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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 870305, 8 pages
Research Article

Patterns of Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis in Thermal Laser Acupuncture Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

1Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1200 Cailun Road, Shanghai 201203, China
2Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, 520 West Lombard Street, East Hall, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
3Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
4School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 10 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China

Received 3 May 2013; Revised 7 August 2013; Accepted 14 August 2013

Academic Editor: Vincent Chi-Ho Chung

Copyright © 2013 Lizhen Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Knee osteoarthritis (OA) manifests with pain, joint stiffness, and limited function. In traditional Chinese medicine, knee OA is differentiated into three patterns: yang deficiency and cold coagulation, kidney deficiency, and blood stasis. The objective of this study was to determine whether yang deficiency cold coagulation patients respond better to thermal laser acupuncture treatment than do non-yang deficient patients. Fifty-two patients with OA were allocated to group A (yang deficient, ) or B (non-yang deficient, ). All patients received a 20-min thermal laser acupuncture treatment at acupoint Dubi (ST 35) three times a week for two weeks and twice a week for another four weeks. Outcome assessments were performed immediately after the first treatment, and at weeks 2, 6, and 10. Group A function scores were significantly better than those of Group B at weeks 2 (), 6 (), and 10 (), but no significant differences were found between the two groups in pain and stiffness scores at any time point. No significant adverse effect was observed. The combined 10.6 μm–650 nm laser treatment might be most beneficial to yang deficiency cold coagulation knee OA patients, particularly in improving function.