Lasers to stimulate acupuncture points

Some acupuncturists have become enthusiastic about using low-power lasers to stimulate acupuncture points. The origins of this idea are unclear but the appeal is evident, since the treatment is pain-free therefore suitable for children or people who are afraid of acupuncture and also because there is no risk of infection. However the relevance of this to acupuncture is unclear. There is some evidence that light (though not necessarily laser light) can accelerate tissue healing but that it is all. A recent review of the literature by Peter Baldry found no good evidence that so-called laser acupuncture had anything more than a placebo effect.

In summary, then, my impression is that electrical acupuncture and lasers have only a very small role at best to play in the kind of acupuncture I use myself. However the position is different as regards TENS. TENS is not acupuncture but it may act in a rather similar way and there is a fair amount of clinical overlapping between TENS and acupuncture.

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