Original Article

Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 68-73

Laser acupuncture induced specific cerebral cortical and subcortical activations in humans

  • Christian M. SiedentopfAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology II, University Hospital of Innsbruck Email author 
  • , Florian KoppelstaetterAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology II, University Hospital of Innsbruck
  • , Ilka  Anna HaalaAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology II, University Hospital of Innsbruck
  • , Veronika HaidAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology II, University Hospital of Innsbruck
  • , Paul RhombergAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology II, University Hospital of Innsbruck
  • , Anja IschebeckAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, University Hospital of Innsbruck
  • , Waltraud BuchbergerAffiliated withInstitute for Health Science, University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology UMIT
  • , Stephan FelberAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology II, University Hospital of Innsbruck
  • , Andreas SchlagerAffiliated withDepartment of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, University Hospital of Innsbruck
    • , Stefan M. GolaszewskiAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology II, University Hospital of InnsbruckNeurological Therapy Centre, Duesseldorf and St. Mauritius Therapy Hospital, Meerbusch, University Hospital of Duesseldorf

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Abstract

As recent studies demonstrated, acupuncture can elicit activity in specific brain areas. This study aims to explore further the central effect using laser acupuncture. We investigated the cerebral effects of laser acupuncture at both acupoints GB43 with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). As a control condition the laser was mounted at the same acupoints but without application of laser stimulation. The group results showed significant brain activations within the thalamus, nucleus subthalamicus, nucleus ruber, the brainstem, and the Brodmann areas 40 and 22 for the acupuncture condition. No significant brain activations were observed within the placebo condition. The activations we observed were laser acupuncture-specific and predominantly ipsilateral. This supports the assumption that acupuncture is mediated by meridians, since meridians do not cross to the other side. Furthermore, we could show that laser acupuncture allows one to design a pure placebo condition.

Keywords

Laser acupuncture Acupoint GB43 Xiaxi Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)