Placebo Acupuncture Devices: Considerations for Acupuncture Research

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Placebo Acupuncture Devices: Considerations for Acupuncture Research

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Title: Placebo Acupuncture Devices: Considerations for Acupuncture Research
Author: Zhu, Dan; Gao, Ying; Chang, Jingling; Kong, Jian

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Citation: Zhu, Dan, Ying Gao, Jingling Chang, and Jian Kong. 2013. “Placebo Acupuncture Devices: Considerations for Acupuncture Research.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2013 (1): 628907. doi:10.1155/2013/628907.
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Abstract: Determining an appropriate control for use in acupuncture research remains one of the largest methodological challenges acupuncture researchers face. In general, acupuncture controls fall under one of two categories: (1) sham acupuncture, in which the skin is punctured with real acupuncture needles either fully at nonacupoint locations or shallowly at acupoint locations or both and (2) placebo acupuncture, which utilizes nonpenetrating acupuncture devices. In this study, we will focus on non-penetrating placebo acupuncture devices (blunted-needle and nonneedle devices) that are currently available in acupuncture research. We will describe each device and discuss each device's validation and application in previous studies. In addition, we will outline the advantages and disadvantages of these devices and highlight how the differences among placebo devices can be used to isolate distinct components of acupuncture treatment and investigate their effects. We would like to emphasize that there is no single placebo device that can serve as the best control for all acupuncture studies; the choice of an acupuncture control should be determined by the specific aim of the study.
Published Version: doi:10.1155/2013/628907
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