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.