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Design and testing the validity of an inexpensive and accessible sham dry needling protocol

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2023 Jul;35:169-174. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2023.04.011. Epub 2023 May 1.


OBJECTIVE: To use a simple method of needle blunting to produce a placebo dry needling protocol which is indistinguishable from the sensations felt during therapeutic dry needling.

METHODS: A randomised cross-over design was used to compare the perception of needle skin penetration, pain experienced and types of sensations experienced following a single placebo dry needling and a single therapeutic dry needling application.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences in the proportions of patients reported ability to perceive needle penetration (p = 0.646), description of needling sensations (p = 0.3) or pain rating (p = 0.405) when comparing placebo needling to therapeutic dry needling.

CONCLUSION: Needle tip bending creates a simple, cost-effective and effective placebo needle for use in comparisons with therapeutic dry needling. This offers researchers a viable alternative to expensive and inappropriate acupuncture sham devices when conducting dry needling trials.

PMID:37330765 | DOI:10.1016/j.jbmt.2023.04.011


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