, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 69-80
Date: 03 Sep 2004

Laser acupuncture: past, present, and future

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Abstract

Laser acupuncture is defined as the stimulation of traditional acupuncture points with low-intensity, nonthermal laser irradiation. Although the therapeutic use of laser acupuncture is rapidly gaining in popularity, objective evaluation of its efficacy in published studies is difficult because treatment parameters such as wavelength, irradiance, and beam profile are seldom fully described. The depth of laser energy transmission, likely an important determinant of efficacy, is governed not only by these parameters, but also by skin properties such as thickness, age, and pigmentation—factors which have also received little consideration in laser acupuncture. Despite the frequently equivocal nature of the published laser studies, recent evidence of visual cortex activation by laser acupuncture of foot points, together with the known ability of laser irradiation to induce cellular effects at subthermal thresholds, provides impetus for further research.