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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 164-166

Needleless acupuncture using low-level laser therapy


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sardar Kartar Singh Sarabha Dental College, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
2 Department of Prosthodontics, Swami Devi Dayal Dental College and Hospital, Panchkula, Haryana, India
3 Department of Periodontology and Oral Implantology, ITS Center for Dental Studies and Research, Ghaziabad, India

Date of Web Publication3-Jul-2019

Correspondence Address:
Mallika Sethi
Department of Periodontics, I.T.S-Centre for Dental Studies and Research, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJDS.IJDS_25_18

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  Abstract 


Introduction: Acupressure works to stimulate (tonify or sedate) specific reflex points located along the lines of energy. In needleless or laser acupuncture, low-intensity lasers are used to stimulate the trigger points, thereby curing many medical conditions. The use of this is called low-level laser therapy (LLLT). The aim of this article is to give a brief overview on needleless acupuncture using LLLT. Methodology: A literature search using keywords such as “laser acupuncture,” “needleless acupuncture,” and “low-level laser therapy” was made on Google Scholar, PubMed, PubMed Central, Science Direct, and Scopus. Results: Needleless acupuncture or laser acupuncture is one of the most popular methods for treating pain in the world. It has proved to be an effective option for various existing treatments and as a supplement to many current treatments as well. Conclusion: Acupressure with lasers is a proven, natural, and cost-effective professional and self-care system of treatment that can improve the quality life of patients.

Keywords: Laser acupuncture, low-level laser therapy, needleless acupuncture


How to cite this article:
Chopra A, Kaur A, Sethi M, Khan F, Mohan P, Sharma N. Needleless acupuncture using low-level laser therapy. Indian J Dent Sci 2019;11:164-6

How to cite this URL:
Chopra A, Kaur A, Sethi M, Khan F, Mohan P, Sharma N. Needleless acupuncture using low-level laser therapy. Indian J Dent Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Sep 17];11:164-6. Available from: http://www.ijds.in/text.asp?2019/11/3/164/261944




  Introduction Top


Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body. It is known to have originated in China about 6000 B. C. and is considered to be a key component of traditional Chinese medicine. Previous studies have provided more reliable evidence of acupuncture's value in treating nausea (from various causes), pain (low-back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis/knee pain), and headache (tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches).[1],[2] Therefore, acupuncture is actually a reasonable option for people with chronic pain. When it is not done properly, acupuncture can cause serious adverse effects that include infections, punctured organs, collapsed lungs, and injury to the central nervous system.[3]

Acupressure utilizes the principle similar to that of acupuncture, but instead of using needles pressure or laser light is used. Pressure can be applied by the hand, elbow, or with various devices. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through meridian in the body. There are 14 main meridians which include central, governing, and 12 functional meridians which correspond to an individual organ in the body. When the vital energies are able to flow through the meridians in a balanced way, the result is good health. A block or leakage in the energy flow in these meridians leads to body pain or illness.[4]

Earliest experimental application of the low-level laser was done by Endre Mester using Ruby and Argon lasers in Hungary in 1970.[5] Needleless acupuncture or laser acupuncture is referred to as the use of low-intensity lasers to stimulate the trigger points, thereby curing many medical conditions. The use of this is called low-level laser therapy (LLLT).

The aim of this article is to give a brief overview of needleless acupuncture using LLLT.


  Methodology Top


A literature search using keywords such as “laser acupuncture,” “needleless acupuncture,” and “low-level laser therapy,” was made on Google Scholar, PubMed, PubMed Central, Science Direct, and Scopus.

Low-level laser therapy

LLLT is the direct application of light to stimulate cell responses (photobiomodulation) to promote tissue healing, reduce inflammation, and induce analgesia.[6] It is also known as soft or cold lasers, as lasers were lowered to a point where no photothermal effects occurred but the photo-osmotic, photo-ionic, and photo-enzymatic effects were still present.

LLLT along with the primary benefit of being nonsurgical promotes tissue healing and reduces edema, inflammation, and pain. It offers tremendous therapeutic benefits to patients such as accelerated wound healing and pain relief.

  • Dosage – The output powers for LLLT lies within 50–500 mW with wavelengths ranging from 630 to 980 nm with pulsed or continuous-wave emission. Temperature rise is not observed, but LLLT produces photobiostimulation effect within the tissues. Acupuncture lasers such as 660 enhancer probe deliver 6.3 Joules of energy in 3 min to an acupuncture point. Different energy levels such as 1–3 Joules (to tonify) and 4–8 Joules (to sedate) acupuncture point is required. Dentist can treat 1–6 acupuncture points during a 3 min cycle [4]
  • Mechanism of action [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Mechanism of action of low-level laser therapy

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The mechanism of action of LLLT is governed by Arndt–Schulz law. According to this law, physiologic process would improve with low dose, whereas strong stimuli will inhibit physiological activity. LLLT acts on mitochondria which displaces nitric oxide from the respiratory chain and increase the levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and reactive oxygen species. These changes take place through intermediaries cyclic adenosine monophosphate and protein kinase D that activate transcription factors Activator Protien-1 and nuclear factor-B which result in changes in gene expression and subsequent downstream production of chemical messengers. Physiologic changes include increased phagocytosis, vasodilation, increased rate of regeneration of lymphatics and blood vessels, stimulation of enzyme activity at the wound edges, fibroblast stimulation, keratinocyte and fibrocyte proliferation, scar and keloid reduction, increased ATP and DNA synthesis, and stimulation of muscle, tendon, and nerve regeneration.[6] Biostimulatory effect of LLLT is determined by the amount of absorbed light energy. Further, energy penetration depends on the power, wavelength, optical and temperature characteristics, and scattering coefficient.

  • Clinical applications in dentistry


    1. Endodontics


      • Dentinal hypersensitivity and pulpectomy: LLLT helps in improving dentin formation which helps in reduced tactile and thermal sensitivity. It also helps in formation of human dental pulp cells.[6]


    2. Oral and maxillofacial surgery:


      • Mandibular distraction – LLLT helps in improving the bone trabeculation and ossification [6]
      • Beneficial effects have been observed in tissue healing and pain relief. This can be due to the fact that LLLT facilitates collagen synthesis, keratinocyte cell motility, and growth factor release and transforms fibroblasts to myofibroblasts. Fast improvement has been seen in bone healing in cases of trauma [6]
      • It is useful to irradiate the area before and after an extraction. Irradiating before the extraction with 1 J at the injection site and 2 J right below the apices induces a transient but useful effect.[7]


    3. Oral pathology:


      • It is very useful in reducing the symptoms as well as pain in burning mouth syndrome [6]
      • In case of xerostomia, it helps in regeneration of salivary duct epithelial cells as well as improving salivary flow and antimicrobial characteristics [6]
      • In case of aphthous ulcer, it is very useful in relieving pain and shortening the healing time and treatment dose of 2 J/cm 2 is applied near contact [8],[9]
      • LLLT promotes pain relief and reduces oral mucositis incidence and its severity which arises as side effect of many oncologic treatments, especially in patients treated for head-and-neck cancer [10]
      • In herpes labialis, LLLT is very effective when given in the silent periods between attacks. If it is applied in the prodromal stage, the blister is likely to disappear in 2–3 days with little discomfort, rather than 8–14 days. It also helps in reducing the frequency of recurrence and relapse rate.[11]


    4. Orthodontics:


      • It helps in accelerating the tooth movement and helps in increased osteoclastic activity on the pressure side and increased osteoblastic activity on the tension side.[6],[12]


    5. Periodontics:


      • It helps in reducing the inflammation and improves healing in case of chronic gingivitis.[6]


    6. Prosthodontics:


      • In case of denture stomatitis, it helps in reducing yeast colonies and palatal inflammation [6]
      • It also helps in improving the bone-implant interface strength as well as osseointegration.[6]



  Conclusion Top


Laser has become a ray of hope in dentistry and is a healing light that can be used to alleviate pain with minimal side effects. Acupressure with lasers is a proven, natural, and cost-effective professional and self-care system of treatment that can improve the quality life of patients.[4]

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
White A, Ernst E. A brief history of acupuncture. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2004;43:662-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Berman BM, Langevin HM, Witt CM, Dubner R. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain. N Engl J Med 2010;363:454-61.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Acupuncture: In Depth. NCCIH, USA. Available from: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 09].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Duggal P. Laser acupuncture the emerging light of hope. Guident 2013;6:60-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Bjordal JM, Couppé C, Chow RT, Tunér J, Ljunggren EA. A systematic review of low level laser therapy with location-specific doses for pain from chronic joint disorders. Aust J Physiother 2003;49:107-16.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Carroll JD, Milward MR, Cooper PR, Hadis M, Palin WM. Developments in low level light therapy (LLLT) for dentistry. Dent Mater 2014;30:465-75.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Takeda Y. Irradiation effect of low-energy laser on alveolar bone after tooth extraction. Experimental study in rats. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 1988;17:388-91.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Takashi K. Clinical evaluation of a GaAlAs semiconductor unilaser irradiation on solitary aphta erosion and hypersensitive dentine. Shikwa Gauko 1987;87:295-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Colvard M, Kuo P. Managing aphthous ulcers: Laser treatment applied. J Am Dent Assoc 1991;122:51-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Bensadoun RJ, Franquin JC, Ciais G, Darcourt V, Schubert MM, Viot M. Low-energy He/Ne laser in the prevention of radiation-induced mucositis. A multicenter phase III randomized study in patients with head and neck cancer. Support Care Cancer 1999;7:244-52.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Otsuka H, Numasawa R, Okubo K. Effects of helium-neon laser therapy on herpes zoster pain. Laser Ther 1995;7:27-32.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Kawasaki K, Shimizu N. Effects of low-energy laser irradiation on bone remodeling during experimental tooth movement in rats. Lasers Surg Med 2000;26:282-91.  Back to cited text no. 12
    


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