A relatively new method of stimulation, laser acupuncture usually uses low-energy laser beams—instead of traditional acupuncture needles—to influence the flow of current at the acupuncture points. Beyond conventional medicine, laser acupuncture is usually the preferred procedure for effective treatment of painful conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, arthritis of the knee, and chronic headache in children. Most practitioners of laser acupuncture have an in-depth knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, and a clear understanding of how various acupuncture points function.
In laser acupuncture we typically aims a beam of light from a laser tube onto an acupuncture point, stimulating it similar to the way acupuncture needles do. The visible red laser beam, radiating from helium and neon gases, usually heats up the acupuncture point. During the laser acupuncture procedure, a practitioner may hold the beam steadily on an acupuncture point for a period that can range from ten seconds to a maximum of two minutes. The duration of the beam usually depends on the amount of tissue the laser must penetrate, and the power the acupuncturist needs to apply on a point. Sometimes, a practitioner may also have to use invisible infrared lasers.
The procedure has some distinct advantages over the traditional needle method. Many patients who are usually afraid of needles, such as children, prefer laser acupuncture. Use of a laser makes it a typically noninvasive, aseptic procedure, which significantly reduces the pain and recovery time associated with invasive treatments. Generally, laser acupuncture can treat the same range of complaints as needle acupuncture.
While laser therapy significantly reduces patient trauma, and is usually a good choice for treating conditions where the risk of cross infection is high, the effectiveness of this treatment is often limited to peripheral points. The acupressure points on a patient’s hands, feet, and ears often respond to laser acupuncture. Deeper abdominal points can now be also stimulated from this treatment.
There are several advantages to using the lasers over needles:
1) Painless, but effective - Great for anyone who is afraid of needle treatment
2) Harmless - The laser energy penetrating the skin is very small. It does not cause any tissue damage, as no heat is generated with the cold laser application.
3) Safe and sanitary - No chance of infection. The sanitary disposable tips provide a perfect solution for repeated treatment.
4) Easy treatment - For meridian acupoints, stimulate 3 - 6 points per treatment for 60 - 120 seconds each. More time as needed for trigger and motor points.
Laser acupuncture has four distinct effects:
1) Growth factor response within cells and tissues
2) Pain relief as a result of increased endorphin and serotonin release
3) Increased lymphatic activity and strengthening of the immune system response
4) Stimulation of acupuncture points, increased collagen and ATP production, increased circulation