Smoking cigarettes is responsible for about every fifth death in Germany. For this reason, an intervention aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking is a potential public health benefit. One such intervention is laser acupuncture, which promises to stop smoking in less than an hour, with no side effects and no permanent withdrawal symptoms.
What does Laser Treatment to Stop Smoking Look Like?
The principle of laser treatment is that acupuncture points can be stimulated with lasers by targeting the same nerve endings in the brain as nicotine. Innovative laser therapy relieves the withdrawal symptoms. In addition, lasers target areas of the body that are thought to be related to the suppression of appetite and relaxation in order to combat the common side effects of smoking.
Theoretically, this could lead to effective treatment without side effects. One of the biggest problems with this theory is the general problem that real acupuncture is more effective than laser acupuncture. The same basic procedure with lasers would therefore be just as effective as acupuncture at best. Laser acupuncture obviously has less impact on the body than a needle. The cost of laser acupuncture is significantly more expensive.
What Have Previous Studies about Laser Acupuncture Shown?
Of course, laser acupuncture can have an additional effect by actually making the original (and ineffective) idea of acupuncture a good approach. The approach has been studied to find evidence in one way or another. Proponents of laser acupuncture often quote a study by the Journal of Chinese Medicine.
This result sounds promising, but the problem is that it is just one piece of research. Moreover, abstinence rates have not been measured on the basis of objective scientific analysis. The researchers simply asked the participants if they did not smoke.
The Cochrane Collaboration systematically reviewed evidence of the effects of acupuncture and related smoking cessation treatments (including laser acupuncture) and found that there was no evidence to suggest any significant long-term benefit from acupuncture (in any form). They examined 33 trials, and although acupuncture had a more short-term effect, the trials themselves were too biased to reach firm conclusions.
Overall, the researchers found that acupuncture in any form was less effective than nicotine replacement therapies and less effective than psychological intervention in the long or short term.
Laser Therapy for Smoking Cessation: Conclusion
Laser acupuncture is still relatively unexplored. So far, both positive and negative results have been achieved with this treatment method. Some patients swear by this method from their own experience, others prefer conventional methods such as nicotine patches.
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