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  More about Laser Acupuncture

Laser is used to stimulate acupuncture points using the same rules of point selection as needle acupuncture. Laser acupuncture may be used solely or in combination with needles for any given condition over a course of treatment.
Position Statement On Laser Acupuncture; IAMA, Jan 2002

What is LASER?

Laser is an abbreviation for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation".

Lasers are unique sources of light; they do not behave like conventional thermal light sources. Briefly, it is a form of electromagnetic radiation, in the visible or infrared region of the light spectrum, generated by stimulating a medium (working substance), which may be solid or gaseous, under special conditions.

The beam of light, produced by LASER possesses distinctive physical properties:

Little divergence
High irradiance

Monochromism describes a radiation of a very specific wavelength which spectographically presented by only one line. lasers produce the purest (most MONOCHROMATIC) light available.
The color of the laser radiation is of such a purity that practically never occurs in nature. Every laser has its specific wavelength (color).

Coherence relates to an extremely high degree of order of radiated light. It implies that all the emitted photons bear a constant phase relationship with each other in both time and space.

Little divergence means that all photons travel in the same direction; Laser beam does not disperse and remains much focused even projected on long distances.

High irradiance: because all the light is concentrated into a narrow spatial band light possesses high radiant power per unit area (i.e. high irradiance).

(To learn more about physical phenomena of LASER light please click here.)

Laser Acupuncture.

Low Level Laser (soft laser) has definite advantages over needling the acupuncture points or trigger point injection:

- It is aseptic, non-invasive, absolutely painless and, if used properly, has no reported side-effects.

- It is ideal for use on painful (Ah-Shi) points or in patients with needle-phobia. Children tolerate laser acupuncture very well.

- It is ideal for treatment of superficial acupuncture points, such as those on the ear.

- Infrared Laser is a perfect (if not the only) tool for a double blind study in acupuncture research.

Laser acupuncture may be used solely or in combination with needles.
Laser Acupuncture usually is given at intervals of 1-3 days in acute cases and 3-7 days in chronic cases.
The selection of the acupuncture points is the same as for classical acupuncture.
At each session, the laser is applied for 20-60 seconds per point.
Total treatment time per session depends on mean output power (MOP) and the point depth.

Laser acupuncture is very useful in veterinary acupuncture practice . It is well tolerated by cats and nervous or difficult animals. It may be used safely on dangerous points in large animals (such as points below the carpus and tarsus of cattle and horses).

Acupuncture Lasers.

The biological effects of Laser depend on power, wavelength, different pulse frequencies, different exposure dosage etc.

- Power.

Unlike high power surgical lasers that cause coagulation and "cut" tissues, acupuncture lasers produce laser beam of significantly lower intensity that cannot cause any structural damage to the tissues and operate in the safe range of power.

LLL (Low Level Laser, also called Low Energy Laser, or "cold" laser, or "soft" laser, or Low-Intensity laser) are laser devices in which power densities and energy densities of laser beam are lowered to a point where no photo thermal effects occur (the beam does not burn the tissues) but the photo-osmotic, photo-ionic and photo-enzymatic effects are still operative.

- Wavelength & penetration depth.

Laser light as it penetrates into the tissue, is reflected, absorbed and dispersed.
Penetration of laser into tissues falls off at an exponential fashion. Thus, increase of laser power does not result in a linear increase in the penetration into the tissues comprising acupuncture point and in a linear increase of biological effect.
The prime determinant of tissue penetration is the wavelength (color).
Every laser has its specific wavelength and penetrates accordingly.

Infra red lasers that operate in the invisible part if the spectrum penetrate deeper and are used in stimulation of acupuncture points instead of needling.
Red lasers (and others in visible light), which penetrate less deeply, are less suitable for acupuncture point stimulation and are best known for wound healing stimulation and for skin problems.
Infrared lasers are 5-10 times more expensive than red lasers.

- Pulsed lasers.

Though laser light is emitted in a continuous wave beam, it can be interrupted (modulated) at variable frequencies and intervals by mechanical or electronic means. Interruption of the light beam at fixed intervals is called pulsing.
Pulsed lasers penetrate deeper in tissue than unpulsed lasers. Pulsed lasers are several times more expensive than unpulsed lasers.

What Laser Can Do.

-Stimulates vasodilation to increase blood flow and circulation to an area.

-Stimulates enkephalin and endorphins for pain control and nerve stimulation.

-Increases the accumulation of prostaglandins in wounds to promote healing.

-Promotes the formation of granulation tissue.

-Stimulates the production of cartilage; enhances fibroplosia and collagen synthesis.

-Stimulates RNA and DNA; increases ATP synthesis in the mitochondria by as much as 70%; influences the incorporation of labeled thymidine into DNA; increases autoradiographic uptake of labeled uridine.

- Supports immune system; increases the T & B-lymphocytes in people with a suppressed immune system; increases the ability and frequency to bind with bacteria.
(Source: Jennifer Blahnik; Laser Acupuncture in Clinical Practice; April 12, 1997.)



- Low Level Laser Therapy [LLLT]: A Bibliography of recent Papers. (Read the article)

- Harry Lazoura, Irena Cosic; Low Level Laser Radiation as a Stimulant in Acupuncture; 2nd International Conference on Bioelectromagnetism. p171-172. 1998. (read the article)

- S. Nikolic, Z. Trojacanec, I.J. Milankovic; Low Energy Laser in the Treatment of Low Back Pain; ICMART '97 International Medical Acupuncture Symposium (read the article)

- Laser Acupuncture Works for Stubborn Carpal Tunnel. (Read the article)

- Naeser MA, Hahn KA, Lieberman BE, Branco KF.; Carpal tunnel syndrome pain treated with low-level laser and microamperes transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation: A controlled study; Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Dec;83(12):1806; author reply 1806-7. (Read the article)

- Low Energy Laser-Acupuncture: A Novel Model of Enegetic Interaction. (Read the article)

- Christian M. Siedentopfa, Stefan M. Golaszewski, Felix M. Mottaghyc, Christian C. Ruffd, Stephan Felbera and Andreas Schlagere; Functional magnetic resonance imaging detects activation of the visual association cortex during laser acupuncture of the foot in humans; Neuroscience Letters, Volume 327, Issue 1 , 12 July 2002, Pages 53-56. (Read the abstract) - - (Read the article)

- Philip A.M. Rogers; Clinical Use Of Low Level Laser Therapy. (Read the article)

- Effect Of Laser Acupuncture On The Pulmonary Vascular Resistance In Patients With Obstructive Chronic Lung Diseases. (Read the article)

- Laser Acupuncture for Adolescent Smokers - A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial. (Read the article)

- Malini Chaudhri Ph.D.; WALT 2002 Congress, Japan; LASER ACUPUNCTURE FOR INDIAN NATIONAL WOMENS GOLF (Read the article)

- Laser Acupuncture In Competition Horses. (Read the article)

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