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Medicines 2017, 4(2), 19;

Nonspecific Feelings Expected and Experienced during or Immediately after Electroacupuncture: A Pilot Study in a Teaching Situation

Department of Allied Health Professions and Midwifery, School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
Northern College of Acupuncture, York YO1 6LJ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher
Received: 29 January 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 8 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acupuncture – Basic Research and Clinical Application)
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Background: Some feelings elicited by acupuncture-type interventions are “nonspecific”, interpretable as resulting from the placebo effect, our own self-healing capacities—or, indeed, the flow of qi. Expectation is thought to contribute to these nonspecific effects. Here we describe the use of two innovative 20-item questionnaires (EXPre20 and EXPost20) in a teaching situation. Methods: Respondents were acupuncture students or practitioners on electroacupuncture (EA) training courses (N = 68). EXPre20 and EXPost20 questionnaires were completed before and after receiving individualised treatment administered by colleagues. Respondents were also asked about their prior experience of EA or transcutaneous electroacupuncture stimulation (TEAS). Results: Respondents expected significantly more items to change than not to change, but significantly fewer were experienced as changing. Increases in given questionnaire items were both expected and experienced significantly more often than decreases. “Tingling”, “Relaxation”, and “Relief” or “Warmth” were most often expected to increase or were experienced as such, and “Pain” and “Tension” to decrease or experienced as decreasing. Expectations of change or no change were confirmed more often than not, particularly for “Tingling” and “Tension”. This was not the result of the personal respondent style. Cluster analysis suggested the existence of two primary feeling clusters, “Relaxation” and “Alertness”. Conclusions: Feelings experienced during or immediately after acupuncture-type interventions may depend both on prior experience and expectation. View Full-Text
Keywords: electroacupuncture; nonspecific feelings; expectation; placebo; qi; cluster analysis electroacupuncture; nonspecific feelings; expectation; placebo; qi; cluster analysis

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Mayor, D.F.; McClure, L.S.; McClure, J.H.C. Nonspecific Feelings Expected and Experienced during or Immediately after Electroacupuncture: A Pilot Study in a Teaching Situation. Medicines 2017, 4, 19.

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