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  Articles by Alex Tatevian
Bio-morphological rationale for laser stimulation of myofascial trigger points and acupuncture points (abstract).

by Alex Tatevian DA and Artem Grush MD,
Foundation for Research in Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine; Department of Anesthesia, Harvard School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

Annals of Clinical & Laboratory Science , 2004, Volume 34, Issue 3:357-372
Routine techniques of myofascial trigger points (MTrP) treatment include needling procedure with an injection of pharmacological substances or without (dry needle technique). Dry needle technique, not much different from acupuncture needling, adds to similarities between MTrP and acupuncture points (AP), including their location and distribution, pain and referred pain patterns, etc. The scientific basis for either MTrP injection or acupuncture is still unclear, although there is a body of evidence relating response in both cases to neuro-transmitter and neuro-hormone release, notably that of the endogenous opioids.

With various means of point stimulation granting comparable effect, the least invasive techniques appear most attractive. We investigated the effect of Low Energy Lasers (LEL) in MTrP and AP stimulation. LEL's are laser devices in which power densities and energy densities of laser beam are lowered to a point where no photo-thermal effects occur, but the photo-osmotic, photo-ionic, and photo-enzymatic effects are still operative. Penetration of a laser beam into tissues falls off at an exponential fashion. Thus, increase of laser power does not result in a linear increase in the penetration depth and in a linear increase of biological effect. The prime determinant of tissue penetration is the wavelength (color) and pulse regime, which makes pulsed Infrared Laser the most suitable laser device.

LEL has distinct advantages over needling of MTrP and AP: it is aseptic, non-invasive, and painless; if used properly, it has no reported side effects; it is ideal for children and patients with needle-phobia. Infrared Laser is the only tool for a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture.

Presented at the 124th Annual Meeting of the Association of Clinical Scientists. ;
Session C: Frontiers of Clinical Science;
The University of Texas, Houston, Texas
12 to 16 May 2004
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