Red Laser or Blue – The Rule of Opposites 4.94/5 (53)

I get lots of questions about when to use a blue laser and when to use red. These are important questions because the right laser color has a huge effect on the outcome. You want to get this one right. So here’s a quick guide and some answers to common questions:

laser therapy

 635 nM (RED):

  • Tonifies–use this laser anytime you would normally tonify a meridian. Think cold, damp, or deficiency.
  • Great for CHRONIC conditions
  • Great for DEFICIENT conditions
  • Think about scar tissue: There is a deficiency of chi at the point of scar tissue formation. Your goal is to bring chi back into the area
  • Auriculotherapy: Treat with the red laser if you’re treating a CHRONIC condition

450 nM (BLUE):

  • Sedates–use this laser anytime you would normally sedate a meridian. Think inflammation or heat.
  • Great for ACUTE conditions
  • Great for EXCESS conditions
  • Excellent for pain. The number one comment we receive is about amazing results when treating pain
  • Auriculotherapy: Treat with the blue laser if I’m treating an ACUTE condition.

The shorthand rule of thumb is what I call the rule of opposites. In general, heat is red and cool is blue. Now think about inflammation. Red, painful, swollen, excess. Treat with the opposite of red, which is blue.

On the other hand, think about deficiency. Cold, damp, chronic. Treat with red. Got it?

Green Bar

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Do I need both the RED and BLUE lasers? 

Obviously, your toolbox is more complete with both. Tonifying and sedating are both important principles of acupuncture.

If I’m only going to have one laser, which should I get?

If you are only going to get one laser, I would go with red. I’ve been using the red for years and had great results in all kinds of situations. And it seems that tonification may be applicable a little more often than sedation. This is also good news because the red laser is the less expensive of the two. However, if you can swing it, I really recommend both.

Is there ever a situation when I would use both lasers on a single point?

Nope. It’s one or the other. Does the point need tonification or sedation? If you can’t decide, use red.

Which laser is best for auriculotherapy?

See the comments above. Are you treating an acute or a chronic condition? Select your color accordingly.

Can I use the laser for _____________condition?

Yes. You can use the laser for any meridian treatment in acupuncture. The only caveats are to never use either laser near the eyes or directly on a cancerous area.

Do I have to use safety glasses?stacks_image_149

Class IIIa lasers, which are low power by definition, do not mandate the use of safety glasses. However, out of an abundance of caution, and to promote respect for the treatment, we advise the use of glasses. For added convenience, we offer a single lens that protects against both wavelengths.

How long should I treat a point?

I recommend about 15-20 seconds per point, for both blue and red lasers. This is not a high-power approach with the intent of depositing as much energy as possible in the point. Rather, it is a low-level approach, designed to move chi and activate the meridian’s natural action. High power is not required.

OK, that should help sort things out! Remember, we’re always glad to answer questions.

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Dr. Adrian Larsen

Adrian P. Larsen, D.C., F.A.S.A., C.Ac. Dr. Larsen is President of Miridia Technology Inc., and one of the developers of the AcuGraph Digital Meridian Imaging system. He currently divides his time between research, product development, and teaching. Dr. Larsen also holds certifications in Applied Kinesiology and CPK, and has specialized training in SOT and craniopathy. He, his wife, and 7 children reside in Meridian, Idaho.

4 Replies to “Red Laser or Blue – The Rule of Opposites

    1. Hello Sarah,

      This is a tricky question. Addictions are obvious problems of deficiency–kidney deficiency, yin deficiency, emotional deficiency, etc. Having said that–they often present with an excess in the way of symptoms. Anger, irritability, cravings, withdrawal symptoms, etc.

      My experience has shown that both red and blue are valuable during the treatment period. I would use blue when the initial presentation to calm things down. In time that will change. Then I would change over to red to tonify, and build the emptiness created by the drug abuse.

      I hope this helps!

      ~Kimberly

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