Laser acupuncture does not improve menopausal symptoms

Menopause. 2010 May-Jun;17(3):636-41. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181c72b9d.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Analgesia / instrumentation*
  • Acupuncture Analgesia / methods
  • Acupuncture Points
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health