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Schweiz Monatsschr Zahnmed. 2010;120(3):213-25.

Laser acupuncture for myofascial pain of the masticatory muscles. A controlled pilot study.

[Article in English, German]

Author information

  • 1Department of Prosthodontics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. joannis.katsoulis@zmk.unibe.ch



The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of laser acupuncture within the scope of a pilot study.


108 adult patients were examined and of those eleven patients were included in the prospective pilot study. These patients took part voluntarily and were diagnosed with tendomyopathy of the masticatory musculature with maximum face and jaw pain on a visual analogous scale VAS > or = 30 in the last 14 days. Four patients wanted to be sure not to be assigned to the placebo group and were treated with the laser (group1, verum open, N = 4). The remaining seven were split by means of block randomisation into groups 2 (verum blind, N = 3) and 3 (placebo blind, N = 4). Two local points (ST 6, SI 18) and two distant points (SI 3, LI 4) on both sides of the body were stimulated (groups 1 and 2) or placebo-stimulated (group 3) with the LASERneedle machine for 15 minutes twice a week for three weeks (6 sessions). After three months a clinical follow-up was carried out, which included a standardised questionnaire as to the maximum pain intensity (VAS and verbal scale) and on the need for further treatment. A pain reduction (VAS) of about 50% was evaluated as a success.


Pain decreased on average 40 VAS points for ten of eleven patients. The pain reduction on the VAS in group 1 (verum open) was more than 50% for all four patients, in group 3 (placebo blind) for three of four patients, and in group 2 (verum blind) all remained under 50%. The evaluation on the verbal scale showed a pain reduction from moderate to very strong pains initially, to moderate, light and no pain after three months for all three groups.


The range of application of the laser was limited by the narrow inclusion criteria of the pilot study. The laser acupuncture (open and blinded) did not show a negative effect in any group. The pain reduction was strongest with the blinded patients of the placebo group. The worst performance was in the blinded group with laser acupuncture.


Due to the low number of participants, no clear conclusion can be drawn. Laser needle acupuncture may be a treatment option for patients with an interest in a noninvasive, complementary therapy. But clarification and treatment planning on an individual basis must take place first.

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