Skip Navigation LinksHome > May/June 2010 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 > Laser acupuncture does not improve menopausal symptoms
doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181c72b9d

Laser acupuncture does not improve menopausal symptoms

O'Brien, Kylie A. PhD, B App Sci (Chin Med), MPH, BSc (Optom)1,2; Varigos, Euhna MB, BS, FANZCA, FAMAC2,3; Black, Catherine MB, Ch B DCH FRNZCGP2,4; Komesaroff, Paul A. MB, BS, BSc(Hons), MA, PhD, FRACP2

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Objective: Acupuncture is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms and other gynecological conditions. Laser acupuncture, more accurately named "laser acupoint stimulation," has the advantages of being noninvasive, reproducible, and convenient. A few studies of conventional acupuncture have suggested a beneficial effect in treating menopausal symptoms. This study sought to investigate the effectiveness of laser acupoint stimulation in relieving symptoms associated with menopause.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 40 women experiencing active symptoms of menopause. Outcome variables were numbers of diurnal and nocturnal flushes and symptom score, determined using a previously validated scale. A laser acupoint stimulation device was altered to produce identical flashing lights whether or not the laser was operating to allow for a placebo ("laser off") control. Participants received either active or placebo treatment on a fortnightly basis for 12 weeks. The acupoint selection in both groups was individualized to each participant, selected from a set of 10 acupoints.

Results: There were no significant differences between the active and placebo treatment groups in numbers of diurnal or nocturnal flushes or in nonflushing symptom scores.

Conclusions: Laser acupoint stimulation chosen from a fixed set of acupoints is no more efficacious than manual stimulation with an inert laser probe in altering menopausal symptoms.

©2010The North American Menopause Society


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