of protocols for Orthopedics, Neurology, Psychosomatic disorders, Throat, Nose and Ear, Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Pediatrics, Gynecology ,Dental Medicine and Ophthalmology.

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Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role - Chapter 9

Wen-Long Hu, Yu-Chiang Hung and I-Ling Hung - (Publication)
This publication is a summary of some of the most effective acupuncture studies.
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2. Laser acupuncture vs. acupuncture
Instead of using a metal acupuncture needle, LA uses red or near-infrared light with a
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
being deposited per acupoint, or
1–4 J/cm
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
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
over traditional
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].
Soreness, numbness,
expansion, or pain
Laser acupuncture
Low-level laser
None or slight
warmth (if > 10 J/cm
Table 1.
Comparison of traditional and laser acupuncture
Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
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 random?
ized 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 rehabil?
itation of low back pain.
3.1.2. Myofascial pain
LA has been used to treat myofascial pain in the masticatory musculature and trapezius
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
(TMD) has been evaluated
in studies
with various
In one study,
LA was applied to acupuncture points in TMD patients, and the results showed signifi?
cant pain reduction and improvement in the electromyographic behavior of masseter
in maximal
after treatment,
but no significant
observed in mandibular movement. This shows that LA may have an effect for control?
ling pain in TMD patients [13, 14].
Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role
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
old, showed
no significant
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
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 weeks
Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
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
The treatment
was well tolerated
and showed
mild and temporary side effects. Additional advantages included lower cost and shorter
treatment duration compared to other smoking cessation programs. However, controlled
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
has been used in the treatment
of alcohol
for many years.
et al. performed
a study aimed at intensifying
this method
by adding
Explore Laser Acupuncture’s Role
laser biostimulation for treatment of patients with alcohol dependence syndrome. The
a single helium-neon
laser neck biostimulation
and 10 auricular
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
voided volume,
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 LA
Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
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 co
Original Source:

Laser Acupuncture Frequencies, Nogier, Prof. Bahr, Reiniger

Nei Jing Talks - 2015 (Publication)
This video shows how some doctor prefer specific frequencies for pulsing the laser. Video shows the RJ/3B acupuncture laser.

Home Search Introduction

Ken Teegardin - (Video)
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Welcome to the research tool. This tool is a searchable collection of technical publications, books, videos and other resources about the use of lasers for photobiomodulation. This tool includes almost the entire U.S. library of medicine research papers on LLLT, videos from Youtube associated with therapy lasers and the tables of contents from laser therapy books. This allows users to search for a keyword or condition and see resources about using lasers to treat that condition. All the resources include links to the original source so we are not making any statement about the use of lasers for treating non-FDA cleared application, we are simple summarizing what others have said.  Where every possible, we have included a link to the orginal publication.

Here are some of our favorite queries:

This tool uses a broad match query so:

  • It does not correct spelling and searches only cold laser related subjects so do not use LLLT, cold or laser in the search bar
  • It works better with shorter search terms or even parts of search terms
  • It searches all the available fields so you can enter a body part, author, condition or laser brand.
  • Where ever possible, the detailed section about the resource will link to the sources.
  • This system is only for photobiomodulation or cold laser therapy research (including LLLT, laser acupuncture and high power laser therapy) only. It does NOT include photodynamic laser therapy (where the laser is used to react with a pharmaceutical), hot surgery lasers or cosmetic lasers. It does include some resources on weight loss and smoking cessation.

The results of the search are sorted based on 3 quality factors on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best score. Originally all the resources were given a 5-5-5 until they could be individually evaluated. These scores are purely opinion and are only used to simplify the rank of the results from more valuable to least valuable. This should not be considered a critique of any work. This system was created to help researchers (including ourselves) find the most usable resources for any cold laser therapy research. The resources are assigned values based on the following 3 factors:

  • Efficacy: The resource (especially research papers) should show a significant improvement in the condition being treated. Resources that show better results are given a higher quality score.
  • Detail: The source must give enough information that the results can be duplicated. If a resource lacks too many details that it cannot be recreated, it is given a lower detail score.
  • Lack of Bias: Many resources are created to try and show that one device is superior to its competition. Many manufacturers have staff that crank out biased papers on a regular basis on the hope that this will make their product look superior. If the author of the resource is paid by a manufacturer of the resource appears to be biased towards one device and not one technology, the resource has much less value.

Over the past few years of working with research, we found that a majority of the published resources are lacking in one of these three ranking factors.
The original goal of this research tool was to tie published resources to the protocols in the library. This connection allows users to trace each protocol back to a list of resources so the protocol can be researched and improved.

General Comments

When many of the first research papers were published, the most power laser available for therapy were less than 100mW and many systems had to be pulsed to keep the laser from burning out too quickly. Today, system are available that will deliver up to 60,000mW of continuous output. Because of these power limitation, many early studies were limited to extremely low dosages by today’s standards. It takes a 50mW system 17 minutes to deliver 50 joules at the surface of the skin. If this was spread over a large area of damage or was treating a deeper problem, the actual dosages were much less than 1J/cm2.  Today, we know that these dosages typically produce very little or no results.
About 80% of the resources in this database are in the near infrared wavelength. There is also some interest in the red wavelength (600 to 660nm) . Other wavelengths like blue, purple, and green have very little scientific research behind them and have not gotten much traction in the core therapy market with the exception of some fringe consumer products.
Legal Disclaimer
This research tool is free to use but we make no claims about the accuracy of the information. It is an aggregation of existing published resources and it is up to the user to determine if the source of the resources has any value. The information provided through this web site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your local health care provider.

The query result(s) can be shared using the following direct link. Anyone who clicks on this link in an email or on a web site will be shown the current results for the query.